Damn, Can Ayo Edebiri Simply Direct Everything from Now On?

With The Bear finally up and running, there’s nothing left for Carmy & Co. to do but clock in and wait for their first big review. Last episode, we talked about all the money the restaurant wasted in its first month of service—and goofed off with a new Fak brother! (John Cena?!?) Turns out episode 6, “Napkins,” has a grander vision than the everyday struggles of The Bear.

First off, it was directed by the great Ayo Edebiri (who stars as Sydney). Blasting into the past, the bottle episode shows how Tina (Liza Colón-Zayas) first met Mikey Berzatto (Jon Bernthal) and became a line cook at The Original Beef. It’s a painful (and insanely relatable) reminder of today's soul-crushing job market, as well as a beautiful and heartbreaking tribute to one of The Bear’s best characters.

“When I first read the episode, I just started crying,” Colón-Zayas told The Daily Beast. Edebiri added that she told creator Chris Storer, “[I] would chew off my right arm in front of you if I could direct it. Because that would be a dream.” Thankfully, Storer handed Edebri the reins to episode 6. If you had any doubt, she’s just as talented behind the camera—directing a phenomenal episode that easily ranks as one of The Bear’s best.

Unlike Carmy (Jeremy Allen White), who had years of experience working in some of the best restaurants in the world, Tina is a self-taught line cook who just graduated from culinary school. Now she’s Sydney’s sous chef—cooking up dishes and gunning for a Michelin star. That’s a mighty large jump in the span of just a few months, but Tina—who, in this episode, self-identifies as someone with no standout talent—clearly had untapped potential her entire life. Colón-Zayas could act anyone off the floor—and episode 6 is her time to shine.

After losing her job of more than fifteen years as a payroll processor for Long Grove Confectionery, Tina quickly realizes that she doesn’t have any specific skills required for modern-day jobs. Even the same gig posted at another factory now requires a bachelor’s degree. Every day, Tina wakes up, showers, cooks some food for her family, and hands her résumé to one uninterested young schmuck after another. Thankfully, she has a support system—her doorman husband, David (played by Colòn-Zayas’s real-life husband, David Zayas).

the bear season 3
David is played by Colón-Zayas’s real-life husband, David Zayas.FX/Hulu

Like anyone else who’s ever been on the job hunt, Tina has a downright dehumanizing experience. Everyone just wants to hire young people for cheap pay, even if you have decades of experience doing real shit like paying the bills, surviving on planet Earth for forty-plus years, and raising a family. When her bus is delayed nearly half an hour one day, Tina stops for a coffee in a nearby shop—The Beef. Like Alice in Wonderland, she’s enamored by the way Richie (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) treats her like a human being behind the counter. She bursts into tears after just one bite of her Italian beef sandwich, which Richie gives her for free because whoever ordered it disappeared.

Hearing her cry from across the room, Mikey Berzatto kicks the arcade gamers out of the area and has a heart-to-heart with Tina. Topics include: Life sucks, don’t it? Who’s going to fix my toilet? What’s wrong with this world? Mikey shows her a picture of one of Carmy’s fancy, flowery meals, and they both laugh. “That dream shit?” he tells Tina. “Ain’t gonna happen to me.” He offers her a job as a line cook at The Beef—and the rest is history.

You hear that, Carmy? Maybe if we treat each other like human beings,then everything will work out just fine.

Want to keep reading, Chef? Here’s our recap of season 3, episode 7.

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