Preparing and serving food channels an emotion that only a skilled person can tap into. Using this as a concept, Christopher Storer managed to give the viewers two seasons of The Bear. Season one was just a preview now that we look back, and season two is about the struggles that every character in the show goes through just to make sure the restaurant opens on time. The Bear Season 2 is a race against time, and we, as viewers, can only mentally chant tick-tock to the characters on the other side of the screen.
Carmy And Natalie’s Budget Problems
The Bear Season one ended with Carmy getting his hands on money left by Mikey. The team decides to use the money to start The Bear, a high-concept fine dining restaurant. It has been Carmy’s dream to run a kitchen, and with Sydney as a partner, the two of them envision a controlled chaos-themed menu. The demolition of “The Original Beef of Chicagoland” is a sign that the old guard is gone, and the new restaurant is ushering in a contemporary style of cooking. Reality hits them because the team is over budget, and the only person who could loan them the money is Uncle Jimmy. Carmy, Natalie, and Sydney are not rich, and taking a loan is the only option for them because they are confident in the project they are working on. It is their positivity that is contagious here.
They would offer Uncle Jimmy a partnership in return for the money he would be investing. It is the only sensible solution because he is the only person who is loaded with money and has the connections to make their paperwork nightmare easy. Another aspect that the core committee was not ready for was the bureaucracy they would have to deal with just to get the restaurant running. It lets the viewers understand the patience required to deal with government regulations.
The six-month deadline is impossible, as per Uncle Jimmy’s conditions for investing. The Bear must open in three months, which is a ludicrous proposition, but they have no other option. Uncle Jimmy’s concerns are genuine because he had helped Mikey before, and that did not end well. Carmy had also not repaid the debt, and by making him a partner, the core team is hoping to present him with a positive projection of what the restaurant would be.
Carmy And Claire
Carmy runs into his high school sweetheart, Claire, who is studying to be a doctor. Now that they have met, plenty of old feelings crop up for all the right reasons. Carmy starts taking a break from the renovation work to hang out with her. Being around Claire calms him, and he’s not been very calm lately, thanks to the overwhelming surroundings. There is a sense of familiarity between the two of them because of their history, which makes it easy for the two to be comfortable with each other. It is like starting from where they last left off.
Carmy hesitates to call her his girlfriend, but he cannot stop himself from being around her because it has been a while since he felt someone romantically involved with him was trying to understand what he wanted to do. He is reciprocating her feelings just by being there. It is obvious that the two of them would fall in love.
Marcus In Copenhagen
Marcus is sent to Copenhagen, as decided by Carmy and Sydney, to work with Luca, a prominent pastry chef in the city. It is not clear how the team had the budget for such an extravagant tour, keeping in mind how they were struggling to control the money they were hemorrhaging. Maybe this is how the training for a cutting-edge restaurant such as The Bear works. This is the trip of a lifetime for him because making desserts is close to his heart, and being able to work with Luca is an opportunity he does not want to miss out on. This trip turned out to be fulfilling because he got to learn more than he could handle, and Luca turned out to be a great mentor. Marcus’s self-discovery is satisfying to watch because the man went from nowhere to preparing signature desserts for The Bear. It is a soul-stirring episode as we get to see how much Marcus is willing to learn and upgrade just to be slightly better at a job he is already good at.
Sydney Is Having Second Thoughts
Sydney’s dinner with her father in the hope of getting some capital from him to invest in the restaurant does not go as planned. She needed money for the restaurant to show her role as a partner. Her father leaves her with plenty of questions about logistics, for which she has no answers. It would only make sense that she did not have answers because this is her first outing as a part owner of a restaurant, and she is in the process of learning the math that goes behind building something from scratch.
Her worries only increase from here as the hiring process does not go as planned, and her interaction with peers from the hospitality industry leaves her with negative thoughts. This was bound to happen because anyone starting a new venture is considered a risk even by money lending institutions, and Sydney has nothing to fall back on if this place does not work out.
Her trust in Carmy is also deteriorating because they were supposed to make decisions together, but he ends up either bailing on her or making choices without her approval. It would seem like an inconsiderate move from Carmy, as he does not understand the promises he made to Sydney. Theirs is a platonic friendship that blows up and immediately calms down. There are plenty of reasons why Sydney could lose her mind any minute, but she does have the luxury of breaking down right now.
Richie’s Midlife Crisis
Richie suddenly starts feeling out of place since the day Carmy decided to make way for The Bear. Mikey was always there for Richie, but with Carmy taking over, the man feels obsolete because he does not seem to understand what Carmy’s end goal is. With his family gone too, Richie feels he is of no use to anybody, and that’s why he ends up having tiffs regularly with Natalie and Neil during the renovation work. The reason behind this behavior is that his growing insecurities about his age are catching up to him, and he has not achieved anything important in his life. It is common to feel this way because it seems Richie has no purpose in mind, which makes him lash out at people around him who can tolerate his behavior.
Richie is soon asked to work with the team of Chef Terry at Eleven Madison in New York. This is an apprenticeship to understand how a fine dining restaurant operates, but Richie’s ego believes Carmy sent him here as a punishment. His initial days were horrible, but soon he understood everybody around him had obligations, and all he could do was sink or swim. Richie did not expect to learn a moral lesson at this stage in his life. He learns the tricks of the trade and picks up on the cues. Richie now feels he has a purpose in life. He accidentally meets famous yet surprisingly quiet Chef Terry, who explains to him about her struggles to start a restaurant in New York City at her current age, but her perseverance helped her rebuild her life successfully. This is the kind of pep talk Richie needed to help him understand that he can restart his life at any age.
