Well, things are getting awfully strange in Barry now, aren’t they? The fourth and final season of Bill Hader’s dark comedy series seemed to be heading in one direction, but the events of Barry season 4 episode 5 have really thrown a spanner in the works.
Now, the latest episode of the HBO Max hit has offered us some answers but leaves us with plenty more questions as we head into the final two episodes. First of all, the time jump in Barry season 4 is now pretty much confirmed to be entirely real. We are eight years on from Barry and Sally running away together, and their future is now our present.
While we spent much of last week’s episode in the presence of Clarke and Emily, the new episode of the drama series sees the ghosts of Barry and Sally come to the fore. And they’re not the only specters of the past who show up.
The Barry cast is always finding new ways to impress, and this week the ensemble really show their versatility. Hader leaves behind the Clarke-shaped shell as he swaps the Midwest for a mission to track down and kill Gene Cousineau. As he slips back into the role of Barry Berkman, the trademark deadpan humor and tortured soul shine once more.
Speaking of humor, we get to see what NoHo Hank and Fuches are up to eight years into the future. Fuchs is finally released from prison, but we should definitely only refer to him as The Raven now. He’s got a body full of ink and a mean attitude, and frankly, it’s hilarious. The highlight of the week is seeing Fuches claim a middle-aged coffee shop employee as his new, very serious girlfriend with just a wink of his eye.
As for Hank, the time has been kind to him. Fuches visits the headquarters of Nohobal, where a golden statue of the late Cristobal stands at the entrance. Donning a power suit and hosting his guests in a fancy office, Hank has taken his entrepreneurial dreams to an executive level and he’s willing to give Fuches a slice of the pie.
The problem is, Fuches only wants one thing: Barry Berkman. Hank, however, has moved on from that vendetta. One thing he has not moved on from, clearly, is the death of Cristobal, but he has tried to bury his guilt over that matter. So when Fuches accuses him of being involved in the murder, Hank loses his cool and terminates their burgeoning partnership.
Back in the Midwest, Sally is all alone with John, and it’s not long before her lack of maternal instincts leads to potential disaster. Between burning John’s food and spiking him with vodka so he falls asleep, it’s safe to say the Mother of the Year award won’t be heading Sally’s way. Her decisions in the previous episodes of Barry catch up with her, too, as surrealist home invasion horror movie vibes creep their way into the show.
Back in the slightly more normal world, Gene Cousineau is busy trying to put a stop to the true-crime thriller movie that is being planned about Barry’s killing spree. Cousineau normally loves the limelight, but he takes issue with the glorification of the man who took the love of his life away from him and will do anything to stop the project from seeing the light of day.
It’s an intriguing episode that sees the supporting characters all displaying how far they have come, for better or worse. But Barry Berkman, no matter how hard he tries to pretend, has not changed at all deep down. With a gun in his hand and a motivational podcast in his ear, the hitman instincts are back.
Unfortunately for Barry, Jim Moss is also back, and it’s the latter who has the upper hand as we look forward to the penultimate episode of this fascinating TV series. It’s hard to judge this week’s episode, as it’s very much a bridge between the past, present, and future. Narrative threads are beginning to connect up and we can almost see where the breadcrumbs are leading.
Episode 6 may be the weakest of the new season, but it will serve a valuable purpose if the payoff is as spectacular as we suspect and hope. While this latest installment suffers in its more abstract and ambiguous moments, there is plenty of intrigue in the foundations that have been laid.