Sunday, April 24, 2022

REVIEW: 'Barry' - Barry Wonders If People Are Capable of Forgiving Him After He Destroyed Their Lives in 'Forgiving Jeff'

HBO's Barry - Episode 3.01 "Forgiving Jeff"

As an increasingly desperate Barry searches the dark web for jobs, Sally, now the creator and star of her own show, begins to feel the pressures of success. Noho Hank braves his first big test in interrogation. Gene ruminates over Fuches' crushing reveal.

"Forgiving Jeff" was written by Alec Berg & Bill Hader and directed by Bill Hader

Can Barry be forgiven for his actions? So many people have relied on him over the years. Most of the time it has been for his services as a hitman. That was his most valuable skill. He wasn't good as an actor even though he was pursuing a career in it. He wanted to be done with killing people for money. It wasn't satisfying. More importantly, he was forced to delve into his emotional well-being. He had to reflect on all that he had done in order to access whatever a script required. He is still prone to murder. That's always his first instinct whenever a problem arises. He has to torture himself to believe it is unhealthy. It's not the response he should immediately go to following a setback. He is still responsible for numerous deaths. He killed Janice. Gene was torn up over her disappearance. And now, he has a person to blame even though the police don't believe Barry is the killer. Instead, they believe the story NoHo Hank tells about Fuches being a trained assassin for the Chechen mob. That's a more realistic narrative than Barry being the hitman. Of course, it's all deeply rooted in these characters' ability to manipulate one another. Fuches is far removed from Los Angeles. He is hiding in Chechnya because the pressure is still hot on him. Barry killed the Chechen and Bolivian crews just because he wanted revenge on Fuches. Hank and Cristobal have happily become a couple. That's a nice acknowledgement of what was always present in their dynamic. It can finally be seen as romantic. Those feelings fueled Hank's jealousy towards Esther. She's dead. Their crews are as well. And yet, they survived and can have happiness together. Hank is joyous over being interrogated by the police. He's not scared or intimidated. He has a story he wants to tell. In fact, he gets to showcase his acting chops. Sure, he exaggerates the story afterwards. He believes everyone has the same general reaction to Fuches' cover name being The Raven. Most aren't impressed. Hank enjoys that little detail. It's a way for him to pin all this bad behavior on someone who has only made life worse for the criminal elements in town. He wants nothing to do with Barry. However, he can at least spin a story capable of placing the blame elsewhere. Hank has loved Barry. That can no longer be true. Hank can't reliably provide work for the hitman. Instead, Barry is left adrift without purpose. He's not wallowing as a result of what he has done. He's simply disappointed by the realization it's hard to find credible and steady work as a hitman when he doesn't have a handler making the executive decisions.

And then, Gene holds Barry at gunpoint. He is tired of waiting for the police to arrest him for Janice's murder. They don't believe him. He believes Fuches though. He was told Barry was responsible. He has held onto that vendetta for months now. Enough time has passed for Sally to get her own show into production. It's a huge opportunity even though network executives don't seem all that thrilled over it. Sally is in complete creative control. She is capable of making all the decisions even when people repeatedly pitch the same ideas over and over. She has a clear direction of what she wants. She can demand it and it happens now. She has that power and authority. She has momentum in her career. That contrasts with everyone else from Gene's acting class. That's been shut down. Gene blames Barry. He wants to hold him responsible for everything that has gone wrong in his life lately. Of course, Gene has a better relationship with his son now. He is actually in his grandson's life. It's genuine when he swears on the life of his grandson. He wants to live. Gene carries this personal quest for vengeance. He believes he can kill Barry. That's the justice he wants. He has no idea how to operate a gun. And so, he reveals his true self to Barry only for the hitman to quickly gain all the power in the situation. Barry can be incredibly volatile. One moment he is completely willing to kidnap Gene with the intention of killing him in the desert. And then, he changes his mind when inspiration strikes for how he can earn forgiveness from the person he believes has transformed his life. Barry isn't all that different than he was at the start of the series. He believes he is capable of change. He hopes for it. It's completely aspirational. Dreams have come true elsewhere. Life is mostly in stasis or decay for the various characters though. They have struggled to survive. They have made it this far. That's no small feat given the lethal situations prominently featured in the narrative. Barry has been at the center of so much. He goes back and forth on whether people are capable of forgiveness. He now believes he has to earn it simply because that's what Hank yells at him. It's the only way he can get around killing Gene for knowing too much. This confrontation happens in the premiere. That's such a bold and direct move. It guarantees the show has big ambitions for the season with no willingness to delay any of the satisfaction. That's so invigorating and makes the anticipation for what comes next even more enticing.