Reviews Television

‘The Bear’ offers small steps forward this season

From the official Facebook page for "The Bear."

Midlothian, Texas, U.S.A. – This newest season of  FX’s “The Bear” is different from the others for only one significant reason. It is confident in not currently having any of the answers, unlike any of the characters in the show, because it knows that it will eventually find them.

This season, much like its iteration of Carmy, is striving for excellence by analyzing the fears and failures that have brought the story to where it is, but it is stuck in that. 

And because of that, the story becomes more about excellence and failure more than it has ever been, although it has always been about that, but not in a way that is resolved as it has been.

Instead, it draws itself out to fully expose our characters in ways that show where they are going much more than before by closely training its eyes on where they have been. It is what the show did with Richie for the first two seasons but now with every single other character and the narrative itself.

It is a show that attempts to accomplish an amazing feat in the variety of ways high-caliber film can capture a subject in every single episode.

This season takes an approach to that formula in a way that leaves people who want constant forward motion in a narrative very dissatisfied because while the big flourishes are the show’s usual formula, this season forgoes that for small steps in a long path.

The season opens with a character vignette for Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto, the titular Bear, that shows us exactly where he is going for his newest conclusion of how to fix his problems instead of actually confronting them. 

The show quickly settles into depicting this downward spiral.

At first, the static state the season takes on became very old to me very quickly because no one was growing. Instead, they all reached their own states of arrested development. 

But as the season went on, the more I felt satisfied with everyone that was not Sugar, Carmy, and Sydney. Tina even gets an episode all to herself to fully explore her character in a way that also contextualizes Carmy and Sydney in a way that helps their minimal development shine through.

Then we got “Ice Chips” and after almost crying, I felt more than satisfied with what was done with Sugar this season and what the writers are trying to say with her.

But, I was still struck out on the last two. Until “Apologies” started and Carmy again was making an effort, still worried that he was not doing enough and Sydney was no longer moved by this bare minimum. 

It was a good step forward, but I was not truly satisfied because nothing was really resolved. Then the flourish came because Carmy met the guy who traumatized him into becoming a bad leader and Carmy seems to have a revelation along with speaking to Chef Terry.

But, we will not truly see Carmy put any of it into action for another year. The small steps we see from Carmy and Sydney are enough for me for this season to justify its existence in the pursuit of a larger narrative.

“The Bear” is composed of shots that could each be a painting, depicting what drives people to excellence or failure, the trappings of excellence and failure, the joy that can be found in its pursuit and the pressures it creates that can render everything else meaningless.

This depiction maps out a journey for all of our characters and this portion of the journey is measured in small steps.

McGlauthon Fleming IV is a Reporter with Youth Journalism International.

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