How the Finale of Barry Undermines Redemption Arcs
Barry, an American crime comedy-drama television series, recently concluded its fourth and final season. Throughout the show’s run, Barry has been a story about the stories Barry wants to tell himself. In the finale, the show served Barry some version of the forgiveness he’s always longed for. However, it did so in a way that highlights the gap between true atonement and the cheap made-for-TV version of it, purposefully undermining any satisfaction to be found in Barry’s would-be redemption arc. In this article, we’ll discuss how the show managed to undermine redemption, even as it handed out hope in the finale.
The Struggle for Redemption in Barry
At its core, Barry is a show about redemption. Throughout the show, Barry has tried to rewrite his life, attempting to outrun his past and seeking forgiveness for his sinful acts, not by owning up to them, but by showering his loved ones with money, opportunities and trying to start anew. The show’s characters act out a struggle between seeking redemption and spiraling into the darkness of their guilt. But even as they strive to redeem themselves, it becomes increasingly apparent how limited their scope of redemption truly is.
Stories and Redemption in Barry
The stories Barry wants to tell himself are often far from the truth of what has really happened. Sally is another character who has struggled with storytelling throughout the series, initially setting out to write her own story about her abusive marriage. In the process, she made up an empowering ending for herself instead of faithfully telling the story of her breakup with her abusive ex-husband. She needed this story to live with herself and see herself as a strong woman who had beaten the odds. For Sally, her alter ego’s story had to have a happy ending like so many stories, but the reality was different.
The Last Season of Barry
Throughout the final season of Barry, viewers watched the return of Fuches, the former handler of Barry. Although Fuches and Barry had a long, complicated relationship, the former found his redemption at the end of the show. He was finally able to forgive himself and chose to opt-out of the cycle of revenge and manipulation that had bound him to Barry for so long. It was his acceptance of himself as “a man with no heart” that enabled him to let John safely go free instead of killing him as part of the Chechen group.
Sally’s Journey in Season Four
Sally had a different journey in the final season, attempting to leave her problematic past as an actor behind and take on a new role as a loving mother. But as the past slowly caught up with her, she realized that she still had to deal with her pain to move forward. Her son has always been the light in her life, even if she did not know how to properly love him in the beginning. Sally’s final scene with her son, where she finally tells him the truth about her past, could be seen as a moment of redemption for her.
Undermining Redemption in the Finale of Barry
Despite the show’s overarching theme of redemption, the finale of Barry managed to undermine it. The ending showed that accepting the consequences of one’s actions was the only way to move forward, even if it led to a tragic end.
Barry’s Moment of Redemption
In one of the final scenes, Barry decides to turn himself in for Janice’s murder. It was his final attempt at redemption and atonement. However, it was too late, and Cousineau killed him before he could confess. It was a fitting end for the unworthy man he truly was, spitting out an unceremonious end to fit the man that Barry had become.
Noho Hank’s Turn to the Dark Side
Noho Hank was also one of the characters that viewers saw spiral into the darkness of his guilt in the final season. As the formerly lovable gangster, he ensured his own safety at the unthinkable cost of his boyfriend’s life. Throughout the series, he had his eyes on the prize, even though he had to betray the people he cared for most to get to it. He tried to ignore his moments of betrayal even as he struggled to face what he had done. In the end, he died unceremoniously, driven by his inability to see himself as he was truly was.
Hopeful Notes in the Finale of Barry
Even though hope was scarce in the finale of Barry, there were a few pinpricks of light amidst all the darkness and tragedy.
Fuches’ Redemption and Growth
Fuches had the most growth throughout the series, culminating in the finale when he finally accepted himself for who he was. His acceptance allowed him to let John go free and spare Barry instead of killing him like he had Do No and Goran in the past.
Sally Finds Redemption in Her Son
Sally’s journey towards redemption came when she finally told her son the truth about their family and why they moved around so much. Along the way, she finally started to see herself through clear eyes and to call out her faults. Despite the tragedy that happened in her life, her relationship with her son could be seen as a way for her to move on from her past.
The finale of Barry undermined one of the show’s biggest themes: redemption, but still managed to leave a few pinpricks of hope behind. In the show’s world, accepting the consequences of one’s actions was the only way forward. It was only through accepting who they had become that the characters could move forward and have the chance of finding happiness in the end.
1. What themes does Barry grapple with?
Barry grapples with the theme of redemption throughout its four seasons.
2. How does Barry undermine redemption in its finale?
Barry undermines redemption in its finale by showcasing that accepting the consequences of one’s actions was the only way to move forward even if it led to a tragic end.
3. How does Sally find redemption in Barry?
Sally finds redemption in her son in Barry’s finale.
4. Who gets the redemption in Barry’s series finale?
No one character gets a complete redemption in Barry’s series finale.
5. Does Barry have a feel-good ending?
Barry’s finale has some hopeful moments but does not ultimately have a feel-good ending.