Barry: it takes a psycho
May 1, 2023 11:02 AM - Season 4, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Barry's breakout looms over everyone around him. Sally coaches her new protegé. The Chechens' reappearance threatens Hank and Cristobal's new business venture.
posted by ellieBOA (32 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Apparently it's an 8 year time jump at the end of the episode, and it's for real.
posted by whuppy at 11:12 AM on May 1, 2023 [4 favorites]

Barry Recap: Knowing Too Much [Vulture / Archive]
posted by ellieBOA at 11:40 AM on May 1, 2023

Oh god, when they first opened the door to the sand silo I went into a full body cringe. Maybe sand packs more firmly than grain, but everything I've heard about terrible silo suffocation accidents ran through my mind.
posted by maudlin at 11:51 AM on May 1, 2023 [8 favorites]

Poor Cristobal.
posted by chavenet at 3:40 PM on May 1, 2023 [3 favorites]

There's some great stuff in this week's after episode podcast on The Ringer with Bill Hader and Sean Fennessey.


There's a conscious choice not to use music in the episode.

Every time you hear the helicopter, it's Barry.

Ali Wong came up with the title for Mega-Girl (sidebar - her and Bill are currently dating).

The writers fought Bill on what to do with Cristobal.

Worth listening to the whole thing.

The silo thing terrified me so much.
posted by toastyk at 3:47 PM on May 1, 2023

Some great cinematography with Sally is doing the line reading as the camera moves to eclipse her client. A nice little filip of visual storytelling to underline the transition from coaching to auditioning.
posted by whuppy at 4:07 PM on May 1, 2023 [3 favorites]

The silo thing terrified me so much.

That was something else. I can't imagine being the stunt coordinator or production assistant who has to figure out how to safely bury half a dozen actors in sand on camera.
posted by peeedro at 6:24 PM on May 1, 2023 [3 favorites]

Oof, that was rough. That moment when Hank broke down on the couch, I was waiting for him to call someone to kill Cristobal. It was such a wrench to realize he knew it was already happening.

And a time jump! I actually thought it was a flashback -- until I realized they were arguing about Call of Duty, which Barry's childhood would pre-date. Judging by the contents of the refrigerator, Barry and Sally are maybe...not great parents.
posted by grandiloquiet at 7:17 PM on May 1, 2023 [5 favorites]

the camera moves to eclipse her client

I read that as Sally herself deliberately stepping to the side to block out Kristen - which makes all the difference.
posted by Paul Slade at 12:10 AM on May 2, 2023 [5 favorites]

The sand silo scene was the most Gen X bit of television ever. IDK, I have a deep rooted fear of quicksand, because my childhood media made it seem like that shit was everywhere. All the other graphic violence was cake compared to that scene. I gasped out loud, jaw agape, and felt a primal terror. Legit no other scene affected me so deeply. I think the only thing that would affect me more would be someone getting stuck in an old refrigerator. I don’t usually enjoy shows where everyone is awful (Seinfeld, It’s Always Sunny, etc) but this hits on my generational trauma in a very relatable way.
posted by Ruki at 12:15 AM on May 2, 2023 [4 favorites]

I thought the most grim moment was when Gene shoots his son.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:27 AM on May 2, 2023 [7 favorites]

Poor Leo!
posted by ellieBOA at 2:21 AM on May 2, 2023

Hank was anxious all episode. We are led to believe it is because of Barry.... But in the end it is was the Chechen's plan and Cristobal's reaction to it that had him worried.

Such good writing and acting.
posted by Pendragon at 6:37 AM on May 2, 2023 [6 favorites]

Argh!! All I wanted was for Cristobal and Hank to have a nice life. The first part of the episode where they reward the fellow gang/group? people with music and gambling and so on, becomes a bit more dark when you realize Hank saw it as a last meal before an execution. I had a premonition something horrible would happen the moment Hank insistently asked Cristobal to leave the silo, but Cristobal lingered. I loved the direction of the camera going down into the dark, providing us Cristobal's point of view, from what he saw, and also, what he heard. When Hank comes rushing in to save him, it creates an incongruity for later, though.

When Cristobal was leaving, and Hank kept repeating "you know too much!" it was clear that Cristobal was a dead man walking. Not to mention, the Chechen's warning, "so long as you're part of Hank's family, you're one of us." I kept waiting for him to be shot on screen in the background as Hank refused to leave the house, and here is where this doesn't match up with the silo scene. Hank was willing to dash into the silo where he could have been pulled under himself into the sand to save Cristobal. BUT, he couldn't just say, "Cristobal, the Chechens are out there, right now, and they will kill you if you leave." Surely Cristobal would've stayed, furious and angry with Hank, but he would've stayed a prisoner in the house until he could figure something out. For me, this meant the scene really was the writer's way of removing Cristobal from the story and doing so against Hank's character. Anthony Carrigan did a fantastic job with dealing with the grief.

