by Julian Spivey
Wow. “ronny/lily” the most recent episode of HBO’s “Barry,” which aired on Sunday, April 28, is one of the funniest episodes of television I’ve ever seen. Frankly, I’m shocked I didn’t wake my wife and dogs I was cackling so much in the living room while watching it.
A lot of people were probably riding on their “Game of Thrones” high on Sunday night when “Barry” began, and I hope to God they kept their televisions on and kept watching.
At the very end of the previous week’s episode, “What?!,” we were stunned – just as Bill Hader’s hitman who wants to go good and become an actor was – when Det. Loach (played by John Pirruccello) cornered him with the request to kill the man his wife was cheating on him with when we’d thought all season long he was merely trying to avenge his partner’s death.
“ronny/lily” begins with Barry’s attempt to appease Loach without having to kill Ronny. He shows up at Ronny’s house with a plan to get him out of town for a while and make Loach think he had killed him. The dialogue spoken by Hader’s deadpan Barry throughout this opening scene is laugh out loud funny, especially when he follows Ronny, who’s stoned and seemingly cooperating, into a room which features all of his taekwondo trophies and medals. Shortly after, the funniest fight I’ve ever seen – that is until later in the same episode - in my entire life takes place between Ronny and Barry and goes on and on and on but is so damn funny it doesn’t even matter.
Things get even more hilarious when Ronny’s taekwondo trainee daughter Lily, who’s likely part feral and part superhuman, shows up and kicks Barry’s ass around some more. The fight scenes in this episode, and they come at you one after another, are incredibly choreographed by Wade Allen and Daniel Bernhardt, who plays Ronny, and Jesse Giacomaszzi, who plays Lily, are incredibly talented stunt actors who truly make the episode what it is.
It’s hard to talk too much about just how terrific “ronny/lily” is as an episode without ruining it for those who haven’t seen it yet and totally should.
It’s an important episode in the relationship between Barry and Fuches, played by the brilliant Stephen Root (who deserves an Emmy nomination for this episode), in that it shows us that Fuches is pretty much the devil on Barry’s shoulder who took him from a bad situation after getting into some trouble in the military and uses him for evil. This relationship is surely going to come to a head sooner rather than later.
“ronny/lily” is such an atypical episode for “Barry” that it’s truly a risk that Hader was willing to take and did so almost solely – not only does he act in it, but he also wrote the script and directed the episode. I full-heartedly think he’s deserving of an Emmy for all three aspects. It’s essentially a stand alone episode of the series, which doesn’t feature the acting class at all, but focuses on this almost surrealistic day in the life of a hitman gone completely wrong. It was a risk that Hader knew some fans may not like because it’s out of the ordinary for the series, but I truly believe it’s one of the show’s best episodes (top two in my book) to date.