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The Season Two Finale Of 'Barry' Just Straight Up Trolled HBO

By Emily Cutler | TV | May 22, 2019 |

By Emily Cutler | TV | May 22, 2019 |

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OK, so let’s get this out of the way. Here’s what happened in terms of straight plot on the season two finale of Barry:

— Barry races to rescue Gene from Fuches, arriving just in time for the police to arrest both Barry and Gene.

— Fuches, who couldn’t kill Gene because he’s a coward (not that he’s a coward because he won’t become a murderer. He is essentially a murderer in that he’s arranged and profited from the murders of many people. He’s just unwilling to commit the act himself. He’s morally a killer, but doesn’t really have the stomach for it), attempts to gain refuge at Hank’s brand new Burmese temple/ gang headquarters.

— Barry spends most of his day bouncing from worrying about Gene and attempting to prepare for his scene with Sally at their big workshop. I’m sure this will raise no further issues.

— While there, Fuches manages to repair Hank and Cristobal’s relationship, and get all three gangs back together. I’m sure this also will raise no further issues.

— Oh wait, at the last minute, Sally chickens out, and performs her original scene where she stands up to Sam. Admittedly her impromptu performance is better than the script she originally wrote. Sally should always work fresh. While leaving the theater in tears and ashamed at her cowardice, she’s actually approached and surrounded by audience members who loved the crap out of what she did. Including the Mikes. Meaning Sally might finally reach some level of professional success by completely lying and misrepresenting the thing she believed made her an artist. This seems entirely uncomplicated.

— Second oh wait, at the last minute, the police discover the small Chechen pin that Barry planted on Moss’ body, believe the “debt paid” slogan proves the Chechens killed Janice as revenge, and release Gene from custody and into the arms of his (super hot) son Leo. Barry learns from Leo that Gene has been released, and almost immediately after learns from Hank that Fuches is at the compound. Which quickly leads to:

- A FULL-ON, BLOOD-BATH MURDER SPREE. Which maybe you should have seen coming, Fuches? Like maybe it wasn’t the best idea to destroy the life of your hit-man protégé’s father figure, and then taunt him about it? You know, because you’re a coward and a f*ck up?

- Mostly unrelated to the blood-bath murder-spree, but while at home, in bed, slowly recovering from the shock of seeing Janice’s body, Gene finally remembers what it was that Fuches whispered to him at the car: “Barry Berkman did this.”

So yeah, not an uneventful finale. Also, it was a finale that was nearly perfect in every scene. But, guys, most importantly, I’m pretty sure Barry is just trolling HBO now. And maybe not “trolling.” But what’s the term for telling someone, “Oh, that thing you did? I did it too, but mine was way better.”

Exhibit A) I don’t know how you troll something before it happens, but I need to call your attention to a scene from last week’s episode. You can find it at the beginning of the first Colbert video here, but for those who can’t watch the video, allow me a small transcript.

Gene: NO! You say, “Oh, we’re just a bunch of Swim Instructors.” That’s the title! They can’t cut that.

So, I guess you’re cool, Sam? (Also, and I cannot stress this enough, but just bang up job on the writing this season, Game of Thrones. Really, nothing to be eternally embarrassed about here.)

Exhibit B)

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I mean, this was on purpose, right? A beautiful, blonde woman with braids being encircled by adoring fans? Only this time instead of wildly misrepresenting the tone with which the throngs should be viewed, the showrunners blatantly showed us how disturbing it would be to be in the center of that circle? Especially considering that the person at the center is wildly unsure of her ability to achieve her dreams, and of her integrity while trying to reach them? Because the writers decided to give a singular f*ck in developing the inner working of a female character?


Exhibit C)

So I’m not sure how to talk about a several-minutes long, single-man murder-spree in a gangster compound on an HBO show without thinking about this:

Like, we’ve seen this before, yes? Only, and stay with me here, the one on Barry is horrific.

I’m not actually planning to talk too much shit about Boardwalk Empire because they hurt me long enough ago that I’ve forgiven them some (plus, I’ll love you forever, Richard Harrow). But the tonal differences between the two do highlight some important differences. Boardwalk Empire might have been about broken men, but the killing spree was intended to be cool. Richard Harrow busts in with nothing but several guns and a mountain of grit and takes out an entire mob. He’s cool and collected, and never once betrays his emotions. Which, if you think about it, is really f*cking weird when you’re killing a couple dozen men.

Barry is anything but cool. He’s pissed, and not particularly worried about “control.” Barry wants destruction and rampage, which counter-intuitively, makes all of the violence less gratuitous and more impactful. Basically, and I know this is not the healthiest thing I’ve ever written (although it’s far from the least healthy), when I’m watching my protagonist mow down at least fifteen people on screen, I would like to know it isn’t being done with the emotional distance most often seen in actuaries. I’m done with the smooth jazz gun violence. If you’re going to insist on murder-sprees, for the love of god, make them awful.

So what does this mean for the confirmed season three of Barry? I’m guessing Barry attempting to convince Gene that he’s not a killer, a moral quandary about killing Gene if it means Barry can continue with the rest of his life, and if that’s something Barry would be able to live with himself about. But if there’s a side plot about moving to Paris with a rather petite, famed Russian artist, I would not be disappointed.

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