HBO’s Barry pulled the rug on viewers twice in “The Audition” and brought a classic first half of satire into brutally tense, edge of your seat drama.
The following review contains spoilers for Barry Season 2 Episode 7.
HBO’s Barry solidified itself tonight as a show that’s going to be around for a long, long time. Despite being just into a second season, eight episodes a piece, half an hour each, they’ve already mastered the art of the cliffhanger. Nobody that watched Fuches pull a gun on Gene Cousineau tonight did not want to immediately see the next episode.
This episode simply had it all when it comes to Barry’s one of a kind, dark humor/drama formula. From the shallowness of Hollywood featuring spot-on parodies and lip service… To NoHo Hank getting the ‘mulligan’ he desperately wanted but losing the respect of his men. Barry receiving an audition for a major feature film off just by being at the right place while being 6’2 said it all. ‘I did’t know this is how it all worked!’
Famed Austin Powers director Jay Roach’s casting associate being more in-tune with Barry’s 6’2 height than his acting was reality personified. Even though Roach noticed Barry didn’t care whatsoever during his audition performance, it didn’t disqualify him at all. Instead, it seemingly intriguing Roach.
Sally even comments on Barry getting this opportunity despite just starting out and not working his way up for it prior. The truth of the unfairness of La La Land strikes deeply at her heart, the wool unraveled from her eyes. This is how things really work, not by fist and brick but by chance. Sometimes you’re just born into that chance.
‘Payback Ladies’ is another Sally Reed Comedy Goldmine
“It’s that time of the month… For Revenge!” ‘Payback Ladies’ a faux, modern show for the times, by TV Producer Aaron Ryan was the ultimate form of paying lip-service to an issue. It was also absolutely hilarious! Just to hear Ryan describe the whole plot of the show with the accompanying artwork to Sally was genuine lighthearted fun like there hasn’t been on TV in ages.
Instead of going for clapping, ‘agreeable humor’, HBO’s Barry goes for old-school TV satire more akin to Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s That’s My Bush! and TV Funhouse. Considering how watered down humor is these days to not offend anyone, it’s great to see a show willing to take risks.
‘Payback Ladies’ was another classic in the form of ‘Future Space’ parody episode prior, which featured Better Call Saul’s Patrick Fabian (Howard Hamlin). Too bad there won’t be a full featured scene for Sally’s reel for this one, as she turned it down. An excellent move for Sally’s character arch but it would have definitely been a fun watch! The whole concept of ‘Payback Ladies’ really drove home the struggle of an artist between staying true to your art and paying the bills. “Do you not want to be a lead in a tv show?” Sometimes the only one you have who believes in you… Is you.
In times of stress, the true you is revealed… Like NoHo Hank, Hotel Manager
When times are tough, the shields come down. The real NoHo Hank was revealed tonight, less a gangster and in his own words, more a polite Hotel Manager type. Cristobal Sifuentes and Esther had sent NoHo Hank and his men to a bus, hands in makeshift plastic cuffs to be doused in flames. One member of Hank’s group rose above the call of duty and managed to free himself… And everyone else, including Hank! NoHo Hank had been apologizing to his men while the escape was happening silently, saying he wasn’t what he portrayed.
When it was all over NoHo Hank’s men stood victorious but he’d lost their respect as leader entirely. The group’s new leader did not hesitate to shoot dead the accordion musician who had betrayed them, while Hank spoke to him. In this case, lip-service rather than action is why NoHo Hank has lost his spot in the hierarchy.
Fuches playing private detective to Gene turns volume to 20, off the dial
The anticipation to Barry’s audition had made for grand comedy. Acting teacher Gene Cousineau splitting the trajectory of Barry’s character in the film going #2 in a pie for revenge on his enemy was just pure fun. Sometimes not everything is Shakespeare but we like to believe it is because it’s ours. Thus Gene too, tried to explain Barry’s character breakdown in the heigh of seriousness. Naturally, Gene would want to accompany Barry to his big day, an ego boost for himself to see a student audition for a lead role.
However, it would not come to pass. The show turned on a dime from light hearted humor to the pinnacle of stress as Gene made a call to Barry to say he couldn’t make it. A private detective had contacted him claiming to be investigating the death of Janice Moss at his cabin and requiring assistance. That private detective was none other than Monroe Fuches! The disgruntled Fuches would make his presence known to Barry on the phone, citing he was not out of plays. Barry would try to reason with Fuches but it had no effect, his mind was up.
It appeared Fuches momentarily had doubts when Gene was telling him about how Barry’s life was changing but it only threw the viewers off. Fuches would lead Gene to Janice’s car, claim to be calling the police but actually calling as ‘Gene’ to ‘admit responsibility’ for her death. Then to end the episode, as Barry was rushing to find the two… Fuches would point a gun at Gene’s head as he looked at Janice’s body in the car trunk. Cut to credits. You can only think, “It’s already over?!” in the best of ways.
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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!