Beef‘s premiere introduces its central characters and conflict with such confidence it’s easy to see already that this is one of the better shows of the year.
This recap of Beef Season 1 Episode 1, “The Birds Don’t Sing, They Screech in Pain”, contains spoilers.
The premiere of Beef has a couple of very simple objectives. One is to introduce our main characters, Amy and Danny, and their conflict. The other is to help us understand why this conflict – a pretty petty road rage dispute – is the straw that broke the camel’s back for both of them.
“The Birds Don’t Sing, They Screech in Pain” is so good at doing this that it’s immediately clear Beef is one of the better shows of the year.
Beef Season 1 Episode 1 Recap
Danny is a self-employed contractor who keeps buying and then returning sets of hibachi grills. Amy is a business owner trying to sell her store after putting work ahead of her husband, George, and their daughter, Junie.
To be fair, it’s easy to see why Amy wouldn’t want to spend much time with George, but more on this later.
Why do Danny and Amy have beef?
Danny and Amy almost collide in the parking lot of Forsters. Amy flips him off. He gives chase. Both of them cause a lot of property damage and almost crash, into each other and passers-by. Danny, who has no idea the driver of the vehicle is a woman, notes down the license plate number.
Both Amy and Danny vent about the incident. Danny tells his brother, Paul, who lives with him, irresponsibly makes money on crypto schemes, and doesn’t seem especially serious about anything, least of all Danny’s failing contractor business. Danny and Paul’s traditionalist Korean parents remain in Korea, unable to leave thanks to some kind of nebulous illegality involving Danny’s cousin Isaac, who is fresh out of jail.
Amy, meanwhile, tells her husband, who doesn’t care. He’s a patronizing, pampered mommy’s boy, despite his mommy, Fumi, openly resenting his wife. Amy is trying to sell her business to Jordan, the CEO of Forsters, which is incidentally the same chain store where Danny was trying to return those grills.
Why does Danny keep buying and returning grills?
Danny and Amy are both opposites in many ways, particularly socioeconomically, but they’re both close to respective breakdowns. He’s tired of being broke; she’s tired of being successful but alone, even within her big house and among her ostensibly loving family.
Danny keeps buying the grills because he has plans to kill himself via carbon monoxide poisoning. However, he doesn’t commit. (The implication with the buying and returning is that he keeps having this idea but deciding against it.)
Beef Season 1 Episode 1 Ending Explained
So, Danny and Amy both fixate on the road rage incident. He uses her license plate to find her address and turns up there offering to fix a potential electrical hazard he spotted while outside. Naturally, he assumes that Amy’s husband was driving the car, but when he discovers Amy was the one driving, he pees all over her hardwood bathroom floor and makes a quick getaway.
As he escapes in his own vehicle, Amy memorizes his license plate, and thus the cycle continues.
You can stream Beef Season 1 Episode 1, “The Birds Don’t Sing, They Screech in Pain” exclusively on Netflix.