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Biggest Unanswered Questions From The Bear Season 1

FX served up a sizzling side of summer's freshest new series with "The Bear." Starring "Shameless" favorite Jeremy Allen White, who returns to Chicago for another chaotic adventure as Carmy Berzatto. This quick binge captures the all too real work environment of toxic kitchens while simultaneously embracing a heartwarming found family narrative. That authentic and fascinating juxtaposition quickly won over viewers with impressive Rotten Tomatoes scores from critics and audiences. 

Several aspects set "The Bear" apart from other prestige television including the addition of lesser-known but outstanding actors like Ayo Edebiri (the new voice of Missy on "Big Mouth"), Liza Colón-Zayas, Lionel Boyce, and Ebon Moss-Bachrach. Though the series often moves at a breakneck speed, creator and director Christopher Storer takes his time to beautifully capture each dish featured in the series with mouthwatering results. "The Bear" also displays pertinent themes showcasing the younger generation taking charge while rebuilding and keeping family traditions alive. 

After an intriguing and, for our characters, life-changing Season 1 finale, there are more than a few lingering plot lines for the next season. Mikey's (Jon Bernthal) untimely death left several unsolved mysteries within "The Original Beef of Chicagoland" restaurant including a hefty debt to uncle Cicero (Oliver Platt), a possibly fatal IRS audit, and the tragic discovery of Mikey's opioid pill bottle. Beyond that, there are the jaw-dropping wads of cash crammed within the family's sealed cans of tomato sauce. Here are the biggest unanswered questions from "The Bear" Season 1.

Will there be a Season 2?

With such an exciting conclusion to the Season 1 finale, fans were eager to know if we'll be seeing more of the lovable Chicago-based kitchen crew. Thankfully, FX quickly gave fans the news they'd been waiting for by announcing that "The Bear" will indeed be returning for Season 2 on Hulu. FX Entertainment president Eric Schrier praised the hit new series in The Hollywood Reporter by stating, "'The Bear' has exceeded our wildest creative, critical and commercial expectations."

Creator Christopher Storer and co-showrunner Joanna Calo also voiced their appreciation to The Hollywood Reporter and revealed when we could expect Season 2. In a joint statement, they said, "We are so grateful to FX, our insanely talented cast, our crew who worked hard, fast, and in the dead of winter, not to mention everyone who watched. And we can't wait to bring you all back to "The Bear" in 2023."

Hopefully, that's early 2023, as fans are already eager for a second helping of "The Bear" — though we can probably expect Season 2 around the same time next summer.

What did Carmy's trippy stress dream mean?

One sure-fire sign of a toxic job is the unconscious release of stress in dream form. The season finale opens with Carmy suffering from an anxiety-inducing nightmare sequence formatted in the style of a 1990s television cooking show. The unconventional shift in aspect ratio immediately signals to the audience that something is off (a technique similarly used in a memorable sequence from Sam Esmail's "Mr. Robot"), and the bear cameraman makes the scene even odder.

Carmy has been under enormous pressure throughout the season, from trying to keep his family's restaurant afloat to diffusing familial and kitchen conflicts, not to mention paying off a crushing $300,000 debt with both money and catering services. Is this otherworldly dream his mind's way of trying to get him to take a step back? Carmy repeatedly doubts himself in this scene, and the bear (a haunting metaphor for his explosive anger and damaging learned management style) watches on in an almost gloating manner. 

Can Carmy learn to cage the bear in Season 2 or will he let it out when even more tension builds?

Will Carmy's addiction to excellence be further explored?

In the season finale, Carmy gives a moving and emotional monologue detailing the trauma from his past, including the death of his brother, Mikey. He also recounts his brother's addiction while seemingly disclosing his own. Carmy details how, after being rejected from his family's restaurant by Mikey, he dove deep into the world of culinary excellence to forge his own path — out of spite. 

Carmy was driven to cook in "real restaurants" and explicitly relives the grueling hard work he endured in those kitchens. He reveals himself to the audience when he says that experience was "everything" and confesses that for the first time in his life, he felt fulfilled and confident. However, this addictive and damaging pursuit of perfection led to intense competition with his fellow chefs that replaced the feelings of worthlessness he felt from his brother. 

Now that Mikey's gone, he and Carmy can never reconcile their falling out. Will Carmy return to these distracting and destructive habits in Season 2? Under the stress of a new restaurant and financial responsibilities, it's possible, but we sincerely hope not. 

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Will Mikey appear in more flashbacks?

