Barry and Sally discovered life’s dark truth: There is no starting over from zero and hitting the reset button on life without baggage, no catharsis.
This recap contains spoilers for HBO’s Barry season 2, episode 3.
The past devoured Barry and Sally’s souls on tonight’s aptly titled episode “Past = Present x Future Over Yesterday” and salted old wounds back open. Pulling them away from the sun-kissed hopes of a better future back to the abyss they mistakenly believed they had escaped… But there is no cheating the past, no loophole to make history vanish into thin air. No eureka styled monologue to make it all better before the credits roll, accompanied by an uplifting tune. You just learn to live with it.
Sally’s recollection of how she left her ex-husband bravely with a strong, picturesque exit line is a great example of the way our own memories can lie to us. Despite the contrast to what really happened, as told gently to Sally by a witness of the time… Sally is unable to accept and come to terms with a version of history that challenges her own.
Each and everyone of us are prone to spin a memory into something we’d like to remember as witnesses to the reality fade away. Our own adaptation so-to-speak. It’s part of being human, a habit of unconscious design. As George Costanza once said on Seinfeld a decade prior, “It’s not a lie if you believe it.”
Just as Barry had attempted to coverup the positive camaraderie and kinship he felt with his fellow marines after his first kill, so too did Sally cover her escape in the middle of the night. The quiet non-confrontational liberation that has haunted her all the way to the episode’s conclusion when ex Sam shows up.
Barry’s nightmare is bridging Berkman and Block’s lives together
No matter how many attempts at typing the script of his story Barry attempted, each one hit the digital waste bin faster than the last. To put it simply, Barry does not want others to know the intricate specifics that made him who is today. At one point on tonight’s episode, he accidentally receives a text message meant for another classmate referencing him as Jarhead. You could see the quick shot of disappointment and pain in his eyes.
The acting class was meant to be a release from his other life, not act as a confession booth. As each session passes, he finds himself being strong-armed into revealing more about himself while being simultaneously sentenced to silence via social code. Barry cannot tell his truth, less he desires to be marked a pariah in his group, forever judged. Which is why every edition of his tour ended with Barry hitting the delete button halfway through.
When Monroe Fuches arrived at Barry’s job, again trying to entrap him, Barry realized just how much he had missed him. It was then Monroe’s true self, wire or not, was revealed. Monroe genuinely consoled him, expressing sincere relief from the moment Barry told him he’s actually happy to see him. Meekly saying “Really?” and caught off guard.
The hitman turned acting student told Monroe how he’s the only one he can talk to about what happened. Monroe told his protégé to just give the class the Hollywood version, recalling the speech in Braveheart and how it never actually occurred. Barry would take the advice quite literally and be reprimanded by acting teacher Gene Cousineau in front of the class for it. In turn, Gene would make an abrupt decision to have him play Sally’s abusive ex-husband instead.
Sally would try to get Barry to act out a choke on her like her adaption of the story but he refused. In an effort to get a performance from him, she would push and hit him repeatedly to get a rise out of him. However, the move backfired as Barry stormed out of the class and Sally chased after him, saying she didn’t mean it. That she’d gone over the line.
Barry told her “He doesn’t want to hurt anybody,” a distinct theme throughout the episode. As he also offers to train NoHo Hank’s men so he doesn’t have to do the hit on Esther or anyone else anymore. When Sally’s ex Sam suddenly showed up on the scene, Barry gave him the same look he did before presumably going a rampage while on tour after his friend was shot.
Gene Cousineau proves first impressions lack the finer details of a personality
Gene offering to let his son work on his cabin without pay (so he doesn’t have to directly deal with where Janice disappeared) showed a whole other side of him. It was major, stunning character development. There’s more than meets the eye to Gene than the kind of altruistic authority figure/hopeless romantic he appears to be in season 1. The discovery viewers made last episode that he abandoned his son because he was ‘busy with roles’ was clearly just the beginning.
Gene’s son was right to reject his father’s so-called offer of “doing something together,” calling the ploy “sick.” In no uncertain terms, he wanted nothing to do with the cabin where Gene’s ‘girlfriend was murdered’ and requested his father just leave him alone. Despite what appeared to be a reawakening of ego self-awareness last episode, Gene’s actions effortlessly displayed people don’t change overnight.
Actor Spotlight: Anthony Carrigan as NoHo Hank
— Anthony Carrigan (@Anth_Carrigan) April 14, 2019
Anthony Carrigan’s NoHo Hank was on fire all episode, bringing the comedy in every scene he’s featured in with impeccable timing. From his surprise reaction Esther still being alive, to his botched hit on Barry in retaliation, to referring to Barry as the “Air Jordan” of hitmen/assassins. Even the finer minutiae like ignoring Barry telling him he could take out Cristobal Sifuentes too and have the whole business to himself and repeating “50% with Cristobal!” all bright eyed stood out. Carrigan adds this fun vibe to the show whenever he’s on, particularly when the show finds itself going thematically dark. Bringing an equilibrium to the series as half comedy, half introspectively serious.
Barry by the way, almost took NoHo Hank out after he attempted to have him vanquished in Sally’s own apartment via sniper fire… However, he again decided not to go through with it. NoHo Hank was impressed he shot his friend in the arm in the same spot, saying “Wow he’s good!” He’s thrilled to have Barry build him what he believes will be an army. Barry seems to not spot much talent yet but he has no choice but to train Hank’s group after the incident at the monastery.
Catch up on HBO’s Barry with a recap of last week’s episode, “The Power of No”. Speaking of which, Better Call Saul fans, read about Patrick Fabian’s surprise cameo on Barry during Sally Reed’s film reel last episode!