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The Bear (Disney+)

The Bear - Season 3

After a second season that shot The Bear into the stratosphere, the follow-up feels like it has ran out of fuel.

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I strongly believe The Bear's second season is some of the best television out there. It really does have it all and because it's wrapped so neatly around the time constraints of the restaurant opening, it doesn't leave any time for fat and unnecessary details.

However, the problem with The Bear Season 2 being so great is that it's really hard to follow up. In a way, the second season almost feels like the perfect end to the show. After Season 1 ends with Carmy getting the money to really let her rip, Season 2 culminates with him opening the restaurant he'd always wanted. Of course, thanks to a long time spent in a freezer it all falls apart at that perfect moment, but that still feels like The Bear through and through.

The Bear (Disney+)

So, that leaves us with a Season 3 that already has to prove itself as being necessary from the first minute. Yes, we want to see what happens next with these characters that we love, but we also need a new goal for them to all begin working towards. Or, if we don't have that, we need a valid reason for each major player for us to retain interest in them. And sadly, I can't say with full confidence that The Bear Season 3 delivers on that.

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This season is still very good to sometimes remarkable television, but to say it's anywhere near that perfect predecessor would simply be false. There are some glaring problems with The Bear Season 3 that we would likely forgive any other show for having, but because it is The Bear, it can't quite get away with them.

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The biggest issue I've had is with the overall pacing and unimportant feel this season has. After a first episode that largely served as a recap for what's come before, I was ready to move forward, and yet it took until the second half of the season for it to really feel like anything of worth was happening. Relationship tears that appeared last season are put on the backburner, problems that could have arrived and been solved within the season have been pushed out to create this overall need that Season 4 is the one where everything will happen.

Not exactly a great feeling when you're watching most of Season 3 then. The Bear still is a more than enjoyable watch thanks to the work building the characters in past seasons, but there's a sense of apathy towards Season 3 that I really didn't expect. Knowing you're going to get a fourth season must be great, but that doesn't mean you sacrifice any sort of urgency to get things done in the third. There are still great episodes and memorable moments I won't spoil, but they come later on for the most part, leaving the first half especially feeling like it's dragging its feet so the good stuff can be saved for Season 4.

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The Bear (Disney+)

There are also far too many Fak moments for my liking in this season. Every episode has some sort of dedication to the Faks. Neil, played by Mathy Matheson, is far too likeable to ever come across as annoying, but his brother Theodore Fak, who otherwise had a great cameo in the Christmas episode of Season 2, feels very overbearing in this season. I had to Google the actor who plays Ted Fak just to make sure he wasn't a writer or producer giving himself more screentime. There's also a Fak cameo which, unlike previous celebrity appearances in the show, served only to break the immersion of The Bear, making it feel more like an SNL sketch than the prestige television we've come to know it as.

It comes across as a response to those criticising The Bear for being labelled as a comedy, as the bumbling Faks are left to give the show very obvious comedic relief, that feels out of place most of the time. Their screen time also robs others of decent development. Ritchie, the best character in the show, feels left to one side for the majority of the season, for example, having an arc that starts but doesn't complete.

The Bear (Disney+)

All in all, The Bear Season 3 feels like an unfinished product. We know that the original plan was to film seasons 3 and 4 back to back, but now the pressure is much higher for the fourth season. Perhaps creator Christopher Storer needs the pressure to achieve greatness, like Carmy himself. We'll have to wait and see. It might sound like I've been overly harsh on The Bear, but when you expect tremendous television, and only get great, watchable episodes for the most part, you do feel a little deflated. That's just how spoiled I've been by this show, though.

08 Gamereactor UK
8 / 10
+
Stellar performances as usual, great dialogue, some stand-out episodes
-
Too many Faks spoil the cook, middling pacing, too many important things dodged
overall score
is our network score. What's yours? The network score is the average of every country's score

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The Bear - Season 3

The Bear - Season 3

SERIES. Written by Alex Hopley

After a second season that shot The Bear into the stratosphere, the follow-up feels like it has ran out of fuel.



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