The Bear Season 3: How did Carmy Get the Scar on His Hand?

With each season, FX’s ‘The Bear’ unpacks something new in the life of Carmy Berzatto and the people of his eponymous restaurant. Every new chapter of the story peels over a layer and reveals a new aspect of the characters, their lives, and their relationships, especially Carmy. The third season begins with him looking out of the window in the early hours of the morning while he caresses the scar on his palm. In a later scene, we see Carmy’s memory in which Claire asks him how he got the scar. As in many things with Carmy, the answer is more layered than it appears on the surface, but the conversation hints at what might have really happened. SPOILERS AHEAD

Carmy’s Scar is a Reminder of His Most Tragic Loss

When Claire asks how Carmy got the scar on his hand, he says he grabbed a really hot pot. She notes that he must have held on to it really hard because the scar goes rather deep. While Carmy tries to shrug it away by saying that it happened just because he wasn’t paying attention, Claire asks him if “it hurt so much that it didn’t hurt at all?” He says yes, and then Claire tells him the story of a girl who once came to a hospital with glass cutting into her body because she’d fallen over a glass table during a party. At the end of the story, when all the surgeries were done, and the girl woke up, she laughed. When Carmy asks why, Claire says because it didn’t hurt yet.

The girl and her injuries, whether she eventually suffered pain, are never mentioned again in the show, but the story does a great job of exploring the side of pain and grief. In an indirect way, Claire is trying to relate to Carmy’s grief, which appears to her in the form of the scar on his hand. It’s fair to assume that the scar happened after Michael’s death, the thing that “hurt so much” that the other pain didn’t seem to hurt at all.

Claire’s story about the girl further adds to this by showing that pain and grief don’t necessarily hit immediately or all at once. The girl, who most likely didn’t notice the pain due to all the meds, laughed because the reality of what happened to her was yet to set in. She had yet to realize that she had scars all over her body to last a lifetime. This was something that was going to leave a mark even when she’d healed completely and years had passed. The numbness of that moment stopped her from feeling, so it didn’t hurt yet, but the numbness could last only so long, and the pain would eventually come in.

On the surface, it seems like a random story, but in Carmy’s context, it works rather well. Since his brother’s death, he has drowned himself in work, shutting out anything that could counter the numbness he has cocooned himself in because as long as he keeps working, he doesn’t have to feel the grief and the pain. But this cocoon tears off at times, and we see Carmy panicking, which is also when someone makes some very bad decisions. Following the break-up with Claire, we see him receding in that cocoon again, and much deeper in this time, as he surrounds himself with challenges he didn’t need to take on, just because he doesn’t want to feel the pain in its entirety. And yet, the scar is there as a reminder of the very thing he tries to keep out of his mind.

Read More: The Bear Season 3: What Does the Review Mean for Carmy’s Restaurant?