Barry discovered why revealing truths, even half-truths about yourself can be used as ammunition against you on ‘The Power of No’ as regret consumed him.
The following recap contains spoilers for Barry season 2, episode 2 on HBO.
The aftermath of Barry’s unscheduled, impromptu hit on Detective Janice Moss on season 1’s finale forced him in a verbal ‘do or die’ situation last episode. In order to keep Gene Cousineau from retiring his acting class and ending Barry’s new lease on life, he played along with Gene’s game of chicken.
Barry pleaded with Gene in front of the class not to leave, that he could use the pain of Janice’s disappearance in the class and tell his story. Gene responded by requesting Barry do the same by revealing the details of his first kill on his military tour overseas. At first, Barry froze but when Gene said, “I didn’t think so and walked away” Barry had no choice. He partially told the story of his sniper shot, leaving behind the details of being cheered on as his classmates reenacted the grizzly affair.
On tonight’s episode, Barry understood why he had clutched even minor details of that truth close to his chest for so long. His audience’s memory did not end after the class, to be turned on or off at Barry’s will. No, it’s forever with unpredictable consequences. As Barry would learn when Gene decided he would share his tour story during upcoming live performance pieces. Only when Janice was going to tell the truth about Barry was he ever as distraught. His eyes looked like they could stare a million miles into the ocean.
Perception is to the eye of the beholder
To girlfriend Sally Reed, it was Barry’s biggest acting career breakthrough. He saved the class, showed a locked side of him to others, and has a spectacular one of a kind performance piece. Most importantly, in-turn, Sally feels closer to him than ever before, their relationship ties strengthened. On the exterior, it appeared Barry had it made to his classmates, who were filled with envy. In fact, they tried to apply their own life troubles into their pieces inspired by Barry with mixed results. Barry’s pain came from a place of true genuine darkness he didn’t even understand himself. Bleak abyss rising to the surface.
While others, including Sally were torn by relatively minor inconveniences in comparison… In Gene’s words, ‘So your pain is being able to get work?’ Sally discovering through Gene’s judging gaze that she plays weakness on-screen because of the failure of her previous marriage, then saying ‘She’ll never be with a violent man again’ said it all. Completely unaware and without the faintest clue about her own destiny. Falling to the same patterns and routines as if in a loop, akin to Westworld. Never being able to consciously exit her own attractions and habits.
Barry would attempt to convince Gene away from the class to let him do a different performance piece by playing to ego. The ploy worked effortlessly as Barry asked Gene to perform his first time meeting him rather than his overseas tour. Gene even wanted to supply tapes to further ‘enhance’ the reenactment.
Gene’s son sobers him up to the shrine he’s built to himself
Gene would visit his son for the first time this episode, and apparently they never held the closest bond. The acting veteran would put on a performance even at his son’s organic produce stand, pretending to be in the neighborhood, knocking down apples.
Cousineau’s son was wise to the act, telling his father he heard about Janice from his mother, and he’s fine not having a relationship. That everything ‘has always been about Gene, even his own acting class, just a shrine to himself filled with memorabilia.’ Including this very contrived moment to reconnect.
When Gene returned to his studio he witnessed Barry and a classmate retelling the story of their first meeting first hand… Now, newly juxtaposed against his son’s self-shrine assertion. Gene informed his protégé he’d be going back to the overseas tour story for the performance. Crushing Barry’s confidence instantly.
Game changing line of the episode: “Am I Evil?”
— Anthony Carrigan (@Anth_Carrigan) April 7, 2019
The show’s #1 hitman did not recover from Sally’s positive commentary about himself, and request to perform his tour tale, asking NoHo Hank, “Am I Evil?” point blank. Hoping to be reassured that he’s a good person, NoHo Hank surprised both Barry and the audience by not falling for typical television tropes and doing the opposite. Instead, NoHo Hank informed him, he’s ‘the most evil person that he knows,’ unknowingly throwing him rock bottom into despair.
In fact, when Barry later pointed his silenced pistol with a clean shot at Esther in the dead of night with no witnesses. He couldn’t do it. Visualizing the pain he’s caused, his tour mates cheering his first kill, and Sally’s smiling, receptive face toward him. Twice he attempted to pull the trigger but it was no to be.
Soon, while donning an all black hoodie, he’d wander into the ‘monastery’s’ living quarters with a seemingly limitless amount of witnesses. They’d spot his gun and he’d whisper an apology while slowly walking back to his car in a daze. The situation would continue into the streets as they shot at his car, landing Barry in an accident and abandoned evidence.
Friend turns foe? Monroe Fuches wearing a wire
Detective Loach’s snooping on social media while having Monroe Fuches in custody (and his missing tooth) led to some accurate hypotheses. Mainly that Fuches knows who the mysterious individual that took out his partner Janice Moss is, and his last name isn’t really Block but Berkman. Fuches denied until Loach made a not so subtle threat of the consequences if he figures out there’s any connection between Fuches and Block.
Fuches would surprise his reliable hitman, asking him directly if he made a hit on Moss. Even describing the trouble that will rain down on both of them if it’s true. The mild mannered Hitman paused for a second and told Fuches to leave and never ambush him like this ever again.
The camera would pan to Detective Loach listening with Fuches openly saying that he can get him next time, that he almost had him. The revelation to the audience being seemingly that Fuches has entirely turned on Barry, the man who saved his life… Or has he? Is he playing along until the right time comes or saving himself?
Read about Better Call Saul star Patrick Fabian’s surprise cameo on tonight’s Barry episode during Sally Reed’s film reel. New fans to the series should catch up on the first season over at HBO GO with the inaugural eight episodes.