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Questions that remain after the traumatic ‘Barry’ season 3 finale

We're not ready to bury Barry season three just yet with so many questions left lingering after the finale.

Bill Hader
Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images

Spoiler warning: There’s about be a whole lotta Barry spoilers ahead from the season three finale.

Starting now, we’ve still got a whole helluva lot of questions following the Barry season three finale.

In a series of traumatic scene after scene, we see very muddy, boggy, foggy, muddled resolutions for all our main characters as episode eight of the third season, titled “Starting Now”, comes to a close. Resolution in terms of storylines, but far from any type of resolution going forward.

NoHo Hank (Anthony Carrigan) frees himself from his shackles after hearing his friends being eaten to death, takes down a guard and gains hold of his gun, and goes on to free his lover and soulmate Cristobal. Cristobal (Michael Irby) himself is freed from the capture and torture of his former lover, his wife, Elena (Krizia Bajos), who is shot and killed by NoHo Hank.

Sally (Sarah Goldberg), fresh off of her first kill after surviving her own near murder at the hands of one of many people out to kill Barry, processes this extreme trauma as well as the revival of old horrors from her past abuse from both family and ex-husband, and goes to board a plane back to her hometown of Joplin, Mississippi.

Fuchs (Stephen Root) is all locked up in prison now, even claiming to be The Raven, after twice fleeing a seemingly beautiful chance at a new turn in life with a beautiful woman, goats, green scenery, and a slow farm life.

Gene (Henry Winkler) has gone through a hellish interrogation and had to relive the harrowing emotions of losing the one person he loved most in the world, Janice Moss, via repetitive questioning from her father, Jim Moss (Robert Wisdom) who is out to discover the truth of her murder and make the assailant — whom he rightfully believes is Barry — pay. Gene has to then betray someone he cares about, Barry, but also go through an emotional swing of acting like he’s in trouble and scared for his life because of Jim in order to convince Barry to go into Jim’s house to his eventual demise. Even in triumph, there is no joy for Gene as there is nothing to smile about, nothing to celebrate, just some level of relief.

And finally, for Barry (Bill Hader), who once again goes through seeming resolution and readiness to move on from his former life of killing, only to easily let himself be sucked in again (all over again, again). He narrowly escapes being killed by one of his many pursuers triggered by Fuchs’ actions, only to have Sally have to escape and kill the man. Then, in consoling her, he tries to take the actions away from her onto himself, and goes to bury the body, to avoid being killed again by his former Marine partner and current FBI agent Albert Nguyen (James Hiroyuki Liao), who knows Barry has killed their other former Marine buddy (and many others), with Barry breaking down in heaving, screaming cries and tears of fear that nudges Albert away from killing him to tell him he has to leave this life behind. So Barry tries to do that by driving to pick up Sally, whom he doesn’t know is already leaving him far behind, only to get a call first from Jim, then calling Gene himself, which leads to him being triggered and driving recklessly all the way to Jim’s home to save Gene, and deciding to kill Jim.

Which puts us in the final scene, when it’s revealed that a SWAT team is there and ready for the invading Barry, who hears the screams to drop the fucking gun, sees Jim turn to him with an “I got you you sonovabitch” look, and then to meet eyes with Gene, which breaks Barry and his eyes well up and his face drops as agents corral and cuff him to lead him away.

Trauma at every turn, trauma left in the wake of it all, and all of it triggered in some way by Barry. And all of it planned out by the man playing Barry and directing the episode (as well as cowriting it with Alec Berg) — Hader — who said it was his intent to have the episode bleak and based around trauma.

“A friend at SNL said to me after watching this season, ‘I feel like you’re trying to make the whole world feel as anxious as you are.’ And he might be right. Maybe it’s just an instinct because I am a very anxious person. But it felt right. It’s a tough watch,” Hader told Vulture in an interview after the finale.  

“I was warning people because we had a screening for the writers: Nicky Hirschhorn had a little panic attack; Emma Barrie looked at me and went, ‘What the hell’s wrong with you?’ I was like, ‘We’re all fucked, right? Right, guys?’ [Laughs.]

“I always appreciate things that I would watch and feel, ‘Oh, that feels honest.’ I did another interview and someone said, ‘Wow. This is really bleak.’ I said, ‘Is it bleaker than anything you see on the news right now?’ Living in the pandemic and where the world’s at and mass shootings and all these things — it’s all in there emotionally.”

Well, then.

What questions remain after that traumatic Barry season three finale?

Let’s answer those questions — starting now.

What about Barry?

There are so many ways this could go.

Will Barry go directly to jail?

Will Barry be able to slither out of an incredibly, almost impossibly tight jam once again?

Will Barry go through a high-profile, Los Angeles trial full of witnesses and media coverage?

Will Barry work out a deal to turn in bigger, badder evils than himself (are any of these even alive anymore though)?

Will Barry overtake the SWAT agents somehow before he even arrives to jail and jump out of a moving car and flee?

Maybe that car will get in a wreck and give Barry a chance to run à la The Fugitive?

Will Barry teach an acting class in prison?

Will Barry write his own book or try to write a treatment or script to be turned into a TV show or movie based on his life?

Meaning will Barry make a movie about Barry in season four of Barry?

Or, will we get a full season of Barry being in jail, dealing with what he’s done, and turning to something else in prison to convince himself he’s still capable of putting that life behind him?

