“it takes a psycho”
- Creator: Alec Berg and Bill Hader
- Starring: Bill Hader, Sarah Goldberg, Stephen Root, Henry Winkler, Anthony Carrigan
Warning: Reviews of Barry season 4 will include spoilers
Let’s pour one out for Cristobal, and for Michael Irby, whose presence on Barry was relatively short but was no less impactful. Cristobal may have been conceived in service to Hank, but Irby has been nothing short of great in his time on the show as his role has expanded. And his screen time in it takes a psycho was deeply felt, especially in his final scene as he pleads with Hank to return to decency. “Who are you?” he asks Hank, after Hank rationalizes wiping out the men brought in to their operation – and nearly causing Cristobal’s death, no less – for the sake of establishing their criminal enterprise. But it was never about the crime for Cristobal. His vision of their life together involved organized crime, yes, but it was a life of victimless organized crime. (It doesn’t get more victimless than importing sand.)
Hank’s turn this episode was perhaps unexpected, though maybe it was motivated by the news that Barry is on the loose and possibly coming for him. Anthony Carrigan can nail the show’s humor as well as anyone, but I was struck by how effectively he sells Hank’s turn to darkness as he tries to reason with Cristobal, pleading for him to come back, and eventual resignation at Cristobal’s fate. There are obvious parallels to make between Hank and Cristobal and Barry and Sally, and the ways they wrestle with who they are, what they do, and what that does to their souls. All of this comes to the front in the final scene between Hank and Cristobal when Hank implores Cristobal to stay despite his obviously monstrous behavior.
Now that Cristobal is out of the picture, will Hank turn his sights towards Barry? First he has to find him, of course, and Hader doesn’t appear until the episode’s final minutes. (It’s a testament to how good Barry is that its titular character can disappear for almost an entire episode and it’s still just as great.) Rather, it’s focused mostly on Sally and her new protégé. It’s easy to forget sometimes just how much this show nails its Hollywood satire, and the material on the film set was vintage Barry. Sian Heder appears as herself in an incredibly self-deprecating cameo that goes straight to the heart of the movie-making machine.
Sally wants more than anything to literally be in Kristen’s (Ellyn Jameson) shoes, and by all accounts, she should be. Major kudos to the casting department for casting someone that looks so much like Sally that they could easily be swapped out on the goofy superhero film that Kristen’s shooting. If only Sally’s viral video from last season berating Natalie wasn’t still hanging over her head, stuck in the memories of every agent and director in town. As good as she proves herself to be after Kristen’s breakdown on set, she still can’t catch a break.
Maybe that’s why, after she returns home and instinctively knows Barry’s already there, she raises the idea of going away together, rather than turning him in. Should I be rooting for Sally and Barry to ride off in the sunset together, even though they’re probably terrible for each other? It’s to the show’s credit that I’m rooting for it to happen in spite of all the evidence. And how much stock should we put into it takes a psycho’s coda? Was it another dream sequence, or an indication of a time jump? The barren landscape isn’t too dissimilar from the show’s other dream sequences, so anything is possible. As always with Barry, the answers likely won’t come easily.
Barry will air new episodes on HBO Sundays at 10pm
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