HBO’s Barry shed light on PTSD awareness for veterans on tonight’s episode with brutal, lasting imagery that’ll stay with you long past the credit roll.
The following review contains spoilers for Barry season 2, episode 4 (“What?!”).
You could feel the permanent trauma dripping from the screen tonight when Barry revealed that he shot the wrong guy while on tour. “Barry stop! That’s not the guy! Are you insane, what is wrong with you? You psycho!” In one moment, his life and confident perception of himself as a ‘good person’ changed irreparably. There was no going back to fix what he’d done, no retake. Barry had taken the life of an innocent man with the intention to avenge his friend who’d been shot in the face.
Only the perceived assailant had not been the assailant at all… Rather, a civilian caught in the chaos of a war zone. In seconds, his positive intentions spelled the end of his entire military career. All over one mistake. A colossal mistake. One that nobody outside of the field would ever be able to look at him the same way again. Even the camaraderie between his mates had broken and they’d been there.
The entire scene of Barry recounting the tale to acting teacher/mentor Gene Cousineau was chilling, infinitely sobering. A reminder that some things in life, you can’t take back. No apology would ever be worthy. It’s no wonder Barry asked NoHo Hank earlier this season ‘if he thinks he’s evil,’ every part of Barry’s life is shaped by that moment. A series of dominos falling into a dark spiral, a black hole from which there is no return.
While military veterans recently lost The Punisher on Netflix, Barry’s depiction of post traumatic stress disorder is equally influential in society. A commendable job on a story viewers usually never hear, and can’t even begin to understand the strain of their emotional baggage in reality. Barry’s scenario of shooting the wrong guy is likely way more common than imaginable in the tense heat of battle.
A Twist for the record books
Not content to leave out the dark comedy ingredient that makes up the recipe of a Barry episode, the show brought on a massive twist. The show’s leading protagonist appeared to finally be in over his head tonight, incriminating himself in the process by spilling the truth about Detective Janice Moss to Monroe Fuches. Despite Fuches urging Barry never to contact him again for his own good, his protégé couldn’t resist and was soon apprehended by Detective Loach. It appeared it was all over for Barry, the entire double life was over.
His arrest was imminent, relationship soon to be left destitute, acting career never began and never will… When Detective Loach had a different idea. He simply wanted Barry to do a hit on his wife’s new boyfriend. “And all this goes away!” Bringing the hitman turned actor to utter the episode’s title, “What?!” Fade to black, and now no viewer can wait until the next episode! Grade A stuff.
Barry almost makes a civilian hit at the hotel
The tension felt in every scene between Sally, Sam, and Barry on tonight’s chapter kept the audience on the edge of their seat. First the nightmare trio dinner where it appeared Sally’s old feelings for Sam were resurfacing. After all the relationship never truly ended in words, just hit a lull. Then Sam and Barry exchanging words after he had witnessed their upcoming scene. Fury and confusion as Sally was invited to a hotel room by her ex, only to see why she escaped the relationship in the first place. Her vulnerability and attachment toward Sam still lingering but she left. In fear but she left.
During the whole exchange Block almost turned Berkman when another civilian hit almost took place on Sam. A non-job, no money involved, no boss. A personal decision that only didn’t take place because Sally was unexpectedly there. But what if she wasn’t? What if Gene wasn’t there to listen or Fuches? What then?
Catch up on the events of last week’s episode with The Natural Aristocrat’s Barry recap for “Past = Present x Future Over Yesterday” (season 2, episode 3).