Barry (Season 4 Finale) Episode 8: Bill Hader and Alec Berg’s ‘Barry’ will forever be remembered for their narrative experimentations. The duo explored many ways to explore the complex personalities in its world. Now, the finale makes us see Barry through the lens of a marine soldier, a father, and a serial killer, among other facets of his identity. As a result, what started out as a show about an ex-marine trying to reinvent his life finally becomes an introspection into how the popular media perceives such real-life personas.

The last season is heavy on self-awareness and the realizations of the show’s writers, who want us to accept fuller versions of its flawed characters. Be it Gene, Sally, Hank, or Fuches, no one is wholly redeemable. So, while it doesn’t delve into the killing spree that became a source of dark humor in the earlier seasons, it nonetheless becomes a devastating episode.

*Spoilers Ahead*

Barry (Season 4 Finale) Episode 8 Recap:

Episode 8: Wow

Barry’s series finale begins with Fuches (Stephen Root) lying in the bathtub in his lavish villa. Hank (Anthony Carrigan) video calls him to speak about something. Fuches initially thinks Hank is doing so because he can’t find any other way to fight with him. Hank reveals that he can get hold of Barry (Bill Hader). He shows Sally’s (Sarah Goldberg) face for assurance. Fuches notices John in the video and realizes that Barry has a son. It gives him a reason to pursue this matter even further.

Sally gets worried about her and John’s future. Hank, however, wonders why she chose to be with Barry. Is it Barry coming across as a savior for her dreadful life? He asks her. In a way, he empathizes with that notion since he had been a victim of Barry’s charm himself.

Meanwhile, Barry gets inside a shopping mall and purchases guns as if he is purchasing candies or a packet of chips. He walks out without any other person batting an eye. One can’t help but see it as the writers commenting on the ease of access to firearms in his country.

What does DA Buckner say during the press conference?

DA Buckner (Charles Parnell) takes a press conference to announce a new insight into the Janice Moss murder case –  Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler) made Barry commit this murder. Jim (Robert Wisdom) takes the mike to say that Gene manipulated Barry and was on the run instead of in exile, as he claimed before.

What does Sally tell John about their lives?

Sally finally shares the truth about their lives with John. Their family doesn’t move around, not because of her ‘special job’ but because they are fugitives. She shares that Barry killed a lot of people. She also confesses to her guilt for killing a man as well. (which takes us back to why she saw blood dripping out of the cop’s eyes in the penultimate episode)

Why does Hank take away John before Fuches arrives?

While speaking with John, Sally accepts her fate for her past, which is tainted with sinful activities. She does not want John to bear its cost and gets emotional, thinking he might have to. Suddenly, Hank’s men decide to separate John from her, maybe because he does not want a kid to get in the middle of their wildfire.

Why does Fuches want Hank to acknowledge his guilt?

Fuches arrives and tells Hank to bring the kid outside. Before the kid is brought there, the two engage in a Mexican standoff. Fuches throws a curveball – he wants Hank to accept his guilt for his lover, Cristobal’s murder. He had his own experience of radical acceptance during his prison time. He knows that he is a contract killer who used Barry for not having the expertise. Fuches wants Hank to acknowledge that he is not just a businessman.

Hank tries to justify that he is nothing like Fuches. But Fuches does not back off. He at least wants Hank to accept that he was pressured into it or scared to look for any other option. He is even okay with letting go of all the issues between them. Hank finally breaks down and confesses that he wanted to be saved. But he gets angry that Fuches took the situation to this level and, thus, rejects their earlier deal (to hand over Barry).

Why does Fuches not kill Barry?

It ends ugly, with Fuches’ men shooting everyone from Hank’s gang, including Hank. Fuches takes John outside. Barry reaches just then to find John calling him out. Fuches notices Barry from a distance. After years, he and Barry come face to face. But he does not say anything. He only sighs and returns. Maybe he sees it as his acceptance of the life Barry decided to choose for himself.

What does Hank’s hand in Cristobal’s mean?

Inside Hank’s office building, Hank struggles to hold on to his breath. It looks like Fuches’s men have injured him pretty badly. Finally, he holds onto Cristobal’s hand (of the statue) and takes his last breath. It melancholically denotes how he is reunited with his lover.

Why does Sally want Barry to confess to his crimes?

