Barry Season Three Finale: Vengeance Is Whose?

Warning: Spoilers for the final three episodes of Barry, Season 3.

Episode six kicks off with Fuches (as PI Kenneth Goulet) advising Taylor Garrett’s (Dale Pavinski) sister Traci and her biker crew of Barry’s (Bill Hader) address, assuming that they’ll track him down and kill him. They agree to go after him, but one of the bikers shoots Fuches (Stephen Root) before they take off, leaving him in the desert to die. Fuches is found by an amiable cowboy/ goat farmer and brought to his home to recover. He is fond of both the surroundings and the farmer’s daughter, Anita, but his thirst for vengeance returns when he sees the newspaper article about Barry. Fuches takes off in the cowboy’s truck and contacts Jim Moss (Robert Wisdom) to offer details on Janice’s (Paula Newsome) death.

Sally (Sarah Goldberg) reluctantly accepts BanShe’s offer to join the writing room on another project; the studio insists that the show needs “the Sally Reed touch.” Things are also looking up for Gene (Henry Winkler); he’s been offered his own show: The Gene Cousineau Acting Master Class. He agrees on the condition that Annie (Laura San Giacomo) will direct all the episodes and receive full profits.

Image Courtesy of HBO Max.

Meanwhile, Albert (James Hiroyuki Liao) deduces that the person responsible for Moss’ death and the bomb operation is someone with military training. Albert visits Chris’ (Chris Marquette) widow Sharon (Karen David) to ask whether she’s been in contact with Barry. Albert stays coy as they catch up but his visit tips off Sharon who invites Barry to a veterans’ charity dinner that night.

Barry picks up Beignets by Mitch (a running gag this season), then heads to Sharon’s home. The dirt bikers spot him at a stoplight and an epic high-speed chase ensues. Barry weaves through traffic narrowly escaping death; he jumps on a dirt bike, dodges a barrage of bullets, and somehow survives the showdown at a car dealership unharmed and with his box of beignets intact.

Though these antics have made him late, Barry is the only guest in attendance when he arrives at Sharon’s. He starts eating the beignets while reading an article about Taylor’s biker crew. He then notices Kenneth Goulet’s business card on the table and Sharon staring at him steely-eyed. “What did you put in the sauce?” he asks before suddenly foaming at the mouth, falling from his chair as he realizes he’s been poisoned.

Episode Seven

Episode seven begins with a church service and a shot of the distressed face of Ryan Madison’s (Tyler Jacob Moore) father. He remains standing long after everyone else has sat down. We revisit the last scene of episode six: Barry on the floor frothing at the mouth. Sharon throws a dish towel over his face before running out the door with her car keys and speeding off. When Barry regains consciousness, it’s daytime, and he staggers out to the street. As he walks past houses and parked cars, the road merges with flowing water and a sandy shore. Barry walks along the beach, a kind of purgatory state where all his victims – including the Phil (Benjamin Hardy), the body in the bed in the very first episode – have gathered alive.

In reality, Barry is hallucinating and hyperventilating in an alley where Ryan Madison’s father finds him. Mr. Madison drives off with Barry; he pulls a gun from the glove compartment when he finally stops the car.

Meanwhile, Fuches arrives at Mr. Moss’ house. He gives him his business card with Barry’s address before they go for a drive. Moss shares his past as a war veteran and interrogation expert, distracting Fuches who doesn’t realize he’s being driven to the precinct. Moss believes Fuches is guilty and using Barry as a decoy, but he overhears officers saying Gene also named Barry as the killer. Moss heads to Gene to get some answers and Albert requests to speak to Fuches alone.

Sally (Sara Goldberg) learns that her assistant Natalie (D’Arcy Carden) has her own show that is loosely based on Sally’s canceled show, Joplin. After everything she’s endured at BanShe, Sally snaps, subjecting Natalie to a vitriolic attack in an elevator. Naturally, Natalie was recording the incident and she releases the video. Within days, Sally is fired from BanShe and her agent Lindsay drops her as a client.

Barry Season Three Finale: Vengeance is Whose?
Image Courtesy of HBO Max

Hank (Anthony Garret) arrives in Bolivia alone, looking for Cristobal (Michael Irby), but he’s quickly captured by Elena’s (Krizia Bajos) men.

Moss finds Gene on the set of his new show which is a resounding success. When Moss questions him, Gene begins to ramble and Moss notices that his forehead has started sweating. Moss then leaves without pressing the issue.

A conflicted Mr. Madison sits with the indisposed Barry all day. He admits to being suicidal and depressed since Barry killed his son. Rather than give in to the cycle of violence, Madison kills himself in front of a hospital, drawing paramedics to the car to extract Barry.

In an interrogation room with the cameras off, Fuches reveals Barry’s grisly past to Albert, mentioning Chris and the annual charity runs Barry attends out of guilt. Albert, visibly seething, retrieves his gun and leaves the precinct.

