With The Bear, you can bank on an episode chronicling the heightened anxiety and anguish of running a restaurant. In the first season, there was the way-too-many-order meltdown of ‘Review,’ last season; it was the family and friends night gone wrong with ‘The Bear,’ and now we have ‘Doors.’ Carmy finds solace in structure because it’s the only thing he seems to have a grip on in his life. This is why he creates the non-negotiable list as a personal set of commandments to abide by. But the funny thing is Carmy includes stuff like “changing the menu every day” as something that will quickly destabilize the foundation he’s trying to build. It’s not just him that will eventually be burned out by this massive ask; it’s the staff, the customers, and Cicero’s wallet (why would you order the best ingredients to use it once? I agree, Nat!). 

Pursuing the Michelin star means everything to Carmy because he can at least have that to show for what he’s lost. Unfortunately, he stands to lose much more in the process. Forget finding peace; it’s hard to see Carmy becoming content, as his uncle told him. No matter how skilled you are as a chef and whatever system is in place to run things smoothly, things go wrong with dinner service in a restaurant. Before ‘Doors’ gets into the chaotic and tense month of operating inside The Bear, it begins at Marcus’ mother’s funeral, with him giving a heartfelt eulogy. With the beautiful things he said about her, I could imagine Marcus feeling lost and needing something to reel him back from that numbness. It’s what he expressed in ‘Next,’ and he was the only one who was okay with the non-negotiables. My heart goes out to his character in particular because Marcus was brimming with this creative fire to make art with pastries in season one. He stuck with it, learning under Luca in Copenhagen, and this tragic thing sweeps the rug out from under him. 

“THE BEAR” — “Doors” — Season 3, Episode 3 (Airs Thursday, June 27th) — Pictured: (l-r) Ebon Moss-Bachrach as Richard “Richie” Jerimovich.

The Bear is not a place to regain your footing, as shown by Carmy’s iron-fist leadership style. At least everything goes right the first day, and as soon as it hits 9:30 p.m., all hell breaks loose. It’s easy to see how an episode with this storytelling style might rub watchers incorrectly because it’s going in the same cycle. As a counterpoint, that’s how running a restaurant is. There’s a flow in which Sydney tries to run things with tickets and a system of washing dishes, hands to take finished plates to customers, and the song and dance. If one Wagyu is deemed undercooked (by Carmy’s standards), a bottle of wine cannot be opened (sorry, Sweeps), or a customer gets a dish with mushrooms they do not want, everything goes to hell.

“THE BEAR” — “Doors” — Season 3, Episode 3 (Airs Thursday, June 27th) — Pictured: Liza Colón-Zayas as Tina. CR: FX.

There’s a cleverness in which this episode hints at this pile of problems right from the beginning of the first night. Carmy is used to using one type of pad, and Sydney changed it to make the margins wider because she notices the little things. You can’t say the save on the flipside — if anything, Carmy is becoming the chef that helped infuse part of the trauma he refuses to get a handle on and doesn’t make adjustments to how he talks to the kitchen. Look at poor Tina and how shaken she was. Sydney was the person who coached her through a tough night in the kitchen. During the freakout Carmy has at the end of the episode, she tells him, “She’s not his babysitter.” As the person always looked upon to keep the show running, it’s hard to fathom Sydney not walking away from The Bear at some point. Who could blame her?

 The feud between Carmy and Richie continued until it got into a physical altercation. It would be great if they both dropped their stubbornness and found some common ground between where the kitchen stands and the dining area. To Richie’s point, it is exhausting to go to a work environment that is completely stripped of joy and completely unpredictable. From Carmy’s perspective, Richie could be a little abrasive in his messaging. For this restaurant to function, they have to have an honest talk and hash it out.  Christopher Storer and Will Guidara wanted to give a sense of the ship sinking before it even had a chance to set sail. The Bear is packed, but it’s barely breaking even because Carmy insists on ordering a certain kind of butter. In his vice grip handle on the kitchen, Natalie has to answer Cicero and Richie about all his choices — not fair at all, approaching the last days of her pregnancy.

With all the fights, broken dishes, and messed-up orders, it might be a lone ticket with a shoe mark that finally sends everything into a tailspin. 

Photo Credit: FX