As the lead protagonist of The Bear, Carmy has gone through a plethora of emotions this season because there’s so much to do. In the second season, Carmy had to work harder, showcase patience, be diplomatic, and understand that on his way to opening his restaurant, he would have to face many setbacks. Fortunately for him, he has a team around him that acts like a cushion in case of any big blows. There is Sydney, his partner, and Natalie, the project manager, who helps him through everything there is to know about how to work on the restaurant building from scratch. Not that he is unaware of things; he knows what is right and wrong for him, but since he has taken up so many responsibilities, he ends up being unfocused on many occasions, which leads to procrastination.
Carmy has been distracted this season, but this has not happened regularly. It was not as if he was taking advantage of the position he was in as the co-owner and Executive Chef. Carmy helped his team go through training programs just so that they understood their role in making The Bear a one-of-a-kind dining spot in the city. Despite his obvious flaws, Carmy retained his core team because he knew they were exceptionally talented and just needed to brush up on their skills.
Carmy also comes across as generous when he shares his set of knives with Tina for her culinary classes. His friendship with Sydney is platonic because, as partners, they go through various stages of agreement and disagreement on the decision-making process, the menu they are creating, and their palette. He mostly ends up asking Sydney to deal with many restaurant-related tasks on her own, which angers her. Carmy unintentionally ends up making decisions regarding the restaurant without including her, making her feel inconsequential. Her fears and trust issues are just manifesting in ways unknown to him because he refuses to converse with her about how it should be both of their decisions that matter when it comes to the restaurant. Carmy might come across as a tad bit naive here, but it is good for him that he is surrounded by people who would never cheat him.
Carmy’s panic attacks still exist; the only difference is that this time around, we know why noise, anxiety, and chaos are a big part of his life. The audience is introduced to his real family from a few years ago when Mikey was still alive. A tumultuous family Christmas dinner lets the viewers know that not only does his mother have severe anxiety, but she goes through many manic episodes where she feels she is not in control of things around her, escalating into meltdowns of the highest order. Her actions made sure Carmy would not be with her. He comes across as slightly insensitive in comparison to his sister because, as a son, he should have understood that Donna needed medical attention. It might be his way of staying away from toxicity, but he has not learned how to deal with the emotions of losing his brother and how to bring his panic attacks under control. But it is easy to conclude that his unconscious need to be on edge stems from his mother, and he needed to accept that and work on his issues instead of being in denial about it.
In The Bear Season 2, Carmy also falls in love with his high school love interest, Claire. She is studying to be a doctor, and they catch up over their old memories of when they were young. Since they meet after a long time, it feels like they have picked up right where they left off, and he starts falling for her. Carmy likes being in her company and vice versa. He feels there is someone outside of his circle trying to be there for him, who understands his challenges as a co-owner, and helps him with his emotional turmoil. Carmy comes across as an emotionally available person who is willing to open up to Claire, and this is a quality she appreciates in him as well, but he still shows hesitance to publicly acknowledge her as his girlfriend.
This behavior of Carmy is very unlike him because he introduced Claire to everyone on the team, but not accepting her as his girlfriend comes across as odd. Maybe he did not want to label what he was feeling for her. He does finally accept her as his girlfriend because he understands the need to have emotionally healthy people like her around him. He is now surrounded by Natalie and Sydney as well, who have a calming effect on him because they have the opposite reaction to every setback. Just a few days before the opening of the restaurant, he has not only a major panic attack but also a well-deserved conversation with Sydney as they are fixing a table. They speak about their fears and worries in case this place does not work and how they will ever get out of that failure. His fears are palpable, but somehow he is also confident that things could work out. But again, there is a challenge in the form of emotional upheavals, which makes him forget plenty of important work that needs to get done for the restaurant to function. He is unable to focus on those works because of too many things in his mind, coupled with panic attacks.
Carmy has a major meltdown when he gets stuck in the walk-in refrigerator of the kitchen on the opening night of the restaurant. He feels as if the world around him is crashing. Things were under control back in the restaurant, but it was his mind that was spiraling. He feels alone, and his mind starts questioning his caliber, which brings up many of his insecurities. His time in the refrigerator, which he was supposed to get it fixed, lets him deal with his thoughts, which proves that Carmy fears facing his emotional issues and insecurities. He ends up losing Claire over it, and he is not sure how to salvage that relationship. As the episode ends, he is behind closed doors, hoping there could be a way to save himself from going into self-destruction mode. Carmy is far from healed from his traumas, and we can only hope season three, if it is announced, will be about his turmoil and how he faces it. I hope we get to see Carmy as a person who is on a journey to heal himself.