On the award-winning FX series, The Bear, season 2 episode 2 picks up the crazy double time tempo for renovations, permits, and menu creation at the new restaurant. The inevitable speed bumps are almost enough to drive Carmy and Sydney insane.
As The Bear sends Tina and Ebra to culinary school to become trained sous chefs on their dime, the two elderly cooks find that anxiety and excitement often go hand in hand.
The Bear season 2, episode 2 – Off to culinary school
12 weeks to open and it’s all hands on deck, whether in the grind of the construction or the creation of the new menu. Everyone except for Richie, who is on normal mode trying to insert himself into the process, sans expertise and take over the repaint of the walls by watching home improvement YouTube videos.
They resolve this by asking Nat to intervene. Richie accuses Fak of “calling in Mom”, but they at least have a consensus on how to proceed, which was Fak’s idea in the first place.
Sydney sits down Ebra and Tina, telling them that the restaurant has put in a training budget for them to go to the local culinary school. That way they can get on track as eventual sous chefs.
Tina is excited. Ebra is less enthused.
But they’ll still be paid hourly so all is well or will be. They both accept.
The Bear season 2, episode 2 – Mikey’s locker
As the renovation proceeds, the boys see that Mikey’s locker still has a padlock. This brings up all sorts of grief from everyone as his suicide is still fresh on their minds.
They find Mikey’s baseball inside and reminisce about that time they had a booth at a fair. I can’t help but notice that Richie is wearing the correct shirt not with THE BEEF on it.
That afternoon, Tina and Ebra begin their journey to acquire a baccalaureate in Pro Cookery. Tina thrives.
Ebra stumbles in his nervousness at the new environment. He screws up the most basic of cutting tasks that he could do with his eyes closed back at The Beef.
It’s a sad scene when we see him needing to stay late with nobody left to finish his school works. Sydney and Carmy continue to work on what they call their “chaos menu,” testing out dishes with mixed results.
Carmy teaches Sydney the sign form of “I’m sorry”, when two of the chefs he worked with would use as a shorthand for “let’s talk later.” Back at the restaurant, Fak, Richie, and Marcus, find that mold is growing on the walls.
Natalie aka Sugar finds out about the mold after having a moment of self-reflection in the comfort room, watching the broken toilet gurgling and talking to their plumber. We find out she’s pregnant, too, and hasn’t told anyone except, well, for the plumber she’s talking to.
The Bear season 2, episode 2 – Contrasting scenes of visceral crisis
Mold is not good at all, especially when Richie taps the ceiling and it breaks, dunking a ton of mold, dust, and dirt on him. Oh, I do so hate Richie.
These three concurrent and overlapping scenes in different locations with various characters all have different emotive vibes and the stirring frisson from watching them is amazing. The menu-crafting with Carmy and Syd is meditative with an anxious edge, as all creative endeavors are where failure is involved.
At the culinary school the opposing experiences of an edgy Ebra and an enthusiastic Tina reeks of back-to-school energy, like a leap of faith for old timers like them. While the utter absurd chaos of the renovations at the restaurant with Sugar and the boys is a wild card ride—the most basic of things might get done, they might not.
Sydney has dinner with her dad, and they reminisce about her mother. He expresses his trepidation about this new venture of hers where she’ll be paid less but also risk more.
The Bear season 2, episode 2 – Re-meet cute with Claire
At the neighborhood grocery, Carmy encounters his old friend and one-time almost-flame, Claire. They used to hang out a lot growing up but eventually lost touch.
Now she’s a resident in emergency medicine. Claire knows Carmy all too well and even remembers the name he wants for his own resto.
Fireworks, right there. But why does Carmy give her the wrong digits for his phone?
I swear the breathing space in the writing to develop characters is what sets this series apart from your usual cuisine shows. Whether it’s chaos or complex human dynamics, what a bravura episode.
You can stream season 2 of The Bear on Hulu.