Can people change No, according to the season finale of Barry.After two seasons of attempting to mask his life as a contract killer with another mask that of an actor Barry (Bill Hader) finally seems to fully commit to the role: He decides not to attack his girlfriend Sallys abusive ex, he finds a father figure in acting coach Gene and he gets his first audition for a feature. It was a complete turnaround from where we left Barry at the end of the first season, when he killed his best friend Chris and Genes detective girlfriend Janice in order to protect the new life he was building.
But the new and improved Barry isnt built to last. Upon discovering Fuches, his former handler, is setting Gene up for the murder of Janice, Barry begins to boil. His audition a scene about a swimming instructor defecating in a pie is a write-off.
His rehearsal with Sally for her showcase in which he plays her abusive ex ends with a threatening feeling that Barry might hurt her. And in the actual scene they perform in front of an audience, Sally alters the script at the last minute to avoid the truth of what happened with her former abuser. But theres a lingering feeling that she may have also inadvertently saved herself from Barrys violence.
In an earlier episode, we saw Barry play out the same scene to great effect, when he channelled his rage. But this time his anger was different. Hader portrays a repressed fury entirely through his eyes and clenched jaw; he appears dead inside with the only hope of resurrection coming through brutality.
Before he storms out of the showcase, the stage lights drape the pair in a menacing red and black. Minute by minute, pressure builds, eventually weighing Barrys trigger down.When he discovers Fuches at Hanks warehouse, he finds an outlet for the bubbling rage.
One by one, Barry shoots and kills the men in Hanks army, the same ones hed been helping train for months, the ones who had grown devoted to him, whod wished him a heart-warming goodbye just days before. When confronted by one of the young men who smiles when he sees him, pausing just like Barry had taught him never to do, a cold and unfeeling Barry doesnt care, ruthlessly shooting him between the eyes.Its a relentlessly brutal massacre that contrasts so effectively with the shows comedic elements.
You almost forget all the development this character has experienced over the previous two seasons. Barry himself only remembers when he turns back after realizing hes missed Fuches and sees the man bleeding out on the ground. Disturbed by his own actions, he turns his back and walks into literal darkness exactly where he stepped out of in the opening of the seasons first episode.
The heartbreaking irony is that, just moments earlier, hed asked Genes son to tell his father that Barry Berkman (not Block) says, He was right. Im pretty sure people can change. But Haders performance is deceptively sweet and sensitive.
If Barry really wanted to change and protect Gene, he could have turned himself in. In his search for self-preservation, there is a selfishness, because his attachments, the ones hes longed for his whole life, outweigh all else. To turn himself in, to have an audience for his true self instead of for Barry Block, is to lose everything.
Sally also operates inside that selfishness. In her showcase, she surprises herself when she suddenly reverts to her original script, in which she comes out a hero, flipping a table loud and proud. The fear of telling the truth and being vulnerable is too strong.
Its a lie, but it ends up winning her acclaim, bathing her in a light contrary to Barrys.Hank and Cristobal, who began their cartel merger at the start of the season as the best of friends before plotting against one another, end their dispute and return to their friendship. Fuches tells the pair they were just in a transitional phase.
People meet and sometimes they lock into each other, like two long sought after pieces of a puzzle, he preaches. Now, as time goes on, these pieces, they morph and they grow, and they can grow together and become stronger, or they can become two completely different shapes that they dont have any room for each other, they dont fit anymore. If theres one thing Ive learned in my life, you cant control what other people are gonna do.
No. They need their own space to become whatever weird-ass shape theyre going to change into. Its nature.
You cant control it, but you can accept it.Its a not-so-subtle meditation on his own relationship with Barry, but its enough to unite the pair, who burst into a long, tight hug that seems to finally convey that, yes, theyre in love, and that outweighs the past.In fact, its the explicitly criminal characters who seem to be living the most honest lives in Barry.
Just as Hank stays phenomenally true to himself (in a totally delightful performance from Anthony Carrigan), so, too, does Fuches. Always a cancer in Barrys life, he turns it up a frightening notch when he feels Barry has replaced him with Gene. In this, Fuches is an agent against change.
So enraged, we discover in the end that he told Gene it was Barry who killed Janice. Its not shocking he would go to those lengths to put Barry in his place. This is the same guy who, episodes earlier, wore a wire and threatened to expose his former underling to the police.
They, as Fuches himself ruminates, are two pieces who have outgrown each other. Even if Barrys violent impulses remain, hes made the choice to go in the other direction. His desperate need to find Fuches isnt just revenge for what he might have done to Gene, its because Barry realizes that truth.
That maybe he wont ever totally change, and could spend his life vacillating between these two selves.Barry, the show, seems to suggest there is no rebirth without confession. Only two seasons in, its difficult to imagine where the series might conclude, but it could look a lot like Barry exposing himself and risking the friendship and community hes worked so hard to gain.
His greatest act, in the end, may just be pretending to be himself. Unless, of course, he merely fakes it until he makes it.