Bill Hader as Barry in HBO's Barry.
(image: HBO)

The 10 Weirdest Moments in ‘Barry,’ Ranked

Bill Hader used to be known as a comedic actor and SNL cast member. Now, thanks to his dark comedy Barry, he’s earned a reputation as a visionary director.

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Barry‘s best moments, whether they’re funny, tragic, or a little of both, tend to also be the weirdest. Here are the ten most surreal or absurd moments in Barry, ranked by their sheer, breathtaking weirdness.

10. Larry Chowder, the Magical Boy (season 4, episode 5)

Someone walks under a huge billboard that says "Larry Chowder, the Magical Boy" and shows a man in a tan suit.
HBO

After the 8-year time jump in season 4, we find out that Mega Girls has become a multi-film franchise. Even weirder, though, is a poster for a movie called Larry Chowder, the Magical Boy. The best part about Larry Chowder is that Larry isn’t a boy, or particularly magical. He’s just a normal-looking dude. As Hader explained on the Prestige podcast, Larry Chowder came from a hilarious misunderstanding of Harry Potter that a member of Barry‘s crew overheard in a video store.

9. Too many dogs (season 3, episode 2)

Two women sit at a kitchen table, arguing.
Max

Gene Cousineau is running for his life, and he passes through someone’s backyard. Then he’s chased by dogs. Not just a couple of dogs. Not just a group of dogs. Dozens of dogs run after him, barking and tearing at his clothes.

Meanwhile, inside the house, two women are arguing, and one reveals why she’s frustrated with the other. “You have too many dogs,” she says. No kidding!

8. The Raven revealed (season 4, episode 6)

Fuches, wearing a wifebeater and numerous tattoos, glares at someone outside of a prison yard.
Max

Fuches’ altar ego, “the Raven,” is a running gag throughout much of the series, but it reaches its pinnacle in season 4, when Fuches is released from prison after eight years. Fuches comes out hardened, tattooed, and ready to get revenge on Barry—but not before wooing a barista in a Coffee Bean.

7. The sand pit (season 4, episode 4)

Cristobal's head and arm poke out from a pit of sand.
Max

One of the most tragic characters in Barry is NoHo Hank, who starts off as lovable comic relief and slowly becomes a ruthless murderer. Midway through season 4, Hank decides to kill his own crew, which has been helping him manufacture sand for construction. Hank shows everyone to a pit of newly made sand, and warns Cristobal to get out before he activates it. Cristobal doesn’t leave quickly enough, though, and almost drowns when the floor drops out from under him. For a few harrowing moments, the audience experiences Cristobal’s terror, as panicked screams fill a black screen. The sand pit is a surreal—and horrifying—way to go.

6. “Oh, wow.” (season 4, episode 8)

Gene sits on his couch, looking straight ahead, while Barry lies dead of a gunshot wound in the chair next to him.
Max

The series finale of Barry is explosive (sometimes literally), and Barry’s death is one of the most unforgettable moments of the show. Barry goes to Gene’s house looking for Sally and John, while Gene, accused of a crime Barry committed, contemplates ending his own life. When Gene hears Barry in the living room, though, he calmly walks out and kills him. Barry’s last words, as he realizes what’s happening? “Oh, wow.”

5. The Chechen bomb (season 3, episode 4)

Barry cringes as he picks up a large cardboard box in a parking lot.
Max

Barry, trying to get out of the world of organized crime, reluctantly accepts a job from Hank. Barry has to kill the Bolivians, and Hank gives him a bomb to detonate under their base.

However, the bomb isn’t the most subtle murder weapon one could use. From the start, it emits a loud and ominous beeping sound. Then, as Barry slides it into place under the house, a voice in another language starts barking out a warning. Finally, Barry has to use an app to detonate it—but when the detonator doesn’t work, he’s forced to sit on the phone with customer service as they walk him through a convoluted fix.

4. The motorcycle chase (season 3, episode 6)

Barry splits lanes on a motorcycle, carrying a plastic bag in his hand.
Max

To get revenge on Barry, Fuches takes a whirlwind tour of all the families and friends of Barry’s hits, letting them know who killed their loved ones. They all converge on Barry, including one group that chases him through traffic on the 710 freeway on motorcycles. The motorcycle chase, which Hader reportedly wanted to do even before he knew how it fit into the plot, contains some jaw-dropping stunts and cinematography. And Barry doesn’t even lose the beignets he’s trying to deliver (to another murderous family member, it turns out).

3. The karate girl (season 2, episode 5)

Lily, wearing a karate uniform, squats on the carpet holding a knife.
Max

Barry is sent on a hit, and it turns out the target, Ronny, is a martial artist. Barry manages to overcome him, but then he’s faced with an even more formidable foe: Ronny’s daughter Lily, who’s also an incredible martial artist. For the rest of the episode, Barry and Fuches desperately try to catch Lily, who bites Fuches’ face, shimmies up trees, and hides on the roof of their car. The actress who plays Lily, Jessie Giacomazzi, got the part after a friend told Hader about an amazing young actress who could do her own stunts.

2. Sally’s dream (season 4, episode 6)

Sally, wearing a brown wig, sits on a couch looking worried.
Max

After the season 4 time jump, Sally, now an alcoholic, gives her son John some vodka to quiet him down. It’s a monstrous move, and it leads to a nightmarish sequence in which Sally is attacked by an anonymous assassin while John stops breathing on the couch. The entire house tilts as a car rams it, and Sally wakes up to find that it was just a dream.

Or was it? When she goes back out to the living room, she sees their belongings strewn everywhere, as if someone broke in.

1. Cristobal’s rescue (season 3, episode 8)

Hank holds Cristobal's face, looking worried.
Max

Hank’s journey to Bolivia to rescue Cristobal from his homophobic wife is one of the most compelling sequences in Barry. Hank, imprisoned in the basement of Elena’s mansion, listens in horror as a jaguar mauls the other Chechens in an adjacent room. After breaking free and killing the guards, Hank creeps down the hallway toward a blurry figure who’s inexplicably doing an erotic dance. It turns out that the dancer is part of Elena’s cruel conversion therapy, in which she forces Cristobal to watch the dancer while getting electric shocks.

The tightly limited perspective in this scene—the unseen jaguar, the blurry figure—heighten the tension, since the viewer is just as confused and disoriented as Hank. The scene is also a pivotal moment in Hank and Cristobal’s story. It’s the first time in the series that Hank kills someone, and it marks the beginning of the final stage of their doomed romance.

(featured image: Max)


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Author
Image of Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>
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