Tina Goes To Culinary School
Tina and Ebraheim are sent to a culinary school to understand the nuances of cooking at a fine-dining restaurant. Tina is happy because she finally wants to learn and be better at her job, just like Marcus. It is endearing to watch Tina take this course in stride and not let her ego ruin everything. She is also going to be Sydney’s sous chef because of the trust the young woman has in Tina as a cook, and her experience would be an added advantage for the restaurant when it opens.
Meanwhile, Ebraheim struggles and feels overwhelmed around people he thinks are better than him. He does not feel the urge to learn; after all, he thinks he is good at his job. If only he had not let his arrogance get the best of him. Tina eventually ends up using Carmy’s old knife, and he gives it away to her without any hesitation because he considers all of them to be his family. Tina finally starts feeling like she is part of a bigger destiny, and working with The Bear is another start to her life.
Christmas At The Berzatto Family
The sixth episode, ‘Fishes,’ begins with a Christmas celebration at the Berzatto household, where all the family and friends of Michael, Natalie, Carmy, and their mother, Donna, descend. It is obvious from a lot of demeanors that things that night did not go as planned. This is the case with family dinners; there is always something that goes wrong, which turns into an argument.
Donna’s piling anxiety about having to make an elaborate dinner for everyone, fueled by alcohol, leads to several escalations. The whole one-hour episode is proof that Donna is just a ticking time bomb that is about to explode. She is unable to understand that she probably needs medical assistance to curb her manic episodes. Out of all the kids, only Carmy could be around his mother because his presence had a calming effect on her. On the other hand, the standoff between Mikey and Uncle Lee about Mikey’s still living with his mother leads to the elderly gentleman calling him worthless one too many times. Uncle Lee’s harsh words may have triggered something in Mikey, who was most likely suffering from undiagnosed depression. This tense fight pushed him into a corner.
The dinner ends with a frantic Donna, who feels unappreciated and crashes her car into the home as a way to let her anger out. Donna probably did this because she wanted some attention. But it is Carmy’s expression that makes the viewers understand why he wanted to stay away from his family. It can be assumed that maybe he was raised in a volatile environment and thinks this is the only way he can survive. As viewers, we can see how Carmy was deeply affected by his mother’s selfish moment.
Is The Bear Team Ready For Their Trial Run Of Serving Family And Friends?
With the restaurant almost done, all they must do is pass the fire suppression test. The dummy tests conducted by Neil do not go in their favor. It dawns on Neil that Mikey had tried to burn down this place for insurance money, and he messed with the entire gas system. Neil fixes it, and the final test goes in their favor. This test was a bit symbolic because if they had not passed this crucial examination, all their dreams would have been set on fire, and they would have had to look for other ventures. Everyone’s life relied on this one test. The tension and the anxiety are palpable because viewers finally want destiny to work in favor of The Bear team.
The Bear is ready, and the first night will be the trail run. The guests would be the family and friends of the team because there can be no one who would be more honest than this bunch of people. It would seem like any other night for the viewers, but for the team on the other side of the screen, this night could make or break them since one of the guests is Uncle Jimmy. This is a regular procedure carried out by restaurants to get a head start, just like a pilot episode of a television show decides its fate.
The evening begins rather smoothly, but things between Sydney and Carmy heat up soon, followed by Carmy getting stuck in the walk-in refrigerator. Carmy was the one who was supposed to get it fixed, but he never did. This subplot is not easy to decipher, for it’s not clear why Carmy was procrastinating in calling up the guy to fix it. Maybe this was on equipment he did not want to part with from the old restaurant, and it reminded him of his brother Mikey.
Carmy getting stuck should have been like collapsing a house of cards, but no one panics except for Carmy himself because they have a show to run. They cannot lose on the first night; otherwise, it would be demoralizing. Richie takes center stage and saves the day because someone has to step in, and he does not want to let Carmy down as a family member or an employee. His coming through is a big feat because no one expected him to take the mantle to salvage the night.
Natalie’s husband, Pete, is happy about her achievement, and he ends up seeing Donna outside the restaurant contemplating if she should walk in. This is because she thinks she would ruin the most important moment of her children’s lives. Donna does not have the strength to walk up to Carmy and Nat and let them know she is proud of them. It was the wrong move by her because her showing up would have made things less complicated, but the reality is always different. Donna does not go in because she would not be able to stop being herself. A sad truth indeed.
Carmy goes into panic mode, and so does Sydney, because she throws up due to sheer anxiety. Carmy has a meltdown in the walk-in because he feels he let his team down and thus comes out with his insecurities of never being enough for anybody, including his now-girlfriend, Claire. He felt this way all his life; he was probably looked down upon for expressing himself, case in point, by his mother and his old boss. Carmy is probably on the path to becoming like his mother, and he should not make the mistake of not seeking counseling. Carmy ends up upsetting Claire as well because she feels he never shared such insecurities with her. It makes her feel inconsequential.
The Bear Season 2 ends with Claire letting him know that she loves him, and Carmy realizes he had probably pushed many people away from his life on his biggest night. Even if his restaurant works out, he will still have this memory of how he could have just not gone into self-destruction mode. The night was indeed successful for The Bear, but at a cost. Sydney, though, is the happiest because her father is proud of her work and choices. She should have known her father would support her no matter what. His words of comfort were enough to make her work harder, for the show is yet to begin. It is not shown to viewers what the status of the restaurant is now that it is open to the public. Maybe that would have been way too optimistic, and the makers of the show do not rely too much on it. The characters need to go through the grind to be the best, and that is what season three would be about.