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Barry Berkman Block walks off theatre stage - Pictured: Bill Hader - Screenshot / Photo Credit: HBO Barry Berkman Block walks off theatre stage - Pictured: Bill Hader - Screenshot / Photo Credit: HBO

Barry

Barry Season 2 Finale recap: ‘berkman > block’ is darkest episode yet

Screenshot / Photo Credit: HBO

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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.

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.

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.

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…

Check out a review of Barry Season 2 Episode 7 “The Audition” and catch up on series news, reviews/recaps, and more in The Natural Aristocrat’s Barry category section!

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