Once again, The Bear has come and gone. This season Carmy (Jeremy Allen White), Richie (Ebon Moss-Bachrach), Sydney (Ayo Edebiri), and the rest of the gang tackle a new set of problems. It’s all happening as the chefs prepare to open an upscale restaurant. There’s been plenty of buzz surrounding this past season. Whether it’s the huge amount of cameos or the compelling writing that should garner the series a Primetime Emmy nomination, The Bear delivers.
Season two upped the ante by putting these characters through hell and back. It’s all to get them ready to open their new restaurant. The true question is: Does The Bear live up to the lofty expectations that the first season set in 2022? Check out this review of The Bear for the answer.
The Bear Surpassed Season One By A Huge Mile
In this review of The Bear, it’s safe to say that the answer is a resounding yes. The first season focused on the trauma and mental issues Carmy was dealing with in terms of after the loss of his brother. The first season was an excellent allegory that balanced a grounded realism in the cooking industry. It explored the health issues that often plague us as human beings. Plus, it had beautiful sightings of food.
The second season isn’t just focused on Carmy. In fact, it takes a personal look into the lives of several supporting characters. The opening of the new restaurant is just a backdrop for the overall arc of the cast. Christopher Storer deviates from the original format to deliver a raw look into the personal lives of Marcus (Lionel Boyce), Tina (Liza Colon-Zayas), Richie, Natalie (Abby Elliott), and of course, Carmy.
The Second Season Is More Of A Character Study
Some characters get more of the spotlight this time around. Nevertheless, everyone is put to good use here. What The Bear does so well in the second season is treating everyone as normal. That sounds weird, but there are dimensions and layers behind these characters that help tell their personal story.
Their journeys are unique, but these stories are still connected overall. Moments like Marcus in Copenhagen to Richie jamming out to Taylor Swift are a masterful way of developing these characters beyond the status quo. The only negative is that some episodes tend to lack tension because the focus is more on the characters. It pans away from the tension or drama that surrounds their lives.
However, everything after episode six will showcase some of the finest television you’ll ever see. That isn’t to say that the shows prior to that aren’t good. They are, but the tension is ramped up at that point. Even more, Storer really digs into the roots of the overall arc and people of the series.
Cousin Richie Is Tremendous This Season
Cousin Richie emerges as the best character of season two. He has the most development out of anyone in the show. Fishes really shows off the softer side of his character. Forks is an incredible study that builds from the momentum that episode six started. Don’t be surprised if Ebon Moss-Backrach receives an Emmy nomination. The actor steps up his game this season because he’s given meaty material that expands on Cousin Richie in unexpected ways.
That isn’t to say that the others characters don’t shine as well. Carmy remains the star, though he does take a bit of a backseat. It never feels like the story loses sight of him as the protagonist however. Some of the best acting that Jeremy Allen White does this season is the quiet and intimate moments where we can see what he’s thinking. His arc with Claire (Molly Gordon) is sweet, though it’s pretty obvious where the story will go the moment she’s introduced.
Marcus, Sydney, Celebrity Cameos
Marcus is another standout this season, so he’s really worth mentioning in this review of The Bear. Honeydew isn’t as strong as Forks, but it’s still a pretty damn good episode that ends with a strong cameo. Speaking of cameos, The Bear is packed with them, and each one is put to good use. Fishes has the most cameos in a single episode, and a certain Oscar-winning actor steals the show instantly. The celebrities never distract from the main story, and it’s clear that the actors are having a great time playing the parts that they’re given.
The only character who isn’t given enough to do is Sydney. She definitely has an arc throughout the season, but unlike Marcus, Richie, or even Tina, she doesn’t get the prime spotlight she truly deserves. This is more of nitpick, as Sydney isn’t pushed to the side, but a solo episode with her would’ve been great. Nevertheless, The Bear‘s second season is a must-watch.