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It’s not that Barry Berkman a.k.a. Barry Block was ever a warm, cuddly dude. He’s been in the business of killing since the series first began. But the season 3 version of Barry is less human than ever before. In fact, despite accessing some of his emotions through the art of stagecraft, Barry seems to be regressing. Utterly incapable of reacting to his live-in girlfriend Sally, Barry spends his days browsing Craigslist-esque hitman sites, killing people for paltry sums, and then being haunted by the specters of bullet-wounds in heads after. 

By episode’s end, Barry has enacted his most desperate scheme yet, kidnapping his beloved acting teacher Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler) following the misguided directive that “forgiveness is earned.” Things have gotten so dark for Barry, the character, that Barry, the show, runs the risk of neglecting the comedy portion of its dark comedy designation. Fortunately for the series (and the world at large), there is one character who will make sure that never happens.

One episode into season 3, Chechen mobster Noho Hank (Anthony Carrigan) is once again one the most delightful characters on television. Unfailingly cheerful and full of useless knowledge and malapropisms, Carrigan’s Hank is always a welcome respite from the blood splattered on Barry’s hands. In this episode alone, Hank expresses nervous excitement at his first big police interrogation opportunity, is revealed to be dating his former Bolivian mobster rival Cristobal (Michael Irby), and even delivers the thematic message to Barry about forgiveness.

For what was once a supporting character, Noho Hank has become a surprisingly big part of Barry’s storytelling mission and its heart. According to the actor who plays him, however, balancing Hank’s cartoonish qualities with the real person underneath is one of the series’ biggest challenges. 

“It’s just about being mindful that this is a real person,” Carrigan tells Den of Geek about his cheerful mobster. “There are some real characters out there in the world where you’re like ‘wait, where did that person come from?’ The wonderful thing about Hank is that he’s so dedicated and committed to the ridiculous schemes that he has. And the relationships that he wants to cultivate. That committed aspect is what makes him lovable. He’s completely unaware.” 

Though extremely funny, Hank is indeed as real a person as any outsized fictional character can be. And while he may seem static at first, he’s grown quite a bit throughout the series…in fact, one might argue that he’s grown more than the title character himself.  After first viewing Barry as a larger-than-life Jason Bourne or John Wick-esque figure, Hank has come to see the flaws in his former friend. Having someone frame you for the murder of all your men in a fiery monastery gun battle will do that. 

Source: Den of Geek

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