A delightful surprise from Season 1 was the unexpected appearance of Jon Bernthal (a fan favorite on "The Walking Dead") as Carmy's deceased brother Mikey. This flashback perfectly captured the enamoring essence of who Mikey was and why he is so desperately missed by his surviving family and friends. Though Bernthal only appeared for one scene, his performance delivers a lasting impression that leaves fans wanting more from the actor in this role. 

With a new season on the horizon, it's only natural to wonder if we'll see more of Mikey. His character, though absent in almost every episode of Season 1, cast a major shadow over the series as the former owner of the family's restaurant. Mikey's charismatic presence is sorely needed — though his financial gift hidden in tomato sauce certainly left viewers stunned. Will we see more of his alluring storytelling abilities in Season 2? 

Will KBL Electric and the connection to Cicero's loan be explained?

Mikey's overwhelming financial circumstances at The Original Beef of Chicagoland left Carmy and Richie (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) in a pit of debt nearing $300,000. We learn more about this seemingly insurmountable burden bit by bit as the season goes on, but there are a few strands to this story that are now starting to connect. In Episode 4, Carmy's uncle Cicero tells him that he loaned Mikey $300,000 — which ends up being the money in the tomato cans. Later in the season, Carmy finds the name KBL Electric scrawled on Mikey's notepad in the restaurant's office and discovers he was making large payments to them.

Unfortunately, Carmy is just as confused as the audience as to why Mikey would be making payments to a fake business instead of repaying the loan. However, in the season finale, we see KBL stamped on top of each can of tomatoes. Carmy discovers the cans after Richie gives him Mikey's suicide note, so we can infer that Mikey left the money to fulfill their shared dream of opening a new family restaurant. 

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

What happened with Richie and his wife?

Richie's often bullish behavior can leave viewers finding him unsympathetic at first. However, the more we peel back the layers of this onion-like character, the more heartbreaking his backstory becomes. One of Richie's most memorable scenes comes when he talks to his young daughter on the phone. Though we never see the pair on screen together, through Ebon Moss-Bachrach's tearful performance, we can feel exactly how much he cares for her. 

We never see Richie with his wife (or ex-wife, as it's unclear for now if they're actually divorced or just separated) either, but we do see him attempt to make a connection during the cringe-worthy dating scene. Throughout Season 1, Richie was often utilized for comic relief or to depict the outdated restaurant practices Carmy and Sydney are tirelessly working towards eradicating. After seeing his moving and emotional performances, we're ready to see a more nuanced Richie in Season 2 and learn more about his personal life.

Will Carmy go to therapy for his trauma?

Another surprising but terrifying guest role in Season 1 was Joel McHale as the ill-tempered, malicious, and enraging top New York City head chef. A flashback illustrates the well-performing French brigade kitchen style, yet, as McHale's presence depicts, the staff is walking on eggshells. The flashback sequence showcases Storer's impeccable direction while McHale's towering presence sends shivers down viewers' spines. 

The scene also provides essential characterization for Carmy, who withstands inexcusable emotional abuse from the head chef. In a pivotal moment, after a relentless onslaught of insults, McHale's heinous character savagely whispers to Carmy, "You should be dead." Carmy responds by blinking back tears and remains focused on dispatching his pristine and elegant five-star dishes. This visual queue shows the young chef repressing the abuse by shoving it down and distracting himself with the task at hand. As seen in an earlier monologue, this avoidant style is the same approach he took with Mikey, which ended with disastrous results. 

Will Carmy seek therapy next season to deal with these past traumas? Speaking out in group was a great first start, so it's possible he's on a path towards healing and growth. 

Why and how did the money get in the sauce?

This head-scratching detail was the biggest bomb drop of Season 1. After financially struggling to manage his family's restaurant, Carmy's luck finally turns when he discovers thick stacks of cash folded and hidden within the 28-ounce cans of tomato sauce. The dark irony here comes from Carmy's initial reluctance to the sauce, which he finds bland and strikes from the menu. However, the unifying power of the sauce brings Carmy and the family closer together, and the money is a glorious shared reward.

Series creator Christopher Storer caught up with Indiewire to break down exactly how the money got in the sealed sauce cans and who put it there. He confirms the cash was indeed the $300,000 loan and that Mikey hid the money away. Storer explained, "We wanted to reveal that even though Michael was an addict, he was telling the truth when he told Uncle Jimmy he wanted to franchise, which in this case meant opening a restaurant with Carmy. Michael thought he could break the familial cycle and start something fresh."

