Barry Season 4 Premiere: A Breakdown of S4E1 & S4E2

S4E1, “yikes” and S4E2, “bestest place on earth”

Barry stares ahead in a jail cell
Photograph by Merrick Morton/HBO

Like many people, the news that Barry would be ending after it’s fourth season didn’t sit well with me. Bill Hader and Alex Berg have created a world in which I could live for a long, long time but I also get it. This is a story that can’t overstay its welcome and needs conclusion. The final chapter in this hysterical, yet dark story that makes us question our own sense of happiness & even what happens after death starts now. If you haven’t seen the Barry Season 4 premiere episodes (S4E1 and S4E2), proceed with caution as we’re about to get into heavy spoiler territory.

It Must Have Been Love

By far the funniest scene in either of the first two episodes belonged to Sally. We see her on a plane, and she’s greeted by her mother when she lands. She’s back home in Joplin, Missouri and you just know this isn’t going to end well for her, leaving behind the new pain in LA for the old pain at home.

We see Sally hysterically crying in her mom’s car, while her mom sits there almost emotionless, all while “It Must Have Been Love” plays. It’s a perfect reminder of this show’s ability to take an over the top emotion and offset it with the painfully mundane, very early on in the Barry Season 4 premiere. The kicker being, at the end of the scene, a waitress approaches the car and Sally’s mom asks for chili cheese tots to go. Sonic for the win!

Sally’s arc throughout these two episodes is painful to watch in a lot of ways. She’s hurting, as to be expected. She’s been through a lot, with the attack last season which resulted in her killing a man and Barry disposing of him. Now, he’s in prison for murder. She feels betrayed but she’s also conflicted. Is she implicated? Where does she go from here?

Sally sits with her parents on the couch awkwardly
Photograph by Merrick Morton/HBO

But she’s back at home and her parents are of little comfort to her. Her father tries and her mother brings out the worst in her. In their few scenes, you can see the lifelong dynamic played out before our eyes. It’s hard to watch. Joplin, Missouri might have been where Sally was raised but it’s not her home. As Gene later tells her, her home is the theater.

Back to Starting Positions

Barry is locked up. He’s defeated. He’s almost dead like in his actions and feelings, much similar to how we met him in the beginning of the series. As he moves around lockup, he sees Sally, Gene and the old gang. He sees himself as a boy. He sees Fuches, only Fuches is real. They are in fact incarcerated together.

Fuches walking in the prison yard
Photograph by Merrick Morton/HBO

The cat and mouse game played between the two was expected but I was genuinely surprised to see Fuches throw away a potential deal with the FBI to protect Barry. For a con man, his emotions felt real. He came across as genuine in wanting to protect Barry. In wanting to be there for him for once. It was refreshing to see this after years of Fuches always playing Barry.

Barry was also genuine in his desire to make peace with Fuches. Throughout both of the episodes in the Barry Season 4 premiere, Barry is having flashbacks to himself as a child. Playing with his toy soldiers. Being introduced to Fuches. How Fuches has always been prodding him about “playing army.” Was Barry being groomed to be a killer from a young age or was Fuches simply trying to make a connection with the quiet child? I don’t think we can definitively say either way. However, in the last flashback, a wedding party ran by young Barry and Fuches. We enter a reception hall, everyone joyous. An older couple is in the corner dancing. It’s Barry and Sally, alone, together and happy. This is the future Barry wants, running from Fuches to get to his future with Sally.

In the second episode, we saw Sally visit Barry in jail. She asks him via code words if she’s in trouble and Barry assures her that she’s not but also asks her if that’s the only reason why she’s here. She’s conflicted, as she’s there for more than just that reason but she can’t say it out loud or even admit it to herself. Barry is a new source of pain for her. Is she repeating cycles in her life, like with Sam, her violent ex? Or is Barry different? Barry feels like home to her, but is that a dangerous feeling?

