Barry season 3 is spectacular. As the tag says, you can’t bury the past, but almost all characters (Sally (Sarah Goldberg) and Fuches (Stephen Root), in some way, are the exception and I’ll talk about them promptly) are dealing with the ghosts of years ago.
Apart from the protagonist Barry (Bill Hader), who has what fans call plot armor, so he is always saved by small coincidences, blunders cannot be erased and we are seeing everyone’s attempts to rewrite their gifts, to no avail.
NoHo Hank (Anthony Carrigan), who was partly responsible for Barry’s headache by indirectly helping to identify him, back in Season 1, is actually friends with the killer and has managed to set himself up as leader of the Chechen mob in Los Angeles. Even more, he discovered true love with Cristobal Sifuentes (Michael Irby), whom Barry helped save from the Bolivian mafia. Or so they thought.
Hitting the key of the past haunts you, Cristobal and Noho Hank have a flashy and tragic love, condemned by the sexist cultures of their countries and with only one possibility, albeit in secret, in sunny California. Although the Chechen seem to have managed to manipulate his side, Cristobal was not so lucky. First his father-in-law arrived threatening everything and Barry spectacularly saves him from death. But we will certainly say goodbye to him now that his wife has come to “rescue” him, massacring the Chechens (a violent but comical scene) and discovering that her husband is homosexual. Noho Hank, literally back in a closet to survive, mourns the fact that no matter what he does in the present, his and Cristobal’s past was written in blood and drugs, it’s unlikely to have a happy ending.
After being given a second chance by Barry, Gene Cousineau (Henry Wrinkler) is bent on fixing his past. Getting close to his son, apologizing to the people he hurt when he was still acting like an irascible star, but also discovering, as an ex-girlfriend puts it: there’s no way to rewrite what happened. He can and does have to apologize, but it doesn’t necessarily come with forgiveness guaranteed. By harming his ex’s career, for example, he took from her the opportunity to work that never comes back, her life is different and impacted by his evil, no matter what she does or feels now. Once again, underscoring the theme of consequences as the focus of the season.
Sally, still narcissistic to the unimaginable, is the voice of artists’ criticism of the entertainment industry, I’ll talk more about her soon. Written to annoy, Sally deals with the present: her series may have pleased critics, once the great villains in the business, but since it didn’t have significant access in 24 hours, it was massacred by the antagonist of the moment: the algorithms.
Sally is insensitive and manipulative, we don’t empathize with her because she’s the least empathetic of all the characters, but she’s trying in every way to get away from her past relationships with violent men, so Barry – striving to erase his past – no longer fits the actress’ plans. Lucky for him, really, but that’s what’s afflicting him because the three people he has an affectionate connection with want him far away (or, in Fuches’ case, dead).
In fact, as predicted, Barry is somewhat the Forrest Gump of criminals, fate always saves him in bizarre ways. Tying into the first scene of the series, the man we see Barry kill in a hotel, the widow and her son were given a tip by Fuches on how to locate the ex-marine and indeed, for a second, Sally almost paid for it. But the two, clearly inexperienced, decide they’re going to kill Barry in a less-targeted location and with that, boom, a Pulp Fiction-like accident buys more time for the protagonist, still ignorant of the army of victims Fuches has put in his wake.
The entry of the ex-army comrade, whom Barry saved in Afghanistan and who is now with the FBI, could spell more danger for him than any plans his former friend/partner has. Fuches is hateful and the only one of them all who has gained a clean future and present, but who has thrown himself into the hurt of the past out of resentment that Barry is trying to do the same.
The series is heading towards a conclusion, and nothing can be said to be “expected” at this new height. Cheering for Barry or Noho Hank is the ultimate manipulation of a well-drawn story, credit to series creator Bill Hader. The partnership between the two characters, which was built with humor and sensitivity, is one of Barry‘s great qualities. Has the series won multiple Emmys, honestly? Will still beat many others.