The final episode of “Barry” delivered a comedic conclusion that defied expectations and perfectly encapsulated the show’s overarching themes.
Titled “Wow,” the episode denied viewers any catharsis in favor of a darkly humorous punchline. While the finale may not have been as strong as the previous season, it was a fitting culmination of the series, showcasing Bill Hader‘s talent and comedic brilliance.
The episode takes an unexpected turn, cutting away from the anticipated final confrontation between Barry and Gene. Instead, it fast-forwards years into the future, where Sally has started a new life with Barry’s son, John.
Sally, now a theater director, finally achieves the recognition she has always desired. However, despite the apparent success, she remains insecure and seeks validation from her son, questioning whether the show was any good.
Unbeknownst to Sally, John plans to watch a movie titled “The Mask Collector,” a highly inaccurate portrayal of Barry’s life. The movie turns Barry into a martyr, depicting him being killed by his acting teacher and subsequently buried in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. It’s a ridiculous and hollow redemption that disregards the truth of who Barry really was.
As the episode cuts back to John, he smiles and appears on the verge of tears, impacted by the fictionalized version of his father’s story. It reveals the power of storytelling to distort and obscure the truth, offering easy answers and misleading narratives. The characters in “Barry” constantly pursued authenticity and truth, but their actions demonstrated their hypocrisy and willingness to sacrifice truth for personal gain.
The journey of the show ultimately strips away the pretenses and exposes the vacuous nature of their pursuits. The final story that unfolds, with John being moved by the deceptive movie, highlights the show’s exploration of dishonesty and the enduring impact of lies. Despite all the chaos and deception, the movie becomes more real than the true version of Barry. It is a hauntingly humorous realization that laughter is the response to the grim truth that dishonesty often prevails.
In the end, “Barry” managed to turn a forgettable action movie into a frightening and funny finale. Bill Hader’s vision and execution brought clarity and depth to the series, revealing the unsettling power of storytelling and the willingness of individuals to sacrifice truth for their own agendas. The concluding line, “Oh wow,” perfectly captures the mix of emotions and the complex layers of comedy and darkness that defined “Barry.”