Barry Season 2 Episode 8 Review: berkman > block

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And so another exceptional season of Barry comes to a close with an appropriately explosive ending.

The most crucial element of Barry Season 2 Episode 8 is that Fuches either has a soul or he had such a good shot at Barry that he let Gene live, after pinning Janice's murder on him, of course.

Nothing can happen to Gene Cousineau, although right now he probably wouldn't mind joining Janice.

Out for Vengeance Tall - Barry Season 2 Episode 8

What Barry did to him might be a cross more horrifying than death.

The pain Barry inflicted on Gene by trying to save his own ass was worse than murdering Gene in cold blood.

Gunning for Fuches - Barry Season 2 Episode 8

Fuches may have delivered the death blow by revealing the secret, but everything points to the fact Barry will always choose himself first, a revelation that can't feel too good to the assassin.

The themes play out similarly across the entire Barry canvas.

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Gene isn't someone you take seriously all the time, but if we learned anything after the death of Janice, it was that he wasn't fooling around when it came to his love for her.

Loving Janice opened up Gene to exploring even more about himself, and that included getting closer to Barry, a man he knows to be a killer (albeit not to the extent we know Barry to be).

Captive Audience - Barry Season 2 Episode 8

Gene's relationship with Barry is just as complex as the one he has for his son. Similarly, what Hank and Cristobel went through was a complicated mess, and nothing could prepare anyone for the intricacies of the relationship between Barry and Fuches.

On the surface, Barry seems to be a simple man whether when he's killing or when he takes the stage. He doesn't overcomplicate things until he believes he has no other choice.

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Barry's growth as a result of meeting and working with Gene is profound, but when it came down to it, he tossed that aside at the prospect of going to prison.

A Dark Door - Barry Season 2 Episode 8

Murdering Janice was a fight or flight move, but the action caused a tremendous rift in all other aspects of Barry's life. 

Growing closer to Gene all while harboring such a dark secret would have been price enough, but he was also getting blackmailed to stay in his much maligned business by Noho Hank and Fuches.

For every step Barry took forward, someone dragged him back two more.

But, Berkman > Block as the closer Barry got to his emotional side, to escaping years of hit-man torment, and connecting with Gene, the more he wanted to embrace who he wants to be instead of who others want him to be.

Formulating a Plan - Barry Season 2 Episode 8

Trying to extricate himself from Barry Block put everthing Barry Berkman values in jeopardy.

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But when Gene was on the line for Janice's death, what did Barry do to stop his pain?

Fuches: You know, you could save your little acting teacher. You know that, right?
Barry: I'll fucking kill you, Fuches.
Fuches: Yeah? All you got to do is turn yourself in, give it all up for him. Yeah, not so altruistic now are you, mother fucker? Now who's out of moves? Bye bye!

Fuches had a hell of a suggestion for Barry, but Barry's response was to eliminate the man who exascerbated the problem instead of helping Gene.

Nobody was buying that there was a man named Goulet in the woods with Gene when "Gene" made the call to the police to confess to the crime.

Happier Times - Barry Season 2 Episode 8

But when you're frustrated, you feel like you have to make a move, even if it's not an ideal move.

Noho Hank's persistence that Barry attend his meeting to help bring around his guys to the realization all was going to be alright proved that trusting Barry has dire consequences.

Fuches in Barry's place was a perfect way to address the audience who might have lost sight of the crazy similarities between all of the interpersonal relationships on screen.

Cristobel: Hank tried to criss-cross me.
Fuches: You and Hank, you're in a transitional phase, that's all. You know, people meet and sometimes they lock into each other like two long-sought-after pieces of a puzzle. Now, as time goes on, these pieces they morph and they grow, and they can grow together and become stronger, or they can become two completely different shapes that they don't have any room for each other. They don't fit anymore.

Every duo has been having the same experience although Barry has the advantage of trying to build his puzzle with Fuches, Gene, and Sally. That's too many pieces to shuffle around, molding himself into what fit his role in each relationship.

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How quickly Barry can turn on someone was indicated not only by the look of relief on a gunman's face at Hank's just before Barry shot him between the eyes, but with how he didn't hesitate to grab Sally by the neck when she got a little too cocky.

Amy Pivots - Barry Season 2 Episode 8

The more self-absored you are when you're around Barry, the more likely your pairing with him will end in disaster.

Gene Cousineau has always been a narcissistic man. Even while helping Barry through his dark times, Gene was usually thinking about how the outcome would work to his benefit.

That left him very vulnerable to a man who has made a living fitting into different scenarios to accomplish his mission -- a mission that ends in the life of the other person.

Neither Barry nor Fuches killed Gene outright, but he was murdered just the same.

Fuches Takes Gene - Barry Season 2 Episode 8

And given how easily the tides can turn when you find yourself on the wrong side of Barry, what does that mean for Gene in Barry Season 3?

Can Gene tone down his narcissism long enough to pretend everything is alright with Barry, or will he leak what he's learned to the detriment of his life?

Or maybe the two men who shared a journey of self-discovery can find a way to move forward knowing they're both, in their own ways, humans still greatly in need of redemption.

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Then again, just because Gene recalled what Fuches said to him doesn't mean he'll allow himself to believe it.

There is a possibility that he'll believe Fuches was pulling a con by trying to turn the wheel of justice away from someone else (like himself) and training it on Barry.

It seems unlikely that Bill Hader is as concerned with keeping a similar dynamic to previous seasons than he is with telling a compelling story, so it's all up in the air, which is exactly where you want it to be to keep the momentum going.

berkman > block Review

Editor Rating: 4.75 / 5.0
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Rating: 5.0 / 5.0 (2 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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Barry Season 2 Episode 8 Quotes

Barry: Can I see Mr. Cousineau?
Det. Mae: No, we think he killed his girlfriend, so he's staying here with us.

You know what I thought the first time I met you? I thought, oh, this Barry guy really cares about his teacher. You were almost protective of him.

Detective Mae