Sally’s Show Goes Live In The Latest Episode Of Barry

Here's a fun fact: the second-season premiere of HBO's hit show "Barry" first aired on March 31, 2019, with its finale airing in May of that year. So it's been three years, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, since this show aired regularly. And while it makes perfect sense that "Barry" would not incorporate the pandemic into its storyline, the show also isn't doing a ton of hand-holding for its audience in season three about even the tiniest details from previous seasons. Three years after season two, you may remember that Barry Berkman (Bill Hader) is a hitman/actor in Los Angeles trying to get out of the business of death, but the details within that struggle are harder to recall. But episodes like "all the sauces" are very clear proof that you kind of need to recall those details. (Or, at the very least, the "previously on" montage needs to help you recall those details. I'm watching this via a screener website with no recaps, so I'd be curious to see what HBO shares in advance of this episode.)

For example: do you remember how "Barry" began? I don't mean the broad strokes of Barry heading to Los Angeles for the first time and how he gets into the world of acting. I mean the literal first minute of the first episode of the series. You can be forgiven for forgetting, but it's important to refresh your memory, because it's how "all the sauces" begins, just from a different angle. In the pilot episode, we began with Barry having finished killing a man in a hotel room. In this episode, we begin with that man's wife (Annabeth Gish) talking to him about their teenage son's pitching performance at a recent baseball game and an upcoming dinner reservation, before he hangs up and is shot. In the present, that woman looks understandably a lot less happy with her lot in life so that when the doorbell rings, she's potentially receptive to the man on the other side: a private investigator who calls himself Kenneth Goulet, but who we know as Fuches (Stephen Root).

But only potentially: after the title card, she quickly shuts him down, having apparently heard him at least suggest that the cops may have failed to correctly identify the killer. Her son Kyle (Alexander MacNicoll) is more intrigued, after shepherding Fuches out the door and finding out that "I know who killed your dad." That whole "vengeance army" idea from the end of last week's episode looks like it's getting brought to life quickly, and starts out as creepily as it sounds with two perfectly innocent people possibly being swayed to the dark side.

Pissing Off The Wrong Guy

At the Cousineau house, Gene (Henry Winkler) is on the defensive after punching Barry last week on the set of "Laws of Humanity," looking out the window and expecting the bringer of death any minute. "I pissed off the wrong guy," he says. "Dad, you do that every day," Leo replies. (One thing I will note: in rewatching the first two seasons of this show prior to season three, I feel like this one is leaning a bit harder on the idea that Gene was a real piece of trash in the decades prior to being an acting teacher. It's ... an interesting notion that only feels extreme now because of how lightly handled it was previously.) Though Gene wants to leave town, he's greeted at the door by his agent Tom (Fred Melamed), who says that somehow ... well, the producers loved what he did on "Laws of Humanity," and they want him back for additional scenes. "That show is huge! It gets, like, a 1.6 in the demo!" Again, "Barry" knows how to cut deep with its industry satire, at least for anyone who pays attention to the steady decline of network TV ratings.

Barry, meanwhile, has returned to NoHo Hank (Anthony Carrigan) after glumly committing to killing the Bolivian army led by Fernando (Miguel Sandoval), the father-in-law of Cristobal (Michael Irby). He is, however, a bit dismayed to learn that he's meant to kill them via bomb, and also that it's a "them" and not a "he." After NoHo Hank sets Barry up with a detonation app — turning on all the key things like photo access and location services, because duh — he shows him the location of the unsteady bomb: at the far edge of a parking lot to be collected, even as it continues to make very strange and ominous ticking noises. As tenuous as Barry's fate is ... well, it's early in the season's fourth episode, so he's not about to bite the big one, carefully picking up the box and leaving with it.

Sally (Sarah Goldberg), meanwhile, is getting ready for the big premiere of her show "Joplin," both getting fitted and dictating her speech to her now-assistant Natalie (D'Arcy Carden) while struggling to figure out the right note to strike. (This, at least, allows for Carden to get to do some goofy voices as Natalie fails to grasp that Sally is trying to write a speech talking about how she's come so far since her Midwestern youth, not some random girl in the sticks.)

