Beef – Season 1 Episode 1 Recap & Review

The Birds Don’t Sing, They Screech in Pain

Episode 1 of Beef starts off with a “beef” between Amy and Danny. Danny is already having a rough day. He’s lost receipts for a lot of expensive things he had bought from Forsters and had to keep them. Not being able to return the stuff is weighing heavy on Danny. His day further worsens as he almost collides with a car in the parking lot. What’s more troubling for him is the obnoxious driver who keeps honking at him for no reason and shows him the middle finger.

Danny decides he has had enough and gives chase. The frenetic cat-and-mouse game ends when Amy threateningly almost rear-ends Danny’s truck. She goes back to her lavish home and we meet George, her husband. Jordana has invited her to the new flagship store and her house for dinner. Amy is fed up with the umpteen calls and meetings she has had to go through in the last two years with no offers.

Before she can explain, George cuts her off and says they should focus on the positive and start the gratitude journals again. They have a daughter, Junie, while Amy is in the process of bidding her plant art store to Forsters.

Danny lives with his brother Paul and vents about “the guy” whom he had a beef with. He also suggests he is tired of the world and its changing ways, instantly giving away the underlying existential crisis the makers want to bring out about our burned-up generation and workforce. His parents want him to find a good Korean girl and get married. When Danny learns Paul is gambling money in crypto, he lectures his brother.

Their parents lost the motel they owned and Danny had to start his own business as a contractor. They lost it because of Isaac, their cousin, who was doing shady deals at the motel, selling counterfeit baby powder formula.

Mia works for Amy’s store, Kōyōhaus. George’s father, Haru Nakai, was a great artist and Mia and Danny studied his works in college. She tries to keep a smiling face for Mia and another customer who wants a photo. Amy seems to be in a similar spot, mentally, as Danny. We learn that Danny is more of a handyman than a contractor; he’s not really capable of doing big-scale and complex projects.

Fumi, George’s mother, is critical of Junie’s artwork. Even though she is young, Fumi wants her to get a real set teacher. Amy doesn’t want to pressure Junie as she has anxiety and paintings help. There is definitely some tension between them. Danny meets Isaac and asks him for money. Isaac gets a little tense but agrees. While trimming branches of a high tree, Danny almost falls off when he hears honking and sees a similar car to Amy’s. The employer fires him after that as Danny is hanging midair from the tree.

Amy and George have to sit through Jordana Forsters’ mushroom madness at dinner. Danny wants to buy the motel back with the money Isaac gave him. He had invested the money through Paul’s crypto account, and even though he was green for most of the day, the coin suddenly crashed.

Jordana finally relieves Amy’s tension and says they are drawing up an offer for Kōyōhaus. Later that night, Amy sees someone has posted a video of her and Danny’s road rage online. But no one can see the car plates. She has trouble sleeping and tries to open George’s locker but can’t do it. She hears June screaming and calms her down. She remembers the time when June was born and how happy Amy was back then. She breaks down in tears wanting to go back to that place when nothing more mattered than just being with June and at peace.

Danny tries to kill himself with carbon monoxide but cannot do it successfully as he keeps stopping in between. Instead, he looks up the number plate.

The next morning, Amy brings up opening the safe and says she should have the combination, but George does not agree with her. Unbeknownst to her, Danny has got the address and is heading in their direction. Anyway, Amy is able to open the safe as Danny almost reaches the place. She plays around with the gun sexually and is turned on, but her high is broken by Danny, who says he has spotted a problem with the house.

When he brings up remodelling, she gets interested and opens the door. She invites him in and asks him to repair the roof problem. He also asks to see her garage. When he mentions warp, she utters “there’s always something”, exactly the phrase Danny had been using all episode. They find similarities in each other but when Danny asks about the car, Amy says that she drives it and Danny asks to use it.

Amy sees he has urinated all over it and she chases after him but to no avail. As he leaves, she takes down his number plate and sports an evil smile.

The Episode Review

Episode 1 of Beef is typical A24 madness and the show promises that in abundance. Even though the plot does not meet the strangeness quotient we have come to expect from the studio, Beef certainly has a unique story to tell.

Ali Wong and Steve Yeun are both playing archetype characters but don’t look out of their depth at all. They are essentially the same person fed up with the world and trying to fit in. It remains interesting to see how Amy (Wong) tries to get back at Danny (Yeun) in the next episode.

Episode 1 oscillates between emotional extremes, although fails to find a middle ground. Is that the recipe for season 1 of Beef? Let’s find out!

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You can read our full season review for Beef here!

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