“The Bear,” a fast-paced show about the food industry and the challenging hustle of running a small business, sounds like a recipe for success. And it is, for the most part. A beautiful thing about “The Bear” is that it does not waste time. The backstory is crisp and beautifully inculcated with the emotions of the ongoing storyline, and the fast-moving pace of the sandwich shop business is used to efficiently bring out the tensions between the characters. It is a beautifully done show, with probably the only flaw being exactly what made it so good—that it was too fast in places. While not enough to disengage, it brings a sense of irritation to the viewer when the challenge is the pace of the story instead of the story itself. But it is a forgivable flaw, one we don’t mind too much, considering how it’s been a good while since we’ve seen such content.
How Do Carmy And Sydney Bring The Restaurant Back To Life?
Briefly returning to the one flaw in “The Bear,” the first episode literally opens with a lot of running around and shouting. Only 25 pounds of meat have been delivered instead of the needed 200, and Carmen has to sell a lot of his stuff in exchange for the money to get more meat. And when that is still not enough, he has to use his Michelin-level cooking skills and expertise to come up with a creative solution. But the bigger problem at the restaurant is the clash of the systems. Things have always been done a certain way there, when they were being run by his brother Mikey. Ever since his death, after the restaurant was left to Carmen who wants to make changes to the place, the old staff are resistant to it, creating a clash between him and them. This is most evident between Carmy and his cousin, Richie. The latter has been instrumental in running the place with Mikey, and he is not happy that the restaurant was left to Carmen instead of him. Nevertheless, it is a case of him having the restaurant’s best interests at heart while just not having enough faith in Carmy to revive the place like it needs to be.
As Carmy tries to come up with solutions to deal with the budget cuts, he is met with little to no support from the staff. The sandwich shop, known as the ‘The Original beef of Chicagoland,’ is an iconic spot. And once a food place is deemed iconic, there is no reason to change the recipes. But Carmy has his heart set on reviving the place and taking it to new heights, which cannot be done if they continue to do things as they used to be done. He hires a sous chef, Sydney, who shares his zeal for the family business and proves herself invaluable to the team. But the place hits a new low when the health inspector grades them a “C.” This is a moment of reckoning for the entire restaurant as it forces them to reconsider the validity of their stubbornness toward their existing system.
The problem was never that they doubted Carmy. It was the fact that they knew they had a way of doing things that was successful. Plus, it was something that had been done for years, bringing them a sense of pride in their methods. So when another person, no matter how qualified, comes and tells them that they are doing it wrong, it does not go down well. Having worked together for years, the staff are each other’s family. And Carmy, as an outsider coming into the circle, was met with distrust. It helps the restaurant that he never gave up on his ambition for the place, despite his efforts repeatedly being rejected. Seeing the benefits of his methods and inventiveness, coupled with the need to save the shop, they start trusting him and agree to start adapting some of his ways of doing things. Carmy has high standards for the sandwich shop, and the staff is finally on board to help him achieve that.
Sydney is definitely their greatest asset and is literally Carmy’s right hand. It is with her help that they are able to give the sandwich shop a new look. The place also starts bringing in better profits as it gets more organized. The rest of the staff, who had just been treating their work as a job, started fully committing to the art of making food. And as the saying goes, food made with love and care just tastes better. Carmy’s issues in “The Bear” are not restricted to the restaurant. He struggles with anxiety, which puts him on edge when he tries to reconnect with his estranged family members. Upon his sister’s insistence, he agrees to attend Al-Anon’s meetings to start dealing with his past traumas. But the path to recovery comes with its own set of challenges.
‘The Bear’ Ending Explained: Does Carmen Agree To Sell The Restaurant?
We do question at times why a talented chef like Carmy would choose to leave it all behind to work in an almost rundown sandwich shop. And then we see a bit of his own history with a head chef who would put Gordon Ramsey to shame with his taunts. But, of course, Carmy could have just switched restaurants. Why did he choose to come to ‘The Original Beef of Chicagoland’? We get the answer in the finale. We know that during a particularly stressful day, Carmy is excessively harsh in his words towards Sydney, leading her to quit her job. It is a reality check for the entire place, especially for Carmy, who realizes that the place is still very close to bankruptcy. He is forced to consider that he may actually have to sell the restaurant. He goes to an Al-Anon meeting where he talks about how he and his brother had a shared dream of opening a restaurant with a cool vibe. But over time, his brother started telling him that he was not good enough while simultaneously excluding him from his life. In one particular incident, Carmy was not allowed to come into the restaurant. This caused him to work hard and become a successful chef who worked in some of the best places in the world. But the motivation behind his success remained the need to show his brother that he was capable and worthy. Maybe that would cause their relationship to get back to the way it used to be. There are a lot of mental health issues at play here. While Carmy’s are evident, it looks like Mike had some demons of his own. We will probably get to know them in “The Bear” Season 2.
Towards the end of “The Bear,” Season 1, Carmen is in the kitchen making something, and he opens a can of tomato sauce. To his surprise, he finds a rolled wad of cash in it. Curious, he opens other cans, and, as expected, finds them stuffed with money. As the other members start coming in, they are astonished at the treasure that had been hidden in plain sight all along. When Sydney comes to collect her last salary, Ritchie tells her to grab a can and start working on opening it. This could be a sign of a future reconciliation for them. The show ends here. We know that now, Carmy has the means to keep the restaurant afloat for a while. The money was left there by Mikey for Carmy to use for the restaurant. And he does, but true to his style, in an inventive way. Instead of using it to revive the restaurant, he uses it as an investment for a new place called “The Bear” and carries out his dead brother’s wishes to bring back the family’s signature spaghetti. A fitting ending to a great journey.
Final Thoughts: What Works For ‘The Bear’? Will There Be A Season 2?
The pace of the show is its strongest point, giving it a unique binge-able quality. It is not an exaggeration when we say that time flew by while we were watching this. When it comes to the question of “The Bear” Season 2, reports say that there will be one. That would probably explore Carmy’s journey and further get to the root of their family’s problems. It could also highlight the challenges of living up to an iconic name in the food industry.
It is true when people say that food is a feeling rather than just something to sustain themselves. And that is why food always brings something personal to everyone. An industry based on that makes for a great show. While the first season was complete on its own, the way this was executed makes us excited to see how it will be expanded. We have high hopes and are eagerly looking forward to it.
“The Bear” is a 2022 Drama Comedy Series created by Christopher Storer.