Bill Hader surprised the world with Barry when it first premiered. Known for his sketch comedy background, the actor had found some success in independent film. Yet even performances that drew raves, like The Skeleton Twins and Trainwreck, showed nothing like Barry. The dark comedy became one of the most compelling shows of a generation and earned Hader multiple Emmys. As it enters the final season, there were legitimate questions about whether it could stick the landing. After all, Season 3 ended in a way that could have legitimately concluded the series. With one last go around to conclude the story of Barry, Hader and company dive into the endgame.

Barry Bill Hader

Barry Berkman (Hader) sits in jail after his arrest. His acting teacher Gene (Henry Winkler) set up a trap with the police and Jim Moss (Robert Wisdom) to finally catch Barry. When news of his arrest spreads, Barry’s girlfriend Sally (Sarah Goldberg) comes under fire from all sides. Meanwhile, Noho Hank (Anthony Carrigan) and boyfriend Cristobal (Michael Irby) embark on a new business venture in Southern California. When Barry and former handler Fuches (Stephen Root) meet in prison, they revisit their relationship. Yet with so many of his secrets exposed, and his presence in police custody, people want Barry dead.

As with each of the previous seasons, Hader’s performance astounds. While Barry has always been funny, Hader brings a blue streak to the series to ground it in earnest character exploration. Few performers in television history are so in tune with their characters, and Hader’s final season will be held up as a signature performance in television history.

Barry Final Season

Even more impressive, Hader also pulls double duty by directing the entire season. His total control keeps the visual and tonal language consistent over the season. We get the same wild, over-the-top comedy that helped Barry break through in its initial season. Hader’s extensive film language allows his cinematographers to create perfectly framed images. Few television directors have the eye of Hader, and he once again proves himself in a class by himself.

The rest of the cast gets plenty of material to ensure their dynamic performance is not forgotten. Carrigan comes to life over a phone call, delivering some of the most complicated he’s ever performed on the series. Yet, he also delivers top-tier comedy during one particularly hilarious sequence at an arcade. With Irby, the two create a dynamic and loving relationship that struggles to survive in the high-stakes world of crime.

Barry Final Season

Winkler continues to shine in his theatrical roots while making Gene as oblivious to consequences as ever. Root plays Fuches as a man come undone. He cannot balance his genuine hatred of Barry with his love for the man. Goldberg suffers from similarly polarizing feelings, showing natural fear for Barry’s actions in her presence. At the same time, the events of Season 3 forced Barry to save her from a very dark fate. While she knows the violence Barry can inflict on others, that violence has been directed away from her for the first time. Goldberg plays the duality of these feelings to perfection.

Barry Final Season

Few shows stand up to the pressure of a final season. Yet Barry takes off early, positioning itself to land the plane. The darkness inherent in its premise means Barry will not end well for some of these characters. However, knowing Hader’s ability as a writer and performer, we expect the conclusion to carve its place in television history.

Alan’s Rating: 10/10

What do you think of Barry‘s Final Season? Let us know in the comments below! Watch Barry every Sunday on HBO on HBO Max after it airs.

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