Ayo Edebiri's Sydney looking down at a table of ingredients in The Bear | Agents of Fandom

‘The Bear’ Season 3 Review: Refire Chef! It’s Not Quite Perfect

Did you hear, Chef? ‘The Bear’ is back!

The following review of The Bear Season 3 is spoiler-free.

FX’s The Bear returns with 10 episodes for its third season; thank you, Chef! The series swept the Emmys last year and has quickly become one of the most talked about shows on television, in people’s mouths more than a hot, fresh Italian dip. However, while Season 3 is still really strong, it takes a significant step back from its predecessor.

Although the acting performances, cinematography, and score remain top-tier, the lack of plot prevents the series from achieving the same heights as it has in the past. While Season 2 keeps viewers actively invested in the restaurant’s success, The Bear Season 3 focuses more on individual character development.

Carmy (Jeremy Allen White), Richie (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) and particularly Sydney (Ayo Edebiri) expectedly steal the show; Ayo’s directorial debut “Napkins” is one of the best and most emotional episodes of the season. In a vacuum, the third season of The Bear is incredibly solid, with “Doors” and the finale, “Forever,” standing out as the most entertaining installments. Unfortunately, it’s difficult not to compare the newest addition to its past two seasons, where it falls short of expectations.

‘The Bear’ Season 3 Starts Slow After Last Season’s Big Finale

Sydney and Carmen bond over a coffee in The Bear Season 3 | Agents of Fandom
No matter how much time they spend together, Sydney and Carmy still struggle to communicate. Image Credit: FX.

It’s not until the third episode that the plot really begins to push forward. Prior to that, while the musical montages of food being cut and comedic banter are still at an all-time high, the story doesn’t progress whatsoever. While that lack of progress is a little jarring, the exploration of character trauma will still pull viewers in and keep them clamoring for more.

Although The Bear is a show that, on the surface, would benefit from a weekly release, it’s understandable after viewing why FX chose a binge model for the newest season. With the slow start and three episodes that fly higher than the rest, the weaker episodes undoubtedly would have stood out and driven the week-to-week discourse.

Despite the lack of direction at the beginning of The Bear Season 3, the series brilliantly recaps past events while providing additional perspective. It’s incredibly evident that each character in the show has their share of unresolved trauma, but flashback scenes successfully add context to why the characters behave how they do.

‘The Bear’ Continues To Be Filled With Emotional Character Exploration

Tina and her husband share an emotional moment in The Bear Season 3 | Agents of Fandom
Tina takes center stage in Episode 6, “Napkins,” directed by Ayo Edebiri. Image Credit: FX.

One of the biggest strengths of the season is Ayo Edibiri’s directorial debut in the sixth episode, “Napkins.” Tina’s (Liza Colón-Zayas) life before discovering The Beef is explored, and Colón-Zayas gives a truly phenomenal performance; it’s gut-wrenching, frustrating, and inspirational all at once. She deserves an Emmy nomination of some kind for it.

Even when someone is at their darkest point, the light can be just around the corner. This is undoubtedly the strongest character-driven episode of the season, while both “Doors” and “Forever” focus more on moving the limited plot forward. Colón-Zayas’ performance here and Edibiri’s direction will likely dominate the awards conversation moving forward.

‘The Bear’ Fails To Live up to Season 2 Due to a Lack of an Over-Arching Story

The Fak brothers show Carmy the work they've done in his office | Agents of Fandom
The Faks remain among the best comedic relief options in The Bear. Image Credit: FX.

One of the biggest surprises of The Bear Season 3 is the heavy involvement of the Fak family. Both Neil (Matty Matheson) and his brother Ted (Ricky Staffieri) are very prevalent throughout. While they provide some of the best comedic relief of the series, they were almost too involved this season. They’re funny, but there was too much time spent with them just goofing around in a season where the plot is leaving much to be desired.

Each character in the show got a relatively significant amount of time detailing their own personal stories, but it was rare that the individual plots matched up with each other. However, whenever they did, it felt incredibly satisfying and well-written. Chef, this tastes great, but it has too many components. Simplify it and try again.

Thankfully, cooking and television are similar in that the creator can take what works, subtract what doesn’t, and make something even better in the future.

Gripping Cinematography and Performances Make ‘The Bear’ Season 3 Worth the Watch

Carmy and Sydney argue over menu changes in The Bear Season 3 | Agents of Fandom
While chemistry is lacking in the kitchen, it’s still incredible on-screen. Image Credit: FX.

Although The Bear Season 3 is still a solid installment to the series, it felt somewhat incomplete. Any semblance of a continued plot is nearly non-existent throughout the first two-thirds of the season and doesn’t ramp up until too late. Unfortunately, the 10th episode feels more like a mid-season finale setting up the future, as opposed to a closing of the story.

However, the shiver-inducing needle drops (ChallengersTrent Reznor and Trevor Atticus make multiple appearances), uniquely crafted cinematography, and emotional performances from the entire cast still make The Bear must-see television. The deep character exploration works as significant development for a fourth season, even though the extensive time spent with the individual characters moderately takes away from the overall plot. The Bear Season 3 is the weakest of the series to date, but it’s still a great viewing experience and one of the better shows on television.

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'The Bear' Season 3 Review

'The Bear' Season 3 Review
3.8 5 0 1
3.8 rating
Total Score

The Good

  • The acting is as good as any TV show on the air; Jeremy Allen White, Ayo Edebiri, Ebon Moss-Bachrach and Liza Colón-Zayas lead the charge.
  • The score perfectly fits the show, with hard-hitting and well timed needle drops.
  • Ayo Edebiri delivers a wonderful directorial debut.
  • Episode 3 "Doors" is among the best episodes in the series.
  • Strong character development and emotional arcs detailing trauma will help set up next season.

The Bad

  • There was little to no overarching plot for the season.
  • Dare I say, it was too much time spent with the Faks?
  • Season 3 is great on its own, but doesn't live up to the past two seasons.
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