Barry season 3, episode 2 further establishes how far our protagonist is willing to go to convince himself he’s still a good man, even if he has to do bad.
Episode 2, “Limonada,” starts out with a pretty clever one-shot where we see the camera stay with Barry (Bill Hader) while he waits for a couple of burgers for him and Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler), and then follows him into the parking lot where he opens his trunk where he has Cousineau captive. It is such a simple set-up, but it says so much about the world the show lives in, where a man is literally being held hostage yet nobody sees nor cares about it happening, even though it is pretty noticeable that Gene is in danger. It’s comedy like this that makes Barry as funny as it is; it doesn’t rely on “edgy jokes,” it’s situational comedy where something is so ridiculous it is oddly charming. Another great example of the series taking an incredibly dark scenario and finding the comedy in it without being offensive, just like we talked about last week.
From here, Barry goes to visit Sally (Sarah Goldberg) and interrupts a screenwriting meeting where he demands her to give Cousineau a role in her brand new show, as we learn that this is his plan to make Gene forgive him for the whole Janice (Paula Newsome) situation. Things escalate rather quickly when she refuses to, despite loving Gene as a mentor herself, resulting in Barry going off on Sally in front of her co-workers, assistants and co-star Katie (Elsie Fisher), and pinning her against the wall in a violent manner. Once again, we are shown where Barry’s mental state is in season 3. He spent most of season 2 trying to prove he is not one of the bad guys, comforting Sally for her traumatic past with her toxic ex-husband and encouraging her to open up about it, and now he is treating her like the same people he swore to keep her safe from. A development that might prove our theory from last week right regarding where their relationship is going.
Meanwhile with NoHo Hank (Anthony Carrigan), he and Cristobal (Michael Irby) are planning to sneak around to see each other in this “forbidden” love affair they find themselves in. Their plans are disturbed when Cristobal’s father-in-law arrives at his home unannounced to deal with the Chechens, Hank’s men, after their competitive rivalry in season 2. Here, we really get to dive into a portion of Cristobal’s psyche and how he’s been living in the closet, hiding his sexuality from his family because he would be judged for it. We don’t really know much about Cristobal, season 2 not really giving him much character work, but it is appreciated that is being corrected in season 3. In an attempt to save Hank and his men from his father-in-law’s personal army after sending them to Hank’s facilities to kill him, we get a genuinely heartbreaking scene between Cristobal and Hank where they are forced to part ways in order to keep each other safe from the job they chose to live for.
Last week Katie didn’t get to do much as she was barely being introduced as a new cast member, but episode 2 might imply what her role may be in season 3. After seeing Barry verbally abuse Sally in front of others, including Katie herself, she proposes to female crew members on the show to do something about what they saw earlier that same day. They refuse as they don’t consider what Barry did to be problematic, on top of not wanting to get in trouble and trying to stay silent in order to keep their jobs. This is particularly ironic since the series Sally is trying to bring to life is about women standing up to abuse, yet people working on said show won’t do anything about abuse when they see it. While this is happening, Sally is seen stressed out trying to keep her work together as she gets the news that her show’s deadline has been tampered with after a rival series with a similar topic tries to compete with Sally’s series, making things only more complicated for her.
After his encounter with Sally, we follow Barry on his journey to get Mr. Cousineau a role on any significant project currently in development. The casting director refuses to help Gene in any sort of way after his infamous behavior on sets, but offers Barry the opportunity to read for a role in an upcoming TV show. He accepts, as being an actor is still a passion of his, and once he gets to his appointment for his audition he gives the producers of the show an emotional speech to convince them to give Cousineau a part in the project as a demonstration that second chances do exist. Somehow he does get Gene and himself cast in the show, leading Barry to give Sally a call in excitement. Again, we see how slowly the show tries to tell us that maybe we shouldn’t be as invested in their relationship as we used to be in the first two seasons, since we’re shown Sally apologizing to Barry for something she didn’t do. Without realizing, she’s going back to adopting the same behavior she used to have in her past marriage where she would blame herself for their arguments, which is not healthy at all. Barry lets her know he got a part in the show along with Cousineau, but as he does this he realizes Gene has escaped from his car’s trunk.
After a hilarious game of cat and mouse, Mr. Cousineau is chased down by multiple dogs and Barry gets in a car accident trying to catch him before he is able to escape for good. Barry season 3, episode 2 ends ends with a sinister final sequence as we see Gene get back to Leo’s (Andrew Leeds) home yelling at his son to call the police in paranoia, but it is too late. Barry arrived at his home before Cousineau did as he is playing the good guy explaining to Leo how they both got a job in a new show. He threatens Gene to not say a word about the information he knows about Barry’s involvement in Janice’s murder once Leo leaves the room, or else he will kill both Cousineau’s son and grandson. In a last unsettling moment, Barry asks Gene to tell him that he too loves him as a son, almost as a way to reassure himself that what he is doing is for the better good for everybody involved.
We talked about Barry nearing the point of no return in his character arc last week, when we discussed the first episode of season 3, and this might just be part of that big event. Barry is no longer thinking straight, either for himself or for those who he allegedly loves, he is basing all of his decisions in drastical moments of weakness where he is allowing his irrational emotions and anxiety tell him what to do because he wants to have his cake and eat it too. He wants to live a life as a good guy without atoning for those who he’s wronged. Let’s just hope this doesn’t result in him getting somebody else killed, which might just bury him into a darker hole than the one he already is in.
Season 3 Episode of Barry is now available to watch on HBO Max.