Last week’s episode of “Barry” Season 4 didn’t feature Barry Berkman until the last few minutes, as it largely revolved around the repercussions of his escape from the prison in episode 3. Fuches was punched and kicked to hell because the warden believed that he was responsible for killing the Feds (and a guard) and freeing Barry from the prison. He didn’t give up the information that he had asked NoHo Hank to send those assassins to actually kill Barry. The prisoners, who were usually disrespectful towards Fuches, mistook Fuches’ silence for stoicness and started to look up to him. Gene Cousineau was sent back to his cabin because everyone assumed that was the last place Barry would show up at. While waiting for his arrival, Gene accidentally shot his own son, who was just there to deliver the coffee Gene wanted. NoHo Hank did his superiors’ bidding and brokered a deal where he’d become the boss of L.A. without any hindrance from them. Cristobal, who wanted to start his very own sand-selling business, was not happy with that. When he tried to break up with Hank, he was killed, thereby bringing about a monumental shift in Hank. Sally went from coaching Kristen on the set of “Megagirls” to running away with Barry and living a life in the desert with their son, John.
Barry’s Anti-Baseball Campaign
During the final moments of last week’s episode, we saw Barry’s son, John, fighting with a kid called Travis over the fact that John apparently doesn’t play “Call of Duty.” This week we see Barry taking John to apologize to Travis for hitting him. And although John seems to be forthcoming about his mistakes, Travis and his father keep poking fun at the fact that John doesn’t play video games, especially the ones about killing people. As far as I can tell, through this particular moment, Bill Hader is trying to plant the idea that connecting violent video games to violence in real life is stupid. It’s far more complex than that, and it usually has something to do with conservatism, abusive households, lies about one’s true character, and a holier-than-thou attitude because the individual in question is on a path of “redemption” after living a life of said violence. We see shades of that last point as Barry lectures John about controlling one’s anger and how he used to be angry in the past, and he has become a better person now. No, Barry doesn’t go into the details of what caused his anger or what was the result of his anger. However, since he is adamant about setting a good example in front of his son, he leaves out the important parts and presents the rose-tinted picture of himself.
A lot of people were quick to point out after last week’s episode that the wine bottles, the beer cans, and the semi-eaten donut in the middle of the refrigerator indicated that Barry and Sally weren’t living a normal life. Well, they are right because we see that Sally is pretending to be a brunette with a Southern accent and working at a diner while Barry inundates John with historical information about Abraham Lincoln from the internet. Yes, John doesn’t go to school. He is being home-schooled by Barry, evidently. Additionally, Sally goes by the name Emily, and Barry goes by the name Clark so that no one can associate them with everything that happened in L.A. Now, while they manage to keep up the facade in front of everyone else, they have a hard time doing the same in front of their son. Their drinking and bickering underscore the fact that they aren’t happy with the decision they took that night.
That brings up a bigger question, i.e., why the hell did they have a son? Barry and Sally are two of the most maladjusted individuals. Did they really think having a son is going to fix everything? Well, if they did, they are thinking like every other cis-het couple in the world, and they aren’t really bothered about John’s upbringing. They just care if he can see through their lies or not. So, what do they do? They bring Christianity into the mix because once you cover everything up with religion, critical thinking exits the chat very easily. At least, that’s what Barry assumes, as he is desperate to find both redemption and a method to limit John’s ability to question his environment. But John is a kid, and his curiosity gravitates him toward the other kids playing baseball. In fact, his affinity for the sport allows him to become friends with Travis, something that Barry failed to do with his stupid apology. Kids fight. They have disagreements. Then they play a sport, and things go back to normal. That’s how life works. That said, when Barry learns about John and Travis’ friendship, he showers him with YouTube videos of kids killed while playing baseball until John is convinced that he shouldn’t play the sport. Yes, Barry doesn’t want John to play “Call of Duty” because it has gun violence, but he’s completely okay with showing him real deaths. That’s some really responsible parenting right there. The only thing that’s more infuriating than this moment is that when John asks for a comforter because his room is too cold, Barry says that people get the things that God wants them to have. Does that mean God doesn’t want John to have a comforter? No, it only means that Barry is an idiot and he isn’t a good father.
No, Barry And Sally Are Not Alright
A guy at the diner called Bevel (who names their son after a carpentry tool?) apparently has the hots for Sally or Emily. Sally’s mental health is in the pits. There is no romance in her relationship with Barry. Given how she reluctantly pats John when he wants some comfort from her, it is evident that she doesn’t see him as her son. She probably sees him as a thing that she shares with Barry. And that makes me both angry and sad. Not a single kid deserves to be treated like that. They didn’t consent to being brought into this miserable life. If a couple decides to have a kid, that should be their top priority. If they think they can’t handle the responsibility that comes with a child, they shouldn’t conceive. But once you have them, you need to take care of the child and ensure that they become a well-rounded individual. Well, since Barry and Sally are two of the most unhinged people ever, while Barry is busy with his “Christ will redeem me” nonsense, Sally is out there choking out Bevel after luring him to the diner’s bathroom under the pretext of having sex.
