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!
HBO’s Barry Season 2 Finale ‘berkman > block’ stood out as the show’s most savagely brutal episode ever while spotlighting why lies win over truth.
The following recap contains spoilers for Barry Season 2 Episode 8.
Barry’s Season 2 Finale ended on a chilling bang as Berkman ‘stole the light’ from Block akin to James McAvoy’s range of identities in Split. Monroe Fuches’ early realization he couldn’t pull the trigger even once was eerily juxtaposed to Barry taking life after life without remorse. Barry went on a complete rampage this episode to avenge Gene’s arrest, headshot after headshot… To the point, where it changed how you viewed him as a character. No longer was he just the happy-go-lucky Barry Block trying to desperately shed his old life to start a new one, ‘The Beast’ emerged.
One victim stood out during the anarchy, Mayrbek, a sniper Barry had personally trained on NoHo Hank’s behalf. Mayrbek had a rifle pointed on the door Barry was trying to kick down during his hunt for Fuches. The talented sniper smiled when Barry walked in, pure admiration, and did not think to shoot at all… Only to be greeted with a vicious shot to the head with no hesitation on Barry’s part.
Fuches has spoken episodes prior about helping Barry’s emotional state after his discharge from the army. Now, old habits are bubbling back to surface with no cap. Leaving Block in the past. In fact, at one point in this episode during a phone call with Gene’s son, Leo, Barry asks to go by Berkman instead of Block.
Old habits die hard
The rage Barry exhibited back overseas when he murdered a man and his girlfriend over his friend being shot, never was fixed at all. It was always lingering, ready to reemerge should a similar situation occur. Gene simply took his military friend’s place.
Once again, Barry Berkman took an innocent life in the sniper (Mayrbek) after losing his composure. A man who looked up to him, who courageously rescued NoHo Hank and the rest of the team last episode… Gone in an instant without a thought. Barry’s adjustment to non-military, civilian life was clearly never a successful transition. Ironically without Fuches at his side, Barry’s empathy has entirely deteriorated.
— Barry HBO (@hbo_barry) May 20, 2019
Fuches whispers in Gene’s ear, doesn’t shoot
The Season 2 Finale began with Barry Berkman arriving in time to discover a traumatized Gene Cousineau hunched over. Staring into the trunk containing the body of his murdered life love, Janice Moss. Police sirens were heard closing in, as both would be taken into custody. It would be shown Fuches couldn’t go through with taking Gene’s life but whispered something into his ear. That something wouldn’t be revealed till the end of the episode for a big time cliffhanger going into season 3.
Gene was a broken man for most of the episode, barely speaking. Detective Mae tried to goad him into admitting ‘he murdered’ Janice, trying to play good cop by saying, “It’s okay. Did she say she was leaving you?” but Gene said nothing. His claim of a PI (in Fuches) fell on deaf ears, as the name he’d be given was a fake. Gene would tell the police “She was the love of my life” before being officially put in jail for the murder of Janice Moss. The department believed that was Gene’s voice on the call Fuches had made. Gene was in no state to fight the claim back.
Barry would be let go, the police feeling that Gene had called him to be there with him after he confessed. None the wiser to the reality that it was Barry who was actually responsible for what happened to Moss. Barry left a voicemail to Fuches that he was a deadman, leading Fuches to go to NoHo Hank for assistance. In a classic NoHo Hank line, he told Fuches, “You’re a day late and a Ruble short my friend.” NoHo Hank told Fuches what he and Barry were going through shouldn’t be a big deal, they’re made to be a team. But Fuches felt he’d gone past the point of no return.
Fuches told Barry over the phone there’s still a way out. “You could still turn yourself in for Gene… No? Not so altruistic now, huh? This left a serious impact on Barry who was in turbulence all episode if he should turn himself in… But in the end he didn’t. In fact, he was saved by NoHo Hank’s “The Debt has been paid” pin being found in the trunk of Janice’s car. Which lead police to believe it unrelated to Barry or Gene but who Janice was investigating at the time… NoHo Hank’s group.
Cristobal / NoHo Hank standoff ends
Fuches took a chance and went outside of NoHo Hank’s compound to speak to Cristobal one-on-one. Hoping for a truce. Fuches’ words about puzzle pieces fitting together even during times of strife, resonated with Cristobal. Of course, Fuches inspiration was really inspired by his own spiraling relationship with his protégé.
Much to Esther’s chagrin, Cristobal and NoHo Hank would make up. The stand off was over thanks to Fuches and the group mostly celebrated outside of Esther’s men… Having no idea of the brutality that awaited them during Barry Berkman’s rage-induced, straight-lined ambush.
— Barry HBO (@hbo_barry) May 20, 2019
Sally Reed’s Lie conquered her Truth
Sally Reed’s theatre opening night was descending into all-out disappointment by the audience. They were ambivalent at best to the class’s show of truth. Finally, when Sally and Barry arrived on stage for the main event… The scene received a completely unexpected makeover, unknown to Barry. Sally had just slapped him before going on stage to get him into the role. After Barry said the opening lines as Sam about her dancing with someone else, Sally flipped the table herself. She told ‘Sam’ off on stage, portraying the ‘scenario’ she wished was truth, losing all reality. Barry walked off stage without word.
