Barry: Season 4, “a nice meal” – TV Review

“a nice meal”

  • 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

What’s remarkable about this penultimate episode of Barry is in how familiar it all feels, to some degree. Obviously the specifics are heightened and there’s a lot at stake for all its major players, but every season that came before this one saw the walls closing in around Barry in ways that seemed inescapable. That’s not to say that a nice meal was a lesser episode of the show, of course. But it leaves me with one question for the series finale – which I’ll get to in a moment – and the answer seems fairly easy.

But first we have to pick up where the wizard left off, with Barry captured by Jim Moss, subjected to whatever mind games he has in store. Hader takes us through Barry’s hopeless state as he thinks he’s on the brink of death and has to atone for everyone he’s wronged. Once again, the show’s visualization of Barry’s purgatory is an inspired visual sequence. In the past it’s been on the beach or some other naturally serene location; in a nice meal it’s some sort of celebratory dinner where everyone is gathered together and Barry is the body-less voice. Thankfully, while apologizing to Gene, Barry mentions the $250,000 – which I had completely forgotten about, to be honest – and this piques Jim’s interest.

Barry; HBO Max

Gene’s arc this season has been nothing short of fascinating, and it takes another characteristic turn here. It was only a matter of time before Gene changed his mind on the Barry Berkman movie, and all it takes is a single phone call from a “manager” telling him that Daniel Day-Lewis will come out of retirement to play sweet old Gene. (There’s absolutely no amount of money I wouldn’t pay to see that.) What makes it so tragic is how inevitable it all is. Gene had a new life, a difficult but renewed relationship with his son, and for all he knew, Barry was gone for good. All Moss had to do was make one phone call, and Gene’s fate was sealed. 

Because the rest of the episode is so dour, I don’t mind the material between Hank and Fuches, which mostly serves as comic relief and as a bridge to get to the showdown in the finale. From the setup and quick payoff of the four assassins to the Wile E. Coyote-esque sequence at Hank’s home, it’s the show’s humor at its best. Will either Hank or Fuches survive the season though?

Barry; HBO Max

Yes, the question of survival will be front and center until the end of next week’s finale. For now, it feels like a fairly simple way forward: Gene will ultimately take the fall for Moss’s murder, paving the way for Barry, Sally, and John to return to life in LA. Of course, Barry has to go through Hank first, but if Hank’s goons can get disposed of by Fuches and his posse with ease, how difficult will it be for Barry? But do we really want to see Barry ride off victoriously into the sunset, or will he ultimately be held accountable for his sins?

Barry will air new episodes on HBO Sundays at 10pm

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