I did appreciate the initial misdirection that Pendragon pointed out, I was convinced Hank was fretting about Barry, not his renewed business acquaintances.

I was a bit confused, how much of Hank's actions were because he really wanted to be setup as an LA kingpin, or how much of it was the Chechens basically telling him he needed to fall in line or get knocked off? Again, this is information that Hank could have shared with Cristobal from the get go, and Cristobal rightfully called Hank out on it for not telling him in advance.

I have little sympathy for Gene, but damn, his son. The kid was trying to do something nice for his dad and gets several rounds in the abdomen.

Sally's attempt to scoop the role from her student was sublime Sally and the direction to have Sally literally stand in the visual space between the director and the student was fantastic.

Fuches' ascendancy to actually becoming the Raven was an interesting twist.

I was expecting Barry to get the drop on Moss, but I'm speculating that Moss will be the one who figures out where Barry and Sally are leaving in our jump forward in time. Wherever people farm dirt, that is. I accept that this was a creative decision to make it clear they're leaving in the middle of nowhere, but gah, it's like they dropped a house in the middle of a dry lake bed. So weird. I also feel horrible for the kid.

But jumping back, it was a bit of surprise that Sally, being pitched by the agent on making $70k a film, and being told she'd have access to all the directors/producers, and have a real chance to make a come back...just walked away with Barry. "You make me feel safe." It's clear that Sally grew up in a household where she never felt protected, so to speak, and had the horribly abusive boyfriend, but the motivation to feel safe rising as something more important than pursuing her dreams is not necessarily a great one?
posted by Atreides at 6:58 AM on May 2, 2023 [2 favorites]

I read that as Sally herself deliberately stepping to the side to block out Kristen - which makes all the difference.

Good blocking, good camera setup. Reverse shot as she turns around. Sally sidesteps to eclipse and the camera moves at the same time. Pure craftsmanship!
posted by whuppy at 10:19 AM on May 2, 2023 [5 favorites]

Despite the farcical trappings, Sally's characterization is so painfully real that I'm now wincing every time she's on the screen.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:04 AM on May 2, 2023 [2 favorites]

Even by Barry standards, that was fucking dark.
posted by essexjan at 11:57 AM on May 2, 2023 [8 favorites]

There's something so horrifying to me -- and frankly heartbreaking -- in seeing that a straight couple could maybe find a way out of this fucked-up life together, but not a gay couple.

Sally's decision, to me, meant 2 things:

1. Barry can't just let her walk away because Sally knows too much. So, either he'll have to kill her, or if he goes back to prison, other people will just keep coming after her for the rest of her life and try to use her as leverage to get to Barry.

2. She already tried to make her own acting dreams come true and basically burned her career to the ground before it took off. Her second attempt at branching out (teaching Cousineau's class) also flamed out spectacularly, too. Sally no longer trusts her own instincts, or her alleged talent for acting.

At this point I have no idea how this series is going to end. But to me, it's done a great job of going from "is Barry a bad person, or a good person who's being manipulated into doing bad things?" to "Everyone on this show is probably a bad person who occasionally does good things, but for the wrong reasons."

We all know that there are no real good guys or bad guys in life; everyone falls somewhere along a moral gray spectrum. Barry and Better Call Saul have done an exceptional job of showing us funny, charming villains we could identify with and even root for, despite their otherwise monstrous behavior.

IMO, this is one of the best-written shows to ever air on TV.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 12:29 PM on May 2, 2023 [9 favorites]

I'm getting very scared for everybody.

I love the (still maybe metaphorical? but probably real?) time jump. Two of my favorite series ever (not mentioning names to avoid potential spoilers) found a way to make it work, and it can be so impactful.
posted by vverse23 at 12:59 PM on May 2, 2023 [2 favorites]

I like that Sally's decision at the end to just fuck off with Barry tracks really well with her character. She wasn't lying when she said she felt safe with Barry, as fucked up as it is. And she was clearly done with acting and the carousel of fame. Like yeah, she could sign with that agent, work her way through her PR disaster, get a role or two, but ultimately even if she could control her narcissistic impulses, the experience with Banshee showed that her success as an actor is almost entirely out of her control. She saw the choices that were honestly before her, and made a call.
posted by dry white toast at 3:10 PM on May 2, 2023 [4 favorites]

But jumping back, it was a bit of surprise that Sally, being pitched by the agent on making $70k a film, and being told she'd have access to all the directors/producers, and have a real chance to make a come back...just walked away with Barry.

