This HBO Max show is back — and it has 100% on Rotten Tomatoes
By Kelly Woo published 10 days ago
HBO Max’s hitman comedy series is also a huge hit with critics
Barry is back in a bloody big way. The dark comedy starring Bill Hader as a hitman-turned-actor returns to HBO and HBO Max later this week after a very frustrating three-year hiatus. But it looks like the wait will pay off, as Barry season 3 is getting rave reviews.
Barry season 3 has earned a rare 100 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, matching its second season and fellow standouts Hacks, Abbott Elementary and Only Murders in the Building. RT’s critical consensus reads, “Bill Hader and company can take a well-deserved bow — Barry makes its belated return to the screen without missing a step, retaining its edge as one of television’s funniest and most unsettling offerings.”
Check out a sampling of what critics are saying. Plus, since it’s been so long since Barry last aired, we’ve got a quick recap to catch you up. (Oh, and if you want more HBO Max recommendations? All the demand for Our Flag Means Death season 2 should have you curious about watching the first season.)
Season 2 ended with a literal bloodbath, as an enraged Barry went on a killing spree at the monastery housing Chechen, Bolivian and Burmese mafia members. But let’s rewind a little more.
In the penultimate episode, Barry’s hitman mentor Monroe Fuches (Stephen Root) set up his acting mentor Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler) for the murder of Cousineau’s girlfriend, Detective Janice Moss. Fuches flees the scene, but not before whispering something to Gene. When the police arrive, they arrest the acting coach. Barry vows to kill Fuches in return.
Later, Gene’s students put on a performance of scenes inspired by their lives. Sally changes her scene midway through, without alerting Barry. Instead of the true ending, which sees Sally forgiving her abusive partner, she delivers her original idea of a blazing condemnation. Sally receives a rousing ovation and she basks in the praise, though she also feels hypocritical for lying.
Meanwhile, Fuches is trying to broker peace between the three gangs at the Buddhist monastery in a bid to gain protection from Barry. However, his location is revealed by Chechen mob boss NoHo Hank (Anthony Carrigan). Barry enters the monastery and kills most of the gang members, excluding Fuches (who manages to escape) and Hank (who hides).
Gene is released from jail, thanks to the police’s discovery of Hank’s Chechen pin that Barry planted at the scene. That evening, he remembers what Fuches whispered to him: Barry killed Janice.
Currently, Barry season 3 has a 100 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating (with 13 reviews) and a 92 percent score on Metacritic (based on 10 reviews). Here are a few quotes from the critics:
The Hollywood Reporter’s Daniel Fienberg writes, “The third season, thus far, is even more confident in its ability to be zany one moment, scary the next, silly for a little bit after that, and unexpectedly emotional throughout.”
Allison Keene at Paste says, “Barry continues to impress in how it weaves so many different themes and tones into an exceptional TV tapestry, managing to comment on serious topics alongside absurdist hijinks.”
Variety’s Daniel D’Addario calls Barry “TV’s darkest comedy or its funniest drama,” adding, “It sets a new high for itself with a chase scene, deep into the season, that balances loopily unexpected humor with a real sense of peril.”
Clint Worthington at RogerEbert.com writes, “While this season of Barry veers more towards Breaking Bad-level character drama than previous seasons, it still hasn’t lost its pitch-black sendups of the respective worlds of crime and showbiz
Consequence writer Liz Shannon Miller notes, “Each episode of Barry this season is packed with enough shocks and surprises to reward weekly viewing; there’s some wild stuff coming down the pipeline that you won’t want to be spoiled for. But the waiting between episodes may be tougher than usual.”