This Barry review contains spoilers.
Barry Season 2 Episode 7
It’s interesting that in the penultimate episode of Barry Season 2 the series would return its focus to Hollywood satire. For the majority of the season, Barry‘s concentration has been on our characters and their personal lives and how they’re handling past traumas. The acting world, its superficiality and fickleness, has been mostly on the back burner. Though there is a lot happening in “The Audition,” especially in the episode’s climactic final minutes, the most memorable material focused on Sally and her continued struggles in the industry.
Really anchoring the episode, Sally follows-up her emotional, confessional scene with a meeting with her agency. They’ve landed her an interview with Aaron Ryan, a hotshot TV producer who is said to be looking for the type of “real” material that Sally has written. He’s looking for a lead for his new series and Sally’s agents think that her backstory would meld perfectly with Aaron’s vision. Except that when Sally meets with Aaron, his vision is Payback Ladies, another clueless man’s idea of female empowerment where “strong female characters” just mean women holding weapons. Throughout the meeting, Sally is cut-off, talked over, and extremely misinterpreted, as her personal story is seen as a way to cash-in on a current, relevant trend.
Meanwhile, all it takes for Barry to land an audition for a film is to be tall. Sally has pounded the pavement, taken small jobs and thankless roles, and now is mining from harrowing life experiences, fighting past all of the ugly memories and emotions that the process brings up to create art that is meaningful. All Barry has to do is be 6’2 and “loud” and he lands an audition for a lead part in a Jay Roach comedy. The two scenes perfectly represent just some of the struggles and inequities that women in the industry go through, where they’re either disregarded completely or held to impossibly high standards in order to be deemed important or worthwhile.
Later, when Barry asks her to help him run lines, Sally explodes. She talks about the sense of pressure and personal responsibility that she feels telling her story that is about such a sensitive topic. Since it’s still Sally, the almost breathless monologue is full of self-aggrandizing statements and narcissism, but the core of her rant rings true. She also hits on the jealousy that she feels for Barry, which is natural given the hoops that she’s had to jump through to get to where she is now. It’s a great showcase for Sarah Goldberg and one of the only time’s Sally’s self-involvement feels earned.
Barry, as we know, isn’t the most attuned when it comes to other people’s feelings, so he brushes right past Sally’s outburst as he prepares for his audition. He and Gene try to block out Barry’s character’s motivation, which is hilarious because the script is insanely juvenile and finds Barry’s character shitting in a pie and trying to feed that shit pie to another character, only to end up accidently eating it himself. However, the two take the work super seriously. When Barry arrives for his audition, he’s dismayed to learn that Gene won’t be coming, then completely horrified when he finds out exactly why. Posing as a private investigator, Fuches convinces Gene to return to his cabin to look for more evidence in Moss’ “disappearance.” Knowing that Gene is in danger and that he needs to stop Fuches, Barry rushes through his audition with Jay Roach, but once again uses his real emotions, motivated by incredibly unique and intense circumstances, and seems to still impress the room.
Barry rushes out of the audition to get to Gene and Fuches, but Fuches has already shown Gene where Moss’ car and body is located. Before they begin searching in the woods, the two share a conversation about Barry, where Gene talks about taking Barry under his wing, serving as a father figure for the directionless man and detailing the strong bond that they share. Assuming that he was Barry’s mentor and father figure, Fuches looks like he takes great offense to Gene claiming Barry has his own. Things take an even darker turn when Fuches calls the police to phone in the discovery, but poses as Gene and confesses to the murder. He aims to kill Cousineau and frame him for Moss’ murder, and the episode ends with Fuches raising a gun to Gene’s head. It’s a shocking cliffhanger capping a emotionally fraught episode.
Oh, and lest we forget about NoHo Hank! Hank and his men are gathered up and put on a bus to be executed out in the desert. As it looks like the Chechen’s are doomed, Hank has an epiphany similar to the one that Barry had at the beginning of the series, realizing that he’s not meant to be a crime lord or hitman. Full of classic Hank malapropisms like “I’m a natural optometrist” Hank talks about how he’d be better served managing a chain of hotels while the young adept Chechen Mayrbek helps all of the Chechens escape and fight back against the Burmese. Once Hank is rescued, the Chechens acknowledge that Mayrbek is their new leader and they leave Hank behind.
“The Audition” is a packed episode, but as stated earlier, it’s really a culmination of Sally’s arc this season. She gets something of a happy ending when her agent reveals that she’s dedicated to getting Sally meaningful work, which is probably more than most struggling actress get. Next week is the finale, and where we leave Barry, Gene, Hank, and Fuches seems to indicate that we may be losing one of our central characters. Unlike the show that directly proceeds this program, excited to see how the season ends.
Nick Harley is a tortured Cleveland sports fan, thinks Douglas Sirk would have made a killer Batman movie, Spider-Man should be a big-budget HBO series, and Wes Anderson and Paul Thomas Anderson should direct a script written by one another. For more thoughts like these, read Nick’s work here at Den of Geek or follow him on Twitter.