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The Bear Is Better Off Without Carm

So far, the escapades of Carmen Berzatto (Jeremy Allen White) and his team have played out like the creation of a really good dish. If Season 1 of "The Bear" was about getting all the perfect ingredients together, Season 2 added a new flavor of anxiety but highlighted when to step away from the pan and let things simmer for the better. Now, with the return of the Emmy-winning show for Season 3, this chapter of "The Bear" is all about knowing when the dish is just right, which is something Carm just can't do.

Jeremy Allen White's neurotic culinary perfectionist has been moving at a different speed than everyone else around him since the beginning, wielding a vision that his team is only now really gaining sight of. The issue is that in the fight to mirror the masters whom Carm has studied with, he's not only continuing to be his own worst enemy but becoming more of a burden than a blessing to those who want The Bear to be elevated in a different way. With this massive fumble in mind, and still fighting against the team that only wants the best for The Bear, perhaps the smartest solution for our favorite Chicago restaurant is for its head chef to leave it to its own devices and step away entirely.

Carm's yesterday is what will ruin The Bear's tomorrow

With Season 3 of "The Bear" picking up straight after Season 2, the events of opening night are just cooling down after Carm's lock-in. Returning the next morning, he immediately gets back to tweaking his surroundings and correcting his mistakes with the business, when the truth of the matter is that his creation continued perfectly fine without him. Richie (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) took the wheel at the request of Sydney (Ayo Edebiri), and their dynamic, though still tense, helped service tick along.

However, it's something Carm refuses to get a taste of again. With fleeting visions of being trapped in the blue limbo of the freezer, our head chef reverts to a list of non-negotiables in the hope of righting the ship but is ultimately sending it into even more uncertain waters. Carm's rules for the "pursuit of excellence" are what send the restaurant (and Syd mostly) into a spiral, all in order to meet demands that only Carm is interested in reaching.

Does he have to be, though? If anything, can't he look to The Bear's old business model that his late brother Mike (Jon Bernthal) had in place? Sure there were money problems, but the customers kept coming back for an unchanged menu. In fact, as revealed by a look through the books, it's the only thing in The Bear still making money. Ultimately, Carm stepping away to let everyone else drive might really be the best course of action, and he needs to look to the past to realize that, no matter how painful that might be.

Carm's greatest lessons could come from his harshest teacher

"We've got to be excellent every day," Carm tells Sugar (Abby Elliott). "That's how we do this correctly. That's how restaurants of the highest caliber operate." Chief among this testing to-do list of non-negotiables is "never repeat ingredients," a standard taken from Carm's former boss, David Fields (Joel McHale), who returns in the season finale, "Forever." Their meeting is a heated one, as the former pupil tells his teacher he still has nightmares about him, becoming physically ill from the stress Fields put him under. 

His old mentor is unfazed, saying, "You were an okay chef when you started with me, and you left an excellent chef, so you're welcome." It's a heartbreaking exchange as Carm breaks down, but it's another detail that reveals that in his effort to succeed, The Bear's head chef is applying the wrong lessons from his terror of a teacher.

In the flashbacks of "Tomorrow," we revisit such a time when Fields was breathing down Carm's neck. After the young chef tries making a new dish, Fields rips it apart for having too many components. Labelling it with "SUBTRACT," he advises, "That's how you do better." It's a rule Carm doesn't seem to be taking on board. Too many elements cause issues at work, like a menu that's changing by the day and a team that really does seem to operate at a smoother pace when he's not involved. Perhaps the one thing that The Bear must "subtract" from the situation is its leader, and you need only to look to another to see that it could benefit him in the end.

Chef Terry has the secret ingredient to saving The Bear and Carmy

Carm might be referring to the wrong notes from Chef Fields, but it seems the message from Chef Terry (Olivia Colman) might be getting through, just at a slower rate. The announcement of her restaurant, Ever, closing sends ripples out to not just Carm but also Richie, both in mourning over the end of an era they had a part in. Terry, however, is over the moon. There are no tears at her dinner speech in the finale (except maybe ours), and even her staff can see it. "She woke up and just didn't want to do it anymore," Ever's Jessica (Sarah Ramos) tells Richie. "I think she's great." It's understandable, really, given it's this kind of attitude that Terry has always shown, even when Carm was working under her, and that maybe now he should be echoing at his own workplace.

In a far cry from Fields' methods of standing over staff members' shoulders, she steps back and keeps at a distance, only stepping in at the last minute. When she does, it's for a fleeting moment before telling Carm to keep the spoon and take over from there. Perhaps it's Chef Terry closing one chapter that could finally help Carm begin another and realize what needs to be done. He doesn't have to live and die by the clock, a set menu, and non-negotiables. Every second does count, but maybe they shouldn't be spent at The Bear but rather starting afresh with Claire (Molly Gordon). Maybe someone else should be watching the clock for him instead?

Sydney could be The Bear's savior or Carm's worst creation

Ever since Sydney walked into The Bear, the (confirmed non-romantic) connection between her and Carm, as uneasy as it's been, has propelled the restaurant forward. It's upsetting, then, to see Sydney not only struggle to see a future with her potential business partner but also take on some of his trauma, which he's unknowingly loaded onto her. Carm's drive and determination have undoubtedly inspired his chef de cuisine (CDC), but his hubris and, at times, flat-out ignorance in his chase for the perfect restaurant have hindered her as well. It makes perfect sense, then, that everything eventually boils over during her house party and she breaks down over being stuck between The Bear and a future elsewhere.

The truth is, Sydney could work wonders at The Bear, maybe even surpass her employer if he weren't present. But it's Carm's shadow being cast over everything that could lead to her downfall, when "subtracting" him from the equation is what could make The Bear Chicago's next big hot spot. If they're ever going to succeed, Carm needs to take a note from Chef Terry's book and simply hand Sydney the spoon. Let her take more control than he's offering her, and take a step back for the things that matter. In doing so, he wouldn't be closing the door on what he's made but leaving it open for others instead. The door to the kitchen swings both ways, after all.