TV & Movies

A Theory About The Bear Season 3 Decodes The Finale’s Review

The final seconds include a major twist.

'The Bear' Season 3 Theory Decodes The Finale's Review

After an up-and-down opening night last season, The Bear’s titular restaurant is finally up and running, but not without a few more missteps. Over the course of Season 3, the team struggles to balance Carmy’s non-negotiables (like changing the menu every single day) with the practical realities of operating a new venue and all the personalities that go along with it.

Looming over the kitchen is the fact that a food critic from the Chicago Tribune has been to the restaurant without anyone noticing. So, a potentially game-changing review is on the way. And in the final moments of the season, Carmy gets a notification about the Tribune’s review going live.

Readers see the review kind of like Carmy probably would: a blur of positive and negative terms, cutting from one to another at frenetic speed. While viewers don’t see the review in full, it’s clear from Carmy’s reaction that it left a mark — and probably not a great one. “Motherf*cker,” the chef says while shaking his head, seemingly disappointed.

So, what did the review say? Fortunately, NPR took the time to identify the words and partial phrases that flash on the screen and offer a theory as to their significance.


A Bittersweet Review

After arranging the review bits in a potentially coherent order, NPR’s Linda Holmes points out that when “delicious” appears on the screen (a good word when it comes to food!), an apparent fragment of the phrase “kitchen couldn’t” is nearby.

The outlet also ventures that another fragment, “undeniable inco,” might mean “undeniable inconsistency” or “undeniable incompleteness.” The word “dissonance” also appears in there, after all — so, yeah, something at The Bear isn’t gelling.


After analyzing other bits and pieces, the meticulous assessment arrives at a theory: Carmy is indeed an “amazing chef” — the review does mention “the chef’s brilliant [something]” — but “the rest of the team is not living up to his great ideas.”

This theory works well because The Bear has made no secret of Carmy’s talent. It’s how his talent fits (or doesn’t fit) in with the rest of his life and team that makes the show so compelling. “I don’t want it to be so hard to keep up with me,” he tells Sydney in Episode 9. While he’s talking about keeping up emotionally, not straight kitchen skills, it reflects the theme of discord that the Tribune seems to pick up on in the review.

There’s Another Theory, Too

Fans on Reddit put forth another intriguing theory, suggesting that the seemingly mixed review wasn’t real at all. (Cue X-Files music.)

As one fan notes, the words that flashed on screen could be a continuation of the “fantasy” Carmy has imagined throughout the season. “He fantasizes excellent and terrible reviews, it showcases his anxiety,” they write. Earlier in the same episode, he does imagine a headline that says “complete failure” while looking at his old boss.


Carmy’s impassioned reaction to the review could be “mislead[ing],” one commenter proposes. They suggest that he could be reacting to one of the other notifications on his phone or perhaps a message from Sydney about leaving the restaurant.