HomeTelevisionRoush Review: HBO's 'Barry' Goes for the Emotional Jugular to

    Roush Review: HBO’s ‘Barry’ Goes for the Emotional Jugular to

    Matt’s Rating: rating: 4.5 stars

    What’s so funny about a professional hitman and wannabe actor who’s now behind bars? Leave it to Barry himself — Bill Hader, Emmy-winning star, co-creator and director/auteur of HBO‘s blood-drenched pitch-black farce — to mine the grimmest of humor out of assassin Barry Berkman’s latest dilemma.

    Once again pushing the boundaries of bleak absurdism and blurring the genres of comedy, suspense thriller, and psychodrama, Barry‘s fourth and final season continues to explore the possibility that someone who has committed such horrible acts might still be a good person worthy of redemption. If only the body count weren’t so high.

    But Barry is far from the only corrupted soul in this jaundiced depiction of a Hollywood culture where infamy is just another commodity. In a particularly meta moment late in the season, we’re told that his “is not a good guy/bad guy story. It goes way deeper than that.” Does it ever.

    Bill Hader - 'Barry'


    Everyone in Barry’s orbit is spiraling one way or another in the wake of his high-profile arrest: the great Henry Winkler as narcissistic acting coach Gene Cousineau, grotesquely preening in his desire to exploit his role as the man who betrayed the killer; Sarah Goldberg as Barry’s emotionally brittle, career-obsessed ex-girlfriend Sally; Stephen Root as his former handler Fuches, also incarcerated and ominously styling himself into the fearsome “Raven” of legend; and Anthony Carrigan as starry-eyed Chechen gangster NoHo Hank, who hero-worships Barry until cold reality sets in.

    Midway through the eight-episode season — seven were made available for preview, most of it too audacious to risk spoiling — the show takes one of its boldest leaps yet, as Barry plunges ever further into a Breaking Bad abyss, commanding our empathy while threatening to repel us with his conflicted actions.

    Laughter sticks in the throat in a savage satire that never plays it safe.

    Barry, Season 4 Premiere, Sunday, 10/9c and 10:30/9:30c, HBO

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