Barry S3E7: “candy asses” — Is That a Food Reference?

Barry looks off into the distance with an open sky behind him
Photograph by Merrick Morton/ HBO

The following contains spoilers for Barry S3E7, “candy asses” (written by Liz Sarnoff and directed by Bill Hader)

Barry S3E7 effectively shows that the series could function without its title character, which is exciting. Barry didn’t die from Sharon’s poisoning attempt, but he isn’t out of the woods either, and as “candy asses” focuses on all of the other characters in this show—leaving Barry himself as a kind of absent center around which the action circulates—it adds to the sense that the stakes are very real. Even though the show is named after him, I’m no longer confident that Barry has plot armor.

Whether Barry (the show) is ballsy enough to kill off Barry (the character) is something that I think it is better to wait and see about, so I’ll refrain from engaging in too much speculation as to what the ongoing story might look like in the aftermath of such an event, as much as I’m tempted to go down that rabbit hole. It’s a strange thing, but I almost want them to do it.

Gene talks to two of his studnets on stage
Photograph by Merrick Morton/ HBO

Of course Bill Hader is as great as ever as Barry, so I would hate to lose that performance. There are brilliantly subtle moments of levity in his confusion about what’s happening to him in S3E7, as he wanders the street and then on the beach as he’s surrounded by those he’s murdered. He waves and smiles at Chris Lucado, who basically just ignores him.

You could engage in a symbolic interpretation of this if you wanted. I think it represents Barry’s general detachment from others—his alienation, if you will—and certainly isn’t indicative of any kind of revelation. Rather, it’s as though he can’t understand the gravity of the things he’s done, so he’s shoved them off into a corner of his psyche, excusing himself with the thought that he had no choice in the matter.

Perhaps soldiers often do such a thing. I can’t say to know, but it is worth pondering again questions pertaining to the ethics of war as such, in relation to those of killing for hire as a civilian. It’s a question that’s been at play in the background since the beginning of the series.

Noho Hank offers a slight smile as he wears an LA Dodgers ballcap
Photograph by Merrick Morton/ HBO

Of course Barry is ultimately found by George Krempf, Ryan Madison’s father, who puts him in the back of his car but ultimately can’t bring himself to kill him or to leave him to die. And it would seem George takes this as a weakness in himself, as he chooses to end his own life with a bullet to the head. (For a moment I must admit that I almost thought Barry had killed him, what with all of the headshots in this season that he’s inflicted, but he didn’t, at least not in that kind of direct way).

It’s all very sad, and while there is humor throughout S3E7, I found the episode more cut through with tension than anything that has preceded it in the series.

Lindsay has a frustrated look on her face as she sits at a circular table in front of a laptop
Photograph by Merrick Morton/ HBO

This carries over to Sally’s story, which sees her screaming at Natalie in an elevator and the video of this event being released. And then her attempt at an apology leads to Lindsay dropping her as a client. (This is warranted.) It’s a rather dark turn for Sally’s character, but really compelling. She’s not there to be the nice one, or the one good person on the show. She’s kind of a monster, and we can’t help but take her rage at Natalie in parallel with Barry’s previous outburst in Sally’s direction. It’s really not OK. It’s a gripping shot when, as she engages in a tirade in Lindsay’s direction, we see Sally literally backing into the darkness.

But even as Sally is not at all justified in screaming epithets in Natalie’s face, her frustration is palpable and understandable. At a certain level, Barry has become a kind of critique of the entertainment industry. The algorithm cancelled Joplin. Shows with ridiculous premises succeed. But the real target of the critique may well be in the tendency for creatives like Sally to wrap their own personal identity and self-esteem up in their professional success (or lack thereof). It’s not healthy, and leads her to be endlessly compromised in her attempts to live in the truth.

Sally looks distressed as she hunches slightly forward
Photograph by Merrick Morton/ HBO

Gene Cousineau is likewise compromised. His Master Class show is off and running in S3E7. It’s successful. And that success is predicated on the Variety article about how he helped Barry Berkman. So when Jim Moss comes to pay him a visit to ask about Barry killing Janice, Gene has now changed his tune.

The ludicrous plan that Barry hatched at the beginning of Season 3 has actually worked in that Gene’s professional success has led him to drop his desire for justice. It’s all too understandable, but again rather sad.

“candy asses”

Fuches is in police custody, but that doesn’t stop him from siccing another proverbial panther on Barry. At least it’s clear that this is Fuches’ intention in what he says to Albert about Chris Lucado, and the way that Agent Nguyen grabs his coat and gun at the end of “candy asses” certainly makes it seem as though he’s taking the bait.

Of course Barry is in the hospital and has yet to recover whatever kind of poison Sharon slipped him. I wonder if there is any possibility that the series will continue with its lead in some kind of vegetative state, leaving those around him to grapple with what to do with regard to this incapacitated killer.

Noho Hank has gone to Bolivia in search of Cristobal, which is pretty stupid but also sweet. For his trouble he gets a blowdart to the throat and becomes imprisoned along with his compatriots. There’s not a lot of movement on this story this week, but everyone knows that Hank and Cristobal are my favorites, so I’d be remiss not to mention them. I hope they get to reunite and start a B&B in Connecticut or something.

There’s only one episode left in the season. Will Barry die? Will he fall into a coma? Will he dream that he’s Kevin Finnerty? I have no idea.

See you next week.

Written by Caemeron Crain

Caemeron Crain is Executive Editor of TV Obsessive. He struggles with authority, including his own.

Caesar non est supra grammaticos

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