'Barry' Recap: Is This the End of the Line for Barry Berkman?

'Barry' Recap: Is This the End of the Line for Barry Berkman?

This post contains spoilers for this week's episode of Barry, "The Wizard."

Barry spends a good chunk of "The Wizard" listening to different religious podcasts, pastor-shopping for a man of the cloth who will tell him it's acceptable to murder Gene Cousineau. Eventually, he finds one -- voiced, naturally, by comedian Bill Burr -- who says it's okay. But it's clear by the simple fact of the search that Barry is going to do what he wants to do no matter what, and will eventually find some sort of justification, even if not from an ordained person with a Yeti mic.

And Barry's trip to Los Angeles is something of a self-aggrandizing spiritual quest. When Sally suggests they can just run again(*), Barry argues that they can't run from a movie. But then he admits that he hates that the movie (as far as he knows) will be told from Gene's point of view, "And that's... not the truth. And I don't want our son to see it." He is going to prove the righteousness of his story, and of his cause. But even that's malarkey, which Sally can see when she points out that Barry is just going because Gene turned him in.

Editor's picks

The 50 Worst Decisions in Music History

The 200 Greatest Singers of All Time

The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time

The 100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time

(*) Where is their money coming from? Barry did a lot of work for the Chechens, but it was unclear how much of it Fuches was actually giving him. And they've been on the lam for eight years, and apparently relocated multiple times in that span. Yet they have a nice -- if completely isolated -- house, are constantly ordering from Amazon, etc. Even with Sally stealing from the till, waitressing's not enough to cover a fugitive lifestyle like this.

And this in turn brings him back to NoHo Hank, who is now running his own conglomerate, NoHoBal, named after himself and his late partner. But even though he has a bronze statue of Cristobal in the lobby of his headquarters, this is an empire built on literal and figurative sand. Like Barry with his conversion to some extremely specific and useful version of Christianity, Hank has allowed himself to pretend that the terrible thing at the birth of NoHoBal did not actually happen -- or, at least, that he was not involved, and does not deserve the blame. (He and Gene would get along very well.) And when Fuches starts cracking jokes about it at the McMansion where Hank has situated the whole flock of Ravens(*), it turns these old allies into mortal enemies in an instant.


HBO&'s &'Being Mary Tyler Moore&' Documentary Trailer Reframes American Womanhood

WGA Strike Halts Latest &'Game of Thrones&' Spin-Off -- But Not &'House of the Dragon&'

'Barry' Jumps Forward in Time and Becomes a Huge Bummer

(*) Also known, appropriately enough, as an unkindess of ravens.

All of this is very effective, and at times -- particularly anything involving Stephen Root swaggering around in a very tight undershirt -- quite funny, and a relief from the unrelenting bleakness of last week's episode. Barry leaves Sally and John behind in their Midwestern hellhole, where they are part of an at times riveting, at times baffling sequence late in the episode. Sally, as we know from last week, utterly hates this life she chose, and doesn't seem to have much affection for her son, whom she drugs by slipping booze into his juice cup so she doesn't have to listen to him crying anymore over his absent dad(*). And she gets fairly drunk herself, on top of whatever PTSD she has been dealing with since long before we met her, but especially since she killed a man in the Season Three finale.

(*) Right before this, she is part of the single funniest joke in the episode, where Sally offers to make John lunch just to shut him up, followed by a hard cut to the smoke alarm going off as we see a completely charred and inedible grilled cheese sandwich.

Um, what?



Taylor Swift Defends Fan From Security Guard at Philadelphia Show

MTV News Confidential: Kurt Loder, Tabitha Soren, and John Norris Tell All

'Succession' Makes Us Relive Trump's Presidential Election

Trump Rips Enemies, Ignores Melania in Mother's Day Post

Eagle-eared viewers might recognize the profane rant as audio lifted from the scene in last year's finale when the biker tried to choke Sally to death, suggesting that some, or even all, of this is happening in Sally's head. But when she finally gets out to the living room, everything is wrecked and strewn about as if the house really had tilted on its axis. It's possible she just trashed the place herself while drunk and forgot, or that the truck part was real but nothing else was. Regardless, the whole sequence plays out more confusingly than I imagine was intended. The first time I watched it months ago, I assumed it was missing a lot of VFX and other technical polish to clarify what we were seeing and hearing, but I watched the final version earlier this week, and it's basically the same. Just an odd, odd choice in an episode otherwise firing on all cylinders. And yet even within that, Sarah Goldberg continues to be magnificent.

Back in Los Angeles, the episode climaxes with Barry now preparing to murder Gene at Gene's house, rather than Leon's. The door is left wide open, making it perfectly easy for his least-favorite former student to slip in with a gun -- too perfect, it turns out, as Barry winds up with a hood over his head, before waking up in the worst place any character on this show can find himself: in a chair in Jim Moss's garage. And we know that this is a place designed to break men down and strip away anything they believe in, other than their desire to tell Jim Moss whatever he wants to know.