The Bear season 2 picked up where it left off in the last season, and we are made privy to the struggles that Carmy and his entire team have to go through to open their new restaurant. Everything took a lot of work, from finding a financier to recruiting the best possible talents, and the entire team worked day and night to make it happen.
Apart from the professional challenges, Carmy, Richie, and all the others were also dealing with their inner conflicts. They were getting to know themselves better every day. So, let’s find out if Carmy can fulfill the dream he once saw with Michael and what internal and external challenges he has to face in his journey.
How does the Opening Night Go?
The season 2 finale sees Carmy preparing his Chef’s crew for the opening night of their new restaurant. Tina, Marcus, and Richie have significantly upped their game, while Carmy seems to have stagnated.
As a result, the finale leads in with whether Carmy’s complacency will hurt his efforts and his freshly leveled-up crew. The topic of implosion is set up early when Suga reveals she has invited their mother, Donna, for the opening night.
It is implied that Carmy left Chicago after an incident where Donna drove a car through their house, seemingly starting his anxiety issues.
On the opening night, Carmy mostly keeps himself together as service begins.
Carmy is already a man down after a newly hired line cook flees his station and replaces him. However, despite countless reminders throughout the season, Carmy gets stuck in the walk-in because he still needs to fix the door handle.
Consequently, Sydney, Tina, and Richie must rise to the occasion and steer the ship home in their captain’s absence. Things go down to the wire, with the crew having merely five minutes to plate the orders and have them on out for service. Ultimately, Carmy’s absence does not hurt the group at all. Instead, they seem to thrive in his absence, having learned everything they could from their Head Chef.
Thus, the crew successfully averting a crisis on opening night suggests that Carmy’s restaurant might have the slightest chance of succeeding against all odds.
Does Marcus’s Mom Die In The Finale?
When Marcus was in Copenhagen, he had anxious dreams that his terminally ill mother would die while he was abroad, and he wouldn’t be around to say goodbye. This heartbreaking dream appears true in The Bear’s season 2 finale.
Having completed a successful service, reconciled with Sydney, and fired Josh for smoking crack on shift, Marcus has missed several calls and an ominous text from his mom’s nurse, heavily implying that she’s died.
Do Carmy and Claire Break Up?
In the episode’s final act, Carmy’s anxiety is stirred after he is locked up in the walk-in. He speaks to Tina through the door and admits he let down his team. While Tina tries to reassure Carmy, Sydney pulls her aside to handle her station.
However, Carmy continues to speak his heart out and blames himself for being ignorant and distracted. Meanwhile, Claire, Carmy’s girlfriend, walks into the kitchen to say goodbye and congratulate her boyfriend. Instead, she hears Carmy calling their relationship a distraction and condemning it as the reason for him losing focus.
Ultimately, Carmy concludes that he should not seek enjoyment and pleasure as it only makes him poor at his job. Claire, arguably the most kindhearted and pure character we meet in the series, is devastated by Carmy’s scathing review of their relationship. She leaves heartbroken, and her final words to Carmy strongly hint that she can no longer continue their relationship.
Hence, even though it isn’t explicitly stated, Carmy and Claire’s relationship has crumbled under the pressure of Carmy’s complex self-identity issues. The moment becomes heartbreaking since Carmy admits that Claire was providing him more clarity in life earlier in the season.
Does Carmy Get Out of the Walk-In?
Carmy getting stuck in the walk-in freezer is a turning point in the season finale and a major twist in the otherwise straightforward journey of growth upon which the main character finds himself. The moment is foreshowed in several instances in the season with references to sports. Carmy getting locked in the freezer is the equivalent of benching your star player during the Super Bowl.
However, with Carmy sidelined, others are forced to rise. In contrast, being locked away seems to be the undoing of Carmy as he obliterates his relationship with Clarie, which is the only source of affection and comfort in his otherwise chaotic life.
It also leads to Carmy arguing with Richie, verbally abusing and insulting Richie despite the latter’s significant efforts to contribute to the restaurant meaningfully. However, Carmy becomes a nightmare now as he resembles his mother, Donna.
The parallels between Carmy and Donna become apparent when we examine Carmy’s journey throughout the season as he tries to grow by delegating more responsibly. However, a guilt-ridden Carmy crumbles at the slightest sight of chaos and regresses into his former self. The finale ends without Carmy emerging from the freezer despite a handyman sawing open the door.
Carmy being stuck in the freezer can be seen as a metaphor for him being stuck in limbo. Carmy is dealing with complex mental health issues which stem from his relationship with his family and the abuse he endured in the harsh landscape of a professional kitchen. Chefs often turn to the cold freezer when they need a moment.
It signifies the need for more inspiration, motivation, and focus. Hence, Carmy ending up in the freezer forces him to reflect on life choices, adding a layer of nuance to the character’s issues. It implies that Carmy needs to focus on himself first before taking the responsibility of running a professional kitchen.
However, it also leads to Carmy returning stronger in the future. Thus, the second season ends with Carmy having to reconcile with himself before facing his friends, family, and the world, symbolized by the powerful image of the Chef being stuck in the freezer as the credits roll.
What is the Real Meaning behind the Ending?
The Bear season 1 was about grief, as the Berzatto family and the staff at The Beef struggled to cope with the loss of Mikey. However, season 2 confirms that the loss of his brother wasn’t behind Carmy’s mental health crisis.
Richie reminds Carmy in the finale that he wasn’t there to bury his brother, and the Christmas flashback also reveals that he was never keen to come home. Carmy can’t bear to be taken away from his passion – running a restaurant. However, this problem affects many creatives, including the real-life professionals that inspired The Bear.
By re-introducing Claire into Carmy’s life, The Bear reveals that it’s not just his combustible family he’s avoided throughout his career. It’s a lasting romantic partnership too. The real tragedy of The Bear’s season 2 finale is that everyone’s lives have been improved by Carmy’s vision but Carmy.
Tina is now a sous chef, using her formidable personality to run the kitchen. Sydney has finally achieved her dream of running a restaurant, and Marcus has been to Europe. He is developing his passion for pastry, and Richie has become a genuinely positive influence on the restaurant’s customers and staff.
Meanwhile, Carmy is still obsessively pursuing perfection, with his abusive former employer’s voice repeating in his ear.
About The Bear
The Bear is an American comedy-drama television series created by Christopher Storer. It premiered on Hulu on June 23, 2022. A second season has been confirmed.
A young chef from the world of fine dining comes home to Chicago to run his family’s Italian beef sandwich shop after the suicide of his older brother, who left behind debts, a rundown kitchen, and an unruly staff.
The series stars Jeremy Allen White, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Ayo Edebiri, Lionel Boyce, Liza Colón-Zayas, and Abby Elliott.