DISCLAIMER: This recap of Barry Season 4 Episode 4, “it takes a psycho,” contains spoilers. Proceed at your peril. 

Welcome back, hit people-turned-actors! Barry‘s fourth episode, “it takes a psycho,” is pure, unadulterated bonkers. It’s a game-changing outing that permanently alters the course of the rest of the season. Helmed by Bill Hader and penned by Taofik Kolade, “it takes a psycho” is brimming with plot twists and jaw-dropping moments. Gene shoots his son. Sally flees with Barry. Hank kills his business partners. The Chechens murder Cristobal. My poor baby Cristobal. RIP. 

I love how Hader’s direction results in intriguing character perspectives from a filmmaking standpoint. We see multiple scenes told through the eyes of different characters, i.e., Cristobal learning about Hank’s betrayal, the Dave & Buster’s raid from the perspective of two patrons, etc. Hader’s directorial prowess is unparalleled. On another note, this episode should be Anthony Carrigan‘s Emmys submission. What a powerhouse performance. Utterly gut-wrenching. 

Ready to delve into “it takes a psycho”? Let’s get to it. 

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We open with a helicopter leaving the prison to search for Barry. The prison guards and the big boss beat the snot out of Fuches (Stephen Root), asking him if he knows where Barry is. Fuches claims he doesn’t, but his attackers are relentless. Meanwhile, Tom (Fred Melamed) and Leo (Andrew Leeds) drop Gene (Henry Winkler) off at the cabin in Big Bear Lake. Gene is terrified of being left alone, especially without access to his favorite restaurant. And there’s no cell service! However, Tom is merely grateful Gene’s out of LA and away from the press. 

Next, Jim Moss (Robert Wisdom) sits outside Gene’s home and observes while a slew of police cruisers ground to a half in front of said home. They’re searching for Gene. The officer who chats with Jim reveals they’re making a beeline for NoHo Hank/Cristobal, and they have eyes on Sally. The police are attempting to anticipate Barry’s movements and where he might go. If Jim finds Barry first, he must keep him alive. Unfortunately, Jim can’t make that promise. 

Cristobal stands in a house while clasping his hands and looking nervous in Barry Season 4 Episode 4, "it takes a psycho."

BARRY Season 4 Episode 4, “it takes a psycho.” Photo credit: Merrick Morton/HBO.

Then, NoHo Hank (Carrigan) and Cristobal (Michael Irby) hunker down in their headquarters while the former worries about Barry’s escape. Cristobal urges Hank to remain calm — they don’t need to fret over Barry. Oh, and this is what happens when you send podcasters to do a trained assassin’s job. Cristobal and Hank attempt to boost group morale by allowing their partners to let loose for a spell via imbibing and ogling at pretty women. Hank saying, “We know you’ve been working your nuts off,” killed me. Side note: François Chau‘s bucket hat makes me giddy. 

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Later, Sally (Sarah Goldberg) chats with Kristen (Ellyn Jameson) before the latter heads to set. Sally asks Kristen to run through the scene with her before filming. We see Kristen emerge in her superhero costume. Sally urges her to keep breathing and remain grounded while at work. When Kristen prepares for her scene, Sally chats it up with a director she admires — Sian Heder, the filmmaker behind the Academy Award-winning CODA. Sian’s now helming a comic book flick. Heder’s subtle sarcasm is hilarious here. 

Sally meets Kristen’s agent, who recognizes Sally as “Entitled Vagina Girl.” After Sian calls “Action,” Kristen fumbles the scene. She storms off the set. Sally chases after her but leaves her phone behind. We see Lindsay trying to call her. Meanwhile, Gene attempts to make food for himself. Tom calls him to reveal Barry’s on the run. Naturally, Gene freaks out, begging Tom to return for him. He’s a sitting duck. Once the conversation ends, Gene reaches for the gun Rip Torn gave him. He sits in his chair, alert, with his weapon trained on the front door. 

Kristen sits on the steps of her trailer on a film set in Barry Season 4 Episode 4, "it takes a psycho."

BARRY Season 4 Episode 4, “it takes a psycho.” Photo credit: Merrick Morton/HBO.

Back at the prison, the prison personnel continues to beat Fuches. He refuses to disclose Barry’s location. Sally tracks down Kristen and provides comfort. Kristen’s anxiety seizes control; it’s her first major movie role. Sally tries to engage Kristen in a brief acting exercise. Eventually, Sally performs Kristen’s monologue herself in front of Sian. Sian is blown away. Kristen asks Sally to show her what she did. Someone’s trying to steal Kristen’s part. Goldberg is such a force of nature here. 

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Hank offers to show his and Cristobal’s partners the sand, aka the product on which their business is based. A S.W.A.T. team barges into Dave & Buster’s, thinking they’ll find Hank and Cristobal. I love how this scene is shot from the perspective of two random guests in the restaurant as the S.W.A.T. team descends upon them. Jim watches the scene from outside the establishment. Cristobal and Hank lead everyone to the silo containing their precious sand. Anakin would hate this. Hank encourages them to remove their shoes and make sand angels. He takes a selfie with the crew. 

