“You’re not a good actor. Mr. Cousineau”. Well, well, well, how the turn tables… Barry’s cleverness comes back to bite him. Before you start reading this, spoilers ahead for the season three finale of HBO’s ‘Barry’.
You have to stand up and applaud Hader and Alec Berg for their terrific work. Not only has this season been a creative marvel, but the ending to it is also a pragmatic decision to have another season. Barry’s journey has been a struggle beyond our wildest imagination.
This season, we saw him in an existential color that was different from the previous seasons. The altruistic narrative for season 3 was wide in scope and also included other characters. It ends on a firm note, clearly establishing the storyline for season four. Read our recap and thoughts about that scintillating ending, which despite its unprecedented nature, was something we all saw coming.
Episode 8 of Barry Season 3 starts with Berkman waking up in the hospital from a nightmare. We see him again, at the beach, facing the sea. When he looks back, he spots Sally and Gene at the back. He goes to the apartment and finds Sally in the room, prepared to ask him to “do to Natalie what you said you would to Diane”.
The only guy remaining from the Motocross gang ambushes the two in their house. He almost kills Sally after knocking Barry unconscious. But she has a trick up her sleeve to fight back. Once she does, she beats him to death with a baseball bat. Barry asks her to run and takes care of the body.
While discussing future plans with the producer, Gene gets a phone call from Jim Moss, asking him to come down to his house. He reluctantly goes. Once there, Jim forces Gene into a room and repeatedly asks him to incriminate Barry.
A gruesome and shocking chain of events awaits us as we travel all the way to Bolivia. Hank is still cuffed but Akhmal is able to get out of them. The plan is to ambush the man with the gun and escape. But for all we know about Barry, the gunman might just walk in with a wild carnivorous animal. And he does. He brings a panther with him, who mauls Akhmal and his compatriot to death.
When the gunman comes to Hank’s room, he finds that Hank has uncuffed himself. He is able to overpower the gunman and uses the machine gun to kill the panther, through the wall. It is not so much as killing him with a clear line of sight but a panicked firing at whatever the bullets can take down. Elena, hell-bent on getting back Cristobal to her, uses electroshock therapy and a male stripper to “cure” Cristobal of his disease. Hank kills them both and comforts Cirostobal, who finally takes a sigh of relief.
We saw that Nguyen walked out of the police station with his gun in an annoyed state. He was headed straight to Barry. He catches Barry burying the Motocross guy right at the place where season three started. Nguyen, grateful to Barry for saving his life all those years back, gives Barry a second chance as well and asks him to stop. Barry has an emotional meltdown. He decides to leave town with Sally. Unbeknownst to him, as he phones her, Sally is already on a flight to Joplin.
“starting now” Ending Explained
Moss phones Barry to come to his house. He ignores him but can’t get past Gene’s plea to help him take down Moss. Barry reaches Moss’ house in a rush, yelling at Gene for his plan. He takes the gun out of Gene’s hands and goes into the house. As he is about to shoot Jim, he hears a voice.
“Drop the gun, Berkman!” Gene has tricked him. His “acting” has gotten Barry arrested. He is taken away as Gene has an expression of contentment on his face. The screen fades to black.
The dialogue quoted at the start of the article is from episode two when Barry tells Gene that there is no way he can trust Gene to not reveal Barry’s secrets to the authorities. Jim was indeed able to convince Gene to give up Barry. What stopped him from doing so before is a point of contention – love or fear?
Well, whatever it may be, Barry is now behind bars. Guess who will he meet there? And like I predicted with Nguyen in the last recap, Fuches and Barry will be seen working together for the initial duration of their stay. It is all conjecture at this point. In some way or the other, we all saw this ending coming. Even Bill Hader revealed that one of the first things that was discussed in the writer’s room was Barry getting caught.
The Episode Review
I think I have said thrice this season that ‘Barry’ is operating at a level much higher than a significant number of its peers. This exciting mix of comedy, drama, horror, and thrill is unlike anything we have seen in the television universe. The finale very closely resembles the element of choice one has akin to real life.
Just in the manner, the choice can change the course of one’s life, it can here too. And on top of that, there is the beguiling deception that we had a choice to start with. There was an interesting indication at the start of the episode with the purgatory beach that the people there might not just be victims of violence – but also its perpetrators.
That seductively sets up the eventual twist of Gene setting up Barry and not killing Moss. But above all, a feeling of justice – that, admittedly, does not come instantly – for Janice prevails. Hader and Berg have always maintained that Barry is an antihero.
Despite feeling pity and rooting for him, viewers are jolted with bolts of truth that really show the impact of his actions. He mostly got away with it, whether it was due to sheer luck, or his quick wit. By all means, the wrap-up isn’t too kind to him.
And neither to Hank and Sally. The “disease” that haunts Barry – something he realizes he cannot escape once he had it – was passed on to these characters. They have a taste of blood now – however inadvertently and unexpectedly – but it sets up nicely for the fourth season.
Although the resemblance is a bit far-fetched, I felt Hader’s handling of violence was similarly understated like filmmaker Lynne Ramsey’s. ‘Barry’ lacks the psychological dread that often characterizes Ramsey’s works. But this creative choice gives the finale an elegant look and certainly makes the job easier for production. It also protects the viewer from the shock of seeing the shock of grotesqueness, that this season had a lot of.
‘Barry’s finale is laced with tragedy, optimism, and moral ambiguity, all rolled into one delightful piece of treachery that has entertained us thoroughly this season.