Though Gene has Tom take him to a local store to buy new luggage after his bags collapsed under the weight of all his clothes when packing to leave town, he's surprised to meet an old frenemy of his: Joe Mantegna (as himself). Or maybe it's just an old enemy, as Mantegna brusquely notes: "I'm the one violating my restraining order against you, hotshot." But that brusqueness aside, Mantegna is there to start burying the hatchet thanks to what Gene did for Barry. As was briefly noted in last week's episode without a detailed explanation, what Gene did for "that vet" got him written up in Variety. "Barry Berkman was once a wooden soldier, but thanks to Gene Cousineau, he's a real boy," Tom reads in shock (shock that is coupled with Gene's own). Mantegna, obviously not knowing the real story, is impressed at Gene's seeming kindness and invites Gene over to an upcoming dinner so they can get fully squared. Though Tom sees this as a light at the end of the tunnel, Gene is firm in saying that he has to leave town.

But really, it's Barry who should consider leaving town, because Fuches — as Kenneth Goulet — is still on the warpath. After starting to lead the mother and son from the start to the dark side, he's going to his next prey, the father (Michael Bofshever) of Ryan Madison, the acting student Barry killed in the pilot episode. Ryan's dad notes that the official police explanation in the season-one finale — that the young man was killed by the Chechen mob — made no sense. Fuches, with the benefit of full knowledge, says that Barry pinned the death on the mob but did the deed: "He took your son's life. Now he's living your son's dream." And if the threat of Ryan's dad wasn't enough, we quickly realize that Fuches has given Barry's address to both sets of vengeance soldiers, including that aforementioned mother and son. Uh-oh.

Press To Detonate

The more pressing uh-oh for Barry is that he's about to bomb the hell out of the Bolivians via the safe house where Cristobal lives. After giving a hefty wad of cash to the pair of little girls selling lemonade across the street (and also failing to understand, via a phone call, that Sally's speech about a little girl in the sticks is about herself), he wedges himself in the crawl space underneath the house to place the very iffy bomb in the right spot. That's the good news. The bad news? Well, that detonation app — even with its very handy big red button above which there is text reading "Press to Detonate" — doesn't work. And though it's an extremely funny scene, Barry's call with technical support, in which the perky customer-service rep asks if he's turned on his Bluetooth, seems to go nowhere.

And, oh, by the way: though Barry doesn't notice, Cristobal walks into the house to find that his fellow Bolivians are far from leaving. As I expected (and you may well have too), his father-in-law Fernando has some concerns to discuss with him. "I came [to LA] because I had a feeling you've been disloyal to my daughter," he states gravely. As we see one of the other Bolivians hear the strange noises of the bomb from below the house, Fernando reveals he's had Cristobal followed, so he knows about his relationship with NoHo Hank. (The episode's title is made clear here, as Fernando reads from a text Hank sent him about his fellow Chechens going to Buffalo Wild Wings " try all the sauces.") Fernando, who was never too impressed with Cristobal's mental toughness, gives his son-in-law two choices: either Fernando kills Cristobal or Cristobal kills Hank. Cristobal says he won't kill Hank, but as Fernando orders his men — who are now very suspicious of those noises under the floor — to get their guns, our boy Cristobal makes a dash for it.

Good thing, too, because Barry's call with tech support worked. See, he had to turn the Wi-Fi off and then ... well, as his user name says "Berkman goes boom." More specifically, the house explodes and leaves him covered in debris. Before he can drive his car, cracked windows and all, away, he's presented with the sight of a very dazed and injured Cristobal in the middle of the road. Barry does the rightest possible thing, bringing Cristobal to NoHo Hank's house, where he's received with both money and very genuine gratitude from our favorite Chechen.

And that's not the only right possible thing that Barry does. Now that he has his new luggage, Gene is ready to get his son and grandson out of Los Angeles, but he's stunned to see Barry and the cash from the Bolivian job in his house. Though Gene begs for his family's safety, he's surprised to find that Barry has not turned to vengeance himself after getting punched. He apologizes for taking Gene hostage and gives him the money. "After tonight, you never have to see me again." Gene doesn't get to find out much more, as Barry escapes the house. But now that means we might get to see more Mantegna! 

