Sally is having a hard time focusing on “Joplin,” more engaged in making sure that she can have a nice dinner ready for Barry that night than paying attention to the fact, shared by her agent and her assistant (D’Arcy Carden), that a show called “Pam!” arriving at the same time has the same basic idea of a woman escaping an abusive relationship, even though the latter is a comedy. The ensuing scene is, again, effective and very uncomfortable: at home that night, Sally prepares things so Barry can be as happy as possible, from a nice Italian takeout meal to a can of beer to a new part for his video-game controller. When Barry calls to tell her he got the part on “Laws of Humanity,” and he succeeded in getting Gene a role too, Sally apologizes for her own behavior earlier (and Barry all but ignores it). So maybe we should feel more spitefully pleased than scared for Barry that as soon as he hangs up the phone, he opens up his trunk and sees that Gene has escaped.
Of course, Gene hasn’t gotten too far, running as fast as he can through a residential neighborhood to avoid Barry’s gaze. (This leads to another great gag. As we watch from the inside of a house where a woman is breaking up with her shocked partner, a massive amount of vicious dogs run through their backyard to attack Gene offscreen. “You have too many dogs,” the woman doing the breaking-up says. “Me?”) After Gene runs away from the pack of dogs, he begs a nervous young waitress outside a restaurant for “an Internet taxi”, only to find that the driver of said taxi is … well, Barry. Gene screams and tries to get away, but he needn’t worry: a car drives into Barry’s outside the restaurant.
Well … I should say Gene needn’t worry temporarily. When he comes back home, after he tells his son to call the cops, he learns that Barry managed to get out of the accident relatively unscathed and is sitting next to Gene’s grandson. Barry tells Gene about the joint bit of good casting news for them on “Laws of Humanity,” and that it’s time for Gene to enjoy his so-called second chance or else “this one and that one” (as in, Gene’s grandson and his son) will be killed. Barry repeats something he told Gene earlier that day: “I love you, Mr. Cousineau. Do you love me?” And so “limonada” ends, with Gene almost robotically telling Barry he loves him too, with hatred and fear intermingled in his eyes.
On one hand, “limonada” feels like a slight comedown from last week’s premiere (or perhaps it would have been more appropriate for these two episodes to be released as an hourlong opener). But the installment doubles down heavily on the idea that Barry Berkman is an irreparably damaged figure who is lashing out at the world and hurting those around him. It’s easy to see, in a twisted way, that Barry isn’t lying when he says he loves Mr. Cousineau; he’s a man in desperate need of a surrogate father, and Gene is certainly a much less dangerous one than Monroe Fuches. But Barry is also immensely immature, unable to accept that wanting something doesn’t mean he should get it. Yes, Barry got what he wanted from this episode, but he only did so after unknowingly enforcing a pattern in his girlfriend’s eyes of domestic abuse, making a public spectacle of himself, and threatening an innocent man and child. Barry Berkman also says he wants forgiveness. But he can’t really get it. Right?
– “‘The Man Show’ doesn’t hold up.” This line from one of NoHo Hank’s fellow Chechens is truer than he knows.
– D’Arcy Carden shouting the word “Pam” is another one of the few but extremely funny laughs in this episode.
– Speaking of Fuches, he’s absent from this episode, but with such a short season — eight episodes this time around, as with the first two seasons — it’s highly likely we’ll see him again. (No pussy-footing around: I’ve seen the first six episodes of this season. We will see Fuches again.)
– Fernando crowing over the excessive amount of cupholders in his rental SUV is another good laugh, from ever-reliable character actor Miguel Sandoval, recalling his work in the 1995 comedy “Get Shorty.”
– An interesting, but not super-pressing, question: is “Joplin” supposed to be a good show? It’s hard to know for sure, especially since Sally puts her own show down a bit when she learns that Barry got cast on “Laws of Humanity.” (And considering that “Laws of Humanity” sounds godawful from the brief snippet of dialogue …)