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The Bear Season 3 review: Cracking under pressure

A chef looks at someone in Season 3 of The Bear

The long-awaited Season 3 of The Bear serves only an appetizer to a clientele hungry for another full-course meal.

Showrunner: Christopher Storer
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Number of episodes: 10
Season 3 Global Release Date: Jun 27, 2024, all available at once
Where to watch: Hulu / Disney Plus

There are plenty of reasons why the entire FX series The Bear carries the same name as the fictional restaurant at the heart of its story. However, it’s quite freakish to realize just how much the status of Christopher Storer’s Emmy-sweeping kitchen dramedy parallels the predicament imposed on our beloved characters within the newly-released season 3. Bear with me as I explain what I mean.

After the stressful but successful renovation and reopening of The Beef into what’s now Carmy’s (Jeremy Allen White, of The Iron Claw) dream fine dining restaurant, The Bear, the stakes are higher than ever for him and his partner Sydney (Ayo Edebiri, of Bottoms) to deliver the level of excellence they have been gearing up for all season long. However, personal obstacles and unexpected complications lead to a chaotic finale that leaves us aching in anticipation and predicts a promising set-up for the show’s return.

Christopher Storer’s series had a fantastic 2023, receiving an overwhelming amount of praise for the quality of its storytelling on every level. It was one of the most-awarded shows at the prestigious Emmy ceremony. Everyone loved watching the blood, sweat, and tears pour off our beloved chefs. So, now the burning question is: can The Bear deliver what it promises? Can the restaurant, and can the series?

The contrast between the anxiety-inducing fast-cut intensive days in the kitchen and the familial, emotional gut-punching interludes is more tangible than ever in season 3, as each episode of the new season varies starkly in its tone and pacing from the previous one. This time around, the slower, more intimate dives into the characters take the front seat, as the signature episodes of heightened anarchy feel like interludes. In fact, the entire season gives the impression of an interlude.

Three chefs are around a table in Season 3 of The Bear
(l-r) Ebon Moss-Bachrach as Richard “Richie” Jerimovich, Ayo Edebiri as Sydney Adamu, Jeremy Allen White as Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto in The Bear Season 3 (2024, FX Networks. All Rights Reserved.)

“Every second counts,” reads the bright blue sign on the wall in The Bear’s kitchen, right below the digital clock—the referee in the race against time. We see the sign at least once every episode, and yet, the jarring shift in pacing is in direct contradiction with this mantra. The majority of the opening episode, for example, is a dialogue-less montage of memories, which does not give us any new information. The overindulgence in the runtime does not stop there but seeps into the backbone of the entire season, delaying development and making some episodes feel like a drag to get through. 

When the momentum of a narrative slows the unfolding events down in such a way, the characters become the driving force. The issue with the pacing stems from the fact that they’re equally stagnant here, with the script trapping them into a loop of no progression on their arcs and no valuable lessons learned.

Last season’s explosive finale was the ultimate test for Carmy’s relationships with himself and the people he loves. Yet, he remains largely the same in season 3, seemingly with no better understanding of who he is and which mistakes he has done, with no intention to improve the way he sidelines Sydney or bickers with cousin Ritchie (Ebon Moss-Bachrach, of No Hard Feelings). None of the dynamics change in any way, and the only one that does —Carmen’s doomed relationship with Claire (Molly Gordon, of Theater Camp)—is completely disregarded as the least-addressed plotline.

Instead, Neil Fak (Matty Matheson) and Ted Fak (Ricky Staffieri), childhood friends of the family and handymen at the restaurant, receive a significant screen time boost as the show begins to rely a tad too much on their wacky banter. Even so, the goofy brothers never appear as anything more than the two guys who are there to keep The Bear in the comedy category at award shows. 

The Bear Season 3 Trailer (FX)

The Bear is building up to a big, delicious main course dish in the face of Season 4, but an entire season of laying down potentially new foundations does not work as an effective way to convince audiences to stick around, especially not when it is this wasteful with its runtime. Season 3 spends so much time looking back at the past that when it tries to make steps toward something in the present, it can easily appear aimless and unconfident. 

There might be a few missing or substituted ingredients, but the recipe for what makes The Bear such an encapsulating story has not been lost. There are impactful writing moments of chaos and beauty woven throughout the staggering continuation of our journey into the depths of family trauma, love, and everything in between. Those are the moments that really got me thinking that maybe, just maybe, this is all part of the bigger picture. So, we will have to endure the hunger for a bit longer.

Season 3 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 read our review of season 2 below!

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