“This is not a good guy/bad guy story. It goes much deeper than that.”
Gene’s description of Barry’s story is so on the nose for Barry I half expected a chipper Ron Howard to chime in with “Hey, that’s the name of this show!” But in the penultimate episode, it’s clear this is more of a bad guy/bad guy story. We’ve been wondering for four seasons whether there was any redemption in store for our maladjusted killer, but I’m starting to suspect we’ve been asking the wrong question.
I don’t think Barry is interested in redemption for any of its characters. None of them change, despite half-hearted attempts, none of them learn anything, they’re all stuck in the same patterns and at this point there’s no reason to think any of them will break out of them.
Gene Cousineau seemed to have finally reformed, coming to Hollywood to stop a movie about Janice’s murder being made instead of seeking the spotlight. But he very quickly abandons his principles when an agent tells him Daniel Day-Lewis wants to come out of retirement to play him. (“This isn’t Tony Danza trying to fuck with me, is it?”)
Sally is back to making the same old mistake — panicking after last week’s semi-hallucinatory attack and taking John with her to L.A. to find Barry, so he can protect her. (As we saw last week, Barry’s been kidnapped by Jim Moss and can’t return her calls, and Gene blows her off for DDL.) Despite everything she knows about Barry, and everything she’s been through with him, she still wants to believe he can keep her safe.
Moss surely thinks of himself as the good guy, finding justice for Janet’s killer. But his heavy-handed methods (Barry’s now the third character he’s tied up in his garage and psychologically tortured) suggest he’s just as capable of doing awful things as anyone on the show if not moreso.
Fuches is riding high as The Raven, holding court with his new gang and intimidating Hank into doing his bidding (which, naturally, involves killing Barry, who Hank has no idea how to find). But he’s always vacillated between bravado and being a sniveling weasel, and we have no doubt that weasel will come rushing to the surface before next week’s episode is done.
Hank remains the most sympathetic of the bunch, not that he’s up against very stiff competition. He just wants a bloody criminal empire and a cute guy to share it with. But we get a reminder how casually ruthless he can be when someone crosses him, even if the results are hilariously inept.
And Barry? He’s back to the awful, awful thing he does best: surviving, at the expense of everyone around him.
As for the plot, we’re not going to get into it this close to the end. But the show remains as darkly funny as ever, whether it’s Hank sending a group of badass killers to deal with Fuches and Fuches sending their heads back in boxes, (“Why do I keep opening the boxes?”) or Fuches’ men debating whether the Fast and Furious movies would be loud enough to distract his girlfriend and her daughter from the sounds of slaughter in the next room.
One episode left. Apart from Sally and Gene, everyone wants everyone else dead and will likely be in a position to see their wishes come true. Everyone might die, or none of them will. Barry could get an unlikely happy ending, or the comeuppance he’s managed to avoid against all odds for four years, but it’s more likely neither of those things will happen. Final episodes are always fraught with expectations, but it’s entirely to Barry’s credit that I have absolutely no idea what to expect.
“Are you telling me Daniel can’t get a movie made?”
“Not a theater movie. A phone movie, maybe.”