Barry, Season 3

By Joanna Langfield

Among the many gifts Bill Hader delivers in this fabulous new chapter of his series is that, in picking off almost exactly where he left us, it feels almost as if the last two years never happened. How great is that?

There’s no doubt Hader and Alec Berg’s hitman dramady has found itself, tapping into the furious and hilarious heartbreaking pacing it nailed during season two. This season (at least in the six episodes provided for review) feels even more confident, balancing, as Barry does, his ambitions as a decent guy Hollywood actor and his fallback safety net as a hired hand, skilled after war duty to put away anybody, any way. But what adds to the fun this time is the zeitgeist stuff referenced throughout. I may have gotten more of a kick out of the press junket scenes than you would (they are, I have to admit, pretty spot on) but there are plenty of other social observations that quietly, or maybe not so, give us a much-appreciated dig to the ribs.

It was a great and happy surprise to watch both Hader and Henry Winkler soar when the series began, and each continues to serve up some really beautiful work. But more time now is given to supporting players Sarah Goldberg, Anthony Carrigan and Stephen Root and each takes their spotlight and shines brilliantly.

But what kept me bingeing was not just the story telling, it was the story itself. We know the characters now, and, in most ways, know what they are capable of. In this arc, we get to watch as they surprise themselves, in ways we might love and other ways we might very much not. Themes of revenge and forgiveness flow throughout, reminding us that this gangbuster of a series has a lot on its stylish mind, as well as its ambitious soul.