The Bear Gets Out of the Restaurant—and Becomes Even Better for It!– OnMyWay Mobile App User News

The Bear Gets Out of the Restaurant—and Becomes Even Better for It

On a whole, season 2 of The Bear which just released all episodes to Hulu today is a softer show than season 1. There’s less yelling and more self- discovery as the characters work together toward opening their new restaurant that was teased in last year’s finale.

Still, in the middle of the binge you’re hit with a wallop of the kind of chaos that first made the FX series a standout. Episode 6, titled “Fishes,” throws the audience back in time and invites you to a traumatic Christmas Eve dinner at the childhood home of our favorite brooding chef Carmy Berzatto—Jeremy Allen White, magnetic as ever—with his now-dead brother Mikey (Jon Bernthal).

“Fishes” is a relentless episode full of long takes and frenetic camera work that feels designed to be the kind of standout that lands on end-of-the-year lists and has people screaming, “Emmy,” much like season 1’s instant fan-favorite, one-take episode “Review.”

For one, “Fishes” is almost twice the length of an average Bear installment, clocking in at one hour and six minutes. It’s also packed to the brim with A-list guest stars—it’s a veritable parade of movie stars, character actors, and comedians, all cameoing as. various Berzatto family members and family friends. (As is often the case with The Bear, it’s difficult when watching to tell who is actually related and who is just calling each other “cousin” or “uncle.” Ebon Moss-Bachrach’s Richie, as previously established, calls Carmy “cousin,” but they are not actually related by blood.)

The actor, director, and comedian, best known for his roles in 1987’s Hollywood Shuffle and the late ‘90s WB sitcom The Parent’Hood, plays Sydney’s (Edebiri) dad. When he appears in episode 2, we see how much he loves his daughter, but also how scared he is that her newest restaurant venture will end as badly as her last. He even suggests that she reach out to a cousin at Boeing to see if he can hook her up with a more stable gig. Despite his concerns, he does buy her a copy of legendary Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski’s book, Leading with the Heart: Coach K’s Successful Strategies for Basketball, Business, and Life, to help her as she embarks on her latest culinary journey. The self-help sports book pops up throughout the season, becoming one of its best running jokes.

The second season of ‘The Bear’ follows the staff of Chicago sandwich shop The Beef as they begin to revamp the restaurant into a fine-dining hub called The Bear. Jeremy Allen White plays Carmen “Carmy” Brezatto, a high-profile chef working to run his family’s restaurant, and Ayo Edebiri plays Sydney, a budding chef working alongside Carmy to bring The Bear to life. The ensemble cast also features Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Liza Colón-Zayas, Lionel Boyce, Edwin Lee Gibson, Corey Hendrix, Abby Elliot and Matty Matheson. Matheson, a popular chef himself, also serves as an executive producer for the series.

Season one featured Carmy and his cousin, Richie (Moss-Bachrach), dealing with the death of Carmy’s brother Mikey, and the restaurant he left behind. The season was a critical darling, earning three and a half stars from USA Today and garnering a flurry of awards for the cast’s performances, among them a Golden Globe for Allen White’s riveting performance as Carmy and an Independent Spirit Award for Edebiri’s wonderful turn as Sydney.

The new season depicts a period of great transition for the restaurant, and everyone who works in it. Sous chef Sydney (Ayo Edebiri) is reading self-help books and trying to come into her own as a leader in the kitchen, while endlessly dreaming up dishes for the menu. Prickly line cooks Tina (Liza Colón-Zayas) and Ebraheim (Edwin Lee Gibson) head off to culinary school to refine their skills, and pastry chef Marcus (Lionel Boyce) takes a trip to Copenhagen to stage at one of the temples of modernist cuisine alongside (ridiculously hot) chef Luca (Will Poulter).

The building formerly known as the Original Beef is also getting a major overhaul, with a look that better suits the forward-thinking restaurant Carmy and Sydney want to build. In just the first few minutes of Episode 1, Carmy has already racked up more than $100,000 in planned improvements and renovations, and he’s just getting started. His sister, Sugar (Abby Elliott), who is overseeing the project, quickly makes it clear that they need more cash. Carmy and Sydney head to visit Cicero (Oliver Platt), Carmy’s arguably shady uncle who gave Mikey the tomato-can money. After only a little prodding, he agrees to bankroll the project, with one major caveat: If they can’t pay him back in 18 months, he’ll own the Original Beef building and sell it to recoup his losses.

