Spoilers for already aired episodes of Barry
All good things must come to an end, and that goes for TV shows as much as anything. In addition to Ted Lasso and Succession, we will be saying goodbye to Barry after season 4. The reason? Series creator and star Bill Hader said the ending came to him and it just felt right to close it out. I found it interesting how the ending came to him. Apparently, when Covid shut down production of season 3 in 2020, Bill used the time to write season 4, which is when it occurred to him that was the end of the show. But he went back and rewrote season 3 to set up the ending better. That leads me to believe season 4 is going to be so flushed out, I’m going to have to go back and play catch up now. The new teaser for 4 is out. I posted it below and we’ll talk a little more about it below. Here are a few quotes from Bill’s Variety interview about the ending.
On why there’s a season 4: Yeah! It was very much in the writing and the storytelling. I mean, a lot of people after last season were like, “Why are you doing another season? It should have just ended.”
But to me, there are still so many questions with the other characters, and with Barry — and there’s so many things unsaid. What happens in Season 4 is structurally radical in some ways, but it made sense for what I think the characters needed to go through, and what I think the whole show is always kind of headed towards.
You realize, well, we could pad a lot of stuff, and just make story. But if we’re going forward, it ends in Season 4.
Why he rewrote Season 3: Well, Season 3 was always pretty dark. Actually, in some parts it was darker, and we cut it back! I think naturally the show just gets darker by virtue of what’s happening with the characters, and people knowing this thing that Barry’s kept hidden. This whole show has been about him trying to better himself, and change himself. And I think a lot of people — maybe us included — thought, “Oh, that gonna happen.” And then as you write it, you go, “Oh, no, that’s never — I don’t know if that’s gonna happen!”
Season 3 was solidifying that, and then setting up stuff that we wanted to happen in Season 4. So 3 and 4 to us felt like one big season — those 16 episodes were all kind of conceived together. And then, like I said, there’s something that happens in 4 that is kind of strange, though thematically it makes a lot of sense.
What series finales inspired him: To be honest, I don’t watch a whole lot of television. But I get excited by good endings to books — things that have a really satisfying ending.
I’ve never seen it in terms of a TV show, I guess — even though it is a TV show. Even when we’re cutting right now, I don’t even think I’ve ever referred to it as the “series finale” when we’re working on the last episode. It’s just the end of the story, you know what I mean?
I’m one of those people who absolutely thought that the series should’ve ended with Barry being led out in handcuffs at the end of season 3. I was really disappointed they were going to try to drag another storyline past that. However, knowing now that Bill and Alec Berg rewrote the whole season to set-up the final season makes me trust the decision.
In the teaser, it looks like Barry is coming unraveled. While that might seem like a cop out, if you layer it over the whole redemption arc he’s been striving for while further digging his own grave, it makes sense. And the phone call at the end, trying to figure out who he’s threatening, it gives you chills. It would be interesting if Barry does a full snap back to the person he was before he came to LA. It would also be brilliant (and very Sopranos) if we don’t ever find out who was on the other end of that phone call and the final shot was Barry on the other side of the jail wall, cocking a gun and heading off into the night to find his victim. But I love that kind of thing. I also love that Bill knew when to end Barry and did so. It’s hard to say goodbye to good TV but it’s harder to watch good TV go bad. I’m glad he got to end his series on his terms. I’m definitely intrigued to see what he does with it.
Complete left turn but just fyi, Barry co-star and America’s Grandpa Henry Winkler has written an autobiography. You can pre-order it now.
Photo credit: Instagram, YouTube and Getty Images