BARRY is such a quality show across all levels: writing, acting, directing, editing, and more that it was a strange feeling to find myself actually hating EP3. I knew it was still well done, but I just really did not like it. And honestly, I can’t help but wonder if that was the point.
I hated Barry, the character, for the way he was using and abusing the historically good relationships in his life. I hated how supporting characters like Gene and Sally reacted to him. It was a series of uncomfortable situations and scenes, watching Barry feel like it was all going to work out for him no matter what happened. But as I said early in this season – S3 is a game-changer, a turning point. I can’t help but wonder if this was the plan from the beginning or if Bill Hader and series co-creator Alec Berg shifted due to events of the last two years.
It’s very easy to see the privilege Barry has in his life, whether he’s aware of it or not. He’s a cold-blooded killer and yet his whiteness and his class in life afford him the luck of having people generally think the best of him. As a viewer, I’m guilty of this myself and I’m sure I’m not alone. I’ve shifted from finding Barry to be a charming weirdo to just flat out admitting he’s an awful person that deserves to go down. Whether the writers also just realized this going into S3 or this has been their plan from the get-go, I don’t know. I’ve previously discussed how Barry is different from Dexter Morgan. BARRY is still a part of a long line of TV shows featuring middle-aged middle-class(ish) white men getting away with terrible crimes. See OZARK, BETTER CALL SAUL, BREAKING BAD, THE SHIELD, THE SOPRANOS, SONS OF ANARCHY, BOARDWALK EMPIRE, DEADWOOD, THE BOYS, …. At what point can we just admit that these anti-heroes are really just villains?
EP4 brought me back into the “BARRY is one of the best shows on TV” fold but it didn’t endear me back to rooting for Barry at all. The walls are closing in and for once, I’m rooting for some of those “walls” instead of our protagonist. This is a perfect time to highlight Elsie Fisher (EIGHTH GRADE) as Katie Harris, Sally’s co-star and TV daughter on Sally’s new show, Joplin. Elsie is young, smart, and sees right through Barry’s facade. Sarah Goldberg’s Sally and Katie share one of this season’s most important scenes in EP4, which leads to an absolutely devastating moment for Sally. Her Hollywood career is finally coming to fruition and she thinks she has Barry to at least partially thank for the support. But has he really been there for her after all?
BARRY is currently airing Sundays on HBO and streaming on HBOMax.