Sunday, April 16, 2023

REVIEW: 'Barry' - A Declaration of Safety Leads to a Changed Perspective From Barry in 'Bestest Place on the Earth'

HBO's Barry - Episode 4.02 "Bestest Place on the Earth"

Here it comes.

"Bestest Place on the Earth" was written by Nicky Hirsch and directed by Bill Hader

Barry betrays Fuches immediately after earning back his trust. It's almost an involuntary impulse. It's all driven by a conversation he has with Sally. That changes his entire outlook about life in prison. That sets in motion the lethal stakes of what's to come. Barry saw the error in his ways. He fondly recalls the interest and attention Fuches always gave him. This family friend was willing to communicate with a young Barry on his level. He didn't demand certain expectations in the name of societal norms. Barry welcomed him into that world. It's very simple and effective. And yet, it's immediately drowned out by the intrigue of a future with Sally. That's more compelling for Barry. That motivates him. It suddenly seems like a reality once more. It's what he envisions. All of that hope comes from Sally saying she feels safe with him. That's huge. Her life has imploded. She couldn't return home to the safe comfort of her parents. She can't apologize to her agent and accept whatever trivial acting roles offered to her. The best she can hope for is a reality show, a podcast or a teaching career. Those are the options laid out for her. They don't measure up to the dreams she has long carried. That's all she can imagine because she was involved with Barry. She lovingly showed her support in public. All of that comes back to haunt her. She is even horrified by the details of the many crimes he has committed. She saw a brief glimpse into his life as a killer. She claims that's the only reason she visits him. She wants to know if he successfully covered up the murder she committed. He did. She has nothing to worry about. She can maintain the peace and quiet of a relatively normal life. She doesn't have to continually look over her shoulders waiting for the inevitable arrest to occur. Barry thought that moment would never happen. He gained that confidence despite Gene knowing the truth. He was once eager to exact his revenge for killing Janice. He's still thrilled by the idea of sharing his story in his own words. It's a performance. That's the only way Gene knows how to process life. It's all about putting the emotions into the work. This is his trained profession. His career has been revitalized. He has tapped into a new mindset. The stagecraft of leading the journalist to his former acting studio isn't convincing. Gene still does a solid job luring people in. The audience is gripped with the twists and turns. The story may boil down to a relatively simple explanation. That's how it must be produced in Vanity Fair. It's much more significant and emotional for the people involved. Sally targets Gene for knowing the truth and not warning her. He has always been very selfish. He doesn't care if she gets hurt. She has her own responsibilities. She's an adult capable of seeing the warning signs. She didn't though. The truth can no longer be denied. She faces a severe punishment for her association with Barry. She has no one to blame but herself because she still feels a sense of protection from him.

Of course, so much of the narrative is a projection from Barry. He needs Sally to admit this feeling. That's the only reason he comes alive once more. He has purpose worth pursuing. He seeks clarification as he's not sure if that is even what she said. That reaction terrifies Sally. That's the moment she gets up and walks away. She doesn't know how to reckon with these emotions. She believes Barry when he says he would never hurt her. He may even believe it too. However, he absolutely has destroyed her in many ways. That can't be denied. It simply continues offering hope. He will accept a deal with the FBI if it means he can enter witness protection with Sally. That destroys Fuches when he realizes he's been played. He knows this twist is coming. It's precisely what he was trying to do. He revoked the deal because he saw humanity and trust in Barry once more. He saw a mind he could mold to his whims. Fuches even crafted a legend out of being the Raven. It's a performance he sells. Barry provides that feedback. It's not real. The other inmates just want to watch Yellowstone on the television. Fuches feels it as the most personal betrayal because he was finally offering the support Barry has long asked for. That's an admission that he has never done so before. Everything was always driven by his own ego. He still has compassion for Barry. He wants this bond to remain stronger than any other threat. Instead, it leaves Fuches reaching out for any possible deal to keep him safe. Hank isn't in the mindset to listen to his pleas. Instead, he only hears about Barry working with the FBI. He realizes immediately how that will destroy the criminal enterprise he is building with Cristobal. They had just successfully ended a war between rival gangs in pursuit of this new arrangement shipping sand and dominating the market. They make the compelling argument that each corner of this operation knows something specific that makes for an enviable partnership. It carries the promise of potentially being a legitimate business as well. Hank and Cristobal wield this power without having to necessarily be the gangsters they once were. This is how they can exert their influence. Hank is forever distracted by Barry. He sees the urgency in breaking him out of prison. That's an action he must take because of all that Barry has done for him. And yet, Barry doesn't show that same loyalty. It's not out of weakness that Hank feels this way. He is full of so much love. He's still willing to order the hit. He cannot allow any potential threat to his operation. That's true even with Barry on the receiving end of the order. That's the sad state of affairs. He accepts that immediately, which is good news for Cristobal. It also ensures that no where in the world is safe for Barry. Neither prison nor witness protection can offer those certainties. It's still a dream he pursues because of the idea of growing old with Sally. That overpowers every other thought he has.