The fourth and final season of HBO’s hit show “Barry” is now airing, picking up where the third season left off with its titular character, a hitman-turned-wannabe actor, getting arrested. As a result, this season takes a darker turn than previous ones, with the show relying heavily on its ensemble cast and exploring flights of fancy.
Despite not being the highest-profile goodbye on HBO this spring (thanks to “Succession”), “Barry” is still a critically acclaimed and Emmy-nominated series that has been praised for its unpredictable storytelling and director-producer-star Bill Hader’s auteur turn. This season, in particular, has been compared to “Better Call Saul” in exploring the fallout from the protagonist’s double life.
The consequences of Barry’s arrest ripple out to all those in his orbit, from his acting teacher Gene Cousineau (played by Henry Winkler) and girlfriend Sally (Sarah Goldberg) to the rogues’ gallery of petty criminals, including Fuches (Stephen Root) and NoHo Hank (Anthony Carrigan). The show has always grappled with the discomfort of having a protagonist who murders people, and this season makes that tension even more acute with Barry behind bars.
Despite its darker tone, “Barry” still finds moments of dark humor, including hysterical cameos by Hollywood figures such as director Guillermo del Toro. However, the show’s surreal digressions and flights of fancy can sometimes feel distracting. However, the strength of the cast and the consistently unpredictable storytelling keeps the audience on edge and guessing where the show will go next.
While a happy ending for everyone in “Barry” -land never seemed likely, Hader and co-creator Alec Berg have made it clear that they intend to exit on their terms, even if that means a season that isn’t quite as strong as previous ones. Ultimately, “Barry” is a show that takes creative risks and explores complex moral questions, making it one of the most compelling and unique shows on television.