Barry's back and in a bad way--and that's good!
Man, that D&B scene was great. I honestly don't know if Hank having to scurry to get back in place that one time was scripted or not, but either way it was hilarious.
I'm so glad Episodic Medium covers "Barry." It's my favorite show on television, and Bill Hader continues to be one of the best directors currently working, period. Much has been made about it's being too dark to be a comedy, but I actually think that categorization allows it to go deep, get messy, while still including sequences like the Dave & Buster's meeting, which so few stories can pull off tonally.
I will say, for as much as I love it, the show's insistence to pack SO. MUCH. into every half-hour can sometimes leave me feeling like their plot tangents can quickly devolve into red herrings. Hank goes from "rescue Barry" to "kill Barry" in a veeery short amount of time, in ways that does make me wish they had just a hair more runway. It leads to that "room to breathe" effect you mention.
Similarly, I feel like some complications they were setting up may just not have time to explore. Cristobal's electroshock therapy felt like a point of no return for him, but it's gone ignored since. Maybe they tackle it in an episode or two? I hope so. The writing is too smart to let something that big slide by.
Glad this show is back!
Is hero or antihero a simple binary? Can a protagonist be neither?
Not here, as Barry is clearly an antihero. But Draper always gets brought up, and other than his philandering (which may be enough for many) what has he done to earn that appellation? I mean he certainly isn't a hero and he was mostly content to adhere to the norms of his age rather than try to change them. Although he was certainly progressive compared to most of his peers. I suppose being successful at advertising could also be considered a bad thing by many. Is there enough there to label him an anti-hero?
I agree that it’s tough to comment on the early episodes of a season of a show like this. That said, I’m with the general consensus here that they’re off to an excellent start.
I was expecting Barry to somehow be out of prison by this point, but when it comes to making story predictions, I am king of suckballs mountain.
I remember when I first heard about this show I kind of rolled my eyes - another badass anti-hero, but this time in an acting class! Didn’t get me too excited. Plus I was not very familiar with Hader. I’m glad I gave it a chance because it’s been pretty consistently outstanding on all fronts.
I absolute adore Barry, and Bill Header’s direction in particular.
Already there’s some scenes that are staged and filmed that will make me rewatch these episodes. Of particular note, the wedding party striding in from the desert.
I am sad this show is ending, but like you say, so excited to see how it is they want to close this fantastic show out.
To me, same as The Last of Us, Barry is best understood as the product of one creator biting off way more than they can chew and then trying to survive.
Larry Crowne is another good comp (color palette, motor scooters, an actor/creator trying to write the great American novel).
Just when you're feeling true sympathy for Gene, he once again shows his shitheel tendencies. His terrible Barry voice was wonderful, as well as the turning to the camera through his performance. I have the feeling it won't take long for Joyce's father to find out who spoke to the press.
The rain stick as music and Hank's expression.
Sally's little visit home showed so much. I'm most interested in seeing where she ends up at the end of this, I think she might have a chance of everyone involved at turning things around, at least a little.
“HEY, BARRY, REMEMBER ALL THOSE PEOPLE YOU MURDERED, LETS YELL ABOUT IT IN THE PRISON YARD,” egads, Fuchs, why are you so bad at this?
So glad you’re recapping this show, Zack! I agree you almost got whiplash watching these 2 episodes. The way it went in one direction and then did a 180.
I do think this is a very dark show. But since I have basically given up on Barry as a person I can tolerate the darkness better. While I think it’s well done I still think it’s an antihero show and hasn’t reinvented the wheel. Where I will praise the writers is breathing new life into a tired prestige drama category. So kudos to them and Bill Hader.
Not my favorite season premiere; but, I trust that the crew knows what they are doing especially given that scripts for Seasons 3 and 4 were completed before filming started on the former. In an interview with Backstory Magazine, the crew said that if they had found themselves in a corner when writing Season 4 they would have gone back and changed things in Season 3. For example, if Barry being caught let the air out of the balloon, then Season 3 would have been altered to postpone his capture.