The following contains spoilers for barry S3E2, “limonada” (written by Bill Hader & Alec Berg and directed by Bill Hader)
So it turns out that Barry’s plan to mend his relationship with Gene Cousineau (knowing that he murdered his girlfriend) is to…get him a part in a TV show.
It’s ridiculous, sure, and the humor is apparent in the abstract, but I can’t say the joke landed well for me personally. (I thought it was funny, but I didn’t really laugh). Maybe he landed better for you.
“limonada” is full of funnier little moments that don’t quite connect to the main story: the shock on the faces of the little girls selling lemonade; the breakup scene involving a woman with too many dogs (as Gene is attacked by said dogs in the background); a woman talking on the phone about a bad date who ordered milk at dinner…
And then there’s the running joke that everyone in the industry has decided that Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler) is persona non gratawhich is all the funnier when you think about all of his smug behavior during the show’s first two seasons.
Either way, as S3E2 progresses, it becomes increasingly clear that Barry (Bill Hader) is out of whack. Maybe he always was, or at least he turned it upside down a bit, but here he clung to the obsession that involving Gene will settle things so tightly that we close with him threatening to kill Gene’s family if Gene doesn’t act like the plan worked.
Do you love me, Monsieur Cousineau? […] Say it again.
So there’s a pressing question of whether we can still cheer Barry on, though perhaps the better question is whether we should ever have cheered on a guy who committed such heinous murders. It’s unfair, of course, insofar as we encouraged him to reform, genuinely, but with “limonada”, that possibility seems well and truly gone.
Instead, it’s even more broken, and if barry has from the beginning explored the boundary between acting (pretending) and being, or pretending and truth, we now see how Barry insists that truth lies at the level of appearance in a way that detaches itself from the reality. Acting allows him to (pretend) to be someone else, and may have presented a doorway to actually becoming someone else within himself, but instead Barry fell into the wrong faith, unable or unwilling to confront. He cannot live in the truth.
More specifically, however, barry was never really about rooting for Barry. It’s an exploration of the human condition through the lens of PTSD and the effects of wanton murder on the killer’s psyche, but it’s essentially a comedy. Rather than seeking moral or moral judgment from our friend Barry, we should instead let this humor take us into the dark parts of the human soul – things we perhaps can only bear to look at when we can at the same time to laugh. them.
Barry’s actions make a lot of sense in that he’s obsessed with Gene not only as a father figure, but also as a figure of the possibility of his own redemption. He can’t let this go, or he’ll be lost. Or he is already lost but cannot face this truth. One of these. And here we have to wonder if it’s unsalvageable, or if not what it might look like, because it surely isn’t.
He storms in to see Sally (Sarah Goldberg) on the set of his show, and as he goes from asking her to give Gene a role to demanding that she do it, he becomes legitimately abusive. He can’t hit her or throw a chair – the violence here isn’t physical, but it’s really not OK.
Of course, Sally reacts to this by buying him spaghetti and a new video game controller. She apologizes to him, and we start to see her reenact the dynamic of her previous relationship with Sam. In Season 2, Barry and Sally were working to pursue their truths; in season 3, they fall back into bad habits and self-delusion.
And if Sally is there for the apology, Barry doesn’t give it to her.
Meanwhile, Fernando (Miguel Sandoval) arrives and disrupts the romance between Cristobal (Michael Irby) and Noho Hank (Anthony Carrigan) – because he intends to kill all the Chechens. It is also a disappointment. Cristobal warns his lover about the corporate raid of I Decided His Name is Plants!, so he is able to save himself and the buddies he has left for now, but he assures Hank that he has no chance against the elite soldiers Fernando has brought to town and eventually encourages him to run.
I do not know where barry go from here. Honestly, I was expecting something a little more extravagant and extended when it comes to Barry’s plan, but instead S3E2 seems to have fully implemented it. I hope the season will continue thanks to Barry and Gene working together on laws of humanity, as the show seems so mundane that it would provide a hilarious backdrop to the potentially deadly dynamic between these two. And I think somehow barry Season 3 will continue to explore issues of abuse and extract humor from it. It’s a risky game, but I believe this show is up to the task.
What will Noho Hank do? I doubt he’ll take Cristobal’s advice and run away. Will Fuches (Stephen Root) return and consider Hank’s plan? I hate to say that I kind of missed him in this episode.
And did Sally mess up her show’s launch plan by focusing on fixing things with Barry? Will her series end up being canceled as she watches Pam! to succeed?
Will be Swimming instructors to be a flop because neither Adam Devine nor Josh Gad are great? Which one can ask Ike if he wants a little pie?
See you next week.