Carmy sits on a table and runs a hand through his hair

We Ranked Every Episode in ‘The Bear’ Season 3 From “Palatable” to “YES, CHEF!”

The FX on Hulu original series The Bear returned for a third season on June 26, 2024, and all ten episodes are a delicious snack we’ve been waiting ages to devour.

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The first two seasons focused on the kitchen crew and interpersonal dynamics of Carmine “Carmy” Berzatto (Jeremy Allen White) as he transforms his late brother’s sandwich shop into a fine dining establishment. Season three focuses more on the chef’s determination, bordering on obsession, to earn a Michelin star for the new restaurant.

10. Episode 8: “Ice Chips”

Donna comforts Sugar while she gives birth
(FX on Hulu)

It’s always a treat to see Jamie Lee Curtis on screen, but this episode was too much of a good thing. In “Ice Chips,” Curtis returns for a second guest appearance as Donna, the unpredictable Berzatto matriarch. As a reminder, the first (and last) time we met Donna she was drunkenly, angrily preparing the Feast of the Seven Fishes for the family in season 2, episode 6, “Fishes.” After crying and melting down constantly, Donna drove her car straight into the side of the house where the family was sitting. Nice.

When Natalie/Sugar (Abby Elliott) goes into labor, Donna is the only one who answers her call. Sure, it’s wonderful to see them having heart-to-heart conversations in between contractions, but honestly, watching someone give birth is not exactly great television. It’s awkward, uncomfortable, and director Christopher Storer’s copious use of extreme close ups on the actresses’ faces makes everything feel a bit too real. I think I’ll skip this one when rewatching the season.

9. Episode 7: “Legacy”

Sydney looking resentful
(FX on Hulu)

There’s a bit too much navel-gazing in “Legacy” to hold my (admittedly short) attention span. Carmy is feeling introspective for a change, so he goes to an Al-Anon meeting and talks about what it means to feel sorry. He’s still hung up on Claire (Molly Gordon) and he’s fully leaning into the whole “tortured artist” persona. He has a deep conversation with Marcus (Lionel Boyce) that feels very intimate, but ultimately it’s just more talking with no action.

Rehiring some of Mikey’s old guys to help Ebra with the sandwich window is a bright spot in the episode, but with tensions rising between Sydney (Ayo Edibiri) and Carmy, we miss the “comedy” aspect of this show more than ever.

8. Episode 3: “Doors”

Carmy and Neil Fak look at each other in the kitchen
(FX on Hulu)

The Bear is officially open, and things are more out of control than ever! This episode casts a sharp eye on Carmy’s neuroses. He’s always been hot-headed, but watching him lash out at people like Syd, who is excellent at her job and doing the best she can under the circumstances, just feels bad. Carmy also hasn’t fully patched things up with Richie (Ebon Moss-Bachrach), leading to a big fight that further disrupts the peace of the kitchen. This is one of those episodes that makes us never, ever want to work in a kitchen. Ever.

7. Episode 4: “Violet”

Sugar smiling with tears in her eyes
(FX on HULU)

Sydney takes a big leap and gets a new apartment, even though she still hasn’t signed the contract to become a partner at The Bear. Her fears about committing to Carmy’s whole situation are exacerbated when she runs into Adam Shapiro (played by an actor of the same name), who worked at Chef Terry’s Ever and is starting his own restaurant.

Carmy spends more time sulking about Claire, Natalie frets about the restaurant being $5,000 in the red every single week (!), and Richie meets his ex-wife’s hot new fiance (Josh Hartnett). Meanwhile, everyone is still tense about the restaurant reviewers, who have somehow escaped Fak’s (Matty Mathison) elaborate plan to identify reviewers. It’s a decent episode, but nothing earth-shattering really happens.

6. Episode 2: “Next”

Natalie and Carmy stand together with a counter between them
(FX on Hulu)

This episode contains another one of those lovely, languid musical montages the show is famous for. This one helps viewers appreciate all of Chicago’s hardworking food services workers who rise at dawn to feed the city each day. Donuts bubble in oil, line cooks fire up the griddle, coffee grinders start their brews percolating, and fishmongers display their wares as Eddie Vedder sings “Save It for Later.” It’s nice, but don’t get too comfy because this episode is pretty stressful once we step inside The Bear!

Everyone is reacting to Carmy’s list of “non-negotiables” from the first episode, and the general consensus is that he’s lost his marbles. Sydney has to referee a screaming fight between Carmy and Richie too, so it’s no wonder she’s contemplating leaving. This episode is shot in such a way that we feel our own blood pressure rising. Maybe it’s the flickering florescent lights, a repair that calls for the reappearance of the only comic relief at all this season, the Fak brothers. Send in the clowns … please!

