One of Netflix’s most ambitious series of the year so far is Beef, starring the wonderful Steven Yeun and Ali Wong. The 10-episode dramedy comes from A24, following a feud between two Los Angeles residents after a road rage incident spirals into something neither of them could have ever imagined. It was reported that Netflix acquired the rights in 2021 after a bidding war between streamers, and we’re sure Beef will be a hit with fans of offbeat comedies.
Living in two vastly different worlds, main characters Danny Cho (Yeun) and Amy Lau (Wong) struggle with where they’re at in their lives, feeling unsatisfied with their careers and personal relationships. Danny is a contractor desperate to find work, while Amy is a successful businesswoman with a husband and a young child. But despite how different their lives might look on the outside, they both strive for meaning.
All 10 episodes of Beef are now streaming on Netflix and we’re breaking down all the biggest moments in each episode!
Beef episode 1 recap: The Birds Don’t Sing, They Screech in Pain
Trigger Warning: Suicide
The first episode of Beef does a great job setting up the backgrounds and storylines for our two main characters, Amy and Danny. We first get to meet Danny, who’s in line at a store called Forsters waiting to return sets of hibachi grills. It becomes apparent he’s been in this situation before, having bought and returned the items multiple times in the past. But this time, he can’t find the receipt, so he has to leave. Frustrated, he gets into his car and starts backing up, almost hitting another driver. Instead of leaving it alone, he proceeds to follow the car after the driver honks and flips him off, and a road rage incident ensues. Eventually, the other driver gets away, but not before Danny takes down their license plate number.
The other driver turns out to be Amy, a business owner trying to sell her store Kōyōhaus. She gets home and confides in her husband George about the road rage incident, who suggests she gets back into gratitude journaling. Clearly, the two are on different pages, but Amy tries to entertain George’s suggestions. The couple has a young daughter named Junie and they live in a luxurious, expensive home.
Meanwhile, Danny gets home and also vents about the road rage incident, explaining what happened to his brother/roommate Paul. Paul’s younger than Danny and the two don’t always see eye to eye; as we learn in this scene, Paul makes money off of crypto and Danny doesn’t approve. We also get to know a little bit about their parents who live in Korea. Danny FaceTimes with them and his mom tells him he should find a nice Korean girl to start a family with. That’s easier said than done.
Danny’s contractor business isn’t doing well, and he meets up with his cousin Isaac to ask for money. Isaac is three months out of jail, and we learn that he was involved in Danny’s parents’ failed hotel. They got into something illegal, and Danny’s parents are stuck in Korea now because of it. Though he’s hesitant, Isaac offers Danny $20,000 because he feels bad about what he did.
While Amy’s business is thriving, she has other issues in her personal life she struggles to deal with. For instance, her mother-in-law Fumi doesn’t seem to like her. She gives her backhanded compliments and their relationship seems very strained, while Fumi and George are as close as ever. That’s no doubt difficult for Amy to navigate. Determined to sell her business, Amy and George go to a woman named Jordan’s home for a dinner party. As it turns out, Jordan is the CEO of Forster’s, the same chain store Danny visited at the start of the episode and to who Amy wants to sell her business.
We learn that George’s late dad was a famous artist, which Amy’s peers think is super impressive. Jordan tells Amy there’s an offer being drawn up to buy the store, but that the whole thing could take a while. Though Jordan seems interested in buying, she also doesn’t totally seem trustworthy.
Later that night, Amy scrolls through social media and notices someone uploaded a video of the road rage incident. Though you can’t see her face to identify her, she’s understandably shaken up. During the night, Junie has a nightmare and Amy comforts her, also opening up about how unhappy she is. She’s tired of being so stressed at work and of pretending. Though Junie might not understand what her mom’s saying, this really gives us a good glimpse of how much Amy is struggling.
Danny finds a property he wants to buy to start a new construction company, and obsessively calls and leaves voicemails for the realtor while eating Burger King burgers on the side of the road. Though their circumstances are very different, Danny’s also going through a grim period like Amy is.
We learn a little bit more about just how tough of a time Danny is going through when he returns home and turns on all of his hibachi grills on his floor. He keeps buying the grills because he wants to kill himself, but when his carbon monoxide alarm goes off, he decides against it. He ends up finding the receipt.
Danny then decides to look up Amy’s license plate to figure out her identity, and once she finds her address, he impulsively drives over. Meanwhile, Amy tries to open her and George’s safe but it doesn’t work, and when she asks George about it, he tells her he changed the combination. Though we don’t understand now, he tells Amy she should know why he didn’t tell her.
Amy tries to crack the safe and ends up opening it using George’s mom’s birthday, and she proceeds to play with a gun that’s inside. But before more can happen, the doorbell rings and Danny’s at her door. He tells Amy he’s a contractor working down the street, and that he noticed her roof might be an electrical hazard. Believing George might’ve been the one he got into the road rage incident with, he checks out her garage and asks if Amy’s husband is home. She shocks him when she reveals he’s not, and that she’s the one who drives the white SUV.
Before Danny leaves, he asks to use the bathroom, and then weirdly runs out the front door as Amy asks to exchange numbers. Amy heads to the bathroom and sees liquid on the floor, discovering Danny peed all over the bathroom floor. And it’s a lot of pee.
Enraged, Amy runs after Danny down the street, but he’s able to get into his car and drive away as Amy memorizes his license plate.
Written by Natalie Zamora