Where is Sally going?

We know Sally is boarding a plane to go to Joplin, the namesake of her failed show (not through any fault of her own), where she grew up.

Why in the world would she want to go back there after murdering someone?

Doesn’t she have trauma from Joplin, and her family?

Is she going back there to face her own demons?

Or is something triggered insider her, something evil? Is Sally breaking bad in the same way we see Kim Wexler do in Better Call Saul?

Will Sally seek out her former abusers and want justice?

Will she go on and make a show about this newer chapter in her life, involving Barry?

Will she write a tell-all about Barry as his former lover while his horrific crimes are revealed through trial and the media?

Do the authorities find the body Barry hid and somehow find evidence that Sally actually was the one who killed him?

Or, will Sally arrive back home, try to find forgiveness, and settle into a quitter life away from it all?

Is Gene redeemed?

Will Gene go back to his acting career?

Does Gene return to his son and grandson and live away from the spotlight?

Do the three of them just leave LA altogether?

Does Gene start up his acting school again?

Will Gene befriend Jim and start to heal together?

Is Gene going to pour himself into his masterclass?

Will Gene write another book himself, turning the last three years and the involvement with Barry into into print?

Will Gene make a movie about the entire ordeal, and have a role in either writing, directing, producing, or even acting in it (maybe based on the rights to his book)?

Can NoHo Hank and Cristobal reconnect?

Even though he’s involved in, and eventually becomes the leader of, a criminal organization, NoHo Hank has never killed someone during an episode of Barry. We imagine he’s committed violence before because of his position and status, but, the more we get to know him, the more we see how sensitive and loving and soft he is. Even the way he holds the gun and starts shooting at the panther, it seems as if he’s never really had to to that before.

Will NoHo Hank be scarred from having to kill someone, much less multiple people?

Will he feel disconnected from who he used to be?

Will he have to turn to violence know after the demolition of his former life, and the execution of so many of his former friends and those in his criminal organization?

Will Cristobal recover from his electroshock conversion therapy?

Is his brain fried forever now?

Or is it shocked just far enough that he won’t be able to properly process who Hank is?

Is the life they had gone forever?

Will NoHo Hank and Cristobal even be able to escape from Bolivia and make it back to the US?

Can they even go back, with Barry in jail now and everyone else around them dead?

Will Hank be called back to Chechnya?

Will the remaining members of the Bolivians go after the duo?

Is Fuchs fu*ked?

Will it be revealed that Fuchs is not really The Raven?

Will Fuchs and Barry end up in the same prison together? Maybe even the same jail cell?

Will Fuchs start to try and build his reputation as The Raven on the inside so other prisoners fear him or respect him?

Will he build an anti-Barry army inside jail?

Will he try to get a reduced sentence by telling all about his handling of Barry as a hitman?

Or will he be pointed to as someone who knows more than anyone else, giving Barry a chance to turn on him in order to get off lighter?

Will all the killing come to an end?

After so many people died throughout the first three seasons of Barry, and with how bleak the third season turned (as plenty ask “is this still a comedy?), now that basically everyone has gone through immense trauma, and Barry could be behind bars, will we have a season where nobody dies at all?

Can Barry go back to comedy?

Bill Hader, Sarah Goldberg, Stephen Root, Anthony Carrigan, and Henry Winkler
Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images

Sure, there are laughs in season three. But compared to the first season, the comedy is basically gone from the show.

Does it even need to be a comedy? The character acting alone is carrying the show now.

Will season four then mix up some lighter moments, some ridiculousness of everything that’s happened and where it is now? As season three reflected the feeling of the COVID-19 pandemic, because that’s when it was written, will season four reflect the feelings of society today?

Will there be a mirror held up to society? To the violence and mass murder that continues in the US?

Will there be a movie or a streaming show (maybe on BanShe) that’s in the works where we see the respective characters giving advice on how the actors playing them should behave, giving space for some levity?

Does the military get involved, and turn Barry into a hitman for his country? Does he become trained to be a professional sniper?

Will Barry escape jail?

Will Barry end up in a mental hospital?

Will Barry die?

So many questions left to be answered in season four — and possibly beyond, as Hader has not committed to four being the last one in the season, meaning we could have quite a bit more to process.

Is this the first time it’s occurred to me that ‘Barry’ and ‘bury’ are very similar?

The first three seasons of Barry are available on HBO Max, while Hader and co. are busy writing and working on season four currently, slated to come out sometime (most likely the spring) next year.

Until next time, we’re ending this article … starting now.

Habeab Kurdi
About the author

Habeab Kurdi

You could say Habeab is bit like Roy Kent — here, there, every-f’ing-where. Immersed in journalism for 20 years now, he writes about life — from sports to profiles, beer to food, film, coffee, music, and more. Hailing from Austin, Texas, he now resides in the gorgeous seaside city of Gdynia, Poland. Not one to take things too seriously, other than his craft, BB has worked in brewing and serving beer, roasting and pouring coffee, and in Austin’s finest gin distillery among myriad other things. A graduate of the University of Texas, he once worked for the Chicago Sun-Times and Austin American-Statesman when newspapers were still a thing, then dabbled in social media and marketing. If there is water, he will swim there — from the freezing seas of Copenhagen and Gdynia, to the warm waters in Texas and Thailand.