The following contains spoilers for Barry Season 3, Episodes 1-4, which are now airing on HBO Max.
Barry Berkman’s relationship with Sally Reed has been doomed since the beginning of HBO Barry – Because they both had very distorted ideas about each other. Barry believed that Sally was an honest and humble once-in-a-generation talent. Sally thought Barry was kind and supportive. It was only a matter of time until their facades fell apart and the relationship fell apart, which is what happened in season 3.
From the first time Barry and Sally were seen in season three, it was clear that their relationship was running on autopilot. Sally’s attention was so tattered by her presentation that she didn’t see Barry deteriorate before her eyes. It took a complete stranger watching Barry’s violent behavior and expressing his concern to finally get Sally to pull the plug. And while it would be interesting to watch Barry go through an emotional breakup, he and Sally would be much better off in the long run.
Barry spent every moment of their relationship lying to Sally. Over the course of two and a half seasons, he did a double-digit body count under Sally’s nose. When his growing desperation and sadness cause him to relive his life as a hitman in season three, he becomes less present in their relationship and less respectful of it. Between verbal accusations of Sally in her office and abandoning the premiere of her show to set off a bomb, it was clearly not one of his priorities.
And while Barry’s sins were more egregious, Sally wasn’t flawless either. Before getting her TV show, she would belittle Barry and her co-workers and friends just because she thought she was the best. But when she finally received all the adoration she could have possibly wished for, she cracked. During season three, Sally may have fully accepted how she lied to get everything she wanted – just like Barry.
Seeing Sally stuck in another toxic relationship without realizing it was a stressful hour Barry viewers. The worst example of this was when she tried to make Barry happy by buying him a new Xbox console and making it his favorite dinner after he got berserk at her workplace. When fellow young Katie confronts Sally about Barry, she is finally able to see her full potential. Realizing that she had mostly gotten herself so far, she finally felt free to let Barry go.
But what does Barry and Sally’s breakup mean to Barry? Season 3 gave fans the most furious version of the character they’ve seen yet. He is so upset that he resorted to threatening Jean Cousino’s family when he didn’t get what he wanted. With Barry also envisioning shooting Jane and Sally, it’s clear that the series thinks he can shoot them. Hopefully the show doesn’t go that way, but the end of the relationship might make him a more sympathetic character.
Barry will feel some freedom and less pressure by not having to hide his secret life from his girlfriend. It gives him one less person to worry about, both literally and what he’s thinking. But what’s more interesting about the breakup is what it means for Barry’s future. He has singled out the two people responsible for sparking his passion for acting. Since they’re out of his life, what does his career look like? Will he return to being a hitman – or can he grow in another direction entirely? Losing Sally might be the best thing that ever happened to Barry when he really needs to change.
New episodes of Barry air this Sunday at 10 p.m. on HBO.
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