Season Three Of The Bear Feels Rushed And Empty

Scott Kirkland. Shutterstock Images.

(I'll try to avoid massive spoilers in this review but it's also a season where not much happened. I'll at least do my best not talking about specific stuff especially later in the season in case people haven't finished it yet.)

I loved the first two seasons of The Bear. It kept getting better and better and by the end of the fantastic season two, it was my favorite current series on television. There are some strong episodes and moments in this season but overall, it felt rushed and empty. 

A major problem is they spent far too much time with characters we just don't care enough about. After the first episode, it felt like Carmy (Jeremy Allen White) was barely around until the last two episodes. I enjoyed the scenes with Cousin (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) and Sydney (Ayo Edebiri) but there weren't enough of them. I did love Episode 6 (Napkins) that focused on Tina (Liza Colon-Zayas). Seeing her backstory really made me love the character more. It was a slightly less powerful episode than Forks (Season 2, Episode 7) which focused on Cousin learning respect for not only his work, but himself. Napkins is the highlight of this season.

Giphy Images.

I know the first episode of season three was pretty divided among fans. It has very little dialogue and shows why Carmy is obsessed with perfection. I enjoyed it but it did feel more like an overture to me. The problem is the entire season felt like a prologue. By the time the season finds it footing, it's the 9th episode of the season and it's too late. Flashing a "To Be Continued" title card at the end of the last episode felt like a smack in the face. I know the enjoyable part of any show is the journey but far too often, it felt like we trying to simply find a path.

I have yet to talk to any fans who liked Ice Chips (episode 8). First, they have dragged out Natalie's pregnancy for far too long. Secondly, this is not why we watch this show. We watch The Bear because it shows the value of hard work. We all go to restaurants and for those of us not in the industry, it's fascinating to see how kitchens work. I imagine for people working in restaurants, it's an interesting look and perspective at what they do. The episode Napkins showed us how someone can fall in love with working at a resturant. Ice Chips didn't give a shit about food.

I understand the elegance in pacing out a story but there is also a limit. You still have to be telling a fucking story. I don't really give a shit about Natalie. To be fair, the show hasn't really either. Asking us to spend an entire episode with someone we haven't spent much time with is a wild ask. Even more incredulous, it was a boring time to spend with someone we don't care about. 

I'm still looking forward to Season 4. There were good elements to this season but it's also a show I hold to a very high bar. I know how good it can be. I also know how much I care about certain characters and hopefully the focus can be more on them and the restaurant moving forward.

Season 3 was a long prologue. Let's get to the story now.

Grade: B-