The Bestest Place on Earth

Hank and Cristobal are everyone’s favorites, right? They’re the sweet center of the story, forbidden and dangerous love that you can’t help but root for. They care a lot for each other and are a true couple in every sense, despite the fact that they come from rival gangs and their lives are more in danger together than apart.

We see them hiding out in Santa Fe to start the season and they come up with a hilarious plan to bring “the good sand” to the desert through their many overseas contacts. For the briefest of moments, you feel like they could be away from the danger and actually be starting their happily ever after. Enter Barry.

Hank dreams of Barry and tries to call him, only to realize that Barry is in fact incarcerated. Hank’s sense of obligation to Barry kicks in and he attempts to manipulate Cristobal’s plan for sand into a way to free Barry. In one of the show’s funniest sequences, they take rival gangs to a Dave and Busters for a sit down to try and convince them to work together. Watching the two of them walk around this large table, giving their best sales pitch, surrounded by all of the decor you’ve come to expect from a Dave and Busters, had this writer howling with laughter. It’s that level of absurdity that only Barry can pull off.

Hank and Cristobal conducting business at Dave and Busters
Photograph by Merrick Morton/HBO

Attempting to free Barry is a source of tension between the two. Cristobal wants no part in this. Hank feels like he has to. Until a phone call from Fuches, who tells Hank that Barry is now working with the FBI, changes everything. Hank hangs up the phone and tells Cristobal that they must kill Barry now.

So here’s our source of danger in the final season. Barry did in fact tell the FBI that he can give up several gangs and larger crime syndicates if he can be freed and “take one person with him.” Now the obvious conclusion here is that he was referring to Sally. As viewers, we want to see that happily ever after for the two of them. We can’t ignore the possibility that he could have been talking about Fuches though. It’s unlikely, as his flashbacks tend to suggest that on a subconscious level he knows that Fuches is a source of his pain. But it’s possible.

But this sets the stage for our final season conflict. Fuches knows that Barry is talking to the FBI. He’s turned Hank and Cristobal against Barry. Barry wants a happy ending with Sally, who doesn’t know what she wants, but is still pulled to Barry. Can Barry and Sally escape this world of pain they live in and find peace somewhere? Or is Barry too far gone and Sally too damaged? How dark will we go in this “dark comedy”?

Then There’s Gene

Gene is riding the wave. He claims to not want all the attention he’s getting, but he loves it. People are requesting interviews with him and giving him standing ovations at his master classes. He’s achieved a level of celebrity for getting Barry arrested that he’s never had before. But how does he really feel about it?

Gene gives an interview via acting on a stage
Photograph by Merrick Morton/HBO

It’s Gene’s nature to be over the top, to embellish details and take credit that isn’t really his. It’s simply how he’s behaved for years. But the wheels are turning. How does he really feel about all of this? Gene’s arc in some ways is the one I’m most curious about this year. I’m not convinced that Gene is happy that Barry is in jail. I’m also not convinced that he can forgive him, but I do think part of him loves Barry and an internal conflict within Gene is brewing. Is he OK with his increased celebrity? Is he capable of forgiving Barry? What does the inevitable showdown between the two of them look like?

Final Thoughts

The Barry Season 4 premiere episodes were everything that you love about this show. Hysterical, genuine, full of twists and turns, complicated and emotionally taxing. There’s a lot going on here. As much as I don’t want this show to end, it feels like an endgame. The table is set for conclusion.

One thing I truly love and respect about this series is that everything matters. No scene was a throwaway or had no consequences. You feel that here in the final act. Everything writing wise has been deliberate and with purpose. It’s all lead us here, to the final chapter of a series that has changed television for the better.

Written by Andrew Grevas

Andrew is the Founder / Editor in Chief of 25YL. He’s engaged with 2 sons, a staunch defender of the series finales for both Lost & The Sopranos and watched Twin Peaks at the age of 5 during its original run, which explains a lot about his personality.

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