Sunday, May 28, 2023

Double Whammy: The season finale of "Yellowjackets" and the series finale of "Barry" (SPOILERS!!!)

Let's get Yellowjackets out of the way first, because I'm pissed about the fate of Adult Natalie and am officially hating Adult Tai and Adult Van. I also wouldn't miss Adult Lottie all that much if they lock her up in the loony bin and forget about her.
Part of my problem with the Taissa storyline is that she is a recently elected politician and yet episode after episode no press has been sniffing around despite the fact that she disappears for extended periods of time without question, plus the issues with Simone and Sammy, then the car accident, and yet she just comes and goes as she pleases without any interference or question. And her and Van calling off the psych intervention on their own was stupid even before it doomed Natalie, who had emerged (in my opinion) as the most interesting of the surviving adult Yellowjackets.
I'm also curious as to if and when the show is going to address the fact that a lot of what the Yellowjackets went through in the wilderness was due to Misty destroying the transponder. You have to wonder how much sooner they would have been rescued had she not done that. The adults clearly don't know, because if they did there's no way they would have anything to do with her. She would be persona non grata on steroids. I hope this is addressed at some point. I have enjoyed the development of Shauna's daughter Callie, who went from annoying sullen teen in the vein of Harrison Morgan to damn interesting and effective.

On top of all this, the fire at the end made for a terrific cliffhanger. When coach was lifting the matches, I thought it was to take them back to the cave so he could make a fire to warm himself. So did he decide that the girls had become so evil he was willing to burn them alive?
I also want to note that the actresses who play the teens have belted it out of the park this season. As their situation has devolved and survival at any cost has become their everyday struggle and reality, there hasn't been a false note in any of their performances. The actresses playing Teen Natalie and Teen Shauna especially, but the whole cast is just freaking amazing. 
Also, there's this

$200. If the economy wasn't so terrifying right now, I'd have already ordered this baby.
And never, ever, ask me to pick a card ever again.

The wonderfully offbeat (and increasingly dark) Barry came to an end tonight, and I thought they did a great job on the finale. The hitman turned aspiring actor did finally pay for his many crimes while seeming to have gotten some sort of redemption, Sally got a somewhat happy ending (although she appears to have understandable issues getting involved with anyone - I was really hoping that teacher at the end would be the man she deserved), and Fuches had his own redemption when he saved Sally and John. Of course, the one person who got totally screwed was Gene Cousineau. Having him kill Barry just as the former hitman was about to turn himself in, a move that would have straightened out the story of Detective Moss's murder and saved Gene, was just savage. 

And the film got made! Watching The Mask Collector with John, as the movie got everything about the story of Barry and Gene so wrong, was to me a sort of gleeful call-out of how Hollywood has so little relationship to truth. Fuches is completely absent in the movie - having left the Army and feeling rudderless, Barry gets off the bus in Hollywood and the first thing he sees is a theater that becomes his chance to have a purpose in life. Gene is presented as a suave, British-accented criminal mastermind using his acting school as a front for his nefarious activities with the Chechen gang. Showing him as the true murderer of Detective Janice Moss, and forcing Barry to help him cover up the crime was pure Hollywood bullshit. And the tag at the end of the film, that Gene Cousineau is now serving a life sentence for the murders of Janice Moss and Barry Berkman is an incredibly cruel fate for the one-time pretentious acting teacher and author of Hit Your Mark and Say Your Lines who loved Janice so much. Oh, and Barry Berkman was buried at Arlington Cemetery with full honors. Poor Gene, so close to being cleared...and then he's the architect of his own downfall. Just brutal.

Barry is one of those shows where happy endings for all the characters we've loved just isn't possible, but I thought it rang true. There was redemption, there was survival, there was some justice, and there was tragedy. Well done, Bill Hader and Alec Berg. There was some meandering this season, but it had a purpose and it all wrapped up the way it should. Also props to both the creators and HBO for understanding that this wasn't a show that could go for seven plus seasons, that it had to come to an end at some point, and that point needed to be sooner rather than later. Well done, everyone involved, and I'm looking forward to going back to the beginning and reliving it again.
RIP Barry, and Yellowjackets, you have some 'splaining to do.

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