Physical Address

304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124

Did Season 3 Offer New Flavors or Just Reheat Old Leftovers?

Warning: This post contains spoilers for all 10 episodes of Season 3 of The Bear .

Fresh off an Emmy win for best comedy series in January and poised for more nominations, The Bear has returned triumphantly to Hulu with its third season. Maintaining its status as one of TV’s best shows, Season 3 is packed with standout performances and deeply human moments. However, after watching all 10 episodes, I found myself craving more. The third season, while still engrossing, felt like a meditative, almost indulgent pause rather than the frantic energy of its predecessors.

In Season 1, we saw Carmy take charge of his late brother’s sandwich shop in Chicago with the aim to transform it into a fine-dining restaurant. Season 2 focused on the intense efforts to get that restaurant up and running, culminating in a bumpy, yet successful opening night. Season 3, however, posed the question: “Now what?” lacking a strong narrative hook, it seemed stranded in a state of inertia. The premiere featured an atmospheric, almost wordless exploration of Carmy’s memories of becoming a chef, beautifully shot but not answering any of the questions left by the Season 2 finale.

The remainder of Season 3 continued in this vein, revisiting familiar ground. Carmy’s kitchen remained a whirlwind of chaos, with him barking orders like the prickly genius we’ve come to know. Although he had achieved his dream of opening the restaurant, there was no time to bask in the achievement given the continuous influx of new diners. This almost felt like a meta commentary from the show’s writers, burdened by the pressure to follow their own success. Despite the vivid portrayal of career burnout, it was frustrating to watch Carmy grapple with the same demons for the third season in a row. Likewise, Ayo Edebiri’s Sydney was paralyzed, torn between committing to Carmy and accepting an offer from another restaurant, leading to a narrative stasis.

Season 3 did offer some stellar standalone episodes that enriched our understanding of its supporting characters. Episode 6, for instance, flashed back to Tina’s arduous efforts to make a living before joining The Beef, showcasing Liza Colón-Zayas’ best work on the series. Episode 8 featured Jamie Lee Curtis reprising her role as the unhinged mom Donna, helping her daughter Nat give birth. Despite these high points, the season seemed resolute in denying viewers any sense of closure, leaving numerous storylines unresolved.

Carmy never apologized to Claire or even spoke to her. Sydney never signed her partnership agreement, nor did she inform Carmy about the other offer she received. The review from the Chicago Tribune was mentioned, but we never got to see what it said. Richie never RSVP-ed for Tiff’s wedding. Did Carmy meet his new niece after Nat gave birth? These dangling plotlines accumulated, creating a traffic jam of unresolved issues. The finale even concluded with the words “To be continued,” prompting us to wait another year for answers to questions we’ve had for a year.

The finale brought Carmy and Sydney to a “funeral dinner” for Ever, an acclaimed restaurant closing its doors, with chef Andrea Terry (played by Olivia Colman) at the helm. The episode featured real-life celebrity chef cameos like Thomas Keller and Wylie Dufresne, philosophizing about the significance of food and cooking. While it contained gorgeous moments, such as Terry spontaneously cooking frozen waffles at an after-party, it left numerous key issues hanging, making us feel somewhat cheated.

The Bear has always emphasized the journey over the destination, yet Season 3’s journey felt like it brought us back to square one. Although not officially confirmed, a Season 4 seems likely, which provides some comfort. I know I’ll be tuning in whenever it arrives. Season 3 felt like an elaborate, drawn-out meal with dishes that were delicious but sometimes grew cold from being left out too long.

We’re collecting your comment cards now: Give Season 3 of The Bear a grade in our poll, and hit the comments to share your thoughts on the full season.

Source: TVLine