It’s a testament to Barry’s pacing and plotting how these episodes seem to zip by; I never feel like they’re overlong or drag and I’m often surprised when they end, as I was this week.
This despite an opening scene that’s just a long, slow pan over a field in the middle of nowhere– it’s where the Bolivians will land their plane, and it’s Barry’s job to take them out as soon as they arrive. Well, anyway, it’s Barry and Taylor’s job now– and while Barry and Fuches are discussing how to pull off the hit gracefully, Taylor is off in the distance talking about a bum-rush strategy and musing about putting in a hot tub. Barry suggests Taylor just needs a mentor like Fuches– to which Fuches responds with one of the episode’s best lines: “Don’t try to Parent Trap me, dickhead.” Fuches only has this one scene this episode, but he makes it count, as his other line reminds Barry just what the stakes are with Taylor: “You need to kill this guy before he gets you killed.” If Taylor lives, Barry will die, even if he doesn’t know it yet.
Meanwhile, the Chechens are scouting their new stash house, courtesy of Barry and Taylor’s handiwork. Goran does an impersonation of the Bolivians complaining to him, and Noho Hank finds it hilarious. Vacha comes in with new information and photographs: Barry has been messing around instead of doing the job. “Barry buying fancy new clothes, Barry having sex with nun, Barry buying laptop computer…” Goran gets angry at Vacha, since the value of Barry is that he has no connection with them, and Vacha tailing Barry and photographing him creates one. (Barry, of course, has no idea, a callback to episode 4: “And you know what, you didn’t notice, which surprised me, because I thought ‘Well, Barry would notice, I mean, if someone’s following him, that’s kind of his job.’”) Vacha wants revenge because Barry killed his brother (the sniper from the first episode, presumably). Goran tells him no; Barry is too valuable. Vacha has to lay off. But the photographs have given him another target of revenge…
Gene wakes up Det. Moss by blowing gently in her face, then making breakfast. She tries to break it off with him, that she’s let it go too far considering the acting class is still part of the investigation. He suggests that maybe she’s keeping it part of the investigation so she has an obstacle between them getting closer. It’s something she considers as she leaves for work… and decides to go forward with, taking down the photos at the station (to her co-workers’ applause), then paying a visit to the acting studio late at night…. at just the right time.
Sally is there herself, her hubris having already led her to ask Gene to bump Natalie and give her Lady MacBeth, now taken to another level, asking for the role of MacBeth himself. Gene sees how selfish she’s being but also sympathizes with her and recognizes her talent, warning her of the challenges ahead in that role before ultimately acquiescing.
Vacha is there, too, though, having decided that if he can’t target Barry, he’ll take his revenge on Sally. After a great little moment where Vacha takes the stage himself and recites some lines in Russian, he hides out until he notices Sally leaving, then starts following her out to her car. Fortunately for Sally, Det. Moss shows up and nearly bumps into Vacha on her way in. But she figures something is up, turning back around and asking Vacha if he’s in Gene’s class. He offers an explanation in broken English that he got the address wrong (and that his English is bad), but Moss knows too much about the case to let these clues slide. She reveals her badge and asks if his accent is Russian. He runs; she draws and follows. Vacha takes cover behind his car and has some kind of automatic weapon. Moss proves cool under pressure, taking cover herself then returning fire in between bursts. When Vacha has to reload, Moss gets a few clear shots in, enough to take him down if not out. But she gets around the car, weapon drawn, Vacha bleeding out… and he decides to raise his weapon, making him a quick and righteous kill.
Sally has no idea any of this happened. The studio is declared a crime scene, and Moss sadly has to break it off with Gene for real now.
Back to Barry. While he’s hanging out with Taylor after the scout (Taylor apparently likes to smoke blunts and watch porn to relax– not masturbate, just watch the stuff), Barry tries to float the idea of Taylor taking over and working for Fuches. Taylor’s not for it; “That dude sucks.” Taylor also suggests Fuches is taking too much off the top, although Barry, ever the good soldier, says “The way he explains it, though–” Taylor cuts him off again to declare Fuches is scamming him, then asks why Barry wants to leave. Barry lets on that Fuches doesn’t like him doing other things besides the job. “You should fucking ace that dude.” An idea that seemed to never occur to Barry: “Kill Fuches? I-I– I can do that?”
