It’s bold to say that Barry (Bill Hader) has only just started spiraling out of control, when all four seasons have been a slow and steady descent into chaos for the lead character. But now he’s really in a crisis. Locked away in jail, Barry has struck a deal with the feds: If he reveals what he knows about NoHo Hank (Anthony Carrigan) and the Chechens, they’ll free him and keep him safe in the Witness Protection Program.
Fuches (Stephen Root), his on-again-off-again ally, has revealed Barry’s hand to Hank. (That they’re screening Rain Man in the jail teases where Fuches stands on Barry: Fuches is the Tom Cruise to Barry’s Dustin Hoffman. Fuches is the lead character. He just needs to take control of his own life.) In return, Hank hires “El Toro” to kill Barry in prison.
We’ve been hearing about El Toro for the past two episodes of Barry, but at the beginning of this episode, we finally meet him. It’s Academy Award-winning director Guillermo del Toro! There’s a bit of banter with El Toro—I like to think that in his contract, Guillermo del Toro only agreed to the part if there was a bit of classic Barry wisecracking involved—before Hank officially hires him to kill Barry.
But Barry has decided he’ll still play both sides. Because Cousineau (Henry Winkler) is telling all to the press about busting Barry to cops—which is probably a bad idea for all parties involved—Barry phones Hank for help in taking out his former acting coach. Hank catches Barry in a lie and calls him out for talking to the feds, which only proves that Hank is looking to kill Barry.
It turns out Barry might not be in too much trouble after Cousineau’s leaks to the press—his other arch-nemesis, Jim Moss (Robert Wisdom), took care of that for him. Law officials have warned Cousineau and Jim not to talk to any press, advising them that it could hurt their chances in court with Barry—so, when that same Vanity Fair reporter knocks on Jim’s door with the word that Cousineau has fed him information, Jim tortures the guy so thoroughly, he walks away only able to speak German. Case closed.
With Cousineau busy in the crime world, who’s left to teach the future class of acting students? Sally (Sarah Goldberg) takes on the challenge, taking over Cousineau’s workshop. “Those who can’t do, teach” is only true when it comes to the acting world. A hopeless Sally uses the Cousineau method with a new batch of aspiring actors, who, not long after the class begins, shame Sally for her “abusive” teaching practice. You can’t yell at your students until they break down and cry, Sally.
Or, rather, you can. The method really works with one of Sally’s students, who asks for private lessons to train for a new bit part she snagged in a superhero movie (A new Wonder Woman? Guardians of the Galaxy 3? The Marvels?). Perhaps Sally will settle her urge to act by living vicariously through this up-and-coming actress. Still, as Sally hops from place to place with no ambition in her life, it’s clear that Barry offered her the only sense of stability she’s ever had.
And luckily for her, now he’s on the run. Hank’s plan to swiftly execute Barry in prison falls through, when El Toro’s off-kilter lackey (a fun cameo from Fred Armisen) blows his cover. “Who is that?” Barry asks, pointing to a “fed” shaking in the corner. “That man is trying to kill me,” he says, quickly realizing that he’s a hitman sent by Hank. The hitman tries (and fails) to kill Barry, and amidst all the hubbub, Barry sneaks out of the prison.
Poor Hank has quite a few issues on his plate now. Barry has escaped and is clearly upset with the Chechen mobster, which could put him and Cristobal in danger. Cristobal is upset with Hank for prioritizing Barry over their current sand business. And now, as if his on-the-rocks romance and impending doom with Barry wasn’t enough, the original Chechen mob has reapproached him and demands Hank rejoin their forces.
This episode, titled “you’re charming,” felt like a simple way to move several plots forward at once. But even when Barry is just furthering it’s storylines, it does so with such stylistic flair—showing violence through shadows instead of head-on, using Guillermo del Toro as a hitman obsessed with podcasts, and teasing the whole Marvel cinematic nuisance through Sally’s acting student.
And now that those plots have advanced, Barry can continue to blow us out of the water with wild twists and turns. Barry has (predictably, but in the most unpredictable way) busted out of prison. All bets are off—and thank goodness for that.