Close this search box.

The Bear Season 2 Review

Season 2 of The Bear completely flips the script on the show’s first season with more mature storytelling and precise character work.

It’s always risky when shows like The Bear – which easily could have ended after the first season without any problems – decide to return for a second installment. There wasn’t really any need for Season 2 of The Bear, there were no pressing questions left over in the first season’s finale, and it wasn’t clear exactly what direction the show could take without changing its formula completely. But that’s exactly what The Bear did: it changed everything about the story, literally destroying the main location in an extremely risky decision that’s killed plenty of weaker shows in the past. However, thanks to the series’ focus on its central characters and their complex relationships, the risks entirely pay off and improve The Bear in several ways.

The first season of The Bear was an incredible culinary drama that followed Carmy’s (Jeremy Allen White) attempts to bring his late brother’s restaurant back to life, with the highlight of the season undeniably being its ability to build tension and intensity through some high-octane long shots and extended sequences of kitchen chaos. It was a perfect season of television, balancing Carmy’s emotional journey with some incredible dialogue and filmmaking that really brought those cooking scenes to life, creating an environment of high-stakes action that never failed to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. But Season 2 of The Bear understands that it couldn’t just follow the same formula again, moving away from the kitchens and exploring these characters’ personal lives outside of work.

Season 2 feels completely different, but thanks to The Bear’s exceptional writing and performances, the show manages to craft another perfect season of television. Every single episode has a distinct focus that it never wavers away from, focusing on different characters’ journeys and allowing their arcs to evolve and progress in fascinating ways. It’s much more emotional and grounded than the first season, but just as gripping despite the more relaxed tone. The show has a unique ability to transform the simplest ideas into really engaging stories, and that lies with the talent of the cast and crew.

loud and clear reviews The Bear Season 2 Fx on Hulu
The Bear Season 2 (Fx on Hulu)

Even those episodes that would usually fall under the category of ‘filler’, following the daily lives of the show’s supporting characters, are crucial to the narrative. Marcus’ (L-Boy) trip to Copenhagen, Ritchie’s (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) culinary training course, and Sydney’s (Ayo Edebiri) menu research trips are among the season’s most memorable stories, despite not featuring the protagonist at all. The Bear is clearly drifting towards a more ensemble-focused approach to storytelling, and that works excellently for this talented cast. Every character feels important and unique outside of their role in the kitchen, which is one thing that makes the first season feel a little weak in comparison. 

Season 2 also does a great job of furthering the central relationship between Carmy and Sydney, exploring how they often help each other by playing on their strengths and reigning in their weaknesses. They’ve got a brilliant dynamic that allows for so many equally hilarious and sentimental moments; despite the show’s attempts to focus on the side characters, they’re undeniably the standouts of the cast. The Bear just understands its characters in a way that most shows don’t, which culminates in an explosive Season 2 finale that wraps up all the loose threads and offers all the emotional payoffs that wouldn’t have been possible without such astute and focused character work.

It’s incredibly rare for a show to have two perfect seasons back-to-back like The Bear has, but it’s even less common for a show to achieve this quality in two completely different ways. Where the first season was intense, fast-paced and plot-focused, Season 2 is much looser with its characters and subplots, spending lots of time outside the main narrative and giving the story an entirely different purpose. The decision will also prove useful any further seasons of The Bear, which can easily return to a more story-dense approach whilst still benefitting from the character work that’s been established in Season 2. Very few shows have displayed as much restraint and narrative precision as The Bear without sacrificing the comedic heart of the show that makes it so easy to love – and Season 2 represents the best of this.

Season 2 of The Bear is now available to watch on Hulu (US) and Disney Plus (UK/EU). Stream all seasons of The Bear on Hulu and discover our list of best TV shows of 2022!

The Bear Season 3 review: Cracking under pressure – Loud and Clear
The long-awaited Season 3 of The Bear serves only an appetizer to a clientele hungry for another full-course meal.
Thank you for reading us! If you’d like to help us continue to bring you our coverage of films and TV and keep the site completely free for everyone, please consider a donation.