Beef‘s finale is the best part of the show.
Following the aftermath of a road rage incident that turns into an all-encompassing feud, A24 and Netflix‘s Beef invites you into the lives of its lead fighters, Danny (Steven Yeun) and Amy (Ali Wong), as their obsession with destroying each other works its way through the details of their lives. Danny and Amy’s feud begins as a boxing match, then plateaus as a strategic chess game with the two carefully planning their acts of revenge. But by Beef‘s finale, the show throws them back in the ring in a free-for-all in which everyone they know is a player, and no rules apply.
Beef‘s last two episodes feel like they’re injected with Gatorade, as Danny and Amy’s feud reaches new, completely unexpected heights. There’s an accidental kidnapping, a failed heist, a cop shootout, a poisonous berry-induced hallucinatory trip, and a final shot that sees Danny and Amy holding each other on a hospital bed. Boiled down, Beef is an enemies-to-lovers pipeline, but to really understand the show’s ending, we need to understand its beginning — the real reason Danny and Amy’s feud started, and how they knew they needed each other from the start.
Why did Danny and Amy’s feud even begin?
Right off the bat, we quickly learn that Danny and Amy hate their lives. On the day of their road rage incident, Danny is on the verge of attempting suicide, exhausted by a relay race of disappointment and life never working out the way he’d hoped. Amy, in the middle of a grueling business deal, is tired of constantly bearing the weight of her family on her shoulders and just wants to catch a break. It’s immediately apparent that no one in their lives is actually there to listen to them, and when they do, they just give a bunch of unsolicited advice.
Danny and Amy need someone to listen to them be angry. And not just scream-in-your-pillow angry, but full-body venting. When Amy tries to vent to her husband, George (Joseph Lee), he waxes lyrical on anger being a transitory emotion and suggests she practice gratitude instead. I hate to say it, but sometimes we don’t need to meditate, we need to scream, and that’s OK! Danny and Amy’s road rage was a way to let out all the emotions they were feeling that day.
As it went on, it was as if Danny and Amy had signed an agreement to be each other’s stress balls, because nothing in their lives promised that same relief. That mutual recognition was the first ground of empathy between them, and while they weren’t ready to admit it initially, by the show’s finale we see Danny and Amy finally understand how much they’ve relied on each other all along.
What really happened in Beef‘s finale?
With Danny and Amy’s feud going from playground to personal, aka, from peeing on each other’s carpets to abusing family trauma for blackmail, they started learning the most intimate details about each other. As an audience, it was apparent in these moments that Danny and Amy were two sides of the same coin. They were going through the same issues and emotions, and needed the same thing — someone to listen to them. If they just let their anger subside and let themselves realize all the similarities stringing through the trauma they were using against each other, they’d finally realize they were the answer they both needed. And that’s what finally happens in the finale.
Stranded in the middle of a forest with no sustenance besides the poisonous berries that got them to trip out, Danny and Amy are forced to finally talk. And talk they do. From their daddy issues to their concerns about money to their dissatisfaction with who they’ve become as adults, the venting Danny and Amy were both itching for from the show’s pilot episode was finally allowed to breathe, judgment-free. In their conversation, they found each other as companions — two people willing to actually see each other for who they are. Danny and Amy were always right for each other. It just took 48 hours of stranded delirium to finally get them to accept it.
They initially found each other as partners in anger, two buddies always up for a brawl. By the finale, they’d found each other as partners, period, two people who understand each other more than anyone else in their lives. Their mutual stress ball turned into a hug. And while Beef‘s final shot of Danny holding Amy in his sleep might be surprising for some, it was there all along.
If you rewatch Beef with the knowledge of its ending, you’ll realize that it’s all really about two soulmates finding each other. Some bump into each other in a cafe, and some need to get into a car chase that spirals out of control — as long as they’re there for each other in the end.