After a nearly three-year hiatus thanks to the pandemic, Barry is back, and season three has been its darkest and bleakest yet. It has concentrated on Barry completely falling apart. He's losing his girlfriend and his mind. And it's all his fault. Barry's latent anger issues have boiled into full-blown rage, and now he presents a danger to himself and everyone around him.
This season, Barry'sthemes keep bubbling to the surface and shedding light on some terrifying arcs that have always been there. It's masterful in its direction and storytelling. That's why I was so excited to read an interview from show creators Bill Hader and Alec Berg in Indiewire. They talk about the themes of season three and how the character of Barry has begun to become the villain of his own show. This really is a dark comedy.
The creators of Barry discuss its themes
In a way, this whole season is devoted to what the character of Barry has been searching for since the pilot.
Remember last season's finale, when Barry became enraged and attacked Noho Hank's hideout? How do you move from that closing to the opening of a new season? What image do you start on?
This season, we find Barry in the countryside, in a wide-open space, trying to move on but also falling back on assassin work.
Berg told Indiewire:
"I think the important thing in any show—in any arc or with any character—is just to nail down, 'What does this character want? What’s the thing that they need most in life?' The theme of this season is, largely, repentance [and] forgiveness. So that [opening] scene really set the stage in terms of the last time we saw him: He snapped at Fuches and he went bananas and he went on a rampage. Last season’s was, 'Is he violent by nature? Can he control it?' We thought that he could control it and he thought he could control it and then, at the end of last season, we saw that he can’t. This is not something that he has ownership of and so this season we wanted to start thematically talking about, 'Can he be forgiven? We know who and what he is, but how does he go out seeking forgiveness and repentance?'"
For Barry, this is all tied up in his theme of desperately seeking a way to show himself to others. Although, if you've been watching the show, you know that when Barry shows himself to others, they see him as a dangerous psychopath.
This actually created some interesting moments when his character was juxtaposed against his girlfriend, Sally. Sally is an actress who wants fame and success, and Barry is a killer, but at times, the audience sides with Barry over her. That challenged Hader and Berg to confront why that was happening, and to pull that out more in this season.
Hader expanded on this concept, saying, "It is very strange to us that [someone] would say, 'Sally is so terrible.' And it’s like, 'Well, Barry kills people.' I actually did have this [conversation] with somebody recently. I won’t say who it was, but it was a journalist who said, 'Yeah, Sally is terrible.' And I said, 'Barry kills people.' And [they] were like, 'Yeah, but I know you’re not actually killing people, you know?'"
This kind of left-field audience reaction gave them a lot to work with as they wrote the season and planned where the show would go. As they continue following the theme of repentance and forgiveness, it's interesting to see how Barry is beginning to realize his actions have had repercussions that vastly outweigh him simply saying he's sorry.
And that gets juxtaposed with the characters around him, who have realized apologies are just words, and those words need more action behind them.
What do you think of the third season? Let us know in the comments.
And if you want to know what it's like to edit Barry, check out our interview with Jeff Buchanan!