Barry (Season 4) Episodes 1 & 2: Bill Hader and Alec Berg’s ‘Barry’ ended its third season on a heartbreaking note. After being able to evade the charges for countless deaths, he finally gets confronted with an arrest. This time it comes from a man he considered to be his guru on the path to redemption – Gene Cousineau. Gene tricked Barry into coming to his house under the pretext of saving him from Janice’s father. Upon arrival, Barry was surrounded by the feds, which made him feel hurt and betrayed.
Now the new season explores Barry’s early days in the prison where he is on the verge of going insane. While Sally heads back to her hometown of Joplin, Gene is riding on the waves of newfound fame.
Barry (Season 4) Episodes 1 & 2 Recap:
Episode 1: Yikes
While the news of Barry Berkman’s (Bill Hader) arrest plays on the television, the prison guards see Barry walking inside the prison. At last, Barry pays for his crime by being an inmate at California State Penitentiary. However, he Gene’s (Henry Winkler) betrayal still keeps him in shock. So, Barry calls him – hoping to get some answers. After all, all he wanted to do was to keep his acting coach safe from menacing Jim Moss (Robert Wisdom). He keeps asking whether Gene and Moss worked together to trick him. All Gene replies is, ‘I got you.’ You immediately smell his sense of victory.
On the other hand, Sally (Sarah Goldberg) gets on a plane to reach her hometown – Joplin. After a wicked nightmare and turbulence, she notices a series of messages from people trying to reach her. Once she gets off the plane, her agent, Lindsay (Jessy Hodges), speaks with her on the phone and tells her that Barry’s been arrested for murder. After denying any knowledge about it, Sally finally recalls being with him when Janice Moss went missing. Her mother (Romy Rosemont), meanwhile, is more worried about her car being double parked.
On their ride home, Sally reads the news and cannot bear the thought of Barry being a vile murderer. She starts manically shouting and gets breathless. Mrs. Reed sits next to her and shows no concern. Instead of trying to comfort her daughter, she nonchalantly has another interaction. Maybe she considers it as yet another melodrama by Sally.
Later at home, Sally hides under her childhood bed due to her overbearing paranoia. Her father, in a classic sweeping-matters-under-the-rug suburban style, tries to comfort her. Later, Sally joins her parents to watch her show’s broadcast. Unfortunately, this semi-auto-biographical work does not sit well with Mrs. Reed. She questions the need to add a child’s character even when Sally has none in reality. The idea of artistic expression is clearly foreign to her.
Besides, instead of being empathetic toward the torture Sally faced from her ex-boyfriend, the mother is concerned about how Sally’s ex’s family would process this show. Sally gets emotional hearing her words of absolute apathy. So, her father offers her a local job, thinking it would cheer her up. So, Sally’s misery becomes abundantly clear within those couple of scenes. It also gives a peek into her attachment issues.
Meanwhile, in the penitentiary, Barry cannot adjust to his new reality. Fuches (Stephen Root) notices him being in the same prison and immediately starts to panic. He is certain that Barry is out of his blood. So, in exchange for getting Barry on the tape for other murders beyond Janice’s, Fuches asks for protection from the feds.
NoHo Hank (Anthony Carrigan) now resides in Santa Fe with his beau, Cristobal Sifuentes (Michael Irby). After rescuing Cristobal from his ex-wife’s torturous conversion therapy, they now soak in the sun, living in the fantasy land like the Wizard of Oz, not thinking of returning to LA.
Anyhow, they both currently reside in a rental and expect to move into something permanent. While speaking with the landlady, they learn about the ‘sand shortage’ in this land filled with desert sand. Turns out, any construction needs high-quality sand from Asia and Africa. Desert sand is worthless for it.
So, Cristobal cooks up a plan to use this plan. He proposes to start this legitimate business together, which does not interest Hank. He sees their return to LA as a return to their godforsaken life. Besides, he still suffers the effects of PTSD, owing to the immense torture by Cristobal’s family. He suddenly wakes up in the middle of the night and calls Barry’s phone. Unfortunately, Barry’s not on the other side, and an online search leads Hank to the news of Barry’s arrest.
Barry calls Sally, expecting her to forgive him as always. But she refuses to answer his prison call. So, he ends up revisiting his past within the confines of the jail from the time of their acting class. That’s when Fuches walks out and tries to get Barry to confront a past murder. Instead of responding to that, Barry apologizes to Fuches for not trusting his opinion of Mr. Cousineau.
Later in the bathroom, Barry shit-talks with himself and explodes with rage. An officer walks into the room and tries to make him see the bright side. He says, ‘Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.’ Sadly, Barry is way past that state of feigned optimism. He cannot look past his identity as a cop-killer, which is what he is known as inside the prison. He threatens the well-meaning officer and ends up getting severely beaten. Fuches comes in to rescue him and, once again, becomes a savior in his life. Fuches says he is remorseful for taking advantage of Barry. When he hugs, Barry faintly smiles.
DA Buckner (Charles Parnell) congratulates Gene for fearlessly leading Barry into the prison. He now expects Gene to testify in court as a key witness. Gene confidently says that he can. Subsequently, Gene rides on the waves of his newfound fame, basking in the recognition he sought for years. Jim still keeps a tap on him, expecting him not to reveal any details about the case before the trials. So, Gene decides to secretly get in touch with Lon O’Neil (Patrick Fischler) from Vanity Fair. He speaks in a Batman voice, maybe trying to be a covert vigilante against the villain in his life, Barry. Anyhow, he manages to gauge Lon’s attention toward him.
