A Dark Theory Of Where ‘Barry’s New Season Is Heading
The second episode of Barry season three just dropped, and boy, that might arguably have been the heaviest episode yet. To recap — spoilers, of course, if you haven't seen it yet — Barry is on a mission to try and secure an acting part for his drama teacher, Gene Cousineau (played by the exceptional Henry Winkler), in an attempt to make things right with him and, apparently, make Cousineau believe in second chances. See, Cousineau was clearly a giant Hollywood douchebag back in the '80s. Women seem to despise him for his misogynistic comments, and men laugh at the memory of him once bringing a loaded gun to a Full House audition. Hollywood's weird, man.
Barry reckons if he could get Cousineau that second chance, though, he himself might get the same courtesy in return. Because, you know, Barry killed the love of Cousineau's life. This show is whack, and everyone's pretty terrible.
Barry has also gone quite mad, and it's all very Shakespearean, really. In his unhinged state, the usually soft-spoken, good listener hitman-type boyfriend went off in this episode, yelling at Sally and pinning her to a wall in her office in front of other people. There was no physical violence, but it ended up being one of the most violent scenes the show has done to date. Seeing Sally revert back to the whole "He's yelling at me, so it must be my fault" reasoning of so many abused victims was tough to watch, and it definitely gave more visceral context to her general lack of awareness. When Barry yelled at her, she giggled and tried to be casual about his aggression. Afterward, she pretended like nothing had happened and went straight to her desk, not addressing it with the others in the office at all. Sally's behavior in this episode is that classic coping mechanism: Denial. It's the opposite of what she told young actress Katie moments before Barry came in and caused a whole lot of destruction: That the key to good writing is to just be honest.
Katie, of course, is on to Barry. Katie, the young actress keen to observe and learn from the people she's working with (and for), was there when Barry flipped his lid on Sally. Katie tried to talk to the crew about what happened, but everyone else seems more eager to ignore the whole thing. But Katie sees Barry and, according to Bill Hader, even more than we may think. An earlier draft of the episode included a scene where Katie saw Sally's text messages to Barry, asking him if he's mad at her, wanting to know if he's okay. Katie's seeing everything.
Said Hader: "What I liked about that too, story-wise, was like, oh, so this new character of Katie – Elsie Fischer's character —is on to Barry. So it poses a question in your head of like, well, where's that headed?"
Indeed. There are, of course, a couple of ways this could all play out. Katie has tried talking to people outside of the situation about it. She'll likely try and talk to Sally about it next … who might reject it at first because of all the denial but who may end up adding some new realizations to her TV show. After all, Barry keeps bringing up how acting can sometimes be a form of therapy (and sometimes, clearly not enough).
The point is that Sally's probably going to start seeing Barry in a new light soon, and there's a chance she may actually learn about his true nature by the end of this season. One dark way this could all play out is if Barry decides that young Katie has been showing too much interest in his life and his relationship with Sally, and that young Katie has to be removed from the equation. Will Katie find out who Barry really is? Will Barry try and kill her, and will Sally walk in on it happening (maybe even on the soundstage where her show's being filmed)? Will this all start to go the way of Dexter, that other show where the sister walked in on her brother-killer, and he eventually died alone -- because how else can stories like these ever end?
We'll have to wait and see, with all the dread.
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Top Image: HBO