‘The Bear’ Season 2 Recap: What to Remember for Season 3

The second season of FX’s The Bear raised the bar within the show’s plot as well as for those in front of and behind the cameras, with a long list of cameos throughout the show and Ramy Youssef as guest director on one of the early episodes.

Season 3 will bring some sizzle to this summer in ten episodes dropping in a binge at the end of June. Last season traced the challenges — fire suppression test and more — that Carmy Berzatto (Jeremy Allen White) and kitchen crew faced to transform The Beef into The Bear.

More from Deadline

Here’s what to remember from Season 2 of The Bear for those who need a recap before Season 3:

Natalie (Abbie Elliott) Became Part-Time Project Manager aka COO

To transition from The Beef to The Bear, the sandwich shop needed to refile for permits to do business. Mikey never filed for The Beef. Richie also discovers a terrible amount of mold in the ceiling and walls. Two failed fire suppression tests heightened the tension 10 days before the restaurant was projected to open. The plan was originally a six-month timeframe, but it was narrowed down to 3.

Abby Elliot as Natalie Berzatto in ‘The Bear’ (Photo: Courtesy of FX)
Abby Elliot as Natalie Berzatto in ‘The Bear’ (Photo: Courtesy of FX)

With Carmy’s scattered brain, Sydney’s (Ayo Edebiri) more methodical approach, Neil Fak’s (Matty Matheson) childish energy and more, Natalie Berzatto, affectionately called “Sugar” took on some responsibility to keep things in line such as permits, safety tests and more.

Uncle Jimmy Kalinowski (Oliver Platt), visited the kitchen to check on progress for the rebrand. He invested more money in The Bear although Mikey (Jon Bernthal) Berzatto never paid him back for helping keep the sandwich shop The Beef afloat before Mikey died and left the hole in the wall to his brother Carmy. Before opening, Jimmy was in for $350,000.

Natalie also revealed that she’s pregnant. She meant it only for Carmy’s ears, but at the moment she told him, one of the last remaining walls in the kitchen came down, signaling more than a facelift for the remodel. She didn’t want their mother Donna (Jamie Lee Curtis) to know, but Donna found out in the final moments when Sugar’s husband Pete (Chris Witaske) let the news slip.

Claire (Molly Gordon) Came Back Into the Picture

While out at the grocery store, Carmy ran into his old crush Claire (Molly Gordon), who told him she was now in medical school. She asked him for his number, and at first, he gave her the wrong number. She called him out on it, and then they started hanging out. Carmy blew Sydney off on one of her food inspiration excursions that he suggested since their cooking wasn’t producing good flavors. Tension arose between them when Natalie told Sydney, who didn’t realize Claire was in the picture. She and Carmy argue about whether she’s his girlfriend.

RELATED: ‘The Bear’: FX Moves Up Season 3 Premiere By Three Hours

Claire tried to call Carmy in the penultimate episode of Season 2, but he got distracted as he was torn between calling the fridge guy and answering her when Marcus came up and asked him to try something.

Marcus Went to Copenhagen

In Ramy Youssef’s directed episode, Marcus (Lionel Boyce) visited Luca, played by guest star Will Poulter a former rival and connection of Carmy’s, in Copenhagen, Denmark. Marcus’ passion for baking expanded in Season 1 as he experimented with pastries while Carmy tried to whip The Beef into shape.

Marcus (Lionel Boyce), shown. (Photo: Courtesy of FX)
Marcus (Lionel Boyce), shown. (Photo: Courtesy of FX)

Luca teaches Marcus that no amount of time in a high-level kitchen can compare to experiencing the real world and being inspired to create based on that experience. Marcus was also shown taking care of his mother, who got sick with cancer and is in hospice care because she is terminally ill.

In the second-to-last episode of Season 2, Marcus very casually asked Sydney out, but she responded very awkwardly, which in turn made Marcus respond awkwardly. Sydney supported Marcus via Facetime while he was in Copenhagen.

Tina and Ebraheim Trained to Become Sous Chefs

Since Carmy and Sydney are now partners, Sydney needed a new sous chef. She offered Tina (Liza Colón-Zayas) and Ebraheim (Edwin Lee Gibson) to train at a program to advance in the ranks. Tina hugged Sydney out of excitement for the offer, but Ebraheim had a harder time taking on the program.

Carmy even gives Tina his knife to take as she learns to skillfully cut meat and filet fish. She also had a moment in the spotlight during karaoke one night with her colleagues, who went wild at her performance.

Viewers Got a Glimpse Into the Berzatto Family Dynamic

In Episode 6 of Season 2, titled “Fishes,” viewers witness Carmy, Natalie and Mikey Berzatto’s childhood home and family dynamic. Their mother Donna cooked a chaotic Christmas dinner with seven fishes, as is tradition in Italian families. She operates in a frenzy like this every year, but when her kids offer to help, she only accepts it from Carmy, who she bosses around the kitchen.

RELATED: ‘The Bear’ Season 3 Trailer: Carmy Pushes The Boundaries, Reveals His “Non-Negotiables” – Update

The guest cameos surged in this episode with Bob Odenkirk playing Uncle Lee, Sarah Paulsen playing cousin Michelle and John Mulaney portraying her partner Steve. Mikey and Carmey argued with each other along with other jabs from family members, but Mikey and Richie (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) particularly poke fun at Carmy because they saw his old crush, Claire.

