Now Streaming: Barry Season 2 Review, Film Companion

Available On: Hotstar Premium

“The whole damn world was talking about Game of Thrones, but the real masterpiece from this past weekend is the stunning Bill Hader-directed episode of Barry.”

This was one of the tweets which floated on Twitter even as people were still discussing about how much they could actually see of the Battle of Winterfell.

@erickohn, who wrote that tweet, wasn’t wrong. The episode titled “ronny/lily” had the kind of jawdropping effect that the big Game of Thrones battle was supposed to have. That it was directed by the show’s star and creator Bill Hader made it that much more special. Nothing in the first four episodes of the season had given an inkling to the kind of genre-defying episode Team Barry had in store.

A cop had made the big discovery that Barry was not just one of those happy-go-lucky Hollywood acting students but was actually a famous hitman who had taken out another cop (at the end of season one). He’ll not arrest him only if Barry kills the man his ex is sleeping with.

Barry being Barry plans to send this new target of his, Ronny, away from the scene to Chicago but once in his house, he realises that Ronny’s a major taekwondo champion and soon the two of them are throwing each other all over the place. There is an unbelievable uncut choreographed shot where the camera just pans around the room as the men go at each other with whatever’s left of them.

When Barry does manage to take care of Ronny, arrives his daughter Lily. Described later by Barry as “a feral mongoose”, the girl, ever ready in a taekwondo dress, doesn’t speak but simply flies around the place trying to take strategic positions atop furniture and rooftops to jump from and attack her opponent. It’s quite a sight!

All this sounds very violent but Barry the show delivers this visceral trip with the kind of humour that would make the Coen brothers proud. Add to that the pathos which creeps in later in the episode when Barry realises that he might be getting sucked backed into a full-fledged hitman career all over again.

When a show delivers as terrific a first season as Barry did, you are always apprehensive whether the writers would be able to keep up the magic in the follow-up season. But Hader and co-creator Alec Berg seems to have everything charted out from long back.

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The loveable Chechen mobster Hank’s (Anthony Carrigan) got a new adversary in Esther, head of a Burmese syndicate who lives in a monastery of all places! The cops were finally onto Fuches (Stephen Root) who’s naturally pulled Barry back into the police radar. And there’s Sally (Sarah Goldberg) with the ghost from her past turning up and creating all kinds of problems for Barry. Not to mention his acting guru Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler) who is desperate to dig into Barry’s past.

The beauty of the show continues to be the distressed and depressed mind of this hitman – the best in his job – who wants to stop killing people and lead a normal life. A good person who wants to stop doing bad things. In a way, he is the complete opposite of Walter White and although there are traces of Saul Goodman in him, Barry Berkman/Block is his own man, a man you badly want to break good.

You can enjoy the “ronny/lily” episode as a standalone episode but it’s best if you reach that episode after you’ve taken the journey with Barry and understood where he’s coming from. It is easily the best show streaming right now. Jump right in.

Rating: Bingeworthy

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