Season two of The Bear dives into generational trauma triggers and uplifts its BIPOC characters. I’m not saying ‘yes, chef’ or ‘corner’ to my dog this time around, but I do hear a kitchen timer that’s about to make me pop—yes, I’m still processing that Christmas episode.
With the pressure of a soft opening for Chef Carmy’s new restaurant, our favorite chefs push themselves to new heights and dive into self-awareness this season. Tiggers may always be part of our lives but a community that understands you can give you a safe place and the time to heal. Every second counts towards self-growth.
Chef Tina Stands Tall
This season, Chef Tina (played by Liza Colón-Zayas) gets a new opportunity to sharpen her knife skills at culinary school. Her character remains as authentic as Colón-Zayas approaches the role. She even explores another creative outlet at a karaoke night. She feels free enough to do that because she was surrounded by some bad mf’s that take care of her and push her ass. My word for this year is “community” and I am learning the best way to stand tall and be as badass as Tina, is to surround yourself with motivators that see the best in you—even when you can’t see it. The right people will silence your imposter syndrome and lift you up to new heights.
Chef Carmy Faces His Traumas (…Well, Sort Of)
As someone healing from generational trauma’s CPSTD, Carmy’s line at group therapy, “I have to remember to breathe” hits home. I loved how creator and director Christopher Storer used sound and memory bites to tell Carmy’s trauma narrative. I immediately noticed where his ticking timer nightmare from season one came from thanks to the flashback Christmas episode that had a surprisingly delicious star-studded guest cast. I wanted to give the Bear a big bear hug but I can’t say I was surprised by his tower moment in the last episode because trauma will do that to you.
Carmy (played by Jeremy Allen White) gets a love interest this season which was interesting. Mr. Non-commitment doesn’t wanna be shitty but suddenly the best thing that’s ever happened to him anchors him in new territory and the CPSTD is having a flare-up. He’s vulnerable and Claire (played by Molly Gordon) scares the shit out of him. He’s waiting for the shoe to drop and she tells him that “no one’s keeping track of shoes.” Chef’s kiss for a safe life partner (literally).
Chef Sydney Curates a Dream Menu
One of my favorite episodes this season is when Chef Sydney (played by Ayo Edebiri) does a food tour of Chicago for menu inspiration. I too would have a book as a security blanket for something this ambitious—especially when two platonic avoidants agree to be business partners. Aside from the stress of the industry, Sydney lets herself fail to create something great.
Why put so much pressure on this one? Her dad asks. “Because I don’t know if I can do another one.” Well, shit. That one hit home too. As creatives, we’re always wondering if we will know how to do it all again. After the blood, sweat, and back ally vomiting—we know deep down that it’s the only thing that keeps us going. Is that a problem? Maybe, but that’s something I’ll have to ask my therapist.
Chef Marcus Studies Abroad
Sweet Marcus gets to follow Chef’s Carmy’s footsteps and puts his pastry chef skills to the test in Copenhagen. One of my favorite things about Marcus is his admirable curiosity. He wants to create and honors the kitchen staff with the details in his sweet creations. I loved getting to know this character more and held my breath when all those missed calls at the end were flashing an inevitable end. Sending Marcus abroad is exactly what we mean by opening the door for more BIPOC artists to have a seat at the table.
Chef Natalie Holds the Fort
As the token supportive sister, Natalie (played by Abby Elliott) doesn’t give up on her brother Carmy and is the glue behind launching The Bear. Without her, this season would’ve ended in episode one. This show really captures what it’s like to open a new restaurant. Even after they fail every day, she continues to be the glue.
Husband of the year goes to Pete (played by Chris Witaske) when he finds Natalie’s mom (played by Jaime Lee Curtis) hiding outside on opening day and she says the line that defines generational trauma to its core— “I don’t think I can take it…I love them so much, I don’t know how to show it…I don’t know how to say I’m sorry.” It’s the lack of communication that really twists the knife.
Chef Richie Gets a Rebirth
I did not think Richie (played by Ebon Moss-Bachrach) was a Swifty and also was pleasantly surprised by his character growth. His comedic relief comes in strong and goes through an unexpected, learning opportunity that has him wearing suits now. His character arc comes full circle when Camry gets locked in the freezer. There’s a moment of disassociated panic right before he drives the team forward. It was so satisfying. He even apologizes to Natalie and for the first time, it’s not a passive-aggressive sorry—it’s an actual apology with a self-awareness that deserves a Michelin star.
Thank You, Chef
All our chefs are experiencing new versions of themselves as their past ghosts yell ‘corner’ and that’s why I really love this show. It bridges past trauma with awkward growth and the final course is an ambitious supportive future. The Bear is a recipe that needs constant stirring and a lot of plums. It’s hard to watch and super healing at the same time. I don’t know that I need another season—this one was just so perfect–but if we get one, add me to the waitlist.