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Et tu, Gene Cousineau? The final act of Barry Berkman

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Henry Winkler as Gene Cousineau on Barry Season 3 Episode 8. Photograph by Merrick Morton/ HBO
Photograph by Merrick Morton/ HBO

Et tu, Gene Cousineau? In the end, only another veteran that served in Albert Nguyen understood Barry Berkman. Reintegration into civilian life was just a pipedream dangled in front of him… Never to be reached.

Barry was physically in Los Angeles, roleplaying Hollywood, but his mind never left overseas.

This Barry Season 3 Episode 8 recap of the last scene contains spoilers for “Starting now”.

He was unable to conform to social rules outside of the field of battle. Which is why Barry’s first instinct when seeing Gene Cousineau with a firearm was to tell him to go home, that he would cover for him. Choosing to do the deed himself.

Sarah Goldberg as Sally Reed and Bill Hader as Barry Berkman on Barry Season 3 Episode 8. Photograph by Merrick Morton/ HBO

Sally Reed (Sarah Goldberg) and Barry Berkman (Bill Hader) on Barry Season 3 Episode 8. Photograph by Merrick Morton/ HBO

Just as Barry had done moments before with Sally Reed… Having her repeat “Barry did it, you were never here” about her first murder. Burying her crime of passion in the ground and taking responsibility for it. Still staying true to the rules of the field, complete dissociation with how a civilian would react.

Momentarily, it seemed Gene Cousineau was not an insider on Jim Moss’ plan. Cousineau had exceptional difficulty in saying he didn’t have any love for Barry under the pressure of unofficial interrogation by Jim. After all, despite what happened to girlfriend Detective Janice Moss, Barry had fulfilled his promise and given Gene his life back. A chance at complete career and life redemption.

Henry Winkler as Gene Cousineau and Robert Wisdom as Jim Moss on Barry Season 3 Episode 8. Photograph by Merrick Morton/ HBO

Acting teacher Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler) and Jim Moss (Robert Wisdom) on Barry Season 3 Episode 8. Photograph by Merrick Morton/ HBO

When Barry arrived outside of Jim’s house, Cousineau seemed desperate to convince Barry not to go in there. A last plea perhaps, similar to Albert Nguyen telling Barry “This has to stop from this moment on!”. Remembering how Barry saved his life on the field and in turn gave a chance for Albert’s daughter to exist and thrive. Maybe Gene Cousineau too saw Barry was not a ‘bad person’ but a victim of PTSD.

James Hiroyuki Liao as Albert Nguyen on Barry Season 3 Episode 8. Photograph by Merrick Morton/ HBO

James Hiroyuki Liao as Albert Nguyen on Barry Season 3 Episode 8. Photograph by Merrick Morton/ HBO

Gene Cousineau Betrayal?

Bill Hader as Barry Berkman on Barry Season 3 Episode 8. Photograph by Merrick Morton/ HBO

Bill Hader as Barry Berkman on Barry Season 3 Episode 8. Photograph by Merrick Morton/ HBO

Everything about Gene Cousineau’s final expression when Barry was arrested screamed silent guilt. Just like Sally Reed’s micro-expression when she told Barry she ‘loved him back’ while boarding a plane back to Joplin.

On one side, it looks like a perfect setup for Cousineau to get Barry incriminated. Shakespeare’s Act 3 Scene 1 of Julius Caesar reborn.

However, the public arrest of Barry ends Gene’s feel-good story and comeback as both an actor and global acting coach. Cousineau’s chance to redeem himself with ex-girlfriend Annie Eisner also concludes with the end of Barry’s credibility as a rehabilitated success testimonial. We’ll find out in Barry Season 4 if Gene Cousineau has taught his final acting class.

Bill Hader as Barry Berkman on Barry Season 3 Episode 8. Photograph by Merrick Morton/ HBO

Barry (Bill Hader) as on HBO’s Barry Season 3 Episode 8. Photograph by Merrick Morton/ HBO

Ironically enough, should Barry spend the rest of his days in prison based on Cousineau prodding him to act… Gene too will find himself trying to wash the blood off his hands, ala Lady Macbeth, never to be clean. After all, enough time has passed since Gene discovered the truth of Detective Moss’ murder to make him willingly complicit at the very least.

Until then, we’ll continue wondering… Et, tu Gene Cousineau?

If it was indeed betrayal… Barry was unable to detect Gene and Sally performing their final auditions. Playing the roles of teacher & girlfriend, respectively, for the last time. Unable to separate fact from fiction, reality from illusion.

Barry was always going to play catch up in the acting world above any other role.

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More Barry Season 3 Recaps

Be sure to read:

Sarah Goldberg’s raw breakdown on Barry is acting’s future

Monroe Fuches’ epic fake out on Barry HBO Season 3 Episode 6

Barry Season 3 Episode 3 recap: Confession on “ben mendelsohn”

– Catch up on last season with the Barry Season 2 Finale recap: ‘berkman > block’ is darkest episode yet

– Check out the Barry News section for coverage of the first two seasons of Barry to find ominous hints. Alec Berg and Bill Hader have truly established a new take & style on the dark comedy / drama genre.

Discuss Barry Season 3 Episode 8 with fans on our brand new Barry Forum! What will become of Sally Reed?

Nir Regev is the founder of The Natural Aristocrat. You can directly contact him at [email protected] for coverage consideration, interview opportunities, or general comments.

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