5. Episode 5: “Children”

Uncle leans in close to talk to Carmy
(FX on Hulu)

As the title implies, this episode focuses on the children who make up the Berzatti and Fak families. It begins with a very pregnant Natalie waking early to worry about her daughter’s upcoming birth, then moves on to Marcus and Syd cleaning out his late mother’s home. Carmy is dealing (badly) with the loss of a mother figure of sorts; Chef Terry (Olivia Coleman) announced she’s closing her restaurant, Ever, sending him into a mope. Then Uncle Jimmy (Oliver Platt) shows up with The Computer (Brian Koppelman) to cut expenses to the bone, hoping just to keep the doors open.

The episode has a lot going on, and feels like a return to form during the busy kitchen scenes. The Fak brothers provide their usual comic relief, and the addition of yet another Fak bro (played by John Cena in a surprisingly funny cameo) is a welcome break from all the tension.

4. Episode 9: “Apologies”

Carmy reaches around Fak's neck to help him tie his tie
(FX on Hulu)

The season’s momentum finally picks up after Natalie gives birth in episode 8, and this episode feels more like what we’ve come to love about the show. Sydney is still thinking about Adam’s offer, and a conversation with Natalie’s husband Pete (Chris Witaske) reveals that Carmy’s partnership offer is less money and worse benefits than Adam’s. Uh oh, guys!

While stomping cardboard boxes in the dumpster (another recurring theme this season), the Faks get Carmy to admit that he still thinks about Claire every day, so they ambush her at work to tell her. Carmy admits to Sydney that he knows he’s hard to work with, hopes to be better … but will make no actual moves to do so. Oh, and Uncle Jimmy stops short of telling his nephew about his gambling-induced money problems, which could close The Bear’s doors for good. Double uh oh!

3. Episode 1: “Tomorrow”

Carmy stands and leans his head against the wall
(FX on Hulu)

The season 3 premiere was one of those slow-burn episodes that make us love The Bear so much. It begins with Carmy gazing at the deep wound on his palm, pressing into it to feel something, anything—even if it’s pain. That’s the dominant theme in “Tomorrow,” a flashback episode that presses hard into the most painful memories in Carmy’s head. He dwells on all the chefs he’s worked with, recalling Chef Terry’s benevolence and the casual cruelty of Chef David Fields (Joel McHale).

2. Episode 6: “Napkins”

Tina takes a free sandwich at The Beef
(FX on Hulu)

Ayo Edebiri directed this episode, which tells the story of how Tina (Liza Colón-Zayas) found her way to The Beef many years ago. It’s a powerful and riveting episode, and a true standout for the season.

In “Napkins,” Tina loses her long term office job and finds herself unqualified to get another. One day she wanders into The Beef in despair. The raucous guys at the counter, Mikey and Richie included, are the first people in the entire city to show her kindness. They even give her a free sandwich, and she bursts into tears the second she takes a bite. She and Mikey have one of the deepest, most realistic conversations we’ve seen on The Bear to date. Mikey offers her a job, which we now know leads her to become a sous chef at The Bear.

It’s a pleasant reminder that no matter how bad things look, there’s always a way out, and you never know if one little decision will change in your life.

1. Episode 10: “Forever”

Thomas Keller shows Carmy how to prep a chicken
(FX on Hulu)

This is a fun episode because we get to attend the Ever “funeral” dinner with Carmy and Sydney. Many of our favorite characters return, including Luca (Will Poulter) and Chef Terry, and Carmy also has an unsatisfactory showdown with his nemesis, David Fields. Chef Thomas Keller also appears as himself.

It’s highly amusing to watch professional chefs attempt to make something edible out of frozen waffles at Sydney’s impromptu after party! Then, in the final moments, Carmy realizes the Tribune review is out ….

We’ll have to wait for season 4 to see what the review said! Thankfully, seasons 3 and 4 were filmed back-to-back, so we shouldn’t have to wait forever. In the meantime, all episodes of The Bear are now streaming on Hulu.

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Beverly Jenkins
Beverly Jenkins (she/her) is a contributing writer for The Mary Sue. She writes about pop culture, entertainment, and web memes, and has published a book or a funny day-to-day desk calendar about web humor every year for a decade. When not writing, she's listening to audiobooks or watching streaming movies under a pile of her very loved (spoiled) pets.