Have You Watched the Second Season of “The Bear”? (My Thoughts)

I recently blitzed through the second season of the fictional half-hour (most episodes, at least) dramady called The Bear. While it can be intense at times, I love the show–it’s brilliantly written, scored, acted, and filmed.

If you’re not interested in watching The Bear but just want to watch a really good episode about customer service, I’d recommend episode 7. It’s about an employee who is sent to work at one of the best restaurants in Chicago (a fictional amalgamation of several real-life restaurants in the US) and how he finds his purpose through attention to detail and a renewed focus on delighting customers. Unlike most of the show, this episode is calm, cool, and collected.

The previous episode (6) is a true feat of filmmaking, yet tonally it’s the opposite of episode 7: It’s hectic, frenetic, and incredibly tense. While I hope this isn’t anyone’s real-life holiday experience, you might recognize parts of it from your life–there are parts of it that struck home to me. It’s full of amazing guest actors.

Also, one of the great joys of this season is the central romance between Claire and Carmen. While Carmen doesn’t do much of anything for Claire, she is wonderful to him.

SPOILERS: If you plan to watch this season, I’d recommend not reading the rest of this post.

The season builds to the soft opening of a new restaurant, and for the most part it’s a clever episode, with the camera moving back and forth between the increasingly hectic kitchen and the calm atmosphere of the dining area. That’s fine.

Then Carmen gets locked inside the walk-in freezer. Even that’s fine. It’s a moment for him to let go of control and trust his staff, which fits perfectly with the entire season (which focuses more on the staff than on Carmen).

But the writers do two things that are just really frustrating and unnecessary. First, instead of Carmen letting go and trusting his staff, he spends an entire 5-minute scene pounding on the door of the freezer. As if that somehow helps anything! He makes a bad situation so much worse. Is it in line with his character? Sure. Is it the right choice for his character? Not at all.

Then the shoe really drops when Carmen thinks he’s talking to a coworker about how he’s ruined everything (by being in the freezer for 5 minutes during a soft opening? What?!?) and that he blames himself for being distracted by the amusement of his girlfriend, for whom he expressed love in the previous episode. Of course, at that moment Claire is right outside the freezer door–a cheap soap-opera moment–and she leaves, presumably forever.

It’s such a poor way to end a great season. I genuinely hope the writers fix it in the next season. Claire lit up the show, and she deserves an arc where Carmen is just as good to her as she was to him. I highly doubt that will happen, but it is my hope.

What did you think of this season of The Bear?

 

2 thoughts on “Have You Watched the Second Season of “The Bear”? (My Thoughts)”

  1. We just binged The Bear. I read your blog on the go and somehow thought the show was a quirky comedy. It has some comedy and it was a pretty good series – you can feel the stress and sometimes I’m just hiding behind a pillow waiting for some accident to happen, but the characters are interesting. I like that there is some mystery the audience can try and figure out while watching. My husband and I fell asleep at different parts of season 2 but we pieced it together.

    Reply
    • “I’m just hiding behind a pillow waiting for some accident to happen”. That is my exact feeling when watching The Bear. 🙂

      Reply

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