Review: Barry, "wow" | Season 4, Episode 8
Bye bye, Barry.
I’m going to miss this show.
Watching tonight’s series finale, which featured a lot of death, a few good jokes, and more than its fair share of absurd misery, I made my peace with Barry. Reviewing this final season has been an odd experience; lots of fumbling, lots of uncertainty, lots of doubting my own instincts. I could never quite settle on how to take what I was watching. Was it good? Was it coherent? Was it too short, too fast, too dark, too goofy, too bizarre, too scattershot, too violent, too ¯\_(ツ)_/¯? Reviewing the final season of any show is tricky business, but Barry’s seemed especially fraught. I came in as a fan convinced that Bill Hader and his creative team could do no wrong. Then I spent a while thinking, hm, maybe they can do wrong. And now, having come to the end, the only definitive thing I can say is, well, that’s over and I watched all of it.
I don’t think the final season worked. It’s not a cohesive whole; the limitations built into the story, the restricted half hour format, the fact that there were only eight episodes to accomplish everything, plus a whole other host of factors, made for an ambitious but frequently disjointed experience. I appreciate that the creative team decided to keep going after Barry got arrested at the end of season three, and I won’t argue that season four shouldn’t have existed. If anything, it’s the purest expression of what the show’s goals than the previous three seasons. The problem is that “the show’s goals” weren’t something simple like “tell the story of a hitman who wants to be an actor” or even “show the rot inherent in American systems.” It was more about starting with a premise and fucking around and finding out. It was about experimenting and throwing everything at the wall, and refusing to back down from any potential dead end.