‘The Bear’ S3, E2 Spells Pure Doom for Carmy (and Everyone Else!)

If The Bear’s season 3 premiere was just an amuse bouche, the second episode is the first course. In the season 2 finale, Carmy’s (Jeremy Allen White) time in the fridge felt like the natural ending for our troubled chef, but now we know that it was also a new beginning. In episode 2, he emerges from his imprisonment like a butterfly from its chrysalis—brandishing newfound determination and a heart as cold as the fridge itself. I call him...Darth Carm.

Immediately, Carmy sets the rules for his new empire. He writes down a list of “non-negotiables” for his crew, outlining exactly how his proverbial Death Star will operate. The new mandates include: Less is more, vibrant collaboration (?!?), constantly evolve, and more teaspoons. Sydney (Ayo Edebiri) takes one look at change menu every day and rolls her eyes. “We’re gonna change everything every day?!?” she asks. Carm curtly replies, “Yes.”

Carmy’s reign of terror doesn’t end there. The chef came in early and adjusted the menu that he and Sydney created...without asking her. Celebrated dishes like Seven Fishes are now just scallops. The ribeye is a smaller cut, and the cavatelli is now a raviolo with the yolk inside. Sounds delicious! But Carmy’s manhandling of the menu certainly isn’t the vibrant collaboration he set in his non-negotiables.

If you think that’s overwhelming, wait until Richie (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) reads the list. “Get fucked!” he yells at Carmy, followed by several rounds of “Fuck you!” Richie was one of Carm’s main targets when he lost his mind in the fridge—and his cousin is keen to remind our chef of his “honestly and bravery from inside a locked vault.” Much like Sydney, he views change menu every day as “fucking demented.”

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A typical morning screaming match at The Bear.FX/Hulu

Classic The Bear–style chaos ensues from there. Overhead, a bright flickering light makes everyone think they’re about to have a stroke. The Faks (Matty Matheson and Ricky Staffieri) enter the frame like Timon and Pumbaa. Tina (Liza Colón-Zayas) calls the new rules “a little crazy.” Carmy responds, rather defensively, “It’s not crazy. I’m not crazy.” Eventually, Sydney realizes that it’s only 8:00 a.m. and she’s had enough. “I think you’ve managed—in a miraculous way—to make this about yourself,” she tells Carmy. “And I think both of you yelling for the past ten minutes has given me a migraine at the base of my fucking skull.”

While Berzatto may have what it takes to turn The Bear into a Michelin-starred restaurant, most of the cooks in this kitchen were whipping up Italian beef sandwiches not too long ago. “You need to do some negotiating with yourself,” Richie tells him. “Ask Claire if he’s crazy.” Ouch! Since Carmy declared during the fridge incident that she—and happiness in general—were both a waste of his time, Claire (Molly Gordon) has yet to make an appearance in season 3.

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Carmy’s non-negotiables for season 3.FX/Hulu

Surprisingly, Marcus (Lionel Boyce) shows up to work. You thought Carmy’s night made everything worse? Try making crème brûlée the morning after your mother dies. He’s processing it as well as he can—believing that she would have wanted him in the restaurant, doing what he loves. Carmy attempts to grant him a few words of wisdom before they open for the day. He tells him, “Instead of not dealing with it, try to.” Practice what you preach, Carmy! “Is that what you did?” Marcus asks. Carmy simply replies, “No.” Whereas everyone else views Carmy’s rules as projected insanity, Marcus is down with the game plan. “Take us there, Bear,” he tells Carmy. “Yes, Chef,” he responds.

While season 3 will surely explore how Carmy’s new agenda affects his relationships with everyone at The Bear, Marcus hits on an emerging theme of the season. Namely­, is Carmy actually right? Must you give up the pursuit of happiness and become the worst version of yourself to achieve your dreams? With our road map officially set, we’ll see how it plays out when the restaurant opens its doors. Say what you will about the disarray, but I’m excited for the courses ahead of us. Hopefully, we just won’t have to wait until season 4, episode 10 for Carmy to learn that he doesn’t have to go it alone.

Want to keep reading, chef? Here's our season 3, episode 3 recap.

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