Meanwhile, Sydney is struggling. She began the series feeling confident and ready to take charge of the kitchen, but in Season 2, she’s having trouble with her recipes. There’s too much salt or too much acid — it’s just not right, and Carmy is too distracted by his budding relationship with Claire to fully focus on helping her refine those flavors. Sydney’s struggles don’t get the same depth of consideration as Carmy’s, and that’s a glaring flaw in this season. We get a few scenes, especially in the finale, that delve into her fear of failure, but the writing doesn’t quite match Edebiri’s incredible acting.

The most emotional depth we get in Season 2 comes in the backstory of the complicated Berzatto family dynamic. In “Fishes,” a flashback episode, Jamie Lee Curtis delivers an incredible performance as Carmy, Mikey, and Sugar’s hard-drinking mother, Donna, downing wine by the bottle as she prepares a traditional Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes for Christmas. Bob Odenkirk is equally powerful as judgy Uncle Lee, who is the most emotionally measured member of this family. This reminiscence of a dysfunctional Christmas past, complete with emotional blowups, fork-throwing, and a shocking climax, explains pretty much everything we need to know about why Carmy moved as far away as possible from his family as he started his career, and how he ended up totally consumed by anxiety.

By the time the finale rolls around, everything is clicking. Sydney is running the kitchen like a boss, the restaurant is (mostly) operating as smoothly as any newly opened restaurant could be, and everyone loves the food. At this point, it’s apparent that Carmy is still, emotionally, a wreck. His complicated relationship with his mother, his anxiety, and his own fear of failure are as omnipresent as ever. That uncertainty makes way for a Season 3 that should be able to authentically keep up its breakneck pace — assuming Carmy can get out of his own way.

Across these 10 episodes, The Bear grew up, and really grew into itself. To make a restaurant comparison, this series is like that great new neighborhood spot where the food, the vibe — everything — is firing on all cylinders. Maybe things fall into place just a little too quickly at times, but it’s as true as it can be to restaurant life without being bogged down in all the boring details. It also maintains that fluency without being overly precious about chefs and the hard work that goes into running a restaurant. What is most impressive, though, is that it manages to do all that as it navigates some fucking heavy — and universally human — emotions.

Season one featured Carmy and his cousin, Richie (Moss-Bachrach), dealing with the death of Carmy’s brother Mikey, and the restaurant he left behind. The season was a critical darling, earning three and a half stars from USA Today and garnering a flurry of awards for the cast’s performances, among them a Golden Globe for Allen White’s riveting performance as Carmy and an Independent Spirit Award for Edebiri’s wonderful turn as Sydney.

Season two will feature guest appearances from Will Poulter (“Midsommar”), Molly Gordon (“Booksmart”) and more. Although restaurants can be sites of toxicity—a reality that has been portrayed thoroughly not just by The Bear but also by news outlets and other media in recent years—life outside the kitchen isn’t necessarily a picnic either, as Season 2 explores in greater depth. Marcus contends with his mother’s illness. Sydney (Ayo Edebiri) clashes with her father over her decision to be a chef. (Her mother, we learn, died when Syd was just 4 years old.) Tina (Liza Colón-Zayas), sent off to culinary school by Sydney, initially struggles to fit in with her younger classmates. Fellow chef Ebraheim (Edwin Lee Gibson), also enrolled, can’t keep up and, fearing change, drops out. Richie (Ebon Moss-Bachrach), stuck in a funk over where he is in life, learns that his ex-wife is remarrying.

But transformation is a difficult task when the issues are so deeply rooted, as we see in Carmy’s continued struggles. Season 2 explicitly depicts the parallels between the home and the restaurant, as well as the complications that emerge in both over care that goes unrewarded or unseen. (See: Donna’s tears over making things beautiful for people who never do anything for her.) The space of the home, where cooking is explicitly about care in a way that’s idealized and unpaid, provides a foil for the professional kitchen. Violence can emerge in both, whether it’s Mikey throwing forks in “Feast of the Seven Fishes” or, in Season 1, Syd stabbing Richie in the Original Beef’s kitchen. What Season 2 shows is the team trying to break this pattern and remembering why they entered the hospitality business in the first place: Syd finds it in cooking an omelet for a hungry, pregnant Sugar, inspiring Carmy to remind her that she “loves taking care of people.” Richie finds it in serving a surprise nostalgic dessert of chocolate-covered banana to Uncle Jimmy, after having finally internalized the magic of hospitality during a stage at a three-Michelin-starred restaurant. “How do you do this all day?” he asks that restaurant’s expediter in Episode 7, “Forks,” after catching a glimpse of her “crazy” process. Her response unlocks an understanding within him: “Every night you make somebody’s day That’s how I can do this.”


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