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FX debuts the 3rd season of the award-winning dramatic comedy 'The Bear'

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

FX's award-winning dramatic comedy "The Bear" debuted all 10 episodes of its highly anticipated third season on Hulu last night, hours before originally scheduled. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says the show continues its poignant, high-quality storytelling. If you're extra sensitive about spoilers, it's time to close your ears because his review includes details from this new season.

ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: Fans of "The Bear" be warned, the first episode of the new season takes a lot of chances. It unfolds in a surreal style, like a tone poem, moving freely between flashbacks and the present day, summing up crucial moments from last season. Jeremy Allen White's Carmy Berzatto, a New York-trained chef who's transformed his family-owned greasy spoon into a higher-end Chicago restaurant, apologizes at one point to his collaborator, Sydney, played by Ayo Edebiri, for getting locked in a freezer last season during their opening night.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE BEAR")

JEREMY ALLEN WHITE: (As Carmy) I left you alone.

AYO EDEBIRI: (As Sydney) So don't let it happen again.

WHITE: (As Carmy) It's never going to happen again.

DEGGANS: Fans know Carmy also unloaded a bitter monologue in that freezer on how his new girlfriend Claire was taking his focus away from the restaurant. She was outside the door and heard it all. That conversation also resonates throughout this new third season. By the second episode, we're back to the high energy dialogue that makes "The Bear" so entertaining. Here's Carmy's sister Sugar, played by Abby Elliott, reading his newly written list of non-negotiable goals.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE BEAR")

ABBY ELLIOTT: (As Sugar) Never repeat ingredients. Technique, technique, technique - spelled wrong, but whatever. Change menu every day, and something about teaspoons that I really can't read.

WHITE: (As Carmy) Yes, yes, I'm sick of running out of teaspoons.

ELLIOTT: (As Sugar) So you think we're ready to constantly evolve through passion and creativity?

WHITE: (As Carmy) We are going to find out.

ELLIOTT: (As Sugar) Carm.

WHITE: (As Carmy) Yes?

ELLIOTT: (As Sugar) Why are you doing this?

WHITE: (As Carmy) I can't waste that much time.

DEGGANS: Now, if you know the characters surrounding Carmy, including his volatile family friend Richie, who acts as a surprisingly effective host at the restaurant, you know there's going to be a lot of negotiating at high volume, especially when Richie writes his own list of non-negotiables.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE BEAR")

WHITE: (As Carmy) Richie...

EBON MOSS-BACHRACH: (As Richie) Yeah.

WHITE: (As Carmy) No, we have a list.

MOSS-BACHRACH: (As Richie) A willingness to accommodate dietary restrictions? That's not on the list. That's important. Joy, just in general. It's not a waste of time.

WHITE: (As Carmy) This is a waste of time. Yes, it is. It's a waste of my time.

MOSS-BACHRACH: (As Richie) No, it's not a waste of time.

WHITE: (As Carmy) Richie, enough. Please, back to work. Thank you.

MOSS-BACHRACH: (As Richie) What'd I say?

WHITE: (As Carmy) Thank you.

MOSS-BACHRACH: (As Richie) The list goes on. Very defensive. I see you.

WHITE: (As Carmy) Thank you.

MOSS-BACHRACH: (As Richie) I see you.

WHITE: (As Carmy) Thank you.

DEGGANS: Carmy has a serious goal, to earn a Michelin star. But as he pushes himself and those around him, there's a growing concern over the toll his focus is taking. There are so many wonderful surprises in this new season, including the return of some excellent guest performers from last season and one amazing new cameo. But I would sooner splash ketchup on a fine pastry than spoil those surprises. Once again, the supporting cast also steps up to deliver ace performances. Spoiler alert - Lionel Boyce's pastry chef Marcus, who's struggling with an unexpected loss, gets a pep talk from Carmy, who's still trying to process his brother's suicide.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE BEAR")

WHITE: (As Carmy) Some of us here, we probably know how you're feeling. Just maybe, you know, instead of not dealing with it, try to...

LIONEL BOYCE: (As Marcus) Is that what you did?

WHITE: (As Carmy) No, no (laughter).

BOYCE: (As Marcus) This is what's up now. This place has got to work. And I need you to do something for me.

WHITE: (As Carmy) Yeah, name it.

BOYCE: (As Marcus) Take us there, bear.

WHITE: (As Carmy) Yes, chef.

DEGGANS: It may be tempting for some to get a little jaded about "The Bear's" success and ding these new episodes for returning again to old themes of past trauma, breeding contemporary pain. But for me, this new season is a fine return to form from one of TV's best series, still creatively swinging for the fences, even while the whole world is watching.

I'm Eric Deggans.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CHICAGO")

SUFJAN STEVENS: (Singing) I fell in love again. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Eric Deggans is NPR's first full-time TV critic.