The bearThe big opening night is here…but you didn’t think it would go off without a hitch, did you?
As the second season opens, diners sit down to eat at Carmy’s for the first time, and Sydney takes orders in the kitchen. (She’s still a little flustered from that awkward moment she had with Marcus, though.) Natalie and Pete are at a table, waiting for her mother, Donna, to arrive, and Richie puts his newfound hospitality skills to the test, greeting customers warmly. Claire is there too, as are Uncle Jimmy and Sydney’s father. It’s gotten tense in the kitchen, though: a chef named Josh is missing, so Carmi has to take on the line, and they’re already running out of forks. Marcus finally yells at Sydney for ignoring him, and Carmi has to step in to separate them — and oh, did we mention the toilet is clogged?
Carmy takes the time to personally serve a course at Claire’s table, but while he’s there, he thinks he hears the old chef say the service is too slow. So when he got back to the kitchen, he was freaking out about Sydney because the fish dish had been sitting out for so long, and it was getting cold. However, they calm down and give each other an “I’m sorry” gesture by rubbing a fist on their chest in a circle. Then all of a sudden, we hear muffled shrieks from Karmi – as he got into the fridge and the handle broke again, trapping him inside. Tickets are still coming in fast and furious, so Sydney steps up to be head chef, with Richie taking her place and speeding off. They have five minutes to get behind them, Richie issues orders as the plates go out and the seconds run out. Yes, this is The bear We are used to seeing it.
Carmi is helpless, stuck inside a freezer and plagued by flashbacks of all the things that have gone wrong for him over the years. Sydney and Richie kill it, despite the hammering guitar sounds of Pearl Jam’s song “Animal”, and manage to make their way out of the weeds. Pete glances at Donna smoking outside and comes out to greet her, but she won’t go in: “I don’t think I can take that… I don’t deserve to see how good it is.” He tries to get her to come with him, and he also slips up and tells her that Natalie is pregnant, which she didn’t know. She asks him not to tell her kids she was here before she walks into the night, and when Natalie sees Pete tearing up inside, he just says he’s happy for her.
Marcus finally locates the never-before-seen chef, Josh, who has been smoking crack in a back alley. (It helps him cook better!) He gets Sydney’s approval to fire the guy, while Richie has a special dessert delivered to Jimmy’s table: a banana dipped in chocolate. Once the tickets slow down, Sydney takes a minute to get out…and puke behind the dumpster. Claire wants to go back and say hello to Carmi, but Neil tells her he’s locked in the freezer. Tina tells Carmi through the refrigerator door that they’re doing a great job, but he sinks into self-pity: “I let you guys down.” He doesn’t call the fridge guy like he was supposed to, and blames his lack of focus on spending too much time with Claire. He decides he can’t be in a relationship, because “no amount of good deserves how awful that feels.” But oops: Claire was standing across from the refrigerator door, and she heard it all.
“I’m sorry you feel that way, Carmy,” she tells him, shedding a tear as she walks away. Richie berates Carmi for pushing her away, and the two shout obscenities and insults at each other through the refrigerator door, with Richie finally saying, “I wish King would freeze to death.” Exhausted and miserable, Carmy listens to a voicemail from Claire from earlier, where she tells him how great he is and how excited she was on opening night: “I’m so proud of you, and Mickey would be so proud of you, bear.” When she says, “I really love you,” a shivering Carmy can’t help but drop the phone in disgust.
As R.E.M.’s “Half a World Away” plays in the background, Marcus opens a gift from his Copenhagen pastry chef friend Luca: the “Every Second Counts” sign he hangs on the kitchen wall. (But he also misses urgent calls from his mom’s nurse. Sorry.) Sydney’s dad spots her vomiting outside and congratulates her on a “very fine” meal, and they share a sweet hug. Richie triumphantly smokes a cigarette outside, celebrating a job well done, as a locksmith comes to crack the refrigerator door open with a hacksaw, while Carmi sits in meditation as sparks fly around him. What kind of world awaits him there?
It’s time to fill out your comment cards: give The bearFinalists – and Season 2 as a whole – are appreciated in our polls, then share your thoughts in the comments.
“Typical beer trailblazer. Hipster-friendly web buff. Certified alcohol fanatic. Internetaholic. Infuriatingly humble zombie lover.”