"Chapter One: Make Your Mark"
Barry episode
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 1
Directed byBill Hader
Written byBill Hader
Alec Berg
Original air dateMarch 25, 2018 (2018-03-25)
Running time33 minutes
Guest appearances
Episode chronology
← Previous
Next →
"Chapter Two: Use It"

"Chapter One: Make Your Mark" is the pilot episode of the HBO dark comedy Barry. It was directed by Bill Hader, who stars in the title role, and co-written with Alec Berg. The episode establishes the plot of the series, about an American veteran turned hit man who decides to pursue an acting career after following a mark to acting class. It was released on March 25, 2018.[1]

"Chapter One: Make Your Mark" received critical acclaim. For the episode, Bill Hader won a Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Series.[2]


Barry Berkman (Bill Hader) is a Marine Corps veteran and a hitman based in Cleveland. Returning home after completing a job, Barry is approached by Fuches (Stephen Root), his handler and mentor, who gives Barry an assignment for the Chechen mob in Los Angeles. Fuches hopes a change of scenery will cheer up the burnt-out Barry.

In Los Angeles, Barry meets Chechen mob boss Goran Pazar (Glenn Fleshler) and his right-hand man "NoHo" Hank (Anthony Carrigan), who tell him the target is Ryan Madison (Tyler Jacob Moore), a personal trainer with whom Goran's wife Oksana is having an affair.

Barry follows Ryan to a community center and waits outside. As Barry approaches the building, he hears a woman yelling. He discovers she is rehearsing lines from a script. She chastises him for breaking her concentration and runs into the building. Barry follows her and enters a theater where a man and the woman he just interrupted are performing onstage. The theater teacher, Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler), insults Sally Reed (Sarah Goldberg), the student Barry encountered outside. Cousineau encourages Sally to finish her scene, which she does with fervor. As Barry watches Sally, he is approached from behind by Ryan, who asks him to perform a scene with him. They perform a scene from the movie True Romance, with Barry blankly reading his lines from the script.

After Cousineau dismisses the class, Sally invites Barry to join the students at a bar, where she and the acting students brainstorm which monologue Barry can prepare for class. As Sally and her classmates dance, Barry watches her, becoming infatuated. Afterward, Barry drives an inebriated Ryan home. Ryan hugs him before going in his house. Meanwhile, NoHo Hank and his henchman secretly watch from afar. The next morning, Fuches tells Barry what NoHo Hank saw. Barry explains that he wants to pursue acting, but Fuches says that Barry must complete the job and forget acting, or else the Chechens will kill them.

At night, Barry approaches Cousineau outside the community center. Barry confesses he is a hitman and tells Cousineau that he is depressed about his life and wants to change it. However, Cousineau assumes that Barry was merely performing a monologue. He allows Barry into the class. Barry tells Cousineau his last name is Block, an idea proposed by Ryan a day earlier.

Barry follows Ryan to his apartment and approaches Ryan's car, preparing to kill him. However, Barry realizes that Ryan had already been shot dead. Barry discovers NoHo Hank and two henchmen in a car across the street. NoHo Hank orders a henchman to shoot Barry, but Barry retaliates by shooting at the three, killing the two henchmen while NoHo Hank escapes. As police rush to the scene, Barry, unaware that his actions were recorded on a lipstick camera in the Chechens' car, hides in a nearby diner. Served by a waitress learning lines for an audition, Barry tells her that he, too, is an actor.






In 2014, Hader signed a development deal with HBO and approached co-show runner Alec Berg to help him develop a television series.[3] Barry is Hader's first directing project and first major project after leaving Saturday Night Live.[3] He also stars as Barry.


The episode was released on HBO on March 25, 2018.[4]

Critical reception

The episode received critical acclaim.[5] Charles Bramesco gave the episode 5/5 stars in a review for Vulture.[6] Of Bill Hader's acting in the pilot, Vikram Murthi wrote for The A.V. Club, "Hader’s restrained portrait of depression elevates the winning material in interesting ways, especially in the acting scenes.. Barry might have spoken his lines in a rushed, monotone voice, but the polite applause, though directed at Ryan, was enough for him to catch the bug."[4]


The episode was nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards in the Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series and Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. The Writers Guild of America nominated Bill Hader and Alec Berg in the Television: Episodic Comedy category.[7]

Bill Hader won a Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Series.[2]


  1. ^ "Barry - Chapter One: Make Your Mark". HBO.com. Retrieved 2020-01-22.
  2. ^ a b Hill, Libby (2019-02-03). "Bill Hader Wins DGA Award for 'Barry,' as HBO Reigns Supreme". IndieWire.com. Retrieved 2020-01-22.
  3. ^ a b Gruttadaro, Andrew (2018-03-19). "The Name's Hader … Bill Hader". The Ringer. Retrieved 2020-01-22.
  4. ^ a b "Bill Hader creates a new life on stage in the Barry series premiere". TV Club. 26 March 2018. Retrieved 2020-01-22.
  5. ^ Patterson, Troy (29 March 2018). "The Goofy and Dead-Serious Profundity of Bill Hader in "Barry"". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2020-01-22.
  6. ^ Bramesco, Charles (2018-03-25). "Barry Series-Premiere Recap: A Good, Solid Hobby". Vulture. Retrieved 2020-01-22.
  7. ^ Petski, Denise (2019-09-23). "Bill Hader Gives Shout-Out To 'Barry' Co-Creator Alec Berg In Emmy Win". Deadline. Retrieved 2020-01-22.