Barry S4E3 Breakdown: Monsters All Around Us

“you’re charming”

Hank sits on a desk next to Cristobal
Photograph by Merrick Morton/HBO

The final season of Barry is still a phrase I’m not fond of saying but damn, this show is going out with a bang. Not a bang from a failed gadget either. A big bang. A real one. One that hurts. One that has us questioning where things are going. One that still makes us laugh and maybe even wreck into a car after hearing alarming news. We’re about to get into heavy spoiler territory so if you haven’t seen Barry S4E3, “you’re charming,” you’ve been warned.


We throw around the phrase monster a lot. The things that hide under our bed as kids, or so we fear, we call monsters. We question if the bump we hear in the night is from a monster. We also call people who do truly heinous things monsters. In Barry S4E3, we see Sally take over teaching from Gene. Her first class is hilariously awkward, in typical Barry fashion. But is she the monster she gets labeled?

Sally goes from being insecure that the class knows who she is, to basking in their admiration when they do know who she is and support her, despite her public struggles. She starts to find her groove but loses her patience when the class doesn’t appear to embrace the artistic side of acting. She singles out a pretty lady and berates her until the woman gives a strong performance.

Sally prepares to teach an acting class
Photograph by Merrick Morton/HBO

When the rest of the class walks out, leaving only that lady who has no choice but to be there (she’s booked a role and doesn’t know how to act), she tells Sally that the others consider her a monster. It brings up this interesting question: Sally was repeating a learned behavior, to break an actor down emotionally until they perform well. To tell a young actor that they have to experience pain to excel at their craft. To embrace the artistic and emotional complexities this craft calls for. But what were Sally’s true motives here?

Did she take out her frustrations on this young actress and then mask it as “guidance”? Her frustrations over not getting roles, over younger actors not coming up the same way she did? Over her personal pain connected to Barry and things she’s been a part of? It’s not a stretch of the imagination to say yes, yes she did. Does that make her a monster? Or a byproduct of her environment?

Can Monsters Change?

One of the most intriguing plots in this episode centered around Fuches. It’s so easy to not trust him. He doesn’t deserve our trust, nor does he deserve Barry’s trust. But he is wrestling emotionally with whether he wants to keep doing things the way he has been, solely focused on survival, or if he truly cares for Barry and wants to make sure he survives this too.

Fuches knew when he called Hank that it would result in a hit being put out on Barry. That’s why he made the call. But now it’s real and he’s having second thoughts, after seeing Rain Man on TV of all things. Fuches going out of his way to try and ensure the prison knew about the hit on Barry was selfless. Where does it go from here though? Can this relationship be salvaged?

Can a Monster Find His Humanity Again?

In an episode full of stand out scenes, Barry calling Hank was one that won’t be easily forgotten. It showed a turn in Barry, a cruel side usually not present. Sure, Barry is a killer, but he’s not a cruel man. And he does look out for his friends. His interactions with Hank were totally out of character. As an audience we’re left to wonder if Barry can recover from this.

Hank knew Barry was attempting to manipulate him and could see through Barry’s desperation. These two men, who have been close over the years were perhaps having a moment of no return here. Barry is desperate to get out of prison and is willing to sell Hank out to secure freedom for himself and Sally. Hank is happy, but not blinded. He knows that Barry has sold him out and is trying to get him to take care of his Gene problem as well.

Barry making a call from prison
Photograph by Merrick Morton/HBO

This turn for Barry was sharp. Throughout the series, we’ve seen him wrestle with his humanity. We’ve seen him try to escape his violent side only to return to it. But here, we saw a coldness we have never seen before. A lack of humanity. With just five episodes left in the series, this could function as a low point for the character or a setup to an endgame that won’t end happily ever after for our title character. More to come.

Monsters From Our Past

Hank was surprised to see a monster from his past show up to deliver a warning: The Czechs are planning to return to LA. Hank can return to them or prepare to be taken out. Hank doesn’t blink at the demands sent from “The Elders,” but it is pointing at even more dramatic tension to come.

Hank and Cristobal have been trying to break down the walls between criminals and not be segregated by nationality anymore. A better, more accepting future for people who just so happen to break the law. You can’t help but root for them, as they’re the two most likable characters on the show. But if we’re headed towards gang warfare and then Hank also has a Barry / Fuches problem to deal with, that’s a lot of moving pieces headed into the final five episodes of the series.

Quick Hits

Barry S4E3 was hysterical and I think reviews and breakdowns might not articulate that well, when focusing on the dramatic elements of the show. Gene telling Tom about performing a one man show for Lon, the reporter, leading Tom to wreck the car was laugh out loud funny. Lon only speaking German after Mr. Moss had his way with him was hysterical. I still can’t stop laughing when thinking about Fuches watching Rain Man and whispering, “That’s us.”

Gene walks up to Jim Moss’ house
Photograph by Merrick Morton/HBO

Of course, nothing was better than Barry saying “that guy behind you is here to kill me” and then seeing Fred Armisen making the most ridiculous faces. The bit about podcasters who review gadgets that don’t work also being hitmen paid off big time. Barry saved himself, we got an action packed scene, we finally got a Fred Armisen cameo in Barry and to top it off, Barry is nowhere to be found at the end of the episode. That scene sums up the genius of the series all at once.

Where do we go from here? Has Barry escaped? How will Hank react to the hit failing? Are Barry and Sally going to embrace their inner monster together? With only five episodes left, there’s a lot of questions and most likely, a lot of laughs still to go.

Written by Andrew Grevas

Andrew is the Founder / Editor in Chief of 25YL. He’s engaged with 2 sons, a staunch defender of the series finales for both Lost & The Sopranos and watched Twin Peaks at the age of 5 during its original run, which explains a lot about his personality.

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