How one of 2023's best TV episodes proves Ebon Moss-Bachrach will be perfect for Fantastic Four

The Bear season 2
(Image credit: FX)

Like many, I’ve been a Carmy-come-lately to The Bear, the pressure-cooker FX drama that revolves around culinary wunderkind Carmy (Jeremy Allen White) returning home to Chicago to take charge of his late brother Michael’s greasy, rundown sandwich shop.

Among the backroom of chefs and kitchen crew is Richie – hilariously called ‘Cousin’ by all and sundry despite bearing no relation to anyone – the loud-mouthed, pig-headed jack-of-all-trades struggling to find his place in Carmy’s grand vision for a Michelin star restaurant.

That is, until ‘Forks’. Even if you haven’t caught the show yet, chances are you heard rumblings about the seventh episode of The Bear’s second season. Not only is it a moment of significant, heartwarming growth for Cousin and one of last year’s best TV episodes, it offers up a fascinating proof of concept on how arguably Fantastic Four’s least-known actor is going to fit snugly into the rock-hard exterior – both literally and metaphorically – of Ben Grimm, AKA The Thing.

First, some context: ‘Forks’ is the smooth, refreshing palate cleanser after the raging fire of ‘Fishes’, the previous episode that recounts the Berzattos’ eventful Christmas family dinner five years previous and acts as one of the most exhausting and stressful hours of television you’re ever likely to see. 

Where that is chaos personified – Jon Bernthal throwing cutlery at a riled-up Bob Odenkirk and Jamie Lee Curtis crashing her car through the family home signs the episode off with a bang – ‘Forks’ is methodical, regimented and, ultimately, cathartic.

Carmy, it seems, has called in a few favors at his old fine-dining stomping ground at Ever. Richie doesn’t just waltz into the kitchen of one of the world’s best eateries, however. Here, he is humbled – and it’s where his growth begins.

Cooking up a storm

The Bear season 2

(Image credit: FX)

‘Forks’ gets its name from Richie’s first week-long task: cleaning forks. Over and over. It’s here where Moss-Bachrach’s on-screen audition for The Thing – even if he didn’t know it yet – becomes apparent.

A key character trait for Ben Grimm is that he doesn’t want to be The Thing. Not at first, anyway. Much like Richie slowly becoming acclimated to the details-focused environment of the fine-dining experience, however, he begins to grow and accept the role as part of a team. His rocky exterior, much like the suit "armor" he wears as part of the front-of-house staff, is only half of who he is.

Much like Ben Grimm, Richie cares. His joy at overhearing a family not wanting to leave Chicago without trying deep dish pizza – and then running across Chi-Town to deliver the goods – belies his steely demeanour. He, and The Thing, both care deeply about people.

It’s something that Chef Terry (a surprise cameo from Olivia Colman) picks up on while they’re busy skinning mushrooms towards the end of ‘Forks’. "He said you’re good with people," she tells Richie of Carmy’s appraisal of the once hot-headed handyman. "He’s not wrong."

Fantastic Four

(Image credit: Marvel)

It’s not easy to toe the line between unlikeable and affable, but Moss-Bachrach does that effortlessly throughout ‘Forks’. It’s a skillset that will serve him well as The Thing – whose secret appeal lies in those quieter moments, whether it’s with Johnny Storm or his frequent on-off partner Alicia Masters.

Need more evidence? Moss-Bachrach gives a masterclass in range throughout the 40 minutes or so he dominates the screen. Whether it’s the frog-in-the-throat 'I love you' to his ex-wife (Gillian Jacobs’ Tiff) after being told she’s re-marrying or the giddy car karaoke of Taylor Swift’s 'Love Story', the versatility is astounding. 

Because that’s The Thing, isn’t it? The rest of the Fantastic Four are usually stuck in their ways: Reed is aloof; Sue is fearsome; Johnny is brash. The Thing? He betrays his stony skin for something altogether more malleable. He can be angry, sad, alone – but works best when he wants to be your friend. 

Soon, Ebon Moss-Bachrach will be cooking up a different kind of storm – with the Storms. On the evidence of The Bear, it’s going to be an MCU main course worth savoring.

Fantastic Four hits cinemas on July 11, 2025. For more on what's coming your way, check out our guides to new TV shows and upcoming Marvel movies.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.