Created by Bill Hader (who also stars) and Alec Berg, BARRY is a standout show on HBO, following familiar territory (GROSSE POINTE BLANK comes to mind) while carving out its own identity. The third season delivers the same punches and black comedy, though this season is far blacker as Barry brutally faces far bigger consequences of his life choices.
In this season, Barry and Sally are living together, Sally is working on her own show, and Barry is going through a depression as all the death he produced is catching up to him. He sees a way to make things right, but the past isn’t done with him. An awful comeuppance is on the way, producing some of the funniest and most thrilling set pieces the show has produced. While Barry is by no means a good guy, we can sympathize with him as he’s trying to change his life and discover a higher purpose, only to be sabotaged by his past with a strong dash of karma.
Sometimes, a terrific series hits season 3 doldrums, as what makes it work starts to feel over familiar. The first few episodes of season 3 made me wonder if the show, while still enjoyable for its wonderful characters and actors, had lost some of its energy. Once events start to accelerate to achieve a critical mass, however, the season rediscovers its vitality with frequently funny but far darker, far more brutal material than previous seasons. The conceit of Barry facing his past sins not only psychologically but in the flesh was a terrific foundation for the season.
Things end fairly bleakly, but it’s not over yet. From what I understand, things are about to get even darker. Season 4 has been signed, and it’s on its way over the next year.