Beef – Season 1 Episode 8 Recap & Review

The Drama of Original Choice

Amy invites an old stranger from an online chess game to have sex at a dingy motel as episode 8 of Beef begins. She covers her face with a blanket and places herself in the doggy position. As the act begins, Amy veers through the covers at her face in the mirror and sees a creepy white-skinned lady with jet-black hair and a crooked nose.

The day after the fire, Fumi and Amy go on another shopping spree. Fumi promises to talk to George and convince him to listen to Amy. Even though he would get half of everything if they get a divorce, Fumi sees Amy as George’s rock and says he would have been at the bottom of the ocean had Amy not been there for him. Also, she calls him a hack artist who would have starved as he has no real talent.

We spin back to Amy’s past. The day she bunked school and planned an outing, she saw her father crawl in with another woman. Amy saw the manifestation of that creepy lady, whose origins we will understand later in this episode. #

In the present, Amy visits her parents, who live in the same house. They are surprised to see her. Amy has not been in regular contact with them. In fact, the last they talked was two years ago. There is underlying tension between Amy and her father Bruce. When he mentions that Amy isn’t as committed to them as some of their friends’ children, Amy retaliates by saying they did not want her in the first place.

In Asian cultures, a boy is preferred to a girl owing to the responsibility of marriage. This might allude to that cultural phenomenon. Amy is surprised to know that her mother knew about the affair but stuck by her father. In a flashback that goes further back, we see Amy’s parents quarrelling about the expenses of living in America.

Amy, meanwhile, reads a book which features that lady. The caption below her photo reads “Don’t misbehave. I’m always watching!” She appears in skin to tell Amy that she will never tell her secrets to anyone as they won’t like her anymore if she does.

George and June come back. Amy comes clean about sleeping with Paul to George but does not get the reaction she was hoping for. He is heartbroken and devastated by this stroke of reality. Amy also tells him everything about Danny and the road rage incident. George is shocked to find out the truth but is more shaken by the sheer banality of it all. He is incredulous that Amy would risk her family for such a petty issue. Amy says she is a bad person but tried to be good for George. Even though he is supportive, he says he wants a divorce and that June will go with him.

In a strange yet beautiful moment, we get another reminder of Amy and Danny’s mutuality. We see them as infants in their respective parents’ arms back in 1984, who have high expectations for them. In the present, Danny is confused, angry, and devastated. The firemen are still figuring out the cause of the fire. He takes his parents back to the apartment. They are disappointed and tired and will go back to Korea on the earliest flight.

When Paul mentions what he said to George, Danny instantly thinks Amy is behind this. He also sees Edwin drive off haphazardly from the neighbourhood. Is he behind the fire? Danny goes to his house later that night. George, despite knowing the truth, still wants to talk to Zane for comfort.

When Edwin returns, Danny corners him and ekes out the truth from him. All Edwin did was get magazine subscriptions in Danny’s name. He is jealous of Danny because Veronica is still not over Danny and thinks he is the best she ever had. She has also cut off Edwin physically and Danny consoles him when he breaks down.

In a flashback about Danny’s childhood, we see him yearning for being at the same level as Paul. He asks Paul to study hard so that he can skip three grades and be in Danny’s class. Danny is informed that the fire was not arson or caused intentionally. The construction company that made the house installed below-par wiring, so it was Danny’s fault after all.

The irony here is consuming as he lies to Paul about it so that he can keep him under his foot. It is a weird phrase as that might not be exactly how Danny feels, but it is closer to the truth than anything else.

Danny’s veiled jealousy is confirmed when we see him throwing Paul’s college applications into the bin in another flashback. Danny picks up a Koyohaus plant from Forsters and a gasoline can. He heads to George’s home, who panics when he sees Danny at the front door. He reluctantly invites him in.

Danny uses the washroom but finds George pointing a gun at him when he comes out. He has already called the police. They struggle and George knocks his head against the wall and falls unconscious.

Danny quickly leaves in his truck as he hears the sirens nearby. Irony has once again played a game on him as he notices June sitting with Luca in the back. He is stunned and drives on fearing what is coming next.


The Episode Review

This episode of Beef gives us a peek, among other things, into Amy and Danny’s childhood. The context is important to understand where they come from and the sort of challenges they overcame to reach this position. At first, seeing the “white lady” evoked wonderment. It gave us the impression that Beef was getting an “A24 intervention.” Thankfully, though, that was not the case.

Props to the creators for not leaving any stone unturned in this roller coaster of a ride. The ups and downs have been terribly violent in either direction. Emotionally, it is not easy for the viewer to absorb everything instantly. Both Amy and Danny are broken souls who just cannot catch a break in their adult lives.

The mutuality of their condition draws them apart but keeps them on the same pedestal. On most occasions, such episodes with plot backgrounds are generally filler episodes but the creators have made sure that is not the case with episode 8. It sets us up for an ominous conclusion to this strangely exciting story, which is not heading towards a happy ending.

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You can read our full season review for Beef here!

 

  • Episode Rating
    (4.5)
4.5

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