Produced by A24 (the distribution company that gave birth to Everything Everywhere All at Once, Hereditary, Moonlight, and many other acclaimed modern productions), Beef is definitely one of the most awaited TV series that landed on Netflix in the first half of 2023. With a complex plot full of unexpected twists, a poetic ending, and many aspects that need to be explained, the series leaves the feeling of some hidden meaning that wants to come out. Let’s explore everything in this article.
You can watch the official trailer for Beef here on Youtube.
Beef on Netflix, the plot & the ending, explained
Danny is a construction worker that struggles with economic issues. In contrast, Amy is a successful businesswoman who’s close to selling her company for millions of dollars. The two are the protagonist of a road rage case that will fill both with anger, leading them to self-destruction.
Danny and Amy do everything they can to affect or ruin each other. Amy will flood Danny with bad reviews, ruining his business, and Danny reacts angrily, damaging her home. Both are driven by an amount of anger impossible to channel, and that leads to a weird evolution in their lives. On one side, Amy starts chatting with Paul, unaware that he’s Danny’s brother. The two will meet and have a short relationship made of sex and some feelings that have no place to survive in their lives. On the other side, Danny is trying to set up one scam after the other to make some illegal money. Things culminate one night in Las Vegas when Danny recognizes Amy’s face at a conference and accuses her publicly of being one of the criminals in the road rage case. Up to this point, the plot of Beef hasn’t explained where we are really headed.
From there, things start to go seriously south. Danny risks the prison, and the suspects around Amy get thicker, ready to reach the attention of the wealthy woman who wants to buy her business. This is where Amy proposes an agreement with Danny, paying him to officially state that the girl of the road rage wasn’t her. The deal is unnecessary, though, as Amy’s mother-in-law takes responsibility for it, freeing Amy from any suspects. On his side, Danny befriends George, Amy’s husband, originally intending to steal some pieces of art from his house and resell it. Still, then he changes his mind in the name of a friendship that became real.
Months later, things seem somehow sorted out. Amy is rich; she sold her company with the help of her husband, who decided to sell his father’s masterpiece. Danny and his brother Paul are managing their construction company with some success. One day, George invites Danny to a party at his home. He introduces Danny (under the fake name “Zane”) to his wife, who finally discovers he is the friend her husband has been talking about. That night, Danny also discovers that Amy is the girl Paul has dated for a while, who broke his heart. That night, Danny reveals to Paul that the girl he loved is the same girl who ruined Danny’s life after the road rage case and implies that she may have flirted with him only to get to Danny. Furious, Paul knocks at Amy’s door the day after and reveals to George that he had sex with his wife.
Again, things take a dangerous turn. George disappears with his daughter June, Amy cannot locate them. Danny returns home and finds the house on fire: he will discover from the investigation that it’s his fault, a mistake he made with the house’s wires. Unable to accept that truth, he wants to frame Amy for arson, but he ends up unintentionally knocking out George and kidnapping June.
The ending of Beef doesn’t really require to be explained in detail. It’s enough to understand that things become really complicated: Amy organizes a robbery at her billionaire friend’s house to get June back. Police arrive, Danny and Paul are there and risk years of prison. Paul escapes, Danny hears shots and believes he’s dead. June is safe, George takes her and leaves without talking to Amy. Amy and Danny leave that house, see each other and start chasing each other again until they drive off the road and almost die.
In the last episode, things get dreamy. After an intoxication, Danny and Amy start exchanging deep thoughts about life and somehow bond. After all, they have a similar nature, and despite their hate, they can also fully understand each other. Once they are close to getting some help, George sees them and shoots Danny. The ending of Beef shows Danny at the hospital trying to get better while Amy hugs him, revealing feelings that we would never have expected during the plot.
What’s the meaning of the series?
While the plot of Beef evolves, we can’t fail to notice that every character has a dual nature, and the plot has explained it thoroughly: each of them is considered a good person by many, but the worst comes out of them when they get in some extreme situations. That applies to Danny (who is beloved by many but doesn’t have problems organizing scams or robberies), Amy (who seems to care about her business and family but gets dragged by anger, cheats, and even offers the criminals to help them steal from her friend in order to get June back) and every other character in Beef, including George, Paul or Amy’s mother-in-law.
The meaning that Beef wants to convey is that no pure good person exists. We can all be evil if the situation leads to it. And we can all be dragged by toxic feelings that turn us into evil. That sentence about anger as a temporary state of mind supports this theory: the way emotions change us is crucial in defining what kind of people we are.
Nevertheless, nothing lasts forever. Every relationship, every marriage, and every feeling fades out at some point. And redemption is always possible. Up to the point that even Danny and Amy, who hates each other so much to ruin their lives, can start caring and have feelings. In conclusion, nothing lasts forever, agreed, but what if that isn’t a bad thing?