The Bear Season 3 TV Review

The third season of the acclaimed drama finds itself frustratingly stuck doing the same thing it has done before.

The Bear season 3 review

Plot: Carmy, Sydney, and Richie do what it takes to elevate The Bear, their beef stand turned fine dining establishment, to the highest level, all while doing their best just to stay in business. It’s a losing battle every single day in the restaurant business. Carmy pushes himself harder than ever, and demands excellence from his crew, who do their best to match his intensity. 

Review: The first season of The Bear was an absolute triumph. In 2022, the series debuted with no major stars, and now, two years later, Jeremy Allen White, Ebon-Moss Bachrach, and Ayo Edebiri are three of the most sought-after talents. With Emmys and Golden Globes to their credit, the long-anticipated third season of The Bear has debuted all ten episodes. As fans are binging through the continued story of Carmy, Richie, Sydney, and the rest of the restaurant’s crew, formerly The Original Beef of Chicagoland, I am here to tell you what you have in store. While the second season of The Bear did the near impossible of matching the quality of the first, season three takes a bit of a step back. While still full of stellar performances, Christopher Storer’s narrative has hit a roadblock. This season features some surprise guest stars and a handful of memorable moments, but the overall momentum of Carmy’s story screeches to a halt and results in an unexpected slump.

The charm of The Bear has always been that it follows the group of cooks and restaurant staff as they battle with each other on the course to turn a hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop into a top-tier establishment. Learning about each staff member while exploring what haunts Carmy, Sydney, and Richie comes to a head as The Bear opens, but Carmy spends the night locked in the refrigerator. Everyone awaits what will come next, but Christopher Storer takes an unconventional approach to the season premiere. While we have scenes peppered throughout that show what followed the finale, most of the forty-minute episode is a compilation of events starting from Carmy’s departure for New York through the death of Mikey (Jon Bernthal) and his funeral. It is a beautiful, haunting episode that shows us scenes from angles we did not see before and reinforces Carmy’s desire never to repeat himself. It is after that first episode that things slow down.

This season, the focus shifts somewhat to Sydney and Richie as they try to maintain the status quo while Carmy is stuck in his own head. Before transforming from The Beef into the haute cuisine establishment this season, Carmy was a tornado that uprooted everyone from their existence and pushed them to become more. That includes Marcus (Lionel Boyce), who faces his mother’s death in the early episodes, and Tina (Liza Colon-Zayas), who develops as we meet her husband. There is also more for Natalie (Abby Elliott) as her pregnancy finally becomes a birth this season. We also have the return of many famous faces that made cameos in season two, along with a slew of real-life chefs playing themselves. The marquee talent added this season are all window-dressing on an already gorgeous show featuring food porn close-ups of fine dining and creative dishes, but the challenge remains on giving due to those assembling those plates and how they got to where they are.

The Bear season 3 review

There are countless scenes and moments in The Bear‘s third season that fans will love. We get a lot of new things to love and worry about as this ensemble continues to be one of the strongest on television. Still, multiple lingering plot threads left unaddressed from the second season, hovering over these episodes waiting to drop. The season also concludes with a cliffhanger that pissed me off more than I thought it would. I never felt frustrated by The Bear over the first two seasons, but now I am. Is it due to the perfect musical cues throughout the season? Is it caused by the creative and unique filmmaking choices at the least expected moments? Is it because the Shakespearean drama lurks just behind this story, waiting to jump out? All of those are the reasons to love The Bear, but they are all neutered this season by Carmy’s frustrating refusal to move with the flow of traffic.

As in the first two seasons, most directing and writing duties fall to series creator Christopher Storer and Joanna Calo. While Ramy Youssef directed the standout second-season episode “Honeydew,” this season bestows that honor on co-star Ayo Edebiri. The sixth episode, “Napkins,” is a phenomenal chapter that proves Edebiri is the real deal. Some standout episodes give us glimpses into the various characters in this tale, but this is ultimately Carmy’s story, and Christopher Storer knows him better than any of us. The growth of this cast from season one to two and the expansion of the cast even further have ballooned the ensemble so much that there is not enough time in half-hour episodes within a ten-chapter season to give them all their due satisfactorily. An attempt was made this season, and the flaws show through loudly and clearly. If this season were a dish served to fictional chef David Fields (Joel McHale), he would toss it and force everyone to start over.

While I have been critical of the third season of The Bear, it is far from an indictment of the series. The first two seasons were amongst the best television of all time, so keeping that caliber without fail is impossible. The third season has countless memorable moments, but in hindsight, it feels like ten episodes of treading water rather than moving forward. Many of you may be content with spending several hours with these characters and existing within their world. Still, after two seasons of story pushing towards a goal, this season’s lack of movement is noticeable. While Carmy’s pursuit of perfection has triggered anxiety and stress in his life and those around him, it feels like a disservice to this story to force it to halt the development of where The Bear will go next. For the first time since the series debuted, I am not sure if the fourth part of the story will be a slam dunk, but I am still deeply impressed by the talent of everyone involved in this show.

Season three of The Bear is now streaming on FX on Hulu.

The Bear




About the Author

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Alex Maidy has been a editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. A Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic and a member of Chicago Indie Critics, Alex has been's primary TV critic and ran columns including Top Ten and The UnPopular Opinion. When not riling up fans with his hot takes, Alex is an avid reader and aspiring novelist.