Barry S4E2: bestest place on the Earth

Everyone just wants someone they can trust.

That’s true in real life, obviously, but doubly so on Barry, where everyone has betrayed everyone, and everyone is desperate to have just one person they can turn to for support.

Sally found out last week that her parents aren’t up to the task, and finds out this week her agent isn’t there for her either. She could make a lot of money on a reality show or a podcast, but she’s never going to get legitimate work in Hollywood now that she’s only known for melting down at her assistant and dating a murderer. So she finds herself so desperate that a week after telling him she never wanted to hear from him again, she visits the murderer in prison. 

It goes well at first, with Barry offering a sincere apology, saying he never lied to her, “I just didn’t tell you the part I didn’t want to be true… I’m a piece of shit and you gave me a life I didn’t deserve. You made me feel like a fucking human.” More important to Sally, he confirms that he took care of the body of the man she stabbed in self-defense at the end of last season. And then she slips up and says she feels safe with him. He takes it too well, latching onto that phrase and repeating it over and over until it becomes creepy. Maybe someone who needs help just feeling like a human wasn’t the person to turn to after all.

And after Fuches’ emotional turnaround last week, where he abandoned his plan to rat out Barry to the FBI and told his protege he loves him, he talks Barry up to the other inmates. As he’s decided to ride out his time on the inside for Barry’s sake, he wants some allies. Except Barry isn’t one of them. He repays Fuches’ attempts at kindness by talking to the same FBI agents who were pumping Fuches for information on him, promising info on the Guatemalan and Chechen cartels he was working for in earlier seasons. He has a dream of starting a happy new life in witness protection with Sally, a plan Sally is completely unaware of.

Even Hank and Cristobal, the only remotely healthy relationship on the show, are having their issues. Cristobal is going full steam ahead on his plan to import building sand using their criminal connections, but he needs two warring gangs to work together. So he hosts a summit at the bestest place on the Earth of the title — Dave and Buster’s. Yes, it’s some pretty blatant product placement, but the joke of a bunch of hardened criminals clutching stuffed Pokemon they won in the claw machine, or putting their nefarious plans on hold to order jalapeño poppers just gets funnier as the episode goes.

We also get a terrific extended shot where the camera That 70s Shows around a table full of skeptical gang members as Cristobal and Hank circle behind them with their animated pitch to put violence aside and start making money. 

And it’s a solid pitch. They need some muscle to secure the operation at the onset, but once they start importing sand, they’ll have a profitable and completely legitimate business. Everyone’s on board. Except Hank throws one more wrinkle into the plan. He goes off-script and says to make sure they have extra protection, as he’s going to break this hit man he knows out of jail.

Hank’s still not over Barry. He’s been texting behind Cristobal’s back, setting up a prison break, and springs this on him during their presentation to the gangs. Cristobal’s more bewildered than angry, as he’s never understood Hank’s fixation on Barry, who never gives the slightest inkling of reciprocating Hank’s desires, whether those are romantic or just to be super chill BFFs.

But no one on this show knows what’s good for them, and they all keep chasing what they can’t have. That includes Gene Cousineau, who, after telling his murdered girlfriend’s stern father that neither of them should talk to the press, is now spilling the whole story to a Vanity Fair reporter.

Except, of course, Gene can’t make it that simple. He leaves cutesy notes and clues for the reporter to follow, but plans poorly and the reporter catches up to him while he’s still setting them up. They lead, of course, to Cousineau’s theater, where instead of just telling the story like a normal person, Cousineau puts on a one-man show as the bewildered reporter takes notes. Winkler’s terrific as always as an overacting ham, and by the end of it, the reporter’s riveted. 

Through it all, Gene doesn’t notice Sally watching in the background, as he spills all the details of her recent trauma to someone who’s going to shortly tell the whole world. But she still hears him out — her self-serving acting teacher is a terrible choice to confide in, but she only has worse choices. 

And then we get one last reversal, as Fuches, realizing Barry’s betrayal, makes a call out of the prison to spread the word that Barry’s working with the feds. The cycle of betrayal continues, and will certainly intensify over the final episodes. The only question is whether any of these desperate, needy, duplicitous characters will still be standing at the end of it.

Stray bullets:
• Cousineau starts his one-man show with a recording of Sarah Bolger singing “Desperado” from the film In America. It’s the emotional heart of that film, and a remarkable performance from then-12-year-old Bolger… which Cousineau happily cheapens to punch up his self-aggrandizing story.

• Barry’s still hallucinating, and while some of his visions are straightforward — Fuches befriending him as a child as he plays with army men (and seems to be acting out a friendly fire mishap) — some are less so, like a wedding party marching through his childhood memory, before arriving at a banquet hall where an older Barry and Sally dance contentedly. Bill Hader is consistently great as an actor on this show, but he’s also a terrific director, portraying Barry’s inner turmoil as a series of surreal images without simply being weird for the sake of weird.

• We’re a little behind schedule! But we’ll post a review of episode three during the week and be caught up when episode four airs on Sunday.