Barry's Bill Hader Explains How Sally Is A Beacon Of Hope For His Character

This article contains mild spoilers for "Barry" season 4.

Through the first two episodes of "Barry" season 4 (read /Film's review), Barry Berkman (Bill Hader) is getting adjusted to life behind bars after his acting teacher and mentor, Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler), helped capture him to avenge his girlfriend, Detective Janice Moss (Paula Newsome). After getting confirmation from Cousineau that he worked with Janice's father, Jim Moss (Robert Wisdom), to arrest him, Barry is understandably shattered. Betrayed, he phones his ex-girlfriend Sally (Sarah Goldberg) who promptly tells him to never contact her again. 

It's a devastating blow for Barry who is still coming to terms with the fact that becoming an actor didn't quell his desire to kill. In fact, unlocking his emotions only exacerbated the problem. Acting was supposed to be his creative outlet, but instead, moonlighting as an assassin was still his true, dark calling. 

Without Sally, Barry immediately regresses and turns to his father figure and handler, Fuches (Stephen Root), who is conveniently doing time in the same cell block. Who knows? Maybe Barry would be better off in the long run without Sally. It would force him to accept his fate and what kind of person he truly is, without any false hope that things could turn around for him. Barry wants a different life, and if he can make a deal with the FBI, he'll have one in witness protection. When Sally abruptly shows up to visit Barry through prison glass, he sees a way out and another chance at happiness with her. 

A beacon of hope

Talking with Variety, Hader dove back into the events of the first season to help explain what makes Barry tick and why he can't help but put Sally on a pedestal. "She's like a beacon of hope," said Hader. "She always has been." Speaking about Barry's unhealthy fantasy world, Hader continued: 

"Barry has always been like, 'I want a family. And a dog. The whole thing.' He wants the American dream. In season 1, there's a scene where he has a daydream of him and Sally and a kid, and they're getting their family photo taken. That is his North Star."

Hader is the first to admit that Barry isn't the brightest guy on the planet. He's an expert at killing, but when it comes to matters of the heart, Barry is even more deluded now that he's dealing with life on the inside. When Sally comes to visit, she says she feels safe with him. That scares her; it inspires Barry. Maybe he really still can have it all! "Barry has a very clear view of family," Hader thinks. "Sally Reed looks like the girl next door, the perfect picture of what the American dream is to a guy like him."

Incredibly, but also perfectly in character, Barry has more of a sense of entitlement when he's stuck in jail than he ever did on the outside. Barry is already incredibly dangerous and growing more and more unhinged. If he doesn't get his way, or what he perceives as the life he deserves, Sally and Cousineau may wind up on the wrong side of Barry's gun. For now, Sally may have to play by Barry's rules if she wants to stay on his good side. 

"Barry" airs on HBO and streams on HBO Max every Sunday at 10 p.m. EST.