Episode Eight

Barry’s writers gave us a gripping finale, delivering an episode as strange as it was satisfying. Sally is at Barry’s house waiting when he eventually escapes from the hospital. She wants Barry to torment Natalie but he refuses. The surviving member of the biker gang shows up, interrupting them and knocking Barry out with a single punch. He nearly strangles Sally who stabs him in the neck with a knife before beating him to death with a baseball bat. Barry regains consciousness and tells her to go home, forcing her to repeat that it was his fault.

Gene is reviewing new offers when Moss interrupts his meeting, telling him to meet at his house in 17 minutes. Moss taps into his interrogation skills, questioning Gene about Janice first, then Barry until Gene breaks down sobbing.

Barry returns to the same desert strip from episode one to bury the biker’s dead body. Albert confronts him in an emotional montage, asking how much he got paid to kill this one or Chris. Barry falls to his knees in tears and begs Albert, who has pulled his weapon, not to shoot him. Albert reminds Barry that he’s saved his life once before and lowers his weapon. He tells Barry that “all this has to stop, starting now!” and storms off.

Hank has been handcuffed in a Bolivian torture chamber with his fellow Chechen comrades. His neighbor, Akhmal, declares that he’s out of his handcuffs but his victory is short-lived. A guard arrives with what sounds like a tiger or panther and terrifying screams follow as he’s eaten alive. Hank manages to free himself and overpower a guard who enters, stealing his gun in the process.

He shoots the creature before it can tear through the wall and goes in search of Cristobal. Hank finds Cristobal with Elena who has hooked him up to an electric chair as a male dancer gyrates before him. Presumably, this is her attempt to cure his homosexuality—Hank wastes no time killing both Elena and the dancer. As he embraces Cristobal tightly, Hank face appears deeply troubled.

Barry Season 3
Image Courtesy of HBO Max.

Barry calls Sally that night, sharing his plans for them to be together—“I love you,” he tells her before hanging up. Sally mumbles the words back but doesn’t bother to tell him she’s about to board a plane to Joplin, Missouri alone.

Just then Barry gets a call from Moss who wants him to come over to discuss Janice. He finds an excuse and quickly calls Gene. Gene sounds defeated; he keeps telling Barry he doesn’t know what else to do to fix things. Barry speeds to Jim’s house and finds Gene there, holding a gun.

Barry doesn’t heed Albert’s warning, snatching the gun away from Cousineau, telling Gene to go home. Much like he did with Sally, he tries to defend the two people he loves the most by assuming responsibility for all the killings. “I know where I'm going and I don't want you to go there, too,” he admits to Sally in a moment of pseudo-Catholic confession and twisted substitutionary atonement.

Before he enters the house, Gene warns him: “He knows everything, Barry.”

Barry finds Jim Moss in his den fixing himself a drink and sneaks up to finish things with just one more kill; this ultimately becomes his undoing.

Before Barry can fire, a heavily armed S.W.A.T team closes in, the members shouting “Drop the f—g gun.”

Barry, visibly shaken, turns to see Gene watching, knowing who his personal Judas was.

The final shot of season three is Moss standing alone, framed in his giant bay window pane.

Deeper Meanings

A finale titled “starting now” feels like a clue. It reads like a directive to disregard what we knew or what we think we know of these characters, storylines, stakes. The exact words are spoken by Albert who says “Starting now. Stop all this shit. Starting now.”

Hank and Sally have each had their first taste of killing thanks, in part, to their relationship with Barry. Having been exposed to the allure of Barry’s brand of violence (or what writer/actor/director Bill Hader calls “Barry’s disease”), it will be interesting to see whether they’ll tread that path again.

Sally is, after all, headed back to Joplin (Missouri) the town that inspired the brainchild hit show that her assistant Natalie successfully stole. Will the unfortunate events surrounding the TV show taint Sally’s time in the Missouri town of the same name, or resurrect some of the abusive relationships she left behind there? We’ll see. The eponymous show caused Sally to resort to explosive behavior in the past; will the same be true of the sleepy town? Will Sally finally somehow become a star in Joplin?

The last thing we hear from Fuches is “I’m the Raven,” and we know that we haven’t heard or seen the last of this wily character. Maybe he’ll cut a deal or operate exclusively under the moniker? Who knows? Season three was proof of Fuches’ spirit of vengeance; how he proceeds from here and how his plans intersect with those of jailbird Barry will make for nail-biting viewing next season, which may be our last dose of the dark comedy.

As season three closes – every episode much darker than the last two seasons – we see that each and every character is responsible for their own misfortune, no matter how noble their motives. Hader has gone on record that this season was all about consequences – and we see this in his own life as well as those spiraling around him. Can there be redemption for the titular hitman-turned-actor? Only season 4 will tell – we hope!

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Sasha Lee is a freelance journalist and editor who writes on all things pop culture and music. She has seen every episode of The Golden Girls at least five times and her work has appeared in a variety of online publications. You can connect with her on Twitter @ohsashalee