‘Barry’ Season 4 Episode 1 Review: ‘Yikes’ Breaks Ground – Spoilers

In the final season premiere of the HBO show, everyone goes their own way, filled with plenty of potential mistakes.

(Editor’s note: Included in the following review spoilers for “Barry” Season 4 Episode 1, “Yikes.”)

For a long time, “Barry” felt like he existed in his own little bubble. Even with Berkman’s hit-list flashbacks and references to past Gene Cousineau ego disasters, and Sally making an entire TV show about her hometown, Fuches’ goatherd retreat, and mobilizing organized crime elements from several different countries, they all seemed to arrive in a stand-alone Northern The threshold of Hollywood. All those forces tried to worm their way into the perimeter that the title character of the series had set for himself some time ago.

Then home stopped feeling like home. Guilt began to consume everyone who crossed paths with Barry (Bill Hader). Before he was arrested, Barry had already begun retreating to an imagined coastline where he stood among his past victims. The bubble burst and everything inside began to leak out.

We don’t really see that Berkman mind cleaner in “Yikes,” the first episode of “Barry” Season 4. But we hear it, right before he endures the physical punishment that has been years in the making. Now you have external damage, which can be combined with internal damage, inflicting itself in a different way. Not alone. Each main character in the series gets a chance to start this season by choosing a new path or simply choosing the path that was assigned to them. In the course of half an hour, each of them rejects it in their own way.

"Barry" Season 4 Episode 1


Merrick Morton/HBO

Each has their own personal horror. Sally (Sarah Goldberg) was torn between two extremes this entire episode. Some of the fluffiest, most comforting clouds ever seen on a TV screen collapse in a nightmarish vision as the man almost kills her and Bob-like climbs behind the seat in front of her. He had a panic attack at the shimmering sounds of Roxette. Her father is a tick shy of a cartoonishly supportive father and her mother is a heartless maternal robot. You can tell he’s desperate for some middle ground between LA and Joplin.

After a taste of setting his own agenda, Gene (Henry Winkler) returns to being a sidekick in someone else’s story. But a good part! You can see justice being served on Janice’s killer (and a celebratory phone call to satisfy). He will be the star witness in the trial. The MasterClass is accompanied by a hearty ovation. But you can tell he’s mildly uneasy about having to stand on the sidelines at the big LAPD press conference. There’s a slight dip in her demeanor when she learns she won’t be at the narrative arms of her upcoming bombshell magazine profile. When presented with respect, he will risk everything for control.

“Barry” is really effective at creating the illusion of a short memory. From a season finale in which one man was chained to a radiator before slaughtering his captors/an endangered animal, and another underwent harsh, excruciating aversion therapy, to the two of them enjoying the peaceful vistas of the American Southwest. Whether or not Hank and Cristobal get their happy ending, early retirement in Santa Fe is well within their grasp. They could live an existence of casual dinner dates and stunning gaucho hat ensembles. However, Hank has been bitten by the same radioactive ambition bug that caught Gene. With the faintest breath of a new drug-based business venture and the news that Barry could be back in town, he’s already planning to return to the city that caused him so much pain.

Henry Winkler in it "Barry" Season 4 Episode 1

Henry Winkler in Barry

Merrick Morton/HBO

This stretch of “Barry” devolves into a messy psychological game of musical chairs, where the last person to say “I love you” walks away thinking they’re the winner. In “Yikes,” it’s Fuches, a man so disconnected from his sense of self that he barely even has a name. For self-preservation, he goes to the alliance, hoping that with some cooperation, he can gain protection for him. Hader, the director of all eight episodes this season, frames the padded walls of the FBI room like the cuddly sides of a compactor, ready to crush anyone who tries to do business inside. Fuches has long sought to transact such relationships, especially when it involves exploiting the most depraved people.

So as “Barry” begins to descend and begins to land, Barry becomes something that others can use again. A tool for plea bargaining. He is someone Sally can reject to set healthy boundaries. Maybe that’s why he slams his fist into the concrete wall, using a mirror both to berate himself and the bad person he’s convinced himself to be.

Whatever the reason, in an episode where his former friends and loved ones couldn’t resist the allure of their true nature, here’s Barry in the prison bathroom, deciding to take on a new role. The seemingly kind guard offers him the classic “Bloodline” defense that he only did bad things and is not a bad person. Driven by anger, guilt, or shame, Barry chooses a role to punish himself. This is not a fountain of blood flowing from his head wounds. It is the slow, gentle lapping of the waves on the shore. Barry’s balance is at its most menacing with a Zen-like acceptance of consequences in pure late-period “Barry”: highlight everyone’s low points before subtly showing people all the possible ways to dig themselves even deeper.

grade: A-

“Barry” Season 4 airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on HBO.

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