This review contains spoilers.
The Emmy award winning HBO series Barry from Saturday Night Live alum, Bill Hader, has always kept a balance of comedy and drama. For those unfamiliar, the show is about a hitman named Barry who takes a job to kill a wannabe actor. This leads Barry down this path of wanting to become an actor himself and escape the life of killing others. Of course, if this were any easy task, the show would’ve ended after episode one but here we are, four episodes into season three.
It has been three years since Barry was last on television. While the events of the season two finale were quite dark (Barry shooting and killing several people in the monastery, Fuches telling Cousineau about Barry, etc.), the show has never quite felt like this. This is a whole new level of dark and it feels like we’re treading into the point of no return.
The season picks up with Sally thriving as she is the showrunner and lead actress for her show Joplin. NoHo Hank and Cristobal are having a secret relationship that no one can know about. Gene is depressed and out to get Barry. Barry, also seeming depressed, is just playing video games and picking up odd jobs on the dark web. And Fuches… well Fuches is playing with goats.
The theme seems to be forgiveness, in fact, the season premiere is titled “forgiving jeff” where Barry points out very clearly that we can’t just forgive Jeff. NoHo Hang reiterates this in a later scene by stating that forgiveness must be earned. Barry is struggling to earn forgiveness from Gene Cousineau who at one point plans to shoot Barry until his gun breaks apart. The show just feels dark, especially the scenes so far with Barry and Gene.
Gene knows and Barry admits to killing Janice in season one. Barry is under the impression that he can make this right by getting Gene an acting job on Sally’s show which Sally declines. This leads to an explosive yelling outburst by Barry directed towards Sally in front of her co-workers.
Through the first four episodes of season three, we can definitely see the pieces being moved around for what will take us to the end game. Each character is getting their fair share of screen time, but you can just feel that all of these storylines are going to converge in the season’s final act – or maybe next season depending on how this plays out.
The writing and directing is as sharp as it has ever been with Bill Hader directing the first two episodes of season three and Alec Berg directing the most recent two. The show has upped it’s game in the cinematography department as well. We can see the creative minds at work in each shot and detail.
While some jokes feel out of place (such as Barry dialing a customer service representative to help fix his bomb detonating app) the show still prioritizes the drama it seems. Most of the jokes are quick and blend in but some, like the app, stand out in what would normally just be a tense scene. I’m not knocking this, the show was created by two guys usually associated with comedy, but that particular joke, as funny as it was, felt out of place.
The acting is also phenomenal this season with the best performance so far going to Henry Winkler as Gene Cousineau. His portrayal as a man grieving and full of anger has stolen every scene he is in. A particular scene that stands out is while he and Barry are filing their part for Laws of Humanity, a fictional show they get a part on. Winkler has stolen the show and I am very fearful for his character moving forward.
Overall, the first four episodes of season three have been excellent. It does feel like a departure from the first two seasons and the show is certainly gravitating towards darker territory. I am genuinely nervous to see what will happen to these characters over the next four episodes and beyond.
Barry Season 3 Has Started Strong
The new season of Barry is the show at it’s highest point. With the tone getting darker, the writing getting sharper, and the performances standing out, it will be a treat to see how they wrap up this story.
- Season has taken a darker tone.
- Great acting performances from leads and supporting players.
- Sharp writing and suspense
- Occasional joke that breaks up the tension and feels out of place… yet hilarious.