That wasn't funny.
Barry Season 2 Episode 2 sets aside the funny for a more somber look at the people in the class and how they struggle to share their inner truths in search of their art.
The process emphasizes the diametrically opposed sides of Barry's personality.
No matter how hard Barry tries to get out of his own way to become a better person, it seems about as likely he'll get a happy ending as it was that Walter White found one on Breaking Bad.
Both shows dramatically and comedically chronicle man at his worst. In the cast of Breaking Bad, Walter was falling down a slippery slope and losing more of himself every day because of his criminal acts.
In the case of Barry, he's trying to take the opposite journey, becoming more of the person he wants to be while ditching his criminal behavior.
Unfortunately, making a clean break from the past is never easy, but it's even more difficult when people are hunting you down to get you to pay for your sins.
Barry still hears the cheers from his war buddies when he thinks of killing someone. Shaking that sensation might be the uphill battle he can't overcome.
So much of who he was got validation from that experience that carrying it on made him feel alive.
Barry: Am I evil?
Barry: Am I like, an evil person?
Hank: Oh my God! I mean. Absolutely! Do I not tell you that enough? You are like the most evil guy I know, man!
Barry: You know, I take no pleasure in killing people. You know that, right?
But even when he's asking a question with a determined answer he hopes to get, Noho Hank tells him what he thinks Barry wants to hear, instead.
As it happens, it's the opposite of what Barry wants to hear. He needs to know that he's seen by others as someone better than a killer.
He needs to be someone better than a cop-killer, especially.
Noho Hank is as in over his head and Barry finds himself, so Barry picked the wrong guy to go fishing for renewed validation.
Even Gene can't give Barry what he wants because for the first time, Gene is seeing the class and their skills clearly after a visit with his son.
Losing Janice has set Gene on a journey from which he may be able to grow out of his narcissistic tendencies.
Gene visited Leo with the hope he would find a connection again that fulfilled him on some level as he felt fulfilled with Janice. It didn't work out, and that's why Gene returned to class with a new view on the class.
His idea to extrapolate from each student their life stories to put on a play from them and about them was, at first, typical Gene stuff.
At every opportunity, Gene wants the story to be about him.
Gene: You, sir, are doing Afghanistan.
Barry: See, I wanted to do a story about meeting you.
Gene: [snaps his head around] Go on.
Barry: Yeah, you know, being in this clash, and uh, seeing you teach, and uh-
Gene: So you want to tell the story of meeting me? I'll allow it.
Gene was basing his entire idea for the show on what Barry delivered in class during Barry Season 2 Episode 1, but as soon as he heard the rustle of the curtains parting so that he would be a star again, Gene cast aside Barry's truth to showcase himself.
Until he didn't.
Gene: Barry, you're gonna do the story from Afghanistan.
Gene: Just be yourself. Afghanistan.
Barry needs the artifice of acting so he can lose the ugly side of himself, but the truth is he's always going to be the Barry who was at war and how found a talent for death.
Gene also managed to pull from Sally a performance and story she didn't know she was capable of sharing.
What? You think I'm booking all these weak women because I was weak in my marriage? Well, you're wrong! I was not weak. I left.Sally
We learned more about Sally and her place in life, and why she's drawn to acting than we have in a while.
Everyone in that class is running toward something to get away from something else.
It will be magical if they manage to escape their demons and embrace their passions together in such a way that they'll be content with their journies, even if they aren't ultimately happier as a result of taking them.
Hearing Detective Loach describe Barry as a cop-killer was difficult.
It wasn't as difficult as watching Fuches squirm at being associated with Barry.
Fuches is looking out for number one, no doubt, but when he screams to Barry that he can help him with the problem, I think his intentions are pure.
They may have parted ways under bad terms, but for as much of an idiot as Fuches is, he still cares about Barry and what Barry did for him.
That's what makes watching Barry palatable. If the heinous streak in each character overtook their more banal endeavors, it would be a different show altogether.
Characters are as complicated on Barry as we hope them to be in real life.
Nobody wants to believe that a killer is nothing but that side of themselves, and we hear all the time how a criminal never betrayed that other side of themselves to the world at large.
But while it would be a relief for Barry to grow beyond his past, we know he had to atone for it, too.
Barry will only go straight comedy when the show gives up on Barry's wishes to free himself from his darker side.
That's not going to happen because it would be a worse show as a result.
If you're one of the few people passing by, please jot your thoughts down below. I'd love to hear from you!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA), enjoys mentoring writers, wine, and passionately discussing the nuances of television. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.