Barry – Season 4 Episode 5 “Tricky Legacies” Recap & Review

Tricky Legacies

Okay. So the time jump is actually real. We start around 8 years from the events of episode 4. Sally and Barry are living together with their son John in a house in the middle of nowhere.

Barry takes John to apologize to Travis, another kid who lives the closest to them. He teaches his son about growing and not thinking about hurting other people, which stems from “insecurity.” Barry definitely knows a thing or two about that!

Sally works at a diner and wears a brunette wig. The Country Diner is way into town. Since they are living in disguises, they have changed their names. Sally is known as Emily by her regulars at the diner. Barry has taken the name, Clark. Sally speaks in a Southern accent to further accentuate her character.

Ginny, her colleague at the diner, tells her about how Bevel, another person working there, is attracted to Sally. She seems to have little to no reaction to anything in this episode, indicating this has always been Barry’s fantasy and not hers.

She is incredibly depressed and often comes home heavily drunk. Sally has no interest in this life, but this is where she is at after eight years of living Barry’s fantasy.

Barry is in charge of home tutoring John. In this episode, we see Barry heavily leaning on Abraham Lincoln’s life to inspire John and not allow him to feel imprisoned by his circumstances. He seems to be a natural with the kid and shows John affection. But Sally is completely different and acts like her own mother, not even wanting to sleep with John when he is scared at night.

Barry reprimands Sally for her drinking, and we see their daily routine in the evenings. They sit in opposite sides on the couch and watch content on their laptops. Barry watches educational videos – like that about Lincoln – while Sally is obsessed with Natalie Greer’s significantly dumbed down, generic rendition of her show Joplin.

Barry is particularly interested in a video that “exposes” mainstream heroes celebrated in our culture. He finds a similarity in being flawed like them and the fact that even such seemingly infallible personalities have their weaknesses.

The family also attends church together listening to Mass on a laptop. Barry has become deeply religious and wants John to grow up with similar values. John expresses his concerns about Sally’s mental state but Barry tries to distract him from the issue.

Barry does not want John to mix up too much with other kids. When he notices John had sneaked out to play baseball with Travis – which he had strictly put off limits – Barry shows him violent videos of horrific accidents involving children while playing the game. One day after work, Sally spots Bevel looking seductively at her.

She decides to challenge his “bad-boy” image and goes to another diner with him. Sally chooses to set it straight. Initially, it seems like they are getting intimate in the bathroom but gradually, Sally starts choking Bevel, who grabs hold of her wig.

He is scared to his teeth and promises not to tell anyone about her hair. Barry’s efforts to become a hero in John’s eyes reflect in how he plants his Marine medals and memories for him to find. He begins telling him stories from the battlefield, while also taking away figures like Lincoln and Gandhi from the cultural pedestal to tell John all the “bad things” they did.

That night, things get tense as Barry and Sally hear a knock at the door. He asks Sally to go with John and lay in the bathtub. It turns out to be innocuous kids running around and giggling in the dark. Barry has a stern look on his face. He stands there all night, literally, to make sure there is no threat to his family.

We then go straight to LA after this sequence. Outside the WB building, we also catch a glimpse of Kristen, Sally’s acting student from the last two episodes, now starring in the central role in Megagirls 4.

Gene Cousineau, with his overgrown hair and beard, is back after his exile for almost eight years. He demands an executive to meet with the chairman of WB Studios, to “give them what they want.” Sally distressingly calls Barry by his real name (which John does not know) to show him the news that Gene Cousineau is consulting on a biopic based on Barry’s life. He ominously says, “I have to kill Gene Cousineau now.”

The Episode Review

Our worst fears have come true: Barry is no longer a comedy… but maybe that is a good thing. We will have to see more of this to decisively establish our feelings. The exquisite time jump is bold and it is the sort of thing that can destroy years of hard work, tarnish legacies, and break hearts. But what it does in episode 5 of Barry is expose Barry and Sally’s brokenness.

The brokenness that was long hidden under the guise of narrative and comedy has finally surfaced. Bill Hader strips moviemaking essentials to the bare minimum to reflect the emptiness in our protagonists’ chests. That is why this episode of Barry seems jarring, and arguably the most uniquely detached thirty minutes in the show’s history.

Credit to Hader for staging episode 5 like a play. The absence of the show’s usual creative flair highlighted the cold-pressed drama drenched in realism. The scales are quite balanced and even though it seems Barry is more humane and compassionate with John, there are undercurrents of facetiousness in his love.

Hader and Berg had to know its potential to be divisive and polarize a very consolidated fanbase the show has garnered over the past few years. But they have gone ahead with it anyway.

It is sad and depressing and explodes into life at the death. That ending indicates we might be back to business as usual from the next episode onwards. Barry is real, and the truth is not often the most savoury of things. Let’s hope this culminates into one of the greatest endings in the history of television shows!

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

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