The Bear season 3 episode 8 recap: "Ice Chips" is a compelling look at mother-daughter relationships

Natalie is about to give birth in The Bear season 3 episode 8, and without anyone else to turn to, she asks her mom Donna for support.
“THE BEAR” — “ Ice Chips” — Season 3, Episode 8 (Airs Thursday, June 27th) — Pictured: Abby Elliott as Natalie “Sugar” Berzatto. CR: FX.
“THE BEAR” — “ Ice Chips” — Season 3, Episode 8 (Airs Thursday, June 27th) — Pictured: Abby Elliott as Natalie “Sugar” Berzatto. CR: FX. /

I had a feeling The Bear season 3 would start to pick up the pace with episode 8, and that's exactly what happens. While "Ice Chips" isn't exactly a standalone episode, it primarily follows a conversation between Natalie and her mom Donna while at the hospital. It's another much-needed change of pace for the new season, which started to lull in episode 7.

Season 3 episode 8, "Ice Chips" is directed by the show's creator Christopher Storer, and written by Joanna Calo. It sees the return of Academy Award winner Jamie Lee Curtis as Donna, who gives a stellar performance, as does Abby Elliott as Nat. We break down the biggest moments of the episode here. Who's ready to see how this installment comes to a close?

WARNING: Major spoilers for The Bear season 3 episode 8 are below.

After experiencing extreme pain in the parking lot of the Restaurant Depot, Natalie decides to drive herself to the hospital, but, unfortunately, there's tons of traffic on the way. Frantic, in pain, and sweating, Nat tries to call her loved ones to come help her, including Sydney and Carmy. She even tries to call Claire, but when she gives Siri the directive, it hears her as "The Bear." Finally, Nat is able to pull over and, with no one else to turn to, calls her mom.

Donna supports Natalie at the hospital

Donna meets Natalie in the hospital parking lot and right away, she starts stressing Natalie out. It only gets worse as they make their way to the hospital, with Donna repeatedly telling Natalie to breathe and Natalie telling her mom that she obviously is breathing. Natalie is admitted and Donna begins telling her and the nurse all about her experience giving birth the first time, clearly talking too much for Natalie's liking.

Natalie fills the nurse in on her birth plan, and Donna hysterically laughs when she says she wants to do it all natural. Donna pokes fun at how anal she's being and tells her she's going to need an epidural. Natalie pushes back and says she wants to see if she can take the pain naturally, plus she wants to be able to move around if she needs to. Donna drops it, though from experience, she knows the pain is too much to take. They finally calm down and talk about what they were doing with their day before going to the hospital. Nat thanks her mom for coming, and Donna thanks her for inviting her to come. Donna then brings up the fact that Natalie didn't tell her she was pregnant and wants to know if she has the right idea of why.

Natalie changes the subject and asks her mom to keep talking about when she gave birth to Mikey. Donna remembers walking herself to the hospital and having a difficult labor, explaining that Mikey was twisted inside her and didn't want to come out. Carmy's birth wasn't easy either, she remembers. She tells Nat that her dad was there and they were fighting the whole time, which made the long labor much worse.

Donna begins rubbing Natalie's back, which helps, but she angers her daughter when she touches her lower backside and declares she has a nice butt just like her dad. As more time goes by and Pete is still not there, the tension rises, but Donna eventually does a good job comforting Nat. She gives her ice chips, which helps. The doctor finally comes in and introduces himself, telling Nat that everything looks great. That said, she's only five or six centimeters, so she's got a lot of time left. Donna suggests taking drugs that'll speed up the process, and the doctor agrees that she can if she wants to. Nat is unsure, however, and tries to ask the doctor how long he thinks the whole thing will take. Of course, he can't predict that. Nat gets concerned when the doctor gets paged about a "baby down" and they hear a woman screaming from another room.

Natalie explains why she didn't tell her mom about her pregnancy

After hearing all of that, Nat tells her mom she wants the drugs and probably the epidural, too. They bring back up the conversation of why Nat didn't tell her she was pregnant, and Donna asks if it's because she didn't want her around. Nat explains that it's not that, but she just doesn't want "all the stuff" she brings with her. They both cry as they talk more, with Nat opening up and explaining that she feels alone and fears Pete is going to leave her. Donna calls it irrational, and though Nat probably knows that, she tells her mom that it's still exhausting. Nat explains that she always puts her mom first but trying to make her feel better only makes her sick. She says she's scared that her baby will feel the same way.

Nat's monitor begins beeping faster and faster as she feels more pain, to which she tells her mom she definitely needs that epidural. The beeping eventually slows down as the pain subsides, and she declares "This is so f**king weird." Donna laughs and agrees with her. Nat asks her mom to tell her about the time she gave birth to her and afterward asks what song they should listen to. Donna pulls out her phone and begins playing the song "Baby, I Love You" by The Ronettes.

Pete finally shows up

Natalie and Donna bond over the lyrics and start tearing up as Donna mouths the lyrics of the chorus in an incredibly heartfelt scene. Finally, Pete shows up, and of course, Nat and Donna are very happy to see him. Donna pats him on the back and leaves the room to let them have their alone time as she sits in the hallway near the door. Pete comes out and hugs her as they both cry. Pete asks what he should do, to which Donna advises him: "Just stand next to her."

Donna walks through the hospital hallway and sits in the waiting room, while Neil and Ted Fak come in. Neil teases her that she's a grandma now, and she rests her head on his shoulder. "Ice Chips" is certainly one of the more emotional episodes of The Bear season 3, giving us much-needed moments between Natalie and Donna. There are only two episodes of the season left of the season, and I can't wait to see where it goes next!

All 10 episodes of The Bear season 3 are now streaming on Hulu.

Read the rest of our episodic recaps for The Bear season 3:

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