Between the director's response to her "audition" and the agent's offer, she was being told that it was never going to happen for her. Her dream was over. At that moment, running away with Barry was better than staying to help other people achieve what she never could.

I guess we'll find out how that works out for her.

Did Cristobal know what leaving meant? I think he did, and he walked out the door anyway.
posted by betweenthebars at 6:11 PM on May 2, 2023 [3 favorites]

I don’t think I have ever been so literally slack-jawed at the end of a show. Amazing.

I think I get Sally’s break at the end, it’s when the agent refers to her as the “untitled vagina woman” instead of the entitled cunt girl. It’s like, she hates being recognized as that, and even more, the asshole can’t even get that right. You can almost see something fall off the shelf inside her soul when that scene, and Sally’s character, take a big pivot.

But then, THEN! We see her at the table in a bathrobe and a head wrap (was that a towel after a shower? a scarf covering hair loss?) in that modified double wide in what looks like Oklahoma. The cheap Chardonnay in the fridge, you can only imagine what she now thinks of that snap decision she made eight years ago.

So fucking bleak, all of it. Amazing.
posted by slogger at 6:23 PM on May 2, 2023 [4 favorites]

This episode was So Much. I feel like a recurring question I’ve been asking myself this season is “is Fuches a piece of shit?” Going into this season, I felt confident about answering yes but now I am less sure. It is funny that he earned the other prisoners’ respect by not ratting out Barry, a thing he could not do.

Cristobal is no stranger to this world. I think he knew what leaving meant. Hank broke his heart. He had already had all of his buddies killed once before.

In the Barry podcast, Bill Hader said he told Sarah Goldberg that saying goodbye to Kristen was saying goodbye to acting.

I knew it wasn’t Barry at Gene’s door but I didn’t guess Leo. He’s one of the few (the only?) character in the show who hadn’t done something messed up.
posted by kat518 at 6:27 PM on May 2, 2023 [1 favorite]

What does it say about Barry that he wasn’t thinking of vengeance when he escaped, that he went for Sally? Has our guy changed? Kidding, kidding. Or am I?
posted by kat518 at 6:32 PM on May 2, 2023 [2 favorites]

It feels like Barry is too depressed to do anything as proactive as "get revenge." Maybe if Sally had told him to go hang? But even then, I don't know. He's a guy who doesn't mind violence, but I don't think he would've gotten into the killing business without the military and Fuches to get him started.
posted by grandiloquiet at 7:57 PM on May 2, 2023 [1 favorite]

One more thought I had, maybe others shared this idea, too.

Did anyone else think the flash-forward was actually a FLASHBACK? And that we were going to see Young Barry do some serial killer type shit, like threaten to kill a kid he was roughhousing with out in the yard?

My first thought in seeing what appears to be Barry and Sally's son was, "Oh this must be Young Barry getting his ass kicked for killing a neighbor's pet/doing something fucked up and violent. That would tell us he's ALWAYS been this way -- Fuches was just the fulcrum that shifted his lever into Permanent Murderer for Hire mode."
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 7:12 AM on May 3, 2023 [3 favorites]

in that modified double wide in what looks like Oklahoma.

That is obviously not Oklahoma. Our dirt is a completely different color.
posted by Quonab at 4:46 PM on May 3, 2023 [5 favorites]

Metafilter: Our dirt is a completely different color.
posted by Paul Slade at 11:26 PM on May 3, 2023 [4 favorites]

Bill Hader Just Wants To Make Weird Things (New Yorker).
posted by Paul Slade at 8:18 AM on May 7, 2023 [1 favorite]

Excellent interview! Archive link.
posted by ellieBOA at 10:13 AM on May 7, 2023

Did Cristobal know what leaving meant? I think he did, and he walked out the door anyway.

Hank: “You can’t leave!”

There are two readings of that, and Carrigan got both of them into each delivery.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:24 AM on May 19, 2023 [1 favorite]

Great episode, watching it much later.

I think when your mobster boyfriend who has just murdered a bunch of dudes literally around you and invited an international gang renowned for mass violence into your home says "you can't leave, you know too much" multiple times in a conversation, it's pretty obvious what's going to happen if you leave.

Whether Cristobal believed Hank would go through with it is another question, but it was as close as Hank could get to saying The Thing and not being able to bear saying The Thing, knowing Cristobal and knowing he'd leave anyway.
posted by Shepherd at 4:22 PM on June 19, 2023

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