REVIEW: ‘Barry’ Season 3 is Darker, Edgier, and Still Incredibly Funny

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Barry Season 3 - But Why Tho (1)

It’s hard to believe it’s been three years since we last saw Barry on HBO. During that gap, Warner Media announced HBO Max, disbanded HBO Go/Now, and finally launched their independent streaming service. Not to mention that cliffhanger that the series left us on! Well, wait no more, as come Sunday Bill Hader returns as the titular character for Barry Season 3.

Created, written, and directed by Alec Berg, and Bill Hader, Barry follows the life of a disenchanted hitman who discovers an inner spark when he stumbles into an amateur acting class in LA after assassinating one of its members. Inspired by the people around him, and buoyed by his new lease on life Barry realizes what is finally important to him, but with war breaking out between the Chechnyan, and Bolivian mobs because of Barry’s failed hits his future is in constant jeopardy.

If you need a brief recap, we previously left Barry in a war between his ex-handler Fuches (Stephen Root) who was threatening to reveal his murder of Detective Janice Moss (Paula Newsome) to her lover, who also happened to be Barry’s mentor and acting coach Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler). While seeking revenge on Fuches, Barry mowed down both the Bolivian, and Chechnyan mobs who were in the middle of resolving a dispute, agreeing to work together.

I loved everything about Season 2, and I can provide a laundry list of reasons why from the episode where Barry tries to assassinate an Olympic martial arts champion and gets his ass handed to him, to the character interactions between NoHo Hank (Anthony Carrigan) and Cristobal (Michael Irby), and that utterly brilliant season finale where it all goes off.

Season 3 deals with the consequences of the prior two seasons, and it’s also the larger theme of the season as a whole. While the show is incredibly funny and self-aware of its reflective commentary on actors and the culture in LA, the third season of Barry reminds the audience that while we’re rooting for the redemption of the title character, he also has an unbelievably bloody past with a mountain of bodies left in his wake. A kill count in that range comes with consequences, and Barry is going to face that head-on.

One of the best elements of this show is ironically the character performances. Given the story centers around actors and the film industry in LA, it’s ironic that the cast is so unbelievably in touch with the depth of the script and calling forward exactly what is needed. Chief amongst the performances are undoubtedly Hader and Carrigan.

This deep into a series it can be tough for shows to continue to excel and tap into performances, and stories that don’t feel derivative of what’s already come, and yet Bill Hader doesn’t seem to struggle with that obstacle at all. His version of Barry during this season is so fragile, and so aggressively explosive every episode feels like the story is sitting on a tinder box ready to blow everything to high hell. Barry’s psyche is stretched so thin that for the first time he’s unable to hide his emotions, and his deepest fears, and watching Hader bring that forward is so powerful.

Carrigan’s performance on the other hand is one of my absolute favorite interpretations of a gangster in modern media. NoHo Hank is a horrible human being, and yet the way Carrigan brings him to life makes me want to be best friends with this man, he’s excruciatingly delightful. In a year where we’ve seen many bombastic performances, NoHo Hank for me is a benchmark in not pushing things far enough, without making it completely ridiculous.

The dichotomy of the show rests on the shoulders of these two characters as they are the personification of drama, and comedy and why these two pair so well.

Beyond the performances, the story is just brilliant this season. Agents of chaos will be unleashed, challenging Barry like never before. There is one particular episode that is completely unhinged, but the pace, the comedy, the tension, and the cinematography involved result in a perfect story. Which it then goes on to finish on a damn nail-biting cliffhanger! There are a huge amount of callbacks to season 1, so I would recommend a re-watch of the show.

Barry Season 3 is phenomenal and effortlessly weaves together high-stakes tension and ridiculous comedic moments. Bill Hader taps into something truly unhinged, I couldn’t take my eyes off him both for fear of what he’d do, and for fear of what would happen to him. Carrigan continues his rampantly hilarious antics with NoHO Hank, and I adore how joyfully bonkers this character is. Simply put, you have to watch Barry as it is heads and tails some of the best TV around.

Barry Season 3 will be released weekly with episode 1 available exclusively on HBO Max Sunday, April 24th,


Barry Season 3
  • 8.5/10
    Rating - 8.5/10
8.5/10

TL;DR

Barry Season 3 is phenomenal and effortlessly weaves together high-stakes tension and ridiculous comedic moments. Bill Hader taps into something truly unhinged, I couldn’t take my eyes off him both for fear of what he’d do, and for fear of what would happen to him. Carrigan continues his rampantly hilarious antics with NoHO Hank, and I absolutely adore how joyfully bonkers this character is. Simply put, you have to watch Barry as it is heads and tails some of the best TV around.