‘The Bear’ Season 3 Episode 1 Recap: “Tomorrow” (2024)

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Even though The Bear has developed a loyal and obsessive fanbase thanks partly to its artful depiction of high-intensity restaurant YELLING, its ability to downshift into quietness is what makes it an exceptional television show. One of Season 2’s standout episodes was the fourth one, “Honeydew,” directed by comedian Ramy Youssef. It was focused on baker-turned-pastry chef Marcus (Lionel Boyce), who is given an opportunity to apprentice in Copenhagen. Filled with quiet walks, gentle plant tending, cozy houseboats, sparkling workstations, and inspirational dough rolling by a stoic pastry chef named Luca (Will Poulter), this episode proved that the characters (and the audience) are allowed to breathe every once in a while.

But Season 2 will mostly be remembered for the genuinely bonkers “Fishes,” with its mind-bending cameos and the brutal emotional abuse doled out by multiple members of the Berzatto family. Most prominent: Carmy’s (Jeremy Allen White) alcoholic mother, Donna, played with tragic desperation by Jamie Lee Curtis, and the fork-chucking physical altercation between doomed brother Mikey (Jon Bernthal) and his uncle, Lee, played by a snarling Bob Odenkirk. Christmas Eve’s feast of the seven fishes ends with a completely intoxicated Donna driving her car through the front door of the house. The whole dinner sequence is mesmerizing, but also the most upsetting ten minutes of television ever, the emotional equivalent of an Al-Anon meeting in the middle of the Omaha Beach scene from Saving Private Ryan.

At the end of Season 2, we found our combustible basset-eyed weirdo, Carmy, locked in the walk-in fridge during the friends and family night soft opening at The Bear (the restaurant). This set the stage for him to indulge his worst personality defects: control issues, melodrama, and vein-throbbing rage.

The body count from his trapped-in-a-refrigeator tirade was enormous, including his staff, most of all Sydney (Ayo Edibiri), whose nervousness about her first big moment as a head chef and part-owner becomes all the more difficult once Carmy’s locked in the fridge. But even though she was short-handed and ended the night stress-vomiting in the alley, she managed to muscle through and prove she was capable. Does she even need his little ass? She had to think it.

The worst victims of Carmy’s drive-by were, of course, Cousinnnnnn Richie (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) (“You’re a f*cking loser, Richie!”) and Claire (Molly Gordon), his long-suffering sweetheart who came to the walk-in fridge to offer support but instead was on the receiving end of Carmy’s blinding cruelty and commitment issues. The season ended with Carmy engulfed in the coldness of that walk-in fridge. The Bear was finally open—but at what cost?

And that’s where Season 3 begins, in an opening very quiet episode the following day titled “Tomorrow.” It’s a sneaky post-mortem full of flashbacks that serve as both a recap and a pre-cap of how The Bear (the restaurant) came to life. We first are shown the beginnings of the morning after: an early morning empty L train, the gray stillness of Lake Michigan, the sun rising hidden behind big Chicago architecture, and then Carmy’s hand scar—a reminder of the necessary pain required to execute an impossible, unhealthy dream.

‘The Bear’ Season 3 Episode 1 Recap: “Tomorrow” (2)

In comes lilting piano music–the same score that twinkled ominously at the height of the screaming match between Richie and Carmy from the walk-in—and Carmy assessing the damage in the messy dining room the morning after. He begins to rearrange tables and flower vases, the perfect playground for his torment-fueled OCD. But, of course, the harsh light of tomorrow’s regrets combined with his Iron Claw juice-headedness requires that he kick the sh*t out of a wine bucket.

‘The Bear’ Season 3 Episode 1 Recap: “Tomorrow” (3)

From then on, it is a slow whiplash of the meaningful moments in Carmy’s life, most of which took place in the high-intensity kitchens of prestigious, Michelin-starred restaurants. The exhausting chaos of becoming a high-level chef is peaceful compared to what he grew up with and what trauma is left in his bones. But that dysfunction has served a purpose: he barely flinches as he learns his craft from the world’s most decorated and demanding chefs. Even the hazing he receives during his French Laundry apprenticeship from an evil chef (Joel McHale) doesn’t faze him.

As the episode dips back into present-day clean-up, Carmy apologizes to Syd and Richie individually. They barely accept it–trust is not restored. Will The Bear survive? There is only one choice:

‘The Bear’ Season 3 Episode 1 Recap: “Tomorrow” (4)

THE BEAR SEASON 3 EPISODE 1: LEFTOVERS

QUESTIONS I STILL HAVE: Who is Uncle Lee? We get a flashback sequence of the “Fishes” dinner, and the camera hangs on him long enough to make it appear that this isn’t the last we’ll see him. What kind of uncle is he? Is he the kind that has sex with Donna Berzatto or the type that steals money from his own family? Maybe both.

MIDDLE-AGED DAD NEEDLE DROP: The piano music gurgling beneath the surface throughout the episode was not, as I initially thought, Phillip Glass, but Nine Inch Nails. The track is called “Hope We Can Again” off of their very middle-aged post-industrial dad record “Ghosts V: Together.”

CARMY ARM p*rn: Veiny.

‘The Bear’ Season 3 Episode 1 Recap: “Tomorrow” (5)

THE BEAR – SEASON 3: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

‘The Bear’ Season 3 Episode 1 Recap: “Tomorrow” (6)

Can’t get enough ofThe BearSeason 3? For more insight, analysis, GIFs, and close-ups of Carmy’s arms, check out some highlights of Decider’s coverage:

  • The Bear Season 3 Full Review: Carmy secures his role as the chairman of the Tortured Chefs Department
  • The Bear Season 3 Episode 1 recap: “Tomorrow”
  • The Bear Season 3 Episode 2 recap: “Next”
  • The Bear Season 3 Episode 3 recap: “Doors”
  • The Bear Season 3 Episode 4 recap: “Violet”
  • The Bear Season 3 Episode 5 recap: “Children
  • The Bear Season 3 Episode 6 recap: “Napkins”
  • The Bear Season 3 Ending Explained: Does Carmy and Sydney’s restaurant survive?
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A.J. Daulerio is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor. He is also the founder of The Small Bow, a recovery newsletter.

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‘The Bear’ Season 3 Episode 1 Recap: “Tomorrow” (2024)
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