Barry (Season 4)

By Aaron Isenstein

The Final Season of Bill Hader's Magnum Opus is a Perfect Storm

Bill Hader and Alec Berg’s Barry is no stranger to insanity. Every season has its fair share of “what the actual fuck” episodes, but none of them are as consistently jaw-dropping as season four. Barry season four is, to put it lightly, an unambiguous triumph. Every episode, Hader demonstrates a new level of directorial mastery while giving the best performance of his career. Every episode reaches overwhelming individual highs whilst creating a perfect overarching narrative. For a show as ridiculous and uncomfortably hilarious as Barry, Berg and Hader have created such a disturbing realism within their world. You sympathize for Barry while hating him, you root for him and Sally while wanting her to run the fuck away. The writing has perfected the “anti-dramedy” of comedic moments during dramatic scenes, and every laugh feels earned. 

Many plot points after episode four take insane risks many shows would never even consider. But of course, Barry is a fearless show and somehow manages to gracefully execute every single one. Without going into spoilers, despite the many odd turns this final season takes, Hader’s direction ensures that each one feels like a natural progression of the story. He expertly crafts scenes in immersive ways that pull at every heart string available. Throughout the season, his direction takes the lead to make each scene as distressing as humanly possible. It also allows Barry to become an even more realized character as he lays the foundation for a thematically brilliant conclusion.

Barry has always had exceptional performances, so it won’t come as a shock when I say that the cast is once again firing on all cylinders. That being said, I cannot emphasize enough how almost every actor has topped themselves in this final, glorious sendoff to their characters. I’ve brought up Hader’s performance twice already, but screw it, I’ll say it again: he is phenomenal. Winkler is admittedly a weaker point but he’s still a great and enjoyable part of the show. Sarah Goldberg is heartbreaking and intense, reaching new highs in the later episodes as she loses her will for life. But the shining star of this season (and if I’m being honest, the entire show) has to be Anthony Carrigan. He brings so much light and darkness to the series, and Hank continues to be the most lovable character. His relationship with Cristobal is the most emotionally resonant part of the series, and it reaches new dramatic heights this season. It’s clear, though, that the entire cast is giving their all in this brilliant final season.

Final seasons tend to either be devastating letdowns or perfect conclusions, and thankfully Barry’s fourth season is undeniably the latter. In fact, season 4 is its best season yet. It proves itself to be a masterclass in acting, direction, and subversive writing that keeps your eyes glued to the screen. I’m sad to see a show this consistently exceptional go, but I’m ecstatic that it’s ending on a resounding high.