Episode 2: Bestest Place on Earth
Barry starts to lose his mind and spirals into thoughts about his past. He recalls the first time his father introduced him to Fuches and how nurturing that visit felt back then as a kid. Now that Barry wins his trust, Fuches backs off from his plan to help the feds and rather asks for his attorney, Gale Winograd (Matt Servitto). He heads back inside the prison, introduces himself as the Raven, and tries to hire a new batch to work for him for his safety once he gets out. After his speech, Barry boosts his confidence and makes him feel protected. In that vulnerable state, Fuches ends up confessing to how he agreed to wear a wire for the feds on account of witness protection.
On the outside, Cristobal meets Bong (François Chau), expecting him to join hands with the Guatemalans for their next operation. Despite the ongoing wars between their gangs, Cristobal manages to get them together to the ‘bestest place on the earth.’ With Hank, he makes a presentation akin to corporate ones. They praise the old work of these prospective partners and then share their example of how adversaries (Bolivians vs. Chechens) can become close partners. Like Yin and Yang, the two parties can create a full circle while helping out with the others’ flaws.
Later, in a presentation, they show a packet of high-quality sand and share their plans to use this commodity for their new, legitimate business. They plan to first corner the market in California and then expand outside. For that, they want Bong’s ports & trucks and Manny & Jorge’s muscle power to intimidate the construction site managers. Then, NoHo suddenly throws a surprise bomb. He wants both gangs to first get Barry out of prison. Cristobal, completely in the dark about Hank’s plan, fights against it.
Lon O’Neil walks out of his house to get an anonymous letter asking him to meet at another spot, after making sure no one is following him. Lon reaches there to find Gene sticking another letter. So, after getting caught red-handed, Gene shares an address for Lon to visit. The two soon meet in Gene’s acting class. Gene starts to narrate his side of the story in the language he knows best – acting. He enacts a theatrical version of what happened between him and Barry and how he managed to manipulate Barry with the lessons and acting tricks that he teaches his students.
Meanwhile, Sally comes to meet Barry inside the prison and asks for their dog, Muffin. What else can she talk about with him that isn’t tainted by his toxicity? Seeing her clearly hurt by his lies and betrayal, he keeps apologizing to her. Barry says how ‘he didn’t tell what he didn’t want to be true.’ Somehow, that was how he was trying to survive till then – trying to forget all the bad things that happened in his life – all the trauma he went through or the pain he inflicted upon others. He wished those things were not true and, thus, suppressed any thoughts about them.
Barry says how Sally made him feel human. She says that she feels safe with him, and not sure what she means by that. Barry finds some strange assurance in those words. So he keeps manically repeating how she will always be safe with him. While she walks out, he keeps asking whether she truly believes what she said. She does not respond.
Barry gets lost in a strange dreamlike world where Barry’s past and future aspirations collide. He sees himself in a vast, empty desert-like space where he plays ‘army’ with small toys. Fuches asks him who are the good guys and the bad guys. The conditioning to bend morality at one’s will becomes crystal clear. Right next to them, suddenly, a soon-to-be-wed couple starts running with their friends and family members to enter a wedding hall. They enter the room and kiss each other. Meanwhile, Sally and Barry dance with each other in the old-timey Frank Capra style. They look much older, almost like they spend their entire lives together to see their child getting married. It looks like a reflection of Barry’s years of guilt.
Meanwhile, Lindsay meets Sally in person to let her know that she can’t be her agent anymore. Sally pleads for herself, hoping to get even the smallest part. The idea of ‘home’ is long gone for her. So, she tries to hold onto whatever she can. Unfortunately, she had become a known face by then, and Barry’s mention in one of her speeches made the industry ostracize her. So, Sally deals with the aftermath of having dated Barry. Her dreams in the acting industry now seem nearly impossible. However, Lindsay believes that Sally can still cash in her integrity. She gives Sally a reality check, and shares how she can only look at a podcast or a reality show as her new revenue stream.
Fuches gets his attorney, Gale, on board to save Barry. He is concerned about Barry’s recorded confession to Janice’s murder. Gale explains how such recording evidence can always be manipulated and presented in a way that makes sense for their case. We get yet another picture of how bending the facts for one’s gain is considered common practice. Anyhow, while Fuches tries to save Barry out of remorse, Barry cuts a deal with the feds in exchange for giving information on the Chechens, the Bolivians, and the other gangs that he worked with. In exchange for providing that information, he asks if he can take someone with him.
Barry (Season 4) Episode 2 Ending, Explained:
After Gene’s scene enactment, Lon summarizes it almost like a plot-line to their movie. He gets the fact right, and Gene gets the feelings. Once he returns backstage, Sally surprises him with her sudden presence. She questions why he did not tell her about Barry, now that she knows for how long he knew about it. He justifies not sharing on account of his family’s safety. But Sally was in much more danger, considering she was living with him.
Gene makes her question why she is back there, in his class, where their journey started. ‘Because it is home,’ he answers himself. His advice for her? Accept the reality, not fight with what happened in the past and how she could have changed it. Instead, started teaching as he did.
Back in Santa Fe, Cristobal pesters Hank about Barry and why Hank is obsessed with him. Cristobal does not want him to be soft. Hank says that he understands Barry now. Then he suddenly gets a call from Fuches about Barry betraying him. Earlier, we see Fuches walk up to Barry’s cell to learn that he has been moved to special housing. He feels cheated for how Barry used him for his safety. Now, he tells Hank that Barry’s working for the FBI. Feeling betrayed, Hank pledges to kill Barry.