Barry – Season 4 Episode 1 “yikes” Recap & Review


The news about Barry’s arrest is broadcast on national television as episode 1 of Barry season 4 begins. We see prison officers watching the news as Barry is brought to their block. Despite hearing that he is a cop killer, they are excited to see him and wish to “service him” in any way possible.

DA Buckner and Chief Krauss are present with Gene Cousineau in the press conference briefing the press. Barry has been arrested in relation to Janice’s murder and an attempt to kill James Moss, Janice’s father.

The first phone call Barry makes is to Gene, who is still at the conference. Barry’s tone is one of being terrified and misunderstood, as he tries to explain he went to the house to protect Gene. It is a feeble attempt to win back his favour and not detach himself from the idea that Gene does not “love him anymore.” Gene once again says what he said in the last season’s finale; “I got you.”

Sally is going back to Joplin, Missouri. When she lands, her phone explodes with messages and notifications. Lindsay, Sally’s talent agent, calls her and informs Sally that Barry has been arrested. Upon hearing the news, it is almost like Sally goes into shock and has a panic attack in her mother Claudia’s car, while the latter calmly places a food order.

Claudia’s reaction- or lack thereof – indicates that she has experienced this before and knows how Sally would be in its aftermath. It also shows how neglected Sally’s needs and problems have been by her mother, which adds to the trauma we know she has already been through.

Her panic attack is a visceral moment in the episode. Fuches watches Barry walk by him in astonishment. He has been placed in the same cell block as Fuches, and that scares the life out of him. He contacts the FBI and Agent Harris (for PTA fans, we distinctly remember him as the guy Daniel Plainview threatened to kill). Harris agrees to provide him with protection and “a new life” if he wears a wire and gets Barry to confess to other murders.

Buckner is impressed by Gene’s work and assures him that his family will be safe now. We learn that NoHo Hank and Cristobal, who escaped from the clutches of death in the last season, have taken shelter in Santa Fe. They are currently staying in a rental and learn from the house owner that there is a serious shortage of reliable build-quality sand in the region. Cristobal suggests to Hank that they start a new business and achieve the goals they set out to achieve when they first came to America.

Sally learns her room has been converted into her father’s “man cave,” as Barry calls her next and is only able to say “I love you” before Sally violently cuts the call. Barry is in the prison courtyard and remembers the first time he met Sally on the stairs outside the theatre.

Gene walks by him like he did all those years ago, while Barry is trying to tune his reality out and recontextualize his life, remembering the good bits. He is delusional and a glimpse of Fuches brings him out of it.

Fuches makes a terrible attempt to be surreptitious and get a confession but Barry is nonchalant. He laments he ever joined the acting class and “tried to understand himself.” That was disastrous for his life. He apologizes to Fuches and walks away.

James visits Gene, whose Masterclass program has been a massive success. Both men swear each other to secrecy over Barry’s case when James mentions Lon O’Neill, a reputed journalist from Variety, contacted him.

Joe, Sally’s father, is bizarrely cheery despite knowing that Sally’s ex-boyfriend went to jail for murder. It just gives more credibility to Sally’s complex past and how much suffering she has gone through on her own with no parental support emotionally. The family watches Sally’s Joplin episodes but the parents have an uninspiring reaction. They do not realize how Sally has dramatized her trauma and their neglect of her. They are more concerned with petty details, as Claudia says she will have to tell Sam’s mother that Sally used his real name in the series.

Sam is Sally’s abusive ex-boyfriend who tried to kill her. Hank has a nightmare about the time he was held prisoner in Bolivia and calls Barry. But when he does not pick up the phone, Hank disconnects the call in terror. Barry has a Travis Bickel moment in the bathroom as he talks to himself in the mirror and reprimands himself by constantly slapping his own face.

Officer Birdwell tries to make him feel better but Barry intimidates him and calls himself a “cop killer,” which greatly upsets Birdwell. He closes the door and brutally assaults Barry.

Barry has already switched off and remembers the time he ran freely in a huge field. Fuches walks in and cradles a bloody Barry in his arms. They reaffirm their love for each other and we are back to square one. Gene has been calling Lon as a stranger, asking him to contact Gene who will tell him “all about Barry Berkman.”

The Episode Review

Barry’s season 4 makes a fantastic start with episode 1. We have directly picked up from the aftermath of Barry’s arrest. The existential undertones from the last season have also been carried into this series. Barry’s disillusioned mental state exposes his frailties and the absence of people he has loved so intensely in the last few years.

There is a lot to unpack here in terms of Barry’s changed sensibilities, but with Fuches at hand, it will be hard. The two have a spitting camaraderie and bizarrely took each other’s tutelage once again.

Sally’s Joplin visit was a jarring ode to the truth about her life. Perhaps we can finally stop and find some compassion for a character who has pretty much been unlikeable since the last season.

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You can read our full season review for Barry season 4 here!

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