Sunday, May 5, 2019

REVIEW: 'Barry' - Barry and Sally Reckon with Their Traumatic Identities to Create Something Better in 'The Truth Has a Ring to It'

HBO's Barry - Episode 2.06 "The Truth Has a Ring to It"

In preparation for his big scene with Sally, Barry works with Gene to help get into character. Sally resolves to embrace her truth. Noho Hank prepares for a big night with his newly-trained men. Fuches goes on a mission.

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.

"The Truth Has a Ring to It" was written by Emily Heller and directed by Alec Berg

The format-breaking fifth episode of the season meant this episode has to establish how much the audience should take seriously regarding what just happened. The show makes it abundantly clear that the events of that particular episode weren't an aberration. They did actually take place and carried real consequences. When Barry is first seen here, his face is still covered with blood from that dragged-out fight with insane opponents. It doesn't pick up immediately where the previous episode ended. Instead, the police are notifying the world that Detective Loach's death was a result of a personal feud with his ex-wife's new boyfriend, whom the world recognizes as a two-time Olympian. Loach never made that connection and that seemed to doom him. And yet, none of this is about Barry interacting with the police and dealing with the repercussions of his actions. He was tempted with that. He could either continue living with Fuches and this criminal lifestyle or he could finally confess for all the horrible things he has done. The show wisely chooses to make all of this an internal reckoning for Barry. He is tempted with the idea of needing to turn himself in. He was just hit with the realization that he's not even the best when it comes to this particular work. He and Fuches were literally just beaten up by a preteen girl. They don't know how to explain or rationalize that. Barry just wants to channel all of these emotions into his acting work. He believes he's done being a killer. He wants to leave that life behind. He doesn't enjoy being out in the desert with Hank's Chechen army. He wants to get out of there as soon as possible. He doesn't want to think about all the new killers he has just created. He has suddenly given them new purpose. They could use that to destroy so many lives. And yet, Barry just wants to escape to the environment where he believes he is fully accepted. He was scared to tell Gene the truth about what he did as a soldier. Gene won't even let him forget that he killed a guy and got away with it. Gene doesn't even know the full story. Fuches does. He believes he can leverage that in order to keep Barry in line. He sees this as a beneficial partnership that can still work. He knows that Barry is instinctively a killer. He should stop trying to make this new life happen. He should just commit to who he fundamentally is. Barry doesn't want to see himself in that way. He is horrified by that person. And yet, he struggles connecting those experiences with the emotions he needs to play onstage. When he taps into them though, it is truly captivating to the audience and helps bring a great performance out of Sally. When everyone is engaged with what's happening, they see her piece as extraordinary. So much can be rationalized and explained away as a result. The show is exploring what it means for characters to be agonizing over the emotional actions of their pasts to the detriment of new opportunities in the present. Sally passes up auditions to work on her scene. It works out for her in the end. Her agent sees how meaningful it can be. This can potentially lead to better work for Sally. But it all stems out of the idea of Barry being a killer and him only being a good actor when he taps into those memories.

The death of Detective Moss is seen for the first time here as well. When Barry is trying to get into character, he uses the tools that Gene told him to use. It's not his experience as a soldier though. Barry has killed many people and gotten away with it. Gene is making a big deal out of it being a one time thing. He does so not knowing that Barry is responsible for killing his girlfriend. Gene is still in grief over that loss. He is still sitting all alone at his favorite restaurant hoping that someday someone will also be there to enjoy a meal with him. That day may be today. But it isn't Moss coming back from the dead. Barry really did kill her. He shot her twice in the chest and covered up the crime. Fuches manages to do what the police didn't. In one day, he finds the missing car that Barry hid in the forest. Sure, it's comical to see how the world continues to beat Fuches up for exploring these criminal pursuits. But it's still ominous and dangerous to see him invade Gene's world in the hopes of getting to Barry. Barry has seen Gene as the new father figure in his life who is completely accepting of who he is. He doesn't know the full truth though. Fuches prides himself on understanding Barry. He doesn't though. He sees him as the hardened criminal he wants him to be. He sees a man training an army for Hank in order to start another mob war in the city. Of course, that doesn't happen. Instead, Hank is betrayed by one of his men because he made fun of the accordion he was playing. That's so random. But it also ensures that things are heading into a dramatic shake up during the conclusion of the season. Hank saw this as the latest version of Barry taking down the stash house for the Chechens. This time he just happens to fail because he doesn't have Barry fighting on his side. That could convince him that Barry is more important than any army he could collect for the cause. Fuches sees the value in that as well. He knows that Barry is skilled. He would be more effective if he didn't have all these pesky emotions to deal with. And yet, Barry does have those. He wants to be more than a killer. He doesn't want to hurt Sally when they are onstage attacking out a traumatic scene from her past. It's the only piece that actually works in this showcase as well. The rest are terrible. They don't get to the truth of the greatest pain in these young actor's lives. Sally is sharing her truth. She is being rewarded for doing so. It just proves that Barry is only capable of going so far when he is holding onto these tragic secrets. He wants to succeed for Sally. But he is stunted in the moment when he has to physically assault her. That's the only part that seems rehearsed. The rest is natural because that's who Barry is. He is scary and frightening. The class doesn't see it. The audience should though. This is the version Barry doesn't want to embrace but has to because of the various aspects of his life telling him he needs to.