'The Bear' Season 3 Episode 6 recap: "Napkins" (2024)

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  • ‘The Bear’ Season 3 Episode 6 Recap: “Napkins”

Last season, Tina, the beleaguered line cook whose main storyline was her unflagging loyalty to Mikey Berzatto, finally got more to do. She was sent to culinary school and elevated from a person who stirs giant pots of beef slop, staying quiet even in the most high-pressured f*ck-you-f*ck-off meltdowns between the usual front of the kitchen staff, to Sydney’s sous chef. But she’s never had her main-character moment until The Bear Season 3 Episode 6, “Napkins,” directed by Ayo Edibiri. This is one of those quiet episodes —a welcome and merciful downshift from the disjointed, Fak-heavy plot lines that have clogged up Season 3.

“Napkins” is Tina’s Bear origin story, offering a glimpse into her life, which we’ve never seen before. We meet her husband, David, played by her real-life husband, David Zayas, best known for his many years of service trying to stop Dexter from murdering people.

David and Tina live in a tiny Chicago apartment with their son, Louie, who is not shown. (Louie was the brooding teen troublemaker who appeared in Season 1. They give him a nice callback when, in mid-conversation, David and Tina joke that their son is “kind of an assshole.” Self-aware parents!)

Right from the start, we see Tina stressed about a massive rent increase and David, a doorman, awaiting a promotion. He maintains a positive attitude that it will come; she is certain it will not. Despite the impending doom, there is an abundance of love in their home.

David hugs and kisses his wife frequently, and when she has insecurities about being 46 years old. He assures her that she’s not a “washed-up old lady” but a “beautiful young woman.”

Tina’s search for control and security in their future is drowning her—but at least she has 15 years at a candy factory in a dull admin role. But it’s a paycheck, and it’s a paycheck her family needs until David gets his promotion—if David gets the promotion. But of course, soon after that, she and most of her other co-workers, who’ve also invested half their working lives in a place that doesn’t value them, are called into a drab conference room where they’re all coldly let go. Tina’s face becomes wide-eyed with panic. Everything was falling apart.

She holds off on telling David she got laid off until later that night while they’re both in bed. And David, her loving, ever-positive spouse, tells her everything will be okay, even if it’s not. Maybe this is a blessing.

Tina didn’t wallow for too long. She updated her resume and began her job search. The next couple of weeks, she’s rejected in every way possible you can be rejected while applying for jobs. She’s rejected for her lack of experience, her lack of education, her lack of timing—nothing is out there. Even positions she’s overqualified for won’t hire her. But—then a break happens. Her LinkedIn posting gets a hit, and she’s invited to attend an open interview for a management position that matches her skill set. She goes to bed full of hope and shows up the next morning for her interview. Her supportive husband serves her coffee and kisses her softly as she tells him she feels good about this interview. But it was not to be: the emotionless young person at the front desk regrets to inform her that the position has already been filled. He never even looks up from his glowing desktop.

'The Bear' Season 3 Episode 6 recap: "Napkins" (2)

Tina presses the little bastard as to why it was still posted—some people might get their hopes up, she says—and he blows her off.

Uh oh. Bad move.

'The Bear' Season 3 Episode 6 recap: "Napkins" (3)

More bad news on her way home: her bus is delayed for 29 minutes. Distraught and officially beaten, she searches for a place to get a warm cup of coffee and settle herself down. Her destiny awaits.

'The Bear' Season 3 Episode 6 recap: "Napkins" (4)

She walks in to find The Beef is in full chaos mode (pre-Carmy), with Richie doing his charming wise-ass routine at the front register as he takes sandwich orders coming in and out at million miles per hour. Tina inches up to the counter and orders a black coffee. Richie gives it to her on the house and adds a free Italian Beef sandwich courtesy of a no-show customer. She takes her sandwich and her coffee to the back dining area, and, after one bite, out come the big gulping sobs. Mikey Berzatto sees her melting down and interrogates Richie about what he did to make her cry. Richie denies any wrongdoing but then pressures Mikey to tell her to stop crying because “she’ll scare all the regulars.”

Mikey gently approaches her with a few napkins and slides his chair over. The two begin a genuine conversation about the sh*ttiness and unfairness of their lives. The dreams they had—or, in Mikey’s case, the dreams he was never born to have. “That dream sh*t? Ain’t gonna happen to me.”

Tina offers more of her story and how her last job screwed her over, and how arrogant all the young people are and entitled to their own fancy dreams but she’s not angry—she’s jealous. She says she feels like she’s lost the hunger for dreams, but now all she wants to do is feed her family and have a routine. Mikey understands. He offers her a job as a line cook—sh*tty pay, lots of yelling, and you smell it on you at night. But he also says that on some days, it’s the most fun job ever, and they make a rack of tips. Mikey tells her to grab him in the back if she’s interested in the job, and he gets back to yelling at Richie. Tina takes a bite of her sandwich and can’t believe that she accidentally found her dream job on that day of all days.


QUESTIONS I STILL HAVE: What happened to Papa Berzatto? Is he still alive? Mikey suggests he was just a typical deadbeat who hated his life but there has to be more.

MIDDLE-AGED DAD NEEDLEDROP: “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys. “Napkins” was dominated by 80s-era disco-soul, but then, of course, this show finds a way to punch the alt-90s turbo button.

CARMY ARMY p*rn: NONE! No Carmy this episode, so we’ll pivot to…

'The Bear' Season 3 Episode 6 recap: "Napkins" (5)

Ehhh, you talkin’ to Beef?


'The Bear' Season 3 Episode 6 recap: "Napkins" (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?
  • Want to join in on the action but don’t have FX or Hulu? Smash that subscribe button below.


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 6 recap: "Napkins" (2024)
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