Barry Season 4 Eepisode 5: A huge swing
Barry Season 4 Episode 5 seems like a depressing epilogue, but it sets up a thrilling finale.
Bill Hader’s Season 4 continues the third season’s descent into darkness by balancing humor and chilling violence and drama. Few laughs are interspersed with horror or sadness: NoHo Hank dances in the sand with his staff before sending them to a nightmare death in a silo.
Barry’s momentum was always downward, and even in safety and security, they’re their worst enemy: Gene talking to Vanity Fair, NoHo Hank bowing to the mob, Sally’s hubris preventing an amazing job offer.
Episode 4 ended with Barry and Sally in that endless field, along with their son John. Is this real or fantasy?
Barry spoilers ahead.
Barry Episode 5: No joke At All!
Since Season 4, Barry has been torn between his incomprehensible present—how could anyone betray a pathological killer? and dreamlike past, comforted by a vast, empty land. The last episode left us in this same place, but it’s not a dream.
Barry and Sally are hiding as Clark and Emily years later. Barry watches Abraham Lincoln films, drinks beer, and talks about “honoring” and “protecting” John on long walks.
Barry takes John to apologize to Travis, the boy he fought at the end of the last episode. Even after apologizing, the boy and his dad say it’s weird he’d never heard of Call of Duty (let’s be honest if you found a kid who didn’t know what those games were, you’d think they were strange), but Barry says they don’t play video games. Barry and his son dislike the interaction, especially John’s cringeworthy endnote: “I hope we can meet together next time in harmony.”
John struggles with anger. He wants to punch the boy after apologizing. “That’s called insecurity,” Barry says, wanting him to grow and improve. “Your dad used to get mad a lot,” he says, but he overcame it. It’s good advice, but each attempt to “break good” has led to bad.
Sally’s performance is unforgettable
In this episode, Sarah Goldberg’s eyes show nothing but despair. She’s mostly a fraud who’s lost her identity. She works as a waitress in a southern diner and smokes in the bathroom with a coworker.
As she walks to the car, a massive end-times cloud obscures sunlight on the horizon. With Barry on the phone, she guzzles a bottle of vodka. Back home, John struggles to cut into a barely-cooked pot pie while Barry talks endlessly about Lincoln’s “pragmatism, optimism, and compromise,” which Sally half-acknowledges in a drunken blur. “That’s a success story… she murmurs.
Barry calls Sally by her real name and chastises her for getting drunk while John sleeps. “Beer,” she says. “Yeah… but I know when to stop,” he says. Barry is content in his new life, but Sally is heartbroken. They watch Just Desserts, a “generation-defining sitcom,” on their laptops in the living room at night.
Barry and Sally split
The white picket fence, Barry’s tucked-in plaid shirt, and kids playing baseball are all there, but there’s an uneasy feeling. First, they watch church sermons on a laptop. When John befriends a young boy who wants to teach him baseball, Barry shows him videos of Little Leaguers dying on the pitch to keep them hidden. He cries in their room that night, but Barry doesn’t wake up—he’s still his most important person, and Sally and John are just in his orbit.
Sally indulges her masturbating co-worker Bevel out of boredom or insanity. He asks her to remove her shoe and sock and put her foot on his penis after she calls him a “bad boy” and says his brother shot someone in a bank robbery is “hot.” He’s her unwitting stress ball, not a dom/sub relationship. She lures him into the bathroom for a blowout but strangles and scares him to death, especially when he pulls off her wig. He promises not to tell. “I know,” she says coldly.
It’s terrifying. Goldberg’s performance has never been this raw. Sally is a shell of herself, maybe still good, but her soul is gone.
Barry tells John his Marine stories of false modesty and terror through the lens of his heroism at home. Why? It’s not for his son’s comfort or Sally’s request. He seems desperate for love, attention, or interest in what he’s saying. It strengthens their bond while Sally sits alone.
A mysterious man slams the door that night. Barry arms himself and leaves while Sally and John sleep. Barry stares into the darkness, hearing giggling and scuppering, but he doesn’t move. He guards nightly, is paranoid, and is duty-bound.
Barry attends films
Back in LA. An executive walks back to the office past billboards for Mega Girls 4 (starring Kristen, now a movie star) and Larry Chowder, The Magical Boy. Since Barry’s escape, Gene Cousineau has been missing and presumed dead. He says, “If you’re planning what I think you’re planning, you’re gonna want to talk to me.” She doesn’t believe him at first.
Later that night, Sally gets a “Barry Berkman alert” while watching an interview with Natalie (the president quoted her show in the State of the Union address, ha!). She calls his name and shows Barry an article: Gene will advise the Barry biopic. “I’m gonna have to kill Cousineau,” he says, and as the episode cuts to black, ominous music plays over the credits—this is his encore, and we’ll be surprised if anyone survives
.Barry Season 4 Episode 5: ⅘
Barry’s trajectory may be divisive with Episode 5, but for us, it’s a big what-the-f*ck swing executed perfectly—even with all this dread, we’ve never been so excited for next week.