In a further show of solidarity, Taylor gives Barry his half of the cash from the stash house hit. Barry says it’s not clean; you can’t use it– and goes to the bathroom to think. Here we see him have another flash forward: This time his son shows a photograph of him fresh out of the Marine Corps with Fuches; Barry tells his son he doesn’t remember who that is. After the kids leave for school, the ground starts to shake, like an earthquake, and Barry snaps back to the present. (Wow, is the idea of not having Fuches in his life literally that earth-shattering for Barry?)
While he’s in the bathroom, though, Taylor stuffs Barry’s half of the money in Barry’s backpack, taking out Gene’s acting book to make room. Barry heads to acting class.
Barry freaks out when he finds the money in his backpack and runs to the restroom to stash it there. Then Barry and Sally perform their scene (Sally has taken over Lady MacBeth from Natalie, remember) but it’s still not working. Gene has them do some repetition exercises, which are a little brutal (in that we have to see Barry say “I love you” to Sally several times when the sentiment is obviously not reciprocated) but eventually Gene’s lesson to listen to what his scene partner is saying sink in, and he responds with a sad, dejected “I love you,” an awareness of the rejection both in-scene and out of it. Maybe Barry has a shot as an actor after all.
After listening to his messages– Taylor: When are we gonna kill those Bolivians? Fuches: Have you killed Taylor yet? Taylor: I put a down payment on a hot tub, and have you killed Fuches yet?– Barry calls Taylor to tell him at the least to be more discreet, but he ends up chickening out and taking the half-measure, praising Taylor’s input but suggesting that he (Barry) do the hit alone. Taylor acquiesces but seems to sense something is up.
The next day, Taylor is decked out in military gear and in Barry’s hotel lobby. Barry is understandably alarmed, but Taylor says he’s “taken care of it,” by which he means he’s let Vaughan and Chris in on the mission, and they’ve been pre-gaming. Vaughan is so excited he accidentally fires his gun, nearly shooting himself in the foot, and I wish I could say that was the worst thing that happened to them this sequence.
Barry tries to shove Chris out of the car; Chris isn’t ready for this and he has a family. Chris seems unconcerned: “Taylor said you needed to scare some guys. It’s no big deal.” Then Taylor misses the turnoff for their sniper position; he wants to take the Bolivians head on. But the Bolivians have already landed, and the last thing we see this episode is the bullets coming through the windshield that almost certainly kill Vaughan and Taylor. What happens to Barry and Chris remains to be seen.
STRAY BULLET POINTS
- Noho Hank enjoys Goran’s physical comedy, but Goran says “it costs”– I suppose his knees and back aren’t what they used to be.
- Goran telling off Vacha with the “Every day with ‘kill my brother'” is funny in and of itself but also demonstrates his commitment to professionalism.
- Gene says Moss has been complaining about how her coworkers are up in her grill for not moving on from the acting class. Moss: “I never said ‘up in my grill.'”
- Gene: “I am 47 years old. I am old enough to know a great thing when it comes knocking on my door in the middle of the night.” I believe the second sentence; I don’t believe anybody believes the first.
- Nice touch that Barry apologizes to the class for his outburst, and they in turn apologize to him for being too quick to judge. (Except Sally, of course.) They’re trying to learn, if in that particular wannabe-actor / self-absorbed young-adult way: “We took a quiz, and we’re in a bubble.”
- Gene with more sage advice for Sally: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. Why do you always want to go alone?”
- Sally misses the entire scene where her life is in danger because she’s jamming to Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” in her car.
- Moss’ partner, Loach, isn’t too bad a detective himself. “You made a big show out of taking the acting class off the board. So why were you here?” They both know what that means, and she apologizes, a bit tearfully. Loach doesn’t pressure or judge her, though, only makes sure it’s over now. Do your job.
- Indeed, this episode is full of people forgetting their sense of professionalism for the personal: Moss with Gene, Vacha with Barry, Barry with Taylor.
- Gene, however, is careful not to even let Sally hug him in thanks. It is a turd of a profession, after all.
- Oh, and the LAPD found the money Barry stashed at the acting studio. Barry had better hope Vacha didn’t have those pictures on him, so they can lay this all at Vacha’s and Ryan’s feet.
- “Been reading that acting book. Fucking life-changing shit.” It sure is.
- “You take that money, kill Fuches, live your dreams. Watch how much this guy jizzes.”