An Important Heart-To-Heart

Sally, even as she waits for Barry to arrive at the premiere, is understandably overwhelmed by the gala and does her best to answer the various questions from red-carpet reporters and smile at compliments like "You don't look nearly old enough to have an abused daughter!" As Natalie and her agent try to cheer her up by reporting that the show has a 98 on Rotten Tomatoes and "Pam!" only has a 27 (but what's the Metacritic score?), Sally is introduced by her young co-star Katie (Elsie Fisher) as being brutally honest with herself, a point worth remembering for the moment. Sally stumbles through the setup of her speech, as the whole "98 on Rotten Tomatoes" thing hits her to the round of applause from the crowd. That leads to the best bit of acting in the entirety of "all the sauces," as Sarah Goldberg reminds us all once again why she deserved the Emmy nomination three years ago, and why she'll likely deserve another one this year. It's not just the critical raves that hit her, but seemingly all of the hoopla, as she breaks down slightly in tears while also trying to maintain a big smile on her face.

Eventually, she recovers to thank Gene, her agent, and even Barry, but that latter thank-you is the breaking point for Katie. After Sally goes backstage to celebrate, Katie cuts to the point: "Sally, you're dating a violent guy." Though Sally tries to shrug it off, by saying he was "in a mood" when he shouted at her in the writers' room, Katie says she doesn't want to see her co-star get hurt. A bit later, Barry arrives and realizes he missed the big event. "Barry, we're done," Sally says, but not because of him missing the premiere as much as ... well, the whole episode from two weeks ago.

Though Barry ends the episode about as alone as you can get, that's not where we end. No, we're back with Kyle and his mother, as they take one more step towards enacting Fuches' grand vision of revenge (without quite realizing why). They're at a gun shop, speaking in hushed tones about who should do the deed before eventually buying a Glock from the very bored owner.

The question here is less about whether or not Barry will eventually end up dead — my own personal theory (and it's not based on anything coming in future episodes) is that this series has to end with his death. Though considering Barry's failing-upwards status in the industry, I suppose the flip side is that he becomes a more successful actor? (It just seems hard to square with his very dark deeds that he continues to pursue.) It's asking when Barry is going to grasp what's going on regarding Fuches, who he's spoken with only briefly this season.

The most unnerving part about this subplot is that the vengeance army is no doubt going to get larger — even in these three seasons, we've seen Barry kill plenty of people, who left behind loved ones likely ready to go to war against him. What's it going to look like when he grasps the danger he's in? It's interesting to consider that with the primarily disturbing but still sharp "all the sauces", we're at the halfway point of season three (and that, at least from previous interviews, Hader has said that a fourth season has been written). Halfway through the season, the Barry/Gene storyline seems temporarily resolved, and Sally is taking steps to back away from Barry. Where does that leave our antihero? I wonder.


  • Among the words that people have used to describe Gene in the past: "...volatile, toxic, abusive, malignant, a scrub, a dope, a dummy, a loser, a c**ksucker..." How wrong is it to wonder what Winkler could do with that version of Gene, not just the avuncular one?

  • "Your password is 'SuddenlySeymour1985' but the S's are all dollar signs." Of course NoHo Hank loves "Little Shop of Horrors." But then, who doesn't? (Does the year denote his birth? Because the film adaptation was in 1986, as I am sure film buff Hader knows.)

  • "I didn't even know they do this at premieres!" Sally says as she's played off during her own rambling speech. It happens everywhere in Hollywood, I guess!

  • If you presume that the vengeance army is limited to anyone Barry killed during this series, who's next? (And how will we revisit Ryan's dad?) And who's most bloodthirsty? Fuches already tried his hand — in a way — with Gene at the end of the second season and it went pear-shaped. Otherwise, I'd have said Gene might be near the top of the list.

  • One last thought re: Gene and Barry. It's heartening to see Barry try to genuinely rectify the recent error of his ways, apologizing to Gene for his awful behavior and paying him off. (And no doubt, the payoff is intended to make Gene shrug the kidnapping off.) But it's a little surprising, perhaps because Barry keeps a quieter guise this week, to see such a rapid change. That said, I prefer penitent Barry to "kidnapping a beloved character actor" Barry. So ... yay?

Read this next: 20 Movies About Time Travel Ranked Worst To Best

The post Sally's Show Goes Live In The Latest Episode of Barry appeared first on /Film.

Older Post Newer Post