Black Bird season 1 episode 3 recap & review: Hand to Mouth

Apple TV’s Black Bird is a true crime drama based on James Keene’s 2010 autobiographical novel, ‘In With The Devil: A Fallen Hero, A Serial Killer, and A Dangerous Bargain for Redemption’.

It focuses on Keene’s character (played by Taron Egerton) who tries to befriend a serial killer, Larry Hall (Paul Walter Hauser), in a maximum security prison. He attempts to get past his secrets and get a confession out of the killer in hopes of attaining freedom from his own jail sentence.


‘Hand to Mouth’ follows Jimmy in the new prison as he sees his shrink. As he recalls his first week there, the duo agrees that this hellhole is quite unpredictable. We are then shown flashbacks of brawls, stabbings and the like which are quite common occurrences.

Jimmy is prescribed anti-depressants to blend in with the crowd and is instructed to memories the therapist’s phone number for emergency situations.

Meanwhile, the authorities go over the case details again on the outside. Lauren and Brian try to decipher each and every murder that Larry might be responsible for as the former suspects the killer of planting evidence to become a suspect.

They realise that Larry is desperate for any kind of attention, making him ever more dangerous than earlier predicted but also hinting that he may be innocent.

Back in jail, Jimmy struggles to strike up a conversation with Larry who prefers to stay alone owing to his private nature.

Things get worse when Jimmy’s father pays him a visit and lets the guards know he is a former Police officer, endangering his son’s cover. Big Jim apologizes for his intrusion but lets Jimmy know that he’ll be renting a hotel nearby to be available when required.

Limited on options, Jimmy requests the guards to keep his identity a secret but one of them, Carter, has other ideas. He demands $10,000 in return for his silence, infuriating the former drug dealer. He insists his father arranges the cash but he deems it a difficult task.

His luck however, finally starts shining as he befriends a powerful mob boss that paves the way for a friendship with Larry. As Larry gets annoyed when another inmate changes the channel he was watching, Jimmy beats the man responsible, gaining the serial killer’ favour.

The duo become acquaintances and Larry being Larry, starts talking endlessly about his Civil War reenactments across the country, his brother and more things.

The topic of discussion then eventually slides towards women and Larry’s words almost confirm his deranged ideologies and actions. Jimmy is shocked at what he hears and believes that he’s close to confirming the murders.

Moving on, Lauren shows up to get an update from Jimmy and relays her doubts about Larry’s involvement in the murder. Jimmy however, after his recent interaction with him, is determined that Larry is guilty and makes it clear that he will get a confession.

In addition, Jimmy brings up the 10K demand from the guard but Lauren says that he cannot be paid. What they can do is get Jimmy transferred again.

Lauren further mentions that Larry is so thirsty for attention that he confessed to at least one murder he didn’t commit but Jimmy is sure that the man has got blood on his hands.

He is instructed to quicken the process and in return asks Lauren to be ready for his phone call.


  • At the halfway point, Black Bird has thrown in just the perfect amount of plot twists and questions to make it an edge-of-the-seat entertainer.
  • Even if you know the true story, there is still a lot to look forward to — especially the mind bogglingly brilliant performances by the cast. Furthermore, it is safe to say that Paul Walter Hauser absolutely steals the show.
  • The interaction between Jimmy and Larry is the highlight of the episode and does not disappoint. The build up to it feels slow but natural and pays off extremely well.
  • With three episodes left, there isn’t any room for error. The narrative can still do a 180 and fall flat on its face if not executed with the same consistency as the first three episodes. Director, Michaël R. Roskam has a lot riding on his shoulders.

Rating: 4/5

Also Read: Black Bird season 1 episodes 1 and 2 recaps & review

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