Then, Hank asks Cristobal to help him with something outside the silo. Cristobal starts to follow Hank until someone pulls him back, asking him to look at the photos they took. Suddenly, we hear a noise. The group falls through the bottom, disappearing into the sandy depths below. After the camera lingers on the sand where the crew once stood, we hear Cristobal’s voice calling out for Hank. His head and arm are protruding from the sand. Unfortunately, he sinks and vanishes. Thankfully, Hank pulls Cristobal out.

Jim Moss sits in his car in the dark in Barry Season 4 Episode 4, "it takes a psycho."

BARRY Season 4 Episode 4, “it takes a psycho.” Photo credit: Merrick Morton/HBO.

The Chechens descend upon Hank’s and Cristobal’s headquarters, taking out whoever’s left. Andrei (Michael Ironside) and Batir (JB Blanc) emerge from a vehicle to greet Hank and Cristobal. That’s when Cristobal learns this was a premeditated murder — Hank meant to murder their partners. Uh-oh. Meanwhile, Fuches wanders into the mess hall to eat lunch as the room falls silent. He looks like shit. 

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Later, Gene falls asleep in his cabin. He wakes to see a shadow of someone standing on his porch. Without thinking, he fires on the intruder and flees. We see it’s his son, Leo, with a takeout bag from Gene’s favorite restaurant. Leo’s bleeding from his shoulder. That’s one way to greet your child. Back on set, Kristen’s agent offers Sally a job. He wants her to work with Kristen on every film from here on out. She’ll receive a sizable paycheck per movie and have the opportunity to get her acting career on track. Sally vows to think about it. 
Kristen asks Sally if she’s heard the news: Barry escaped prison. We hear a helicopter flying overhead while not seeing it as the booming sound drowns out Kristen’s words. Kristen offers to let Sally stay with her. However, Sally claims she’ll be fine and will see Kristen the following day. Next, Hank has dinner with Andrei, Batir and the other Chechens. Hank reassures Andrei that Cristobal will come around. He merely needs to readjust. Before he departs, Andrei tells Cristobal, whose back is turned, that he’s now part of the Chechen family. 
NoHo Hank and Cristobal strike a pose while smiling in Barry Season 4 Episode 4, "it takes a psycho."

BARRY Season 4 Episode 4, “it takes a psycho.” Photo credit: Merrick Morton/HBO.

Hank chats with Cristobal after the Chechens leave. Cristobal is incredulous that the man he loves would commit murder. Not only that, but he would kill their business partners. Hank claims he did this to protect them. Andrei has officially given LA to Hank and Cristobal. Now, they’re in charge with the Chechens’ protection. Cristobal wanted their venture to be legitimate, even though Hank had a different course of action in mind (an illegal one, at that). Cristobal decides to leave. 
Of course, Cristobal knows too much. He can’t leave. Hank tries to impress the importance of this upon Cristobal, but he refuses to listen. He doesn’t want to see Hank again. This scene is chock full of tension as we become fully aware of what Hank’s trying to impart. If Cristobal crosses that threshold into the outside world, he dies. Hank chases him outside. He embraces Cristobal and tells him repeatedly how much he loves him. Unfortunately, Cristobal insists he’s leaving Hank. 
Hank heads inside and starts sobbing. We don’t hear anything. Then, someone enters the house. This person looks fuzzy, but he appears to don Cristobal’s clothing. It’s not Cristobal, but one of Hank’s Chechen buddies who apologizes for what he had to do. He opens the door, and we see Cristobal lifeless on the ground, blood pooling from his head. Meanwhile, Jim sits outside Sally’s apartment. He watches her enter the building with a key card. Sally walks into her apartment. She scans the living room for Barry, knowing he’s standing in the darkest part of her home. We see Barry (Hader) emerge from the darkness. She tells him they should leave. Barry’s taken aback by her willingness to go with him. 
Tom walks down the steps of a cabin in Barry Season 4 Episode 4, "it takes a psycho."

BARRY Season 4 Episode 4, “it takes a psycho.” Photo credit: Merrick Morton/HBO.

Later, we see two kids fight on a barren field. One man breaks them apart and orders John (Zachary Golinger), one of the boys, to head home. He walks across said field to his house, which stands in isolation. John waltzes inside and grabs a Budweiser can from the refrigerator. He holds it up to the bruising on his face. He makes a beeline for his room. Barry and Sally sit at the table and observe their son. Barry reassures Sally he’ll chat with John. 
This episode is a thrill ride from beginning to end. It’s engrossing. Side note: the scene where Barry emerges from the darkness is reminiscent of Sally retreating into the darkness last season when she screams at Lindsay. The parallels between these two are fascinating. They’re more alike than Sally realizes. Well, she might have come to that realization when she agrees to run away with Barry. It feels like an abused person returning to their abuser, falling back into the poisonous abuse cycle because it’s what they know. 
Of course, Sally appears to realize she won’t reach the dizzying A-list heights she was at before Joplin was canceled, so perhaps running as far away from LA is the best thing for her. Her thought process is intriguing. 
“it takes a psycho” is Barry at its finest: brutal, visceral and dark. Hank is on my shit list, so I hope he somehow redeems himself in later episodes. It bears repeating — RIP, Cristobal. 
Why do you think Sally decided to leave with Barry? Will Cristobal’s death haunt Hank in perpetuity (as it should)? Will Leo live (probably)? Only time (and more episodes) will tell. 
Barry streams new episodes every Sunday at 10 pm on HBO and HBO Max.

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Melody McCune
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