Yep, a strong “wow” is definitely in order here. At this juncture, we are not just referring to this episode but the entire four-season run of BARRY. It has been a “WOW” indeed. Going into the final episode we had to know that all the players in some way or other were going to meet up for one last time. It almost played out that way. So how did it all go down? Well, quite dramatically for one and quite satisfyingly for another.
NoHo Hank (Anthony Carrigan) was sitting pretty. Well, when did we ever not see him well-dressed? From the previous episode, we knew that he was holding Sally Reed (Sarah Goldberg) and John (Zachary Golinger) hostage. His only recourse in dealing with the insistent and aggressive Monroe Fuches (Stephen Root) was to call Barry Berkman (Bill Hader) in so that Fuches could take him out once and for all.
Is this how it was all to go down? In order to save Sally and their son was he going to have to arm up, walk into Hank’s business as a global sand broker and take him out? Doing so, completely unaware that Fuches and his gun hands were about? A bloodbath was the only outcome of this. So, this is how it ends? Barry pulls into the lot and offers up a prayer that God keeps his loved ones safe even though he knew he was going to die that day.
But the bloodbath goes down before Barry gets there. Two gangs of thugs stand toe-to-toe in Hank’s lobby, which holds a golden statue of Cristobal and an air of intensity. In fact, this whole episode is filled with tense moments. They are drawn out just enough to let it build. A number of times it is wondered just how a scene was going to play out as that intensity hangs in the air. That warrants another ‘Wow.’
Sally & John were called out to the lobby because, what, they were to witness Barry walking into a deathtrap? Before they were taken out front Sally confessed to her son just who she and Barry were, fugitives on the run, bad people hiding from the cops, and simply, murderers. Just another tense and well-played moment. Then, Barry was about to arrive and the end game was to play out. Blood splatters and blown-off limbs were the results, all because Fuches insulted Hank and his weakness for loving Cristobal one more time. Only three people are left standing, Sally, John and Fuches. You read that right. Fuches walks outside the building with John in tow to face Barry. Was he going to threaten John to raise Barry’s ire? Was he going to use John as a shield to get the upper hand in taking out Barry? What was going to go down at this moment? And then, it hit me.
This episode cannot end without screentime for Henry Winkler’s Gene Cousineau. Last we saw him Jim Moss (Robert Wisdom) had worked out the story that Mr. C. manipulated Barry into killing his daughter Janice Moss (Paula Newsome, seen in flashback). Mr. C. was going down as the mastermind because Janice was getting too close to Gene’s involvement with the Chechen mafia. All this also means Fuches isn’t taking out Barry because we need one last face-to-face between Barry and Gene. So, Fuches lets John go. His real motivations for doing so are not made clear, but Fuches always had a soft heart for Barry even though he always claimed her never had one. So, how do Barry and Gene meet up? Sally urges Barry to turn himself in and exonerate Gene, but he claims that the three of them surviving the ordeal means he has been “redeemed.” She leaves with John overnight, and Barry searches for them at Gene’s house. Okay, hold up. Over the course of the series Barry has escaped nearly unscratched a number of times. Do we forget his little sorties against Chechens and such? Did we forget that wicked chase through traffic in Season 3? But, suddenly he feels ‘redeemed’ from surviving this one? Hey, if it wasn’t a solid series, I’d have room to grumble at that point.
Anyway, at Gene’s, Barry meets Tom Posorro, Gene’s agent, (Fred Melamed) who is there to reason with Gene. Barry asks for his family. Barry tells Tom to call the police. Up to this point, as previously mentioned, tense moments have lingered but the moment between Gene & Barry here plays out quickly. This is as if to say, ‘Let’s get this over with.’ And so…let’s say, Jim Moss was right all along – Gene Cousineau was not the man we thought he was and Barry was not quite the man we thought he was either.
We leave it with Barry ‘redeemed’, even though there were plenty of other people he murdered along the way. Yeah, he is still a murderer, but a tragic character we loved. There is a creative scene at the end of an older John going to a friend’s house to watch the flick made about his father and how he was used by Mr. C. It once again drives home the point that Barry, in the end, was redeemed. It’s a stretch, but again, if it wasn’t a solid series…
HBO offered us another great half-hour series to now sit in the archives, assuming Zaslav doesn’t sell it off. It sits beside VEEP, GIRLS and many other works of quality and we are thankful. BARRY was indeed a “WOW.”