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Barry Season 2 Finale: Bill Hader Breaks Down Barry's Journey Into Darkness

The co-creator and star on who Barry is and where he'll go in Season 3

Liam Mathews

Barry Season 2 started with its acting class characters working through a "truth exercise" to get in touch with who they really are, which evolved into them trying to become who they want to be, and ended with them reverting to type: Sally (Sarah Goldberg) can't be honest if the truth shows her vulnerability, and Barry (Bill Hader)...well, Barry is a murderer. After telling himself over and over again that the next hit would be the last, Barry, barely even aware of what he was doing, flew into a rage and killed a platoon of gangsters to try to get to Fuches (Stephen Root), who escaped, leaving Barry alone with the truth of who he is. Meanwhile, Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler) remembered what Fuches whispered in his ear as he was looking at the dead body of his girlfriend, Det. Janice Moss (Paula Newsome): "Barry Berkman did this."

So Barry will have a lot of problems when Season 3 starts. TV Guide talked to co-creator and star Bill Hader about the finale and what's next for the show.

Only Bill Hader Could Think Up Barry's Killer Kid Plot (And Make It Work)

TV Guide: So, we saw Barry walk out of an audition to go save his one father figure, but then go into a rage blackout and massacre a building full of people while trying to kill his other father figure. And it feels like Barry is back where he was at the end of Season 1, but worse this time.
Bill Hader:
Yes, worse. I feel like Season 1 was "starting now..." And I think now, there's no "starting now," it's "this is who I am."

The whole point of this truth exercise is everyone doing their performance, and in the performance, you do see the truth. You see Sally's truth, which is she can't talk about what happened to her in an honest way. I'm not criticizing her, I think it's a very real thing, and the women that Alec and I talked to about this have said, you know, it's hard to talk about your abuse, and especially for Sally, not just her abuse but about being weak. She came to L.A. as this new person, this new character who was very strong and independent and who she says she is in Episode 2 of the season, and so you see who she really is. And then Barry, we always talked about that massacre at the end, that's his performance, that's his truth performance. That's who he is; Fuches is right.

This episode could be called "Fuches is right" because he's also right about Braveheart, too, and he's right about how people just want to see entertainment, they just want to feel good. They just want to see the idea of what... they don't want to see the truth, they want to be inspired and see a thing that's better than themselves.

Right, with her scene where she reverts back to the fake version of her story and everybody loves it. And then Barry kills all these people, and then he comes to, and he tears up, then he walks into the darkness. So is that walk into darkness, is that Barry accepting who he is?
Yeah. The opening of the season is him coming out of darkness, so we bookend the whole season of him coming out of darkness and him trying to live this life, and then he fails, and then he goes back into darkness. That was planned from the get-go. I remember Hiro Murai directed the first episode of the season, and I said, "Hey, when he enters, he's got to come out of total darkness," and Hiro said, "Why?" And I said, "I'll explain it to you another time; I need him to come out of total darkness." And he went, "Oh, OK."

And then the lights flickering and this whole idea of -- it's so pretentious, but it's true -- Barry's whole thing is can he be in the light and the dark? And a fuse is broken, it's shorting out. You're almost going, "No, you're almost there..."

But he's not crying at the end, it's more like he comes out of this state he's in, kind of like when he kills the guy in Afghanistan, he snaps out of it and looks down and realizes he's killed this guy Mayrbek (Nikita Bogolyubov) that he was a mentor to, this younger version of himself. ... So Mayrbek isn't as bad as Barry. Fuches isn't even as bad as Barry. Fuches can't shoot Gene, which was probably the biggest disagreement we had in the writers' room. Alec [Berg] and other people were like, "I hate that, when someone has a gun on someone and then they can't do it." But what saved it for everybody was having him later say, when he's talking to Cristobal (Michael Irby) and brokering peace, saying, "I used to think you guys were the s---, but to kill someone, to do that, you have to have no soul," and him realizing, "Oh, I can't be a badass, I'm a con artist."

​Bill Hader, Barry

Bill Hader, Barry

Isabella Vosmikova/HBO

So how does this carry into next season? Have you started on Season 3?
No. We have no idea what Season 3 holds. We tend to write ourselves into a big corner, and then that was the other big thing [in the episode], the very last scene of the season with Cousineau. I get really frustrated when people aren't finding out about things. It works for Sally and Cousineau that they don't pick up on Barry because they're so self-absorbed, but then it does feel a bit like it could get old really quick, and I think if it does turn into near-misses, it becomes a bit farcical. So you kind of blow that up and say, "All right, Cousineau knows." So that's how we're starting the season. The first day of writing Season 2 was, "What happened to Moss?" We didn't know what happened to Moss. And then I know in Season 3, we'll probably say, "All right, we really dealt ourselves a hand here," but I think the first thing we'll say is, "Where's Barry at emotionally? And where's Cousineau at, and what's Cousineau doing with this information?" and all that.

Gene knowing kind of feels like it could set up the last chapter. Do you have a sense of how long this goes or an ending?
No, we don't. I mean, Alec and I, when we first talked about it, we always said it's about a hitman who becomes an actor, and then "blank," and we haven't gotten to that blank yet.

Barry is available to stream on HBO GO and HBO NOW. Need HBO? Add it through Hulu or through Amazon.