‘The Bear’ S3, E5: Who Invited [REDACTED] to the Kitchen?!?

I’m calling it early: Fak is the MVP of The Bear season 3. And I’m not just saying that because the actor/IRL chef behind the character, Matty Matheson, has been dishing out restaurant recommendations to Esquire left and right. The closest thing Carmy (Jeremy Allen White) has to a best friend, Fak has always been a reliable injector of comic relief and innocence into a kitchen in desperate need of it—doubly so in season 3, which sees the Non-Negotiables™ rain hell upon our culinary heroes. Even his brother, Ted (Ricky Staffieri) has stepped up and added a few SD-card-related laughs this season.

Oh, you thought two Faks were enough Fak for this show? Well...wait, what’s that? Duh duh duh duuuuh...Duh duh duh duuuuuh...

John Cena is a Fak brother! That’s right—in a season that’s been expectedly cameo-heavy (hello, Josh Hartnett) up to this point, the Prototype himself joined the party. He shows up in episode 5, “Children,” which is a very move-the-plot-along entry in the series. (More on that soon.) But yes, in the middle of the episode, we meet Sammy Fak. He’s (in)conveniently present when the Chicago Tribune photographer is at The Bear, requesting a duck dish that Carmy hardly remembers being on the menu. Eventually, it’s Sammy who sets out to find a duck for Carmy—our new friend hilariously asks if he can snag one from a local park—but not before haunting Ted and confusing the shit out of poor Sydney (Ayo Edebiri).

Before we discuss the episode, one side note: The Bear genuinely has enough Faks for a Fak-centered spin-off. Obsessives of The Bear’s “Fishes” episode may remember Uncle Jimmy (Oliver Platt) blurting, “How many fucking Faks are there?!?” followed by Neil and Ted rattling off the names of six (!) Faks. If you’re counting, The Bear has introduced and/or mentioned ten Faks, including the as-yet-unseen Francie—who has beef, apparently, with Sugar (Abby Elliott). That’s a lot of fucking Faks!

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The Fak-family spin-off would have no shortage of joy (or piñatas).FX

Anyway! Considering that—and this is all I’ll say—episode 6 is a bottle episode, “Children” takes some time to check in with a few of the main players. Sugar and Marcus (Lionel Boyce) have a rare but welcome one-on-one, where she teaches the pastry chef what “lightning crotch” is. Marcus also has an overdue conversation with Sydney; he apologizes for “making things weird” when he asked her out last season. They work through their respective losses, both fresh (Marcus’s mother) and old (Sydney’s mother). Sydney has a very Sydneyian quip about welcoming Marcus to the “Dead Moms Club.” It’s sweet and funny, and it seems to drop both their shoulders a bit.

This is where The Bear has excelled this season, and it’s also what some of its critics are missing: We’re used to seeing the drama chuck breathless supercuts of dirty dishes and “fuckfuckfucks” at us, but season 3 actually pauses to let its characters air their shit out. It’s why episode 1’s vision quest was so beautiful; instead of throwing us back into kitchen life à la episode 3, creator Chris Storer & Co. take us through an often slow-moving montage of Carmy’s joy, pain, nostalgia, hopes, dreams, and failures. It’s the calm that The Bear never gave us before the storm.

Remember when I said that this episode moved the plot along? Meet Nicholas “Computer” Marshall (Brian Koppelman), who is here simply to light a fire under the asses of the burned-out workers of The Bear. The financials are still horrible, and the man’s suggestions range from reducing R&D (cut down on that development, Carm!) to firing Marcus. Get this man and his Las Vegas Raiders hat—in the middle of Chicago Bears territory—out of this joint! Shortly after the Computer’s crackdown, Uncle Jimmy bugs Sydney about signing the partnership agreement...which she’s sat on for a month. Given her meet-cute with another chef last episode, might she see greener pastures past The Bear?

I’m not ready for Sydney to split from Carmy. Really, all I want is to see season 1 of Matter of Fak drop before the next episodes of The Bear.

Want to keep reading, chef? Here's our season 3, episode 6 recap.

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