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Friday, May 27, 2022

Barry season 3 first impression: Bill Hader-fronted darkly funny HBO drama returns with a humdinger

Bill Hader-starrer Barry season 3 has begun with an absolute bang. The first episode is a masterclass is writing, direction and acting.

Written by Kshitij Rawat | New Delhi |
April 29, 2022 8:09:34 am
Barry season 3, barryBarry streams on Disney+ Hotstar.

Barry has been one show on television that manages to strike the right balance between the hilarious and the macabre. It followed its corker of an inaugural season with an uneven but still worthwhile sophomore outing. In its third season, however, the Bill Hader-fronted show has begun with an absolute bang. If the first episode is any indication, it may be its best yet.

The show has been created by Hader with Alec Berg. It follows Hader’s ex-United States Marine Barry Berkman who became a ruthless Midwest hitman, but abhors his job — even if he is an accomplished killer. He moves to Los Angeles for an ‘assignment’ and ends up in a community of people looking to make an entry into the LA theatre scene.

There, among budding, struggling theatre actors, particularly with the sparkling Sally Reed (Sarah Goldberg) he gets back his humanity, and wishes to live a normal life but extricating himself from that job may not be as easy as it looks. He cannot tell his friends about his past, and yet lies make for a flimsy foundation of friendships and relationships.

He wants to hide who he really is, and killing may be the only thing he is great at.

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The second season ended on a cliff-hanger after his acting coach Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler) remembers what Barry’s past associate and present enemy Monroe Fuches (Stephen Root) told him about his girlfriend and detective Janice Moss’ death.

The first episode begins right after the second season’s finale ended. Gene is now sure that Barry killed Janice to hide his prior crimes, but is unable to convince the police due to lack of evidence. Anthony Carrigan’s NoHo Hank, the politest gangster in the world, is interrogated by the police about the monastery shooting but manages to convince detectives that Fuches, who he says is really a deadly assassin called The Raven, orchestrated it.

Bill Hader, barry season 3 Bill Hader in Barry season 3. (Photo: HBO)

Barry, meanwhile, has returned to contract killing. But he is also dealing with a mental illness that makes him hallucinate bullet holes in the foreheads of people he is talking to. He may have gotten away from the law, for now, but it does not look like his newfound conscience will let him off the hook that easily.

While the entire episode, titled “forgiving jeff”, is a masterclass is writing, direction and acting, the mental illness that Barry has added a whole new dimension to this character. The guilt he has harboured for killing dozens of people for money is finally coming forth in a gory way.

Will Barry recover and find peace once and for all with Sally and finally live that normal life he desired? Or his carefully built double life will unravel? These are the questions the rest of the episodes can answer, but “forgiving jeff” has left me anxious for more.

Barry streams on Disney+ Hotstar.

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