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The Bear Season 1 Ending Explained: The Beginning Of A New Era

Liza Colón-Zayas, Jeremy Allen White, and Lionel Boyce talking around the counter in The Bear.
(Image credit: FX Networks)

The Bear arrived on Hulu and captivated audiences. Throughout its eight episodes, fans of the series watched Carmy (played by Jeremy Allen White), a chef who worked for a fine dining restaurant, return home to Chicago in order to take over ownership of his family’s sandwich shop after his brother, Michael, committed suicide. And boy, was it a wild and intense ride from start to finish that has many calling The Bear one of the best things TV has to offer - but here we are, at the end of Season 1, and looking forward already to the beginning of Season 2. 

With any TV show season ending, there’s always a lot that goes into the finale, so if you’re wondering why Michael put all that money in those tomato cans, or what might be next for everyone at The Original Beef, here's an explanation of The Bear Season 1 ending - and what we can look forward to in Season 2. 

Jeremy Allen White in The Bear.

(Image credit: Hulu)

What Happens At The End Of The Bear Season 1

The Bear was a hell of a ride from beginning to end, from that quick-paced first episode to everything else that came after. All that drama and intensity simmered over in Episode 7, but the finale episode, “Braciole,” is where everything ended up coming together like the perfect dish at your favorite restaurant. 

Episode 7, overall, was a hell of an episode with that one-shot take, and showed just how hot things can get in the kitchen, and as you watch it, you can feel the intensity. In an interview with Uproxx, Jeremy Allen White talked about how he played Carmy during that episode, and how he wanted to make this moment Carmy’s breaking point:

I think I really wanted Carmy throughout the season to feel really fragile. To feel like one wrong turn or somebody says the wrong thing and he could kind of pop. And so I think I knew going into that day, I just had to come in and kind of be wound up and anxious…it felt like a tight rope walk for Carmy.

During the final episode, we see the aftermath of the craziness from Episode 7, with both Sydney and Marcus having walked out after Carmy’s meltdown in the kitchen, following the heavy influx of orders into the Original Beef when Sydney left on the pre-order option for their to-go service. 

Carmy attends an Al-Anon meeting, where he reveals the reason he ended up going into the food industry in the first place was because his brother never let him cook in the shop. Now, it was like he was trying to prove him wrong, and while his cooking got better, his mental state had deteriorated, and Carmy comes to the realization that him trying to fix the restaurant, was him just trying to fix the strained relationship that he had with his brother. It’s after this, he returns - and seems to have a new attitude in mind. 

They throw a bachelor party that turns bad after Richie punches someone very aggressively, but the person survives, and it’s after this that Carmy (after picking Richie up from the police) and Richie finally stop fighting and come to a truce, because, as Richie says, Carmy is “all he has.”

Marcus goes back to work after having a heart to heart with Sydney regarding their interests in the cooking world, while Sydney is a little more hesitant. Carmy apologizes to Marcus after snapping at him during Episode 7, and soon, Sydney returns at the end of the episode, as well. 

However, that doesn't mean that everything between Carmy and Sydney is peachy keen. In an interview with Collider, White said that things are still tense between them - and going into Season 2, their strained partnership will most likely be a big key storyline:

I also feel like you’ve still got this tension, with Carmy and Sydney, and this power balance that they’re still gonna be struggling with. Yes, he apologized, kind of. Yes, she sort of accepted it. Yes, they both have a shared passion for this thing. But there’s certainly a lot for them to sort out with one another still left.

Even so, at the end, they’re all sharing a meal together - and looking forward to the future of the shop, despite all the drama that has happened.

The money in The Bear.

(Image credit: Hulu)

A Gift From The Beyond

Richie ends up handing a letter to Carmy from Michael (played by Jon Bernthal), which was his last words to his brother. In it, Carmy not only receives a small note from his deceased brother, but the recipe to his family’s spaghetti, saying that the cans of small tomato sauce taste better. 

Carmy, intending on making the tomato sauce recipe, opens up a can of small tomato sauce, and in it, he finds a wad of cash. Thinking quickly, he begins to realize that the small cans of tomato sauce all had wads of cash in them, so he closes down the shop, and spends the rest of the day going through each of the tomato cans. 

And in each one, there is a wad of cash. It’s a blessing from the beyond - one last present from Michael in the form of Uncle Jimmy’s $300,000 loan, and this in turn meant that Michael was telling the truth about wanting to franchise, and open a restaurant with Carmy, despite their strained relationship.

The creator of the show, Christopher Storer, talked about this moment, and how all that money got in those cans in the first place in an interview with IndieWire:

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, felt more like a real plan of action to him. A safe felt too safe, too obvious.

While that idea might sound odd, Storer does agree, but said there's precedent for Michael's method:

I know it sounds completely absurd, but in researching various kitchens, I was really shocked how many stories and articles I had come across or heard about where money or drugs were found in sealed aluminum tomato cans. I guess the police dogs can’t smell anything over the acidic tomatoes and I definitely think Michael had heard some version of that somewhere.

Talk about a smart way to leave money behind. No matter what, it gave Carmy the push that he needed to really start to rebuild The Original Beef - which we’ll go over last. 

The sign at the end of The Bear.

(Image credit: Hulu)

The Original Beef Is Coming To A Close

As we all saw in that sign that Carmy hung up, The Original Beef in The Bear is closing - and a new place, called “The Bear” (fittingly) will be opening up in its place. It’s a hopeful ending for the future, because now, they have the potential funds to really restart this place from the ground up and create something great. 

However, there are still issues. Uncle Jimmy is still very much holding Carmy to Michael’s loan for the restaurant, so how the hell is Carmy going to pay that off and also start “The Bear?” And let’s not even get into tax issues, the IRS, and vending licenses. 

However, it seems that the creator of the show already has that covered, as mentioned in the IndieWire interview, where Storer noted that the next season will cover not only the logistics of finding all this money, but the emotional state Carmy will be in afterwards:

This is the question we wanted to end with and hopefully get to explore in a second season. Carmy gets some closure with his brother, but then how does he handle this going forward? How can he build something new and start from a more positive place? 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.

The Bear was a fantastic addition to Hulu’s lineup of original shows, and I can’t wait to see what they do in Season 2. Now, if you don’t mind me, I’m going to go and recreate that beautiful chocolate cake Marcus made. I’m already hungry. 

If you’re already missing the show like I am, check out other shows you should watch if you liked The Bear.

Alexandra Ramos
Alexandra Ramos

Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!