‘Beef’: The chaotic brilliance of a violent meet-cute
(Credit: Netflix)


'Beef': The chaotic brilliance of a violent meet-cute

Netflix’s newest comedy-drama has been skyrocketing through the viewing charts. A true delight produced by the streamer, Beef has quickly gained the popularity that it truly deserves. The plot exposition takes place within a jampacked pilot episode. Here’s an honest series review for Beef.

The show is based on two strangers who meet each other on a particularly rough day for both. Ali Wong (Amy Lau) and Steven Yeun (Danny Cho) get into a steamy road rage incident. This hate trickles into their personal lives as the duo fixates on the incident. And before you know it, they bring absolute chaos into each other’s lives. 

The show takes a dark turn when this journey gets filled with manipulation and an obsessive spiral. Soon the antagonists endlessly conspire against each other, bleeding into their personal lives. 

The conflict of Beef

As the show begins, viewers receive only a small amount of information regarding both characters. This does not necessarily make the audience sympathise with the antihero’s situation. Rather, viewers wonder how crazy the duo can be considering the series of bad decisions presented to them. 

Amy Lau is an established entrepreneur of Koyohaus, a world of luxury plants. In comparison, Danny Cho is a beaten-down contractor who has been cheated by his own cousin. He has lost his motel, his main source of income, and his parents lost everything as a result of it. Although belonging to two different worlds, their frustration seems like the only thing they have in common. 

When the two get into a heated road rage incident, they are deeply affected by it. More than normal. When Danny makes the decision to face his newest arch-rival, he essentially starts the beef that the whole show is about. 

Rising action in ‘Beef’

As things get more and more personal for the duo, things start getting even darker. Viewers are made familiar with Amy’s hidden anger issues and her frustration towards her partner, while the audience begins to empathise with Danny for his constant struggles and lack of financial stability. Danny’s brother Paul (Young Mazino) is distant, his business is suffering, and everything seems to be falling apart. 

As Amy’s negative comments on Danny’s company make his company suffer, he is forced to reunite with his traitor cousin Isaac (David Choe). Isaac lures Danny into what clearly seems like an unfair trade by offering him money and eventually taking over his company and truck—the only two things that Danny actually owned. 

Meanwhile, clearly unhappy with her marriage, Amy attempts to trap Danny in catfishing chaos. Soon she realises she has been conversing with her assistant Mia (Mia Serafino) to his brother Paul instead of Danny. Eventually, they begin to like each other and Amy ends up sleeping with him. This whole incident causes a lot of distress for both parties. 

Following the chaos, Danny befriends Amy’s husband, who is also the son of a great artist, George (Joseph Lee) as a man named Zayn. He wanted to get up close and personal into Amy’s world. One thing that both Danny and Amy definitely had in common is how they let the isolated incident take over their waking lives. Almost like they blamed the incident for everything that was not going well for them. 

As work pressure for Amy increases she starts behaving more and more unsettled. It was clear that her relationship with her daughter also caused her a lot of distress. When she found out that George was emotionally cheating on her with her assistant, it really got to her. Even after she had been financially hustling and trying to fend for her family’s expensive taste. She felt betrayed yet at the same time even more guilty for her affair with Paul and her inability to come clean to her husband. 

While Danny’s illegal pursuits with his crazy and controlling cousin started taking over his life as well. It was clear that the antiheroes had yet another thing in common, their sadness. Along with their sheer inability to express their true feelings. What felt too close to depression. Danny even tried to take his own life from carbon monoxide poisoning but stops himself when he realises what he was about to do. 

Explaining the ending of ‘Beef’

The season’s episode six offers the audience the happiest ending that they could have asked for. Entertaining all the hopes and aspirations of the two struggling antagonists. Amy and Danny were at their happiest. While Amy cracked her dream deal with her husband’s help, she was finally able to spend more time with her family.

On the other hand, Danny tipped the police that Isaac was behind the road rage incident and assault at Amy’s house. This led to his arrest, and Danny took over everything that Isaac had left in his name. He could bring his family back to where they belonged, and his relationship with Paul was improving.

However, like life, nothing really ever ends. As Amy says beautifully on the show, “Everything fades.” When George gets to know about Amy and Paul’s affair from Paul, he flips out and decides to walk away from her for a while. All while Isaac is set free from prison. Ir appears that chaos has infiltrated their lives again. 

The director does a brilliant job at highlighting truly how lonely and distant both characters felt in their lives. They both seek what Amy called ‘unconditional love’, which neither received growing up. Danny ends up assaulting George and kidnaping Junie in an accident right when Isaac reenters his life. 

Why you should watch Beef now

In an attempt to seek as much as he can, Isaac raids billionaire Jordan’s house as per Amy’s commands. Leading us viewers to one of the most chaotic, well-shot, and gruesome episodes in the history of TV. Eventually, at the end of it all, Danny and Amy find themselves stranded in no man’s land. They are left with nothing and are forced to collaborate to stay alive. Bound to make any viewer feel a good kind of uncomfortable by the very ability of naked truths to follow. A genuine attempt to steer the gaze inward.

This finally leads to the real ending of the series, where they talk for hours and hours on end. They realise how similar they are, and the show successfully sends out the message of how important communication is. How talking and being vulnerable helps people so much and inevitably turns victorious over more negative obsessive emotions like hate and anger. 

Beef has definitely been an artwork of a show filled with creativity in the way it has been produced. From quiet cinematography to the more chaotic parts, each and every move in the show felt like a deliberate attempt at mirroring the darker sides of reality. A must-watch for every viewer out there. Definitely, a show to remember and come back to throughout one’s lifetime, with award-worthy performances by each and every actor. 

Beef is bound to leave you speechless and make you question the true motive behind every bad decision you ever made. Consequences are inevitable. Watch Beef today on Netflix here.

'Beef' - Lee Sung Jin