It’s a pretty complex scene because Sarah Goldberg does hint at Sally’s intention of cheating on Barry. By the way, is Sally cheating on Barry if they are together for the sake of being together? Is Barry going to even care if Sally gets into a physical relationship with anyone else? Yes, in the past, Barry was laser-focused on how he was going to live a life with Sally and how he was going to take care of her, and how they were going to happily grow old together. When Sally said that she sees Barry as her safe space, he seemed to be motivated by that sentiment. However, now that he has her by her side, he doesn’t seem to care about her at all. What happened to all those strong emotions? Was that all performative on Barry’s part? Is Sally staying with Barry so that she doesn’t have to worry about him coming to kill her when he realizes that she knows too much about him? The answers to all those questions aren’t easy, and it’s evident through Sally’s attempt to kill Bevel because she’s on edge. During the commotion, Bevel realizes that Sally is pretending to be someone else and promises that he won’t reveal her true identity. Sally’s cold response shows that she’s confident about Bevel’s cowardice. However, later on in the episode, we see her blaming Bevel for stealing from the cash counter (something that she’s actually doing) to get him fired, thereby securing her false identity.
Coming back to the Berkman household, we see that Barry has started to pepper information from his life as a Marine into John’s messed-up head, which is already filled with details about Lincoln and baseball-related deaths. He obviously thinks that this is going really well, while Sally drowns herself in wine and episodes of “Just Desserts” by Natalie Greer. That’s when Barry, Sally, and the audience get a reality check when a prank by the neighborhood kids causes him to go into panic mode. Just to make sure that we understand the traumatic and abusive situation the Berkman household is in, Bill Hader makes Barry stand outside his house with a gun in his hand, and has Sally and John sleep in the bathtub, for the whole night! Just so we are clear, this is who Barry is. He is a villain. He isn’t a hero. He can run away from his past. He can run away from his crimes. He can’t run away from who he is, who he has become, and who he’ll always be. Barry can try to rationalize it all he wants. We can try to rationalize his actions all we want. But, at this point, we have to come to terms with the notion there’s no redemption for Barry.
Why Has Gene Cousineau Resurfaced After All These Years?
Gene Cousineau’s presence in the Warner Brothers’ plot confirms that eight years have passed between episode 4 and episode 5. Since then, Kristen has made four “Megagirls” movies, and there’s a guy called Larry Chowder who has been dubbed “The Magical Boy,” although he’s at least 40 years old, who eerily looks like Sally’s ex-boyfriend, Sam. That’s not the point, though. The point is that Cousineau, who has a long white beard and long white hair, wants to make a movie on Barry Berkman. At the end of episode 5 of “Barry” Season 4, we see Sally learning about this information and calling out to Barry, who comes to the conclusion that he has to kill Gene Cousineau. And that proves yet again that Barry hasn’t moved on. He is just waiting to revert to his old ways and start killing people. Additionally, it becomes apparent that Barry and Sally aren’t living under the FBI’s protection. As in, the FBI promised him that they’d give them new identities and allow them to live a safe life if Barry gave up details on the Chechens and the Bolivians. But that obviously didn’t happen. So, Barry and Sally’s new identities are something that they’ve come up with on their own, and that’s why they are in a constant state of anxiety that they’ll be attacked or outed.
This brings us to the important point: is Gene Cousineau baiting Barry again? During the final moments of “Barry” Season 3, Gene brought Barry to Jim Moss’ house with the excuse that he was going to kill Jim with his gun. In an attempt to protect Gene, Barry went in to kill Jim, and he was arrested. Therefore, is there a chance that he’s doing that again? Is there a chance that Gene doesn’t actually want to make a movie about his relationship with Barry, and he’s either working with Jim or the FBI so that Barry can be brought out of hiding? I think that could be the case here. Why wait eight years? For eight years, there has been no evidence pointing towards Barry and Sally’s whereabouts. However, in a matter of two or three days, Sally’s real identity has been revealed to Bevel. If someone can identify Sally, they can trace her back to Barry. There’s a moment in this episode where you can see the lights of a cop car circling behind Barry, very far away in the background. That might be an indication that the authorities have a vague idea of where they are and they only need confirmation. If Gene gets Barry to do something drastic, they can nab him.
Episode 5 of “Barry” Season 4 doesn’t show what’s going on with Hank and Fuches. We can assume that Fuches is still in jail. His status as a mob boss is questionable. Hank’s situation obviously depends on his mental state. If he has managed to continue his cold-hearted behavior after Cristobal’s death, he could be ruling over Los Angeles. Hopefully, next week’s episode will give us some answers on these topics. Until then, we can ponder Bill Hader’s commentary on White men who rely on conservatism and religious dogmatism (two things that are the farthest from Abraham Lincoln’s ideologies) to hide their insecurities and vices, thereby worsening the mental state of their “loved ones.”