‘The Bear’ Season 2 Recap: What to Remember Before Season 3

It’s almost time for “The Bear” Season 3, and we’re ready to see how Carmy and Sydney’s newly renovated restaurant will fare.

We’re also on the edge of our seats to see the fallout from the Season 2 finale, which saw tensions rise between Carmy (Jeremy Allen White), Sydney (Ayo Edebiri), Richie (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) and the rest of the team as the chaos of friends and family night unfolded.

Read on for a full breakdown of what to remember from “The Bear” Season 2 ahead of the Season 3 premiere on Wednesday.

The Beef is The Bear

Season 2 saw Carmy and the crew shed the restaurant’s old identity as The Beef to upgrade to the fine dining establishment The Bear, which involved what Carmy optimistically called a “facelift” to the spot using Michael’s secret cash stash from James “Cicero” Kalinowski, or “Uncle Jimmy.” Steps to elevate the restaurant included a deep clean, a new set of tables and chairs, a new oven, a new fryer, A.C., permits, inspections and many other costly investments. Oh, and of course, new staff members to fill the front of house and give some more power to the kitchen.

Eyes on the prize

As the chefs discuss aspirations for The Bear, Sydney quickly sets up the goal of receiving a Michelin star, which Carmy agrees to aspire to as well.

Carmy makes a deal

Oliver Platt in “The Bear” (Credit: FX)
Oliver Platt in “The Bear” (Credit: FX)

Despite discovering the $300,000 loan Uncle Jimmy gave Michael, the team realizes they have undertaken quite a beast of a renovation, prompting them to ask for an additional $500,000 from the family friend. Carmy proposes that if they don’t pay him back by the end of 18 months, the restaurant and the lot will be given to him.

Natalie eventually comes on board

With Carmy’s plans written on a cardboard box, it’s apparent the restaurant could use Natalie’s skills as a project manager. Despite going back and forth on whether she’ll work at the restaurant full time, Natalie — who is also pregnant — decides by the end of the season that she’ll come on board.

Enrichment activities

Will Poulter as Chef Luca in "The Bear" (Hulu)
Will Poulter and Lionel Boyce in “The Bear” (Credit: Chuck Hodes/FX)

As Carmy, Sydney and Natalie get busy on renovations, they send off their staff for some enrichment activities ahead of the restaurant’s launch. Tina (Liza Colón-Zayas) and Ebraheim (Edwin Lee Gibson) are sent to culinary school while Marcus (Lionel Boyce) heads to Copenhagen in the “Honeydew” episode to study under pastry chef Luca (Will Poulter), who worked alongside Carmy in New York.

Richie is also sent to stage at an upscale Chicago restaurant that accepts nothing but the best, showing him the payoff of crafting a top dining experience. By the end of the episode, titled “Forks,” Richie gets what Carmy and Sydney are trying to do, and incorporates the lessons he’s learned to the restaurant’s friends and family night by curating food and beverages for some of the restaurant’s guests of honor.

Tina and Marcus also get inspired by their experiences, though Ebraheim does not take as well to getting outside of his comfort zone and disappears. Later in the season, Ebraheim comes back and rejoins the team.

Former flame

Molly Gordon as Claire in "The Bear" (Hulu)
Molly Gordon in “The Bear” (Credit: Chuck Hodes/FX)

Carmy gets a blast from the past in Season 2 when he sees his former flame, Claire (Molly Gordon). The pair reconnect and Claire shows Carmy a more carefree side of life.

While the couple haven’t made things official, it’s immediately clear to Sydney that Claire is becoming a major confidant for Carmy when it comes to ideas for the restaurant. When Sydney speaks up about her concerns of Carmy taking Claire’s perspective and ideas into consideration, Carmy begins to spiral about his divided attention.

Family drama

Jamie Lee Curtis in "The Bear" (Hulu)
Jamie Lee Curtis in “The Bear” (Credit: Chuck Hodes/FX)

One of the most memorable and most stressful episodes of Season 2 is undeniably “Fishes,” which takes place entirely outside the restaurant in a flashback to a Christmas Eve dinner at Carmy’s childhood home, where the Berzatto family and other family friends come together to celebrate the Feast of Seven Fishes.

The flashback takes place when Michael was alive and gives viewers an understanding of the trauma Carmy, Natalie and Michael had to endure with their mother, played by guest star Jamie Lee Curtis. The episode also features a stacked guest star line up, including Bob Odenkirk, Sarah Paulson and John Mulaney.

Carmy and Natalie walk on egg shells around their mother as she drunkenly cooks the feast for the large group of family and friends. They hope to prevent an inevitable meltdown. Michael, meanwhile, battles his addiction as he pushes the limit by relentlessly throwing forks at Odenkirk’s character. By the end of the episode, Carmy’s mom has driven a car into their home, leaving Carmy speechless.

While the hour-long episode is a stress-induced fever dream, audiences see another side of Richie as he sweetly interacts with his wife at the time (Gillian Jacobs) during her pregnancy.

Friends and family night

Speaking of messes, the restaurant’s first night open to friends and family can only be described as a dumpster fire, with Sydney quickly getting overwhelmed by sorting through tickets while one of the new staff members is nowhere to be found. With tensions already high after Sydney rejected Marcus’ invitation for a date, the pair snap at each other. To make matters worse, Carmy gets locked in the walk-in fridge that his colleagues had reminded him was broken.

With Natalie’s hopes set high that her mother would show up to the event, her husband Pete (Chris Witaske) sees her mom outside and goes to encourage her in. Her mind is already made up that she can’t come inside, and makes Pete promise he won’t tell Natalie he saw her. Pete keeps his promise, though it weighs on him.

Carmy spirals more than ever as he is locked in the fridge, unable to help his team. He begins to speak aloud about regretting prioritizing his relationship with Claire, calling their relationship a “complete waste of time.” Claire overhears his diatribe, and leaves suddenly. After seeing the harm that Carmy caused to Claire, Richie talks to Carmy, which similarly spirals into an ugly fight between the cousins.

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