The beautiful (and, as Indiewire notes, literal) payoff is the realization of the dream Mikey and Carmy had together (as Carmy revealed in his emotional monologue). How the money got in the cans is equally an astonishing feat, and Storer explained, "There is a semi-automatic electric can-seamer at the restaurant, which is a quick process and very easy to use. Michael was most likely instructed to not put the money in the bank for myriad tax reasons. In his scattered state, the processing of the tomato cans really felt like he was starting to build something." 

What's the finale title Braciole mean?

This small detail speaks magnitudes of Sydney's (Ayo Edebiri) character and the relationship between her and Marcus (Lionel Boyce). Braciole is a traditional Italian dish that Sydney put her own unique spin on. Typically, the dish is rolled up flank steak served in tomato sauce. Sydney's version illustrates her culinary prowess while also displaying her admiration of the Italian family style Chicago restaurant — even though she loves to remind Richie that he's not even Italian. Additionally, braciole was the signature meal Mikey prepared for his family in the heartwarming flashback in Episode 6.

This is also a special moment for Sydney and Marcus. So far, Marcus is the only character she feels comfortable enough to invite over to her stern father's house, and the act of cooking this gourmet dish is surprisingly intimate. This may, of course, just be between two friends. However, it could also be the blossoming of a surprise romantic relationship for Season 2. 

Are Marcus and Sydney going to be a couple?

Throughout the often hectic shifts at "The Original Beef of Chicagoland," these two have been trusted confidants for each other through thick uncut cakes and thinly demolished donuts. As Sydney tries to assert herself as Carmy's sous chef and second in command, she's met with disrespect from nearly every employee at the restaurant — aside from Marcus. These characters have always had a mutual respect for each other and because of that they are comfortable enough to share their passions and dreams for exquisite meals and desserts. 

These exchanges often lead to the quieter and more intimate moments of the series. The high-paced series rarely has time for romantic plot lines, but when these two get together, "The Bear" allows itself to breath and enjoy the undeniable chemistry between these frequent scene partners. Will Season 2 give more room for these two to explore and grow their relationship? 

Will Marcus finally get to sell his perfect donut?

Speaking of passions explored, one of the most eye-popping and hunger inducing storylines was Marcus' pursuit of the perfect donut. His backstory about loving the donuts' colorful exterior and their unstoppable ability to make others happy wholly encapsulated the baker's spirit. It was such a joy to see Marcus experiment, research, and practice techniques and recipes in search of the perfect pastry.  

Now that the restaurant is shifting direction, viewers hope Marcus can reach his full potential and begin to sell the donut he spent nearly the entire season perfecting. After the shattering scene where Carmy angrily lashes out and squashes Marcus' hard work, we're desperate to see a return of the sweet that was good enough to eat off the dirty kitchen floor. We'll have to wait until Season 2, however, when customers will surely be lined up around the block of The Bear.

What are they going to do with the money?

What are Carmy and his kitchen crew going to do with all the sauce money? As the season finale tells us, they'll be opening a new restaurant called The Bear. The new establishment will hopefully be a well-managed hit that features Marcus' delectable donuts and Sydney's critically acclaimed beef risotto. 

"The Bear" creator Christoper Storer gave more details to Indiewire while also clearing up some confusion about the $300,000 loan and IRS debt. Storer explained, "There's something beautiful in the idea that Carmy could have found this right off the bat if he would have made the spaghetti in the pilot, but then maybe he would have burnt out similarly to the way Michael did. I think by not discovering this immediately, he really learned the difficult lesson that not only was he sort of trying to "fix" this restaurant for all the wrong reasons, but that he also couldn't do it himself"

Storer also mentions, "They will definitely use this money as a seed, but Jimmy will be in the mix." A "seed" refers to the money they will invest the money in the new restaurant until it generates enough of its own to be profitable. The above also reminds us that Carmy threw out a can of sauce in the pilot which probably had around $5000 in it — an expensive mistake for the price of hubris.

Will someone find the last can of sauce?

On that note, let's not forget the suspenseful lingering shot Storer left us of the lone sauce left behind in the Season 1 ending. This can of cash could have negative consequences should someone outside the trusted kitchen crew find it. Here, we can even see the KBL stamp on the bottom, which ties the can directly to Mikey through his restaurant financial records. 

Will Carmy's sister, Natalie "Sugar" Berzatto (Abby Elliott), be the one to find the stray treasure? Since she also knows about KBL, it could be intriguing for her to pick it up — although, sadly, this would likely put even more of a strain on her relationship with Carmy. The possibilities are endless and depend on who enters the restaurant next and if The Bear stays in the same location or utilizes the money to move. We'll know for certain when "The Bear" returns for Season 2 in 2023.