Sunday, May 1, 2022

REVIEW: 'Barry' - Barry Desperately Needs to Believe That Helping Gene's Career Can Absolve Him for Killing Janice in 'Limonada'

HBO's Barry - Episode 3.02 "Limonada"

Barry learns the extent of Gene's storied Hollywood history. Then, Cristobal and Hank face a major setback when Cristobal's father-in-law Fernando unexpectedly arrives in LA looking to take out the Chechens - and bring Cristobal home.

"Limonada" was written by Alec Berg & Bill Hader and directed by Bill Hader

Barry is desperate to find a way to deal with Gene that doesn't involve killing him. He loves his acting teacher so much. He believes in the fantasy of what this relationship is. It holds a special place in his heart. After coming home from service in the Marines, Gene discovered Barry and brought him back to life. That's true to a certain extent. It just conveniently leaves out his life as a hitman for hire. In that profession, Barry was void of emotions. He didn't feel one way or another about the people he killed. In accessing his emotions through acting, he had more qualms with the work he was doing. As a hitman, he made a ton of money. He didn't have to pursue any other career. He could retire and still live comfortably. He still saw the appeal in acting. He formed relationships that were meaningful and genuine. He's happy Sally is making her show. He believes his fierce determination can save Gene's life as well. He wants to avoid the inevitable outcome for as long as possible. The truth is out now. Barry killed Janice. He did so to protect his own life. He couldn't allow anything to jeopardize the inherently good work he was doing. Of course, he's fooling himself into believing he is a good person. He isn't. He didn't care why certain people had hits on them. He did what he was told. Fuches served in that role for a long time. He took advantage of Barry. He exploited the situation to his own benefit. That's led to a life in exile. And now, Gene is condemned to Barry's trunk. Barry runs around town looking for an acting job for his teacher. He believes revitalizing Gene's career can absolve him of killing Janice. He is absolutely delusional. He commits to that path though. He will justify any behavior if it can help him achieve this ultimate goal. He knows Sally's past with domestic violence. She has made an entire show about it. And yet, he's right there in the writer's room yelling at her because she rejects his offer to cast Gene. She had a similar impulse. She believes in Gene's talents. She is grateful for how he helped her career. She also has to focus on herself. She is traumatized by this moment. Everyone in the room is honestly. They hope their show starts a conversation about these abusive relationships. And then, it becomes present in the workplace and there is nothing anyone can do to address it. Instead, it simply leaves everyone afraid that this can happen all over again. Sally certainly falls into the same routine of trying to treat Barry well so he doesn't explode on her. His issues don't stem from her at all. That leaves her confused and not knowing how to react. That should give her the opportunity to prioritize her own agency. She still deflects from her responsibilities because Barry seemingly demands more attention from her.

Of course, Barry threatens that priority from everyone. He is furious when things don't easily work out. Meanwhile, he is the one being praised for his work and being offered jobs. Every office he goes into has a story about Gene Cousineau being an absolute monster. Because of that heinous behavior, no one wants to work with him. Those stories are legendary. They have spread around town. It's not easy for Barry to undo that. He simply has to tell a story himself. Again, it's the fantasy he has bought into. It's what he needs to believe. In truth, both of these men are monsters. Gene's has a documented history of treating people poorly. Barry is an actual killer. So few people know that. He can cover it up pretty well. So many people are in the dark. Sally is in a relationship and doesn't know the extent of what he is capable of. That violence invades her world and she is completely powerless. That's robbing her of even more agency. It's slyly developing over the years. It's deeply felt though. And now, Gene's entire life is disrupted because he confronted Barry. He thought he could handle the situation himself. He knew there was a possibility it wouldn't work out. That's why he lingered on the goodbyes with his family. However, he now returns and they are clueless about what happened. Gene tries his best to escape. He pleads for his life. He wants to be treated with some dignity. He even makes it out of the trunk. He luckily makes it back home after Barry is hit by another car. It's all absolutely futile. Barry is still a constant presence. Gene can't escape him. He can run. He can be tormented by thirty dogs. This violence has the potential to invade so many lives. People are oblivious to it. In fact, the direction points that out with the little girls selling lemonade, a woman talking on the phone and the couple breaking up. This potential for violence is just outside their insular worlds. They barely notice it. Sometimes, it's so blatantly obvious. Other times, it can casually be ignored. The audience can't dismiss the emotions that dictate every action. Cristobal loves Hank so much that he wants him to go on the run instead of dying from his father-in-law's quest for vengeance. Barry is so desperate to be loved and appreciated he will force those words to come out of Gene. His acting teacher is under duress. Nothing can truly be believed in that moment. It's what Gene has to endure to protect his family. Barry inherently thinks he's making good choices. His actions should be appreciated by those who want his friendship. And yet, nothing is built on honesty and trust. That leaves everything capable of crumbling at any moment. Barry hopes for stability. He doesn't deserve that despite how omnipresent and dangerous he is in any given situation. No one can stop him. His emotional conflict drives the narrative forward. That leaves his whims with the ultimate priority despite everyone's desperate pleas to escape from his influence.