July 15, 2024

The Bear: How “Napkins” became the “Forks” of season 3

If you’ve made it to episode 6 of season 3 of “The Bear” then you’ve probably teared up a bit, but felt a little taller when the credits rolled on the Ayo Edebiri (Sydney) directed episode.

The last time this show made me feel this good was “Forks” from season 2. In fact, you could call “Napkins” the “Forks” of season 3 and get a lot of the fans nodding right along with you.

This is because the story is life affirming.

In “Forks” we’ve got cousin Richie, who is spiraling out of control when he’s sent to work at Ever. We meet Garrett, Chef Jess, and Chef Terry, he wears the suit, and the rest is smile inducing history, in one of the best episodes of television of last year.

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Here we flash back to Tina, who’s only one year older at 46 than Richie when the ep takes place. She gets laid off. And she starts to traverse the painful task of looking for work in a market that doesn’t appreciate advanced age.

Her breaking point is the late job interview invitation. She shows up and some jerk at the reception station completely dismisses her after coldly explaining the position had already been filled.

She’s wandering the streets, and even though we may have seen it coming, our hearts our relieved when we see The Beef. And we’re happy when we see Richie, and our hearts break when we see Mikey, but we know everything is going to be okay.

There isn’t a Taylor Swift driving sequence that we’ll replay months from now, but damn if Jon Bernthal doesn’t show up with an A plus performance again. He’s Taylor Swift this time.

We watch TV for an escape. But every once in a while, good television writers understand their audience and the pain that audience may have experienced in their own lives. And they tell you a story you’ve lived through with a happy ending, that lifts you up.

“Forks” did it last year. “Napkins” did it this year.

What a great episode.

What did you think of “Napkins”? Let me know in the comments.

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