Barry: Season 4, “the wizard” – TV Review

“the wizard”

  • Creator: Alec Berg and Bill Hader
  • Starring: Bill Hader, Sarah Goldberg, Stephen Root, Henry Winkler, Anthony Carrigan

Grade: A-

Warning: Reviews of Barry season 4 will include spoilers

It feels like it’s been a long time since we’ve gotten a nail-biting tension-filled episode of Barry, and the wizard delivered from start to finish. After last week’s intensely dark two-hander, this week’s installment resolves some unanswered questions as a result of the time jump. Time may heal all wounds, but not in Barry’s world.

There’s been too many times to recount throughout the series when Barry could have and should have simply walked away from a bad idea. When he resolved in the closing minutes of tricky legacies that he would kill Cousineau, Barry’s fate was already sealed. Sally does her best to appeal to reason, including his newfound faith and his own son’s best interests, but he’s already determined that killing his former mentor is the only solution. The universe even goes so far as to tell Barry that it’s a bad idea, as he cycles through podcast after podcast discussing how sinful it is to kill another person. (Not helping in the slightest, but still hilarious nonetheless, is the half-assed “gun safety awareness” images that the store clerk is mandated to show him.)

Barry; HBO Max

It’s not until Barry approaches Gene’s son’s home and sees his grandson entering that he suddenly has a change of heart. Unfortunately, like most things for Barry, the change is short-lived and he returns later that night. He may have done the world’s best job at keeping himself and Sally hidden, but he still can’t escape from Jim Moss, the one man who’s as laser-focused as he is. If only he could have had a chance to speak to Gene. Turns out he returned from exile not because he wants to help shape the Barry Berkman film, but because he doesn’t want it made at all. He tells Warner Bros. executive that he doesn’t want Barry to be glorified, but perhaps he just doesn’t want to relive that trauma.

My biggest lingering question over the time jump revolved around Hank. Last we saw him, his great love Cristobal had been killed because he wanted to become the lone criminal enterprise in LA. Now he’s achieved what Cristobal wanted all along by becoming legitimate with his company NoHoBal (a supremely stupid name that only Hank could dream up). And he welcomes Fuches, fresh out of prison and sporting a host of new tattoos, with open arms. Stephen Root hasn’t had a great deal to do this season, but he’s phenomenal in the wizard, from his wordless opening transition from prison to his drunken rambling at Hank’s home. I don’t envy anyone involved with the show when deciding who to prioritize most when it comes to the acting categories at this year’s Emmys.

Barry; HBO Max

One unanswered question still remains: who was it that came to the Berkman family hideout? It was short-sighted of Barry to abandon his family after the mysterious knocking last week, leaving Sally and John to fend for themselves. And because of Sally’s disconnect with reality – she knocks out John by slipping him some vodka in his juice after getting daytime drunk herself – they’re left even more vulnerable. Whoever it is apparently just wants to intimidate them, which can be just as frightening to Sally.

After 8 years away, the wizard sees several characters returning to familiar places, only to discover they’re not getting what they came for. Gene thinks his son will welcome him without question, but he’s the first to doubt Gene’s reason for coming back – that Gene inadvertently shot him at the cabin in it takes a psycho probably didn’t help either. Then again, they had only recently rekindled their relationship after another long stint away from each other. Barry blindly sets out for revenge, but what happens after Gene’s dead? And Hank, now a legit businessman with the swanky house in the hills, refuses to listen to Fuches, who sees right through him for the ruthless gangster that he is. Happiness, in one form or another, is what everybody’s been chasing since the beginning of Barry, but nobody seems capable of seeing it when it’s right in front of them.

Barry will air new episodes on HBO Sundays at 10pm

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