‘Barry’ Season 4 Review: Bill Hader’s Final Season Goes Out Big

The three-time DGA winner is directing every episode of “Barry’s” farewell season, and needless to say, they’re all bad.

At the end of the final season of “Barry,” a character says, “This is not a good guy/bad guy story. It goes much deeper than that – much deeper.” Never mind that this man is talking about an unmade movie script. Bill Hader and Alec Berg’s black comedy is as deep as it is dark. Shades of gray abound, but the lines are so sharply drawn that morality often takes second fiddle to motivation. People in “Barry” will, and what they want is often out of reach (as is often the case in TV shows). Some want fame or recognition, like needy actors Gene (Henry Winkler) and Sally (Sarah Goldberg), while others want riches, like self-centered operator Fuches (Stephen Root), or hilarity, like cheerful Chechen oddball Hank (Anthony ). Carrigan). Circumstances themselves can get in the way—Hank, for example, often finds his mob commitments getting in the way of a good time—but more often than not, it’s a bad choice, a misguided act, a tragic mistake that sends them deeper and deeper. the darkness.

Don’t forget, “Barry” there is a comedy. Even after the recent finale, where Hank listens to a panther eat his colleagues alive, the HBO hit finds consistent avenues for humor — it’s a silly moniker. herea random runner thereclever visual gags throughout – and at the same time he considers his characters to be completely human. “Barry” is not simply a “good guy/bad guy” story, but is more complex than conventional genre labels allow. Season 4 is bleak because it follows the same trajectory as the previous series. Season 4 is also surprising, exciting, harrowing and hysterical – although the laughs often come in unexpected bursts, with longer pauses between bursts. The final season of “Barry” is utterly honest; honest about what it takes for people to change, why it’s easier to fall back into familiar patterns, and how each affects friends, family, and society at large.

But we are not at the bottom. Not yet. Each season of “Barry” felt like it had its own ending, which was a welcome change from the typical cliffhanger teases of TV and obscure patches of content on streaming. Seasons of “Barry” stand on their own, even if they pick up where the last one left off and set up the next one. (Episodic storytelling! Seasonal arcs! You’ve got to love them!) For many, Barry’s (Bill Hader) arrest may have felt like one of the few obvious final acts, but Season 4 continues with the now known killer going to prison. . A bit of a celebrity, Barry doesn’t really mind on the inside. Fuches is there with him, but even he feels better than to cross the killer once more.

Apart from those locked in a cell, “Barry” sees his characters scattered. Sally travels to her hometown. Hank and Cristobal (Michael Irby) move out of Los Angeles on their own. Gene is close to Hollywood, but his wandering focus soon begins to annoy the ever-observant Jim Moss (Robert Wisdom). Still, those running at top speed and those stuck in the same place suffer the same setbacks: they can’t outrun themselves. Gene could help catch Barry, but escaping his own narcissism is a bigger challenge. (Early in Season 4, Gene tries to explain his friendship with Barry and finally admits his own Achilles heel: “He was obsessed with (me). He treated (me) like a superstar. It’s very hard to do that as an actor. To resist.” Hank is upset and upset, still shaken by his own experience of imprisonment (with a man-eating panther) and looking for help in the wrong place.

Barry Season 4 Sally Sarah Goldberg

Sarah Goldberg in Barry

Merrick Morton/HBO

Sally, well, Sally’s Season 4 journey is great; a deft mix of admirable intentions and unlearned lessons that Goldberg harnesses with palpable compassion. Her Emmy-worthy scenes pile up with each episode, from her emotional outburst in her mother’s passenger seat to her stunning sequence in the second half of the season. Root also takes an extraordinary turn, and Hader – who has already won two leading actor Emmys for the role – pushes his self-loathing assassin into new, intriguing pursuits. “Barry” is curious about the concept of redemption and what it takes to forgive yourself. All of the characters alternate so smoothly between openly searching for the right answer and willingly giving in to their baser urges that even as their paths get thornier and thornier, you never lose hope that they’ll make it through to some sort of salvation, cuts and scrapes be damned.

They are led by the same person behind the camera. Having won three straight DGA Awards for directing select episodes in the first three seasons, Hader is in the director’s chair for all eight Season 4 entries, and “Barry” shows the same formal playfulness and smooth execution of the first three. so nice to explore the seasons. There are small homages to genre films and sly callbacks to the series itself, but even better are the scenes captured with such creativity that they could only exist because of how much fun they were to shoot. Of course, there’s more to it than high production value — “Barry” wastes no time — but the ingenuity helps give the difficult story some buoyancy.

With seven of the eight episodes reviewed, the ending of “Barry” remains a mystery even to critics. While few of us are lucky enough to see these episodes in advance, I’m a little envious of everyone who doesn’t yet discover what’s in store for us. “Barry” has always been an experience worth savoring. There were twists and turns (and there will be more), but the imagination is visible in every beat, not just in the big moments. It’s a show that can look past what’s going on and enjoy it how it happens—whether it’s designed, made, or performed. “Barry” is moving towards a shrinking conclusion, but it’s already much deeper than a good guy/bad guy story. It’s more than a Hollywood satire, an anti-hero’s journey or a morality play crossed with a comedy of errors. This is “Barry” and no matter how dark things get, I will miss him when he is gone.

grade: A

“Barry” Season 4 premieres Sunday, April 16 at 10 p.m. on HBO.

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