Spoilers for Barry ahead.
Barry Berkman has always sought redemption. In the first season of Barry, the former marine-turned-hitman found it in his theater class. When it became clear that pivoting from assassin to actor wasn’t going to happen, he tried his best to appeal to God. In the Barry finale, he gets what he’s been looking for. He’s just not around to see it.
“I knew how the ending was going to be from season two,” Bill Hader told me when I spoke to him last month. “Weirdly, how we got there is completely different than what I thought it would be, but then the actual ending is exactly what I thought.”
At the time, he was in the home stretch of editing the fourth and final season, which he had also directed. “I feel very proud of accomplishing this, and I’m very happy with the way the story turned out, but I’m also really excited to do something else,” he also said, sounding like the weariest man alive. “I’ve gotten to a place where I never want to type the word ‘Barry’ ever again.”
In a way, this final season gave all of the characters what they wanted. [Monkey’s paw unfurls.] After a time jump several years into the future, Barry (Hader) and Sally (Sarah Goldberg) are fugitives with a young son, John, who doesn’t know his parents’ real names or backstories. Sally, on the run from the law, has to put on a wig and accent every morning just to go to work—landing, in essence, the meaty role of a lifetime she’s always desired. NoHo Hank (Anthony Carrigan) becomes a fearsome crime lord. Fuches (Stephen Root) emerges from prison as “The Raven,” ripped, tatted up, and finally respected. And Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler) has been on a kibbutz, leaving Hollywood and ostensibly curing himself of his narcissism and self-involvement.
Barry is able to whitewash his past when he talks to his son, casting himself as a former war hero. It’s all well, if not exactly good, until he learns that there’s going to be a movie made about the murder of Detective Janice Moss, Cousineau’s ex-girlfriend, at Barry’s hands.
The finale finds Barry back in L.A., trying to kill Cousineau to stop the movie. Cousineau, in the meantime, is under suspicion by the police of having been in on Janice’s killing. Sally and the kid get kidnapped by the Chechens (classic situation) and caught in a shootout between them and Fuches’s guys. NoHo Hank dies, bleeding out on the statue of Cristobal he erected—after he admits to having killed the love of his life. Fuches grabs John and uses him as ransom to meet up with Barry … before silently dropping the boy off and walking away.
When they’re reunited, Sally urges Barry to turn himself in to the police. Barry, instead, is certain that he’s been redeemed since Fuches didn’t off him.
“The only way to be redeemed,” she tells him, “is by taking responsibility for what you did.”
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