With Barry Season 3 finally arriving in April 2022, the Bill Hader-starring series will have been off the air for three years, so it’s understandable if the events of Season 2 are fuzzy after all of this time (and a full-blown pandemic). We’ll walk you through the events of the last season and the story of Barry Berkman (Hader), the soldier turned hired assassin, who wants out of the hitman life so he can pursue his newfound passion for acting. In fact, we’ll split the recap into the two segments of Barry’s life that are now on a major collision course following the events of Season 2.
Barry: The Actor
As Barry continues to become an integral part of the acting class led by Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler), and even starts to form a father/son relationship with the acting coach, his love life takes a much-needed turn as he finally starts dating Sally Reed (Sarah Goldberg), who captured his attention in the first season. As the couple prepares for a showcase featuring personal stories from their life, Sally plans to mine the emotional depth of a prior abusive relationship with Barry playing the part of her violent ex, Sam. Initially, the story features Sally defiantly standing up to Sam. However, Barry pushes Sally to explore the truth of the experience, and the fact that she didn’t stand up to her abuser. That emotional connection to what really happened helps Sally deliver a performance that finally gets a meeting with a talent agency.
However, things don’t go as planned at the meeting. The agency is mainly interested in getting Sally to star in a series about an abused woman, and she’s not interested in just doing “revenge porn” that won’t push her as an artist. Adding to the frustration: Barry is offered a role in a Jay Roach movie despite having very little experience with acting. The situation culminates with Sally and the acting class being invited to perform their narratives at a massive showcase full of talent execs, but it’s clear that Barry and Sally’s relationship is being strained.
On the night of the big performance, the situation comes to a head as Barry is caught off-guard by Sally reverting back to the original narrative and defiantly standing up to his version of Sam. Granted, the audience eats it up, which leaves Sally torn between telling her truth or finally receiving the recognition for her acting that she’s been chasing for years.
Meanwhile, Barry is noticeably distracted as his relationship with Cousineau goes from beloved mentor to being completely shattered by Barry’s other life.
Barry: The Hitman
While Barry and Gene’s mentee-mentor relationship continues to deepen, there’s a ticking time bomb waiting to go off: Season 2 opens with the aftermath of Barry killing Detective Janice Moss (Patricia Newsome) who was getting close to connecting Barry to the murder of one of Cousineau’s acting students in Season 1. Not only that, but Moss had become romantically involved with the acting teacher, who now thinks that the detective ghosted him.
Meanwhile, NoHo Hank (Anthony Carrigan) has become the head of the Chechen mob, and naturally, he wants Barry to continue being the gang’s hired killer. Barry, however, wants out. Hank does not take this news well, but eventually, after a few skirmishes, they hash things out after Barry agrees to train a squad of killers for Hank.
There’s also the matter of Monroe Fuches (Stephen Root), Barry’s handler. After running afoul of the police, he agrees to wear a wire and implicate Barry as Detective Moss’s murderer. Thanks to Barry being distracted by the acting class, and the threat of Fuches blowing his chance at a new life, Barry actually does confess to the murder and is about to get himself arrested by Detective Loach (John Pirruccello). However, little did Fuches or Barry know that Loach had other ideas. Namely hiring Barry to kill his ex-wife’s new lover.
To escape their legal predicament, Barry and Fuches take the job, which leads to a wild karate fight with Ronny and his eight-year-old daughter, who mops the floor with Barry. The confrontation spreads across town to a local supermarket where Loach and Ronny both end up dead, leaving Barry off the hook and square with Fuches. Or so he thinks.
Despite having a clean break, Fuches still wants Barry back and tracks down Moss’s car that Barry stashed in the woods. He then travels to Cousineau’s house and pretends to be a police officer investigating Moss’s murder. Little does Cousineau know is that Fuches called the real police, pretended to be Cousineau, and confessed to Moss’s murder. The acting coach is arrested, which infuriates Barry, causing him to be even more distracted during Sally’s big performance.
Meanwhile, Fuches orchestrates a team-up with NoHo Hank by squashing a pending battle with the Bolivian and Burmese gangs, who have now agreed to work together. When Barry learns what Fuches is doing, on top of the Cousineau situation, he flips and heads to a monastery where he completely eliminates all of the gang members, but not before Fuches can escape.
As for Cousineau, he’s cleared of the murder charges after the cops find Moss’s car and a Chechen pin that Barry stashed in the trunk to make her death look like it was gang-related. But before the season ends, a flashback is shown of Fuches at Cousineau’s house whispering something in his ear. Those words, “Barry Berkman did this.”
Barry Season 3 premieres April 24 on HBO.