It’s been a long three years for fans of Barry, but the new season is already proving to be worth the wait. After the shocking conclusion to season two in which Monroe Fuches (Stephen Root) reveals to Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler) the identity of Janice Moss’s (Paula Newsome) killer, it was hard to guess how Barry (Bill Hader) would escape from that situation.
The premiere opens unexpectedly – Barry munching on a donut and staring into the distance in the middle of nowhere as a client lays out how he wants his wife’s lover killed. Things change, however. The man decides to forgive the lover (named Jeff), and calls the whole thing off. Barry, annoyed, simply shoots both of them before shouting, “There’s no forgiving Jeff!” Although Barry (and Barry, as a show) has had many outbursts of violence (including his monastery meltdown in last season’s finale), the flippant way in which he picks off these two guys is a shocking new side to him.
We catch up with Sally Reed (Sarah Goldberg) next, who finds Barry playing video games on the sofa. She’s preparing for work with her typical anxious and earnest commitment and now has a steady gig on a television series called Joplin where she both stars and has a good amount of creative control. If the first two seasons featured her trying to find her own strength as an actress, she’s finally stepped into it now in a few surprising ways.
Fan-favorite NoHo Hank (Anthony Carrigan) isn’t in the clear. He gets stuck in an interrogation with Detective Mae Dunn (Sarah Burns) who’s investigating the monastery shooting. She questions him as to why a Chechen pin (the one Hank gave Barry last season) was found in the car with Janice’s body. Dunn is convinced Janice’s murder and the monastery massacre are linked. Instead of giving Barry up, Hank implicates Fuches, who he calls “the Raven,” for some reason. He tells the police that Fuches is a hitman for the Chechens. It seems Barry’s off the hook for now.
To add insult to injury, Fuches isn’t having the time of his life after barely escaping Barry’s rage last season. He’s in the mountains of Chechnya hiding out, milking goats, eating cereal, and bemoaning his lack of access to college football.
Detective Dunn questions Cousineau next, who identifies Fuches as the man who took him out to find Janice’s body. Cousineau insists he’s connected to Barry, but the police assert that Barry’s name was cleared.
But obviously Barry hasn’t changed his ways. Without Fuches to help him find jobs, he’s resorted to perusing the hitman dark-web for work. The job is clearly still weighing on him though. He shows up to give Sally a bouquet of flowers at work, but ends up hallucinating a bullet-hole appearing on her forehead.
Barry also shows up at NoHo Hank’s place which Hank is sharing with his new boyfriend, Cristobal Sifuentes (Michael Irby). Barry begs for work but Hank isn’t keen to forgive him after Barry killed his friends at the monastery and framed him with the Chechen pin. “Forgiveness is something that has to be earned,” Hank insists, a line the episode takes as a thesis statement.
Meanwhile, Cousineau is choosing violence. He takes out the Chekhov’s gun established last season (actually, Rip Torn’s gifted gun) and plans to murder Barry. When Cousineau confronts him about killing Janice, however, the bullets fall out of the gun, giving Barry the upperhand. He drags Cousineau out into the desert, ready to kill him, and as his old teacher swears he’ll forgive him and never mention Janice’s murder to anyone, Barry has a realization. He must earn that forgiveness. And he knows how to do it (but we don’t, for now).
Although this episode doesn’t have the intensity of many Barry episodes, it covers a lot of ground in reintroducing us to these characters after such a long recess. The worst case scenario is you might need to watch a recap or revisit season two if you’re finding yourself lost. Overall, it’s a decent start to what’s shaping up to be a promising season.