Carmy gives Mikey a present, a sketch of a bear, and the meaning behind the title of the elevated restaurant becomes clearer, as Mikey affectionately calls his siblings bear. Natalie and Donna have a tense dynamic because Natalie’s constant asking if Donna is okay makes Donna crazy.

Mikey takes offense to Lee’s interruption of a story he has apparently told many times before, and he started throwing forks at Bob Odenkirk’s guest character. This was before Donna even sat down to eat, which cleared the tension as most of the family members tried to de-escalate the conflict right before she did so. Stevie also saved the day with his alternative form of grace.

RELATED: ‘The Bear’ Quietly Renewed For Season 4 To Film Back To Back With Season 3 – The Dish

Unfortunately, Donna had a meltdown as everyone said thank you to her, and Natalie’s last “Mom, are you okay?” sent her over the edge. She left the table, and Mikey threw the final fork at Lee in the wake of Donna’s outburst. Donna later drove through the house with the family car. The episode, in which cousin Michelle suggested Carmy come stay with her because she knew what the stress would do to him in his desire to pursue his culinary career, is later framed as a panic attack and flashback that Carmy had in Claire’s presence a few weeks before opening.

Richie Shaped Up as a Stage

In Episode 7, titled “Forks,” Carmy sent Rickie to stage with a very nice restaurant helmed by Chef Terry (Olivia Colman). Richie quickly rose in the ranks from cleaning and polishing forks and spoons to helping prep food and manning the floor out front. Terry’s restaurant operated like a well-oiled machine with Sarah Ramos calling out orders and keeping the flow of food organized. Richie learned how to go above and beyond with anticipating customers’ needs. He walked out a take on deep dish pizza to a client overheard mourning that they wouldn’t get to try deep dish while they’re in Chicago. He also learned how passing notes covered a complex way of communication. The manager also decided not to charge a school teacher couple for their meal because the staff researcher found how they had saved up a lot of money for their reservation.

Richard “Richie” Jerimovich (Ebon Moss-Bachrach), shown. (Photo: Courtesy of FX)
Richard “Richie” Jerimovich (Ebon Moss-Bachrach), shown. (Photo: Courtesy of FX)

On his last day as a stage, Richie encountered Terry herself, who was peeling mushrooms. He offered to help her, and he bonded with her conversing about their fathers serving in the military. She had some sweet words for him from Carmy, who she said believes in him and how he has a way with people. She gets interrupted telling the story of her father’s detailed journals, which he signed off on every entry with the phrase “Every Second Counts” which hangs in the kitchen. Richie drove home blasting Taylor Swift’s love story (which completes the thread of his daughter wanting tickets to the concert). Richie told Carmy how he felt like he didn’t have a purpose at the beginning of Season 2. In the Christmas dinner episode, viewers met his now ex-wife Tiffany (Gillian Jacobs) while she was nauseous from her pregnancy and wearing a 1989 T-shirt, and one of his goals was to score tickets for their daughter Eva.

Fak Fixed the Fire Suppression Valve

Engineer Neil Fak to the rescue for the third and final (read: fatal if not passed) fire suppression test. He had a lightbulb idea when he saw a burned picture of Mikey with Tina and Ebraheim. He realized Mikey probably tried to burn the place down to cash in on the fire insurance policy, and that had overridden the gas valve, so he whizzed in and fixed it right as the technician showed up to administer the test.

A Stressful Finale and Opening Night

Opening night for Friends and Family went off smoothly, in the beginning. Carmy got Syd a Thom Browne apron. Richie, who decided to wear suits after staging because it helps his self-confidence, took the front with Fak and Natalie, but those roles switched up when Carmy got locked in the fridge that he never got fixed.

RELATED: Jeremy Allen White Talks Hopes For Carmy As ‘The Bear’ Cast Discuss Filming Season 3

Richie took ticket orders while Sydney filled in for Carmy, and Neil was left to man the floor himself. Donna, who was invited to the soft opening, showed up, but Pete couldn’t get her to come inside, and he let slip the news of Natalie’s pregnancy, which Donna didn’t know about. Donna left after she begged him to tell her it was okay to leave. Natalie missed this whole exchange because first, she tried to fix a toilet, and then she had to help out in the kitchen minus Carmy.

Carmy, who thought Tina was listening on the other side of the fridge door, confessed that he felt like he let the crew down by getting distracted with Claire. Claire had come to take Tina’s spot because Sydney ran out the door after the ticket printer ran out of paper, and she heard his confession. All she said was “I’m sorry you feel that way Carm.” She left, and while he was stuck in the fridge, he played his missed voicemail from her, in which she admitted she had a major crush on him. Things then got heated after Richie called him out on what he said to her and compared him to Donna. Marcus got a gift from Luca, but he also had a text from his mother’s nurse asking him to call her. Sydney’s dad praised her efforts and called the restaurant “the thing.”

RELATED: ‘The Bear’ Season 1 Marathon To Air On FX

Best of Deadline

Sign up for Deadline's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.