Sunday, April 28, 2019

REVIEW: 'Barry' - Barry and Fuches Are Shocked By Just How Difficult Their Latest Job Proves to Be in 'ronny/lily'

HBO's Barry - Episode 2.05 "ronny/lily"

An encounter that Barry never could have predicted has surprising effects.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of HBO's Barry.

"ronny/lily" was written by Alec Berg & Bill Hader and directed by Bill Hader

This is an insanely and tonally audacious episode. It's unlike anything the show has previously done in its two seasons. As such, the audience's response to the episode will likely vary. It will probably be one of the more divisive episodes that has been produced so far. At this moment, it's easy to admire everything that happens here from a directing standpoint. Bill Hader has proven himself such a capable leading man as well as a keen writer and director through this series. This is a phenomenal showcase of his talents leading the camera through the various action scenes. He depicts many of these outrageous fights knowing just how crazy they can be perceived as. He still wants the audience to connect with everything that's happening because this isn't just some crazy dream Barry is having after that first kick from Ronny. It truly is a dragged out confrontation between Ronny and his daughter Lily that pushes Barry to his limits regarding his new no-kill policy. This is the latest job he has to do in order to evade capture from the law. This episode represents a significant turning point in the direction of the season. Of course, the same could have been said of the previous episode in which Detective Loach made it clear he wanted to hire Barry for this job instead of arrest him for killing Detective Moss. His ex-wife isn't even a major character in any of this. Plus, this entire conflict seems to come to an end because Loach is the one who is easily killed here. Everyone else presents as a significant obstacle that keeps coming back wanting more from Barry and Fuches. This is the hardest job Barry has ever had to complete. He doesn't want to kill. He comes to Ronny with the offer to send him out of town to visit his family in Chicago. He promises to send him money every month as well. He knows he is suppose to kill this guy in order to keep the police from arresting him. But he still can't follow through with that mission because he is on a new path. And yet, all of this may simply be building up to him learning that he will always be perceived as a killer who is hired to do jobs like this. He doesn't want to be the guy who kills children when they happen to come home when he's busy killing their father. He doesn't even know that Ronny has a daughter. He does no recon before showing up at his house to eliminate him for Loach. The detective also doesn't give Barry that information despite how frequently he has been stalking his ex-wife and her new relationship online. That has been absolutely all-consuming to him. And yet, it means Barry is woefully unprepared for the fight he endures here. It's a fight that leaves significant wounds on him and Fuches. Both Ronny and Lily present as not-of-this-world. That's probably going to be the biggest issue with this episode. The show has always prided itself on being grounded in its action despite enjoying the comedy that comes from this twisted world as well. With Ronny and Lily though, they present as some kind of supernatural creatures who can't be killed no matter what. That's strange and has the potential of pulling the audience out of this action. It's still very amusing. It's very effective when it goes for those big laughs as Barry and Fuches accept the reality of this situation. It just puts too much priority on the central joke instead of nailing the emotional beats that may lead to Barry making a significant decision about his life.

Gene recently gave Barry the confidence that people are capable of change. He understood that he no longer had to be the killer he has been for so long. This impulse isn't one that will consume him for the rest of his life. And yet, that propensity for violence has still existed within him. He wanted to kill Sally's abusive ex. He is willing to train the Chechen army so that Hank doesn't target him once more. Fuches sees that as nothing but a horrible arrangement that will come back to hurt Barry at some point. That may very well be true. Right now, there is only one Chechen who is very effective as a potential soldier. Barry hasn't made much progress with the rest of the troops despite working with them for several weeks now. He doesn't even feel confident calling them in as reinforcements during this brawl with Ronny and Lily. He doesn't understand the threat that he is facing. Lily presents as a feral animal instead of a young girl. The show at least puts in the work to explain why Ronny is such an impossible foe to defeat. He has a room full of trophies and medals for taekwondo. That means that first kick doesn't come out of the blue despite how much Barry isn't expecting it. With Lily, there is some explanation that she too has some kind of martial arts training because of the outfit she is wearing throughout this entire encounter. And yet, she can jump over fences and climb up trees with such agility that it seems unnatural. Plus, the show never ultimately explains what happens to her. Barry and Fuches understand that she is a significant threat to their lives. They can't leave behind any witnesses who can possibly identify them to the police when the authorities start investigating what happened. But that's not really a concern during the final portion of the episode that sees Ronny make his first return from the dead. He has a broken windpipe but still manages to be at the same convenience store as Barry looking for medication and bandages. Then, Loach appears and shoots him. Ronny survives a bullet to the head and even manages to deliver a fatal kick to Loach. That's insane. It takes multiple bullets in the chest to bring him down. That outcome still occurs though. Loach gets what he wants. It just kills him in the process as well. That too may present as a wake-up call to Barry. He understands that Loach was ready and willing to turn on him in order to wrap all of this up neatly. He didn't want to leave Barry as a loose end. He just wasn't expecting how capable Ronny was at survival. Loach didn't see that coming. That gives Barry the opportunity to escape. Fuches is right there waiting for him at the back door. But the show leaves on an open question. Will Barry get into the vehicle? Or will he turn himself into the police? He may see the latter option as the way to ensure that his life changes for good moving forward. Him getting into the vehicle with Fuches though would ensure that all of the previous developments from the season pertaining to Gene, Sally and Hank could still move ahead as they were planned. As such, the decision made in that moment should be the first priority in the next episode. How the show handles that fallout will probably decide just how effective this episode is in the long view of this season.