— Barry HBO (@hbo_barry) May 20, 2019
Sally was seen leaving in tears, the same for her agent Natalie Greer who felt she pressured Sally into it. For the first time, Sally didn’t consider herself an artist… Yet, the reverse happened, the audience loved the lie. The high profile members of her agency loved the lie. Fuches earlier comments to Barry about people loving Braveheart, were recalled when an audience member referenced Sally’s speech being like Braveheart. The truth Sally had desperately clinged to as an artist, didn’t matter one bit. She was bewildered as audience members surrounded her, complimenting a scene she thought was the end of her career.
Fuches was right after all, people don’t want the truth. As Jack Nicholson once said in A Few Good Men, “You can’t handle the truth!” They want Braveheart.
A grand lie will always conquer raw truth. The lie wins because it typically comforts. Exemplified by a woman who told Sally, she had a friend “who went through a similar situation but did not have the courage to do what you just did. Truly inspiring!” Even though it bent the truth it was what audience members wanted to see, how they’d like reality to be.
Gene remembers what Fuches whispered
HBO’s Barry Season 2 Finale would conclude with Gene remembering what his mystery PI had whispered before vanishing… “Barry Berkman did this.” In one sentence, Fuches did more damage to Barry ‘Block’ than taking out Gene ever could…
HBO’s Barry Berkman ‘Block’ himself, Bill Hader, will be a featured guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers tonight (May 14, 2019).
Fans of HBO’s Barry have a reason to stay up late tonight, as series star Bill Hader will be the first guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers. Hader was last a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers back on March 19, 2018. Joining Hader will be actress Kathryn Newton [Big Little Lies] to promote Pokémon Detective Pikachu. The show will air on NBC at 12:35 a.m. ET (11:35 p.m. Central) and you can catch it online via NBC’s live stream or with a free seven-day trial at Fubo TV.
Bill Hader is making the late night rounds this week ahead of the season 2 finale in true Barry fashion. He was on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Monday where did some celebrity impressions mid-interview. Fans who watched this week’s Barry episode still have that rendition of “You want some piiiieeeeee?” stuck in their heads!
Hader also appeared earlier that morning on Live with Kelly and Ryan and joked that ‘his daughter wasn’t a fan of his voice in Finding Dory.’ She literally stood up and left the theater according to Hader! “You didn’t tell me you were in this!”
The Barry lead star will also be a featured guest on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen this Thursday, May 16 along with Rachel Ray. Barry’s season 2 finale episode, aptly titled, “berkman/block” airs this Sunday, May 19 on HBO at 10 p.m. EST. The show has already been renewed for a season 3 by HBO.
Late Night with Seth Meyers featuring Bill Hader : Live Stream Details
— Late Night with Seth Meyers (@LateNightSeth) May 14, 2019
Date: Friday, May 14
Start Time: 12:35 a.m. ET / 11:35 p.m. Central
TV Channel: NBC
Live Stream: Watch live on Fubo TV. Sign up now for a free seven-day trial. You can also watch on FOX’s official live stream
Bill Hader’s breakout HBO series was recently invited by Yoshinoya America CEO Dar Vasseghi to shoot an episode of Barry at their establishment. The invite, arriving in letter form, came as a response to a mention of ‘going for a Yoshinoya Beef Bowl’ by NoHo Hank during an early April episode.
Barry director Hiro Murai posted an Instagram story of a thank you letter he received from Yoshinoya America CEO Dar Vasseghi inviting them to shoot there.
HBO Barry Director Hiro Murai received an intriguing offer from Yoshinoya America CEO Dar Vasseghi, after the Japanese fast-food chain’s beef bowl was mentioned during an episode. Murai, who’s directed four episodes of the series, was thanked for the ‘stunning’ inclusion and invited to shoot an episode on-location at Yoshinoya.
The letter, dated April 10, 2019, also thanked Barry executive story editor / writer Taofik Kolade (6 episodes). Credit to Reddit user BROWN-52 for first spotting it and taking a screenshot of Hiro Murai’s Instagram story for fans at Barry’s official Reddit page.
Between the unintentional ‘Starbucks’ product placement on Game of Thrones and now Yoshinoya on Barry, franchises might not need to pay an advertising fee anymore! Joking aside, utilizing Yoshinoya in the series could be mutually beneficial to both parties ala Better Call Saul’s fictional Los Pollos Hermanos. Plus, the ‘set’ for Yoshinoya is already ready made, no need to even rent the place.
Letter to Barry’s Hiro Murai and Taofik Kolade Text:
Dear Misters Murai and Kolade,
We were recently stunned to hear that your most recent episode of Barry began with the suggestion of a trip to Yoshinoya for a Beef Bowl. While we don’t know which of you is directly responsible for this line, we’d nevertheless like to thank you both.
We’re not sure whether the show is what it is because of Bill Hader’s unique comedic talent, or the fact that the concept of an “emotionally conflicted assassin taking an acting class” is inherently funny, or both, but we want you to know that we are big fans of the show.
Please accept some gift certificates for free bowls at Yoshinoya and feel free to share them if you are so inclined. We would like to further offer up one of our stores as a location for a shoot for one of your upcoming episodes. I think shooting at Yoshinoya would be a hit.
Chief Executive Officer
– you know what i could really go for? Yoshinoya Beef Bowl. pic.twitter.com/NsfT0qG7jn
— Remy 🎈 (@real___remy) April 8, 2019
Be sure to read about Better Call Saul’s Patrick Fabian (Howard Hamlin) making his first-ever Barry cameo recently on Sally Reed’s TV/Film reel!