Barry (Season 4 Finale) Episode 8: Recap & Ending, Explained
A still from Barry (Season 4 Finale) Episode 8

Sally goes to a hotel room (probably) with Barry and John. When John goes to sleep, she mentions she met Gene at his house. Since Gene might get arrested for Janice’s murder, she wants Barry to turn himself in. ‘The only way to redeem is by taking responsibility for what you did,’ she says. On the other hand, he thinks Fuches sparing him is a sign he is redeemed. The next morning, he finds himself alone in the room.

Gene keeps surfing the internet for articles about himself. Tom (Fred Melamed) worries for Gene and asks him to get out of his room. He only feigns concern while trying to run away from any connection to the man. While he is almost at the front door with his suitcase, Barry walks in, looking for Sally and John. He thinks that’s where she came to – owing to her sympathy for their acting teacher.

Why does Gene shoot Barry?

Tom tries to convince Barry that they are not there. He wants Barry to do the right thing and save Gene from an arrest for murder. Barry sees no signs of his wife or his son and finally decides to do the righteous deed. He asks Tom to call the cops to arrest him. Suddenly, we hear shots of fire. Gene, who hears Barry speaking, shoots him. He then sits next to his ex-student, who lies unconscious on a couch.

In a way, Gene understands that his insistent hunger for fame led him to this tragedy. He accepts his fate because he accepts his sinful side. The season finale highlights this aspect of radical acceptance among all the characters.

Barry (Season 4 Finale) Episode 8 Ending, Explained:

What does Sally’s smile in the end mean?

After Barry gets shot, there is yet another time jump. We meet a slightly older Sally, who now works as a school drama teacher. She receives thunderous applause after their recent play with genuine satisfaction. John (Jaeden Martell), now older, sitting in the audience, also claps for his mother.

Robert (Ross Patridge), the new history teacher from her school, asks her out on a date. She flat-out refuses. John asks her if he can spend the night at his friend’s place. She agrees. She asks whether he liked the play. He says he did. She drives back home with a smile on her face. She looks at the bouquet she received as a sign of respect for her skills. There’s more to it, which I’ll explain slightly later.

What movie does John’s friend want him to watch?

Meanwhile, John’s friend decides to play a movie even if Sally does not allow him to. The movie is called ‘The Mask Collector.’ We see a Hollywood version of Barry’s story. Ex-marine Barry (played by Jim Cummings) finds himself outside a theatre. He meets Gene (played by Michael Cumpsty) and gets a chance to enter the acting class.

Movie Barry finds a way to channel his emotions and, through that, impresses Movie Sally Reed (played by Louisa Krause). Movie Janet Moss (played by Kimberly Hebert Gregory) meets Movie Gene to talk about Ryan Madison’s murder. Gene asks her out on a date in exchange for help. She agrees.

In this version, Gene kills Janet and tells Barry to take the fall as an obedient soldier. He goes to prison and learns the story Gene shared about him. So, he decides to escape by strangling a guard. He then goes to rescue Sally and John from the Russians. (While it is a reference to the Chechen identity of Hank and his gang, it might also be a comment on how the pop media often portrays Russians as the villains).

In the end, Barry gets shot by Gene in a highly dramatic manner. After Barry falls down in cliche Hollywood style, the credits reveal that he was laid to rest with full honours, whereas Gene serves life imprisonment. John gets emotional seeing his father’s legacy being celebrated in such a way.

What does Barry’s ending mean?

The ending, as well as the last episode, means more than what meets the eye. Through the movie on Gene and Barry, the show’s writers comment on how the army men are often celebrated despite their heinous crimes. In the case of Barry, there is also his war crime (killing of innocent foreigners), besides his ordered killings thereafter.

The movie conveys the power of fiction and how such stories shape our understanding of truth. That’s why, for John, his father will be a faultless figure. Nevertheless, Sally did not allow him to watch the movie. Why so?

Perhaps she is scared to confront the truth – to leave the good, normal, respectable life she now lives without a need for hiding. She does not need to live like a fugitive, but it comes with a cost. She may not be able to be close to anyone after that – which is why she rejected Robert’s date. Barry did not confess the guilt, nor did she speak about it anywhere. So, she will live with that guilt for her remaining life, along with the acknowledgement of her acting skills.

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Barry (Season 4 Finale) Episode 8 Cast – Bill Hader, Stephen Root, Sarah Goldberg, Anthony Carrigan, Henry Winkler
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