An introspective episode fills in more backstory for our main characters while building to the season’s most drastic conclusion yet.
This recap of Beef Season 1 Episode 8, “The Drama of Original Choice”, contains spoilers.
“The Drama of Original Choice” is the most introspective episode of Beef thus far, dividing its time between the present day and flashbacks exploring how Danny and Amy both came to be the damaged, flawed people we’ve come to know throughout the series.
Even in the premiere, Beef has done a good job of this. We’ve always understood that it was never about flipping someone off in a chain store parking lot. Amy and Danny’s conflict has stemmed from the pair of them being kindred spirits, very different people trapped in the same self-loathing spiral.
Still, this episode contextualizes the why, and what led to that much bitterness, anger, and desperation, better than any of the previous ones.
Beef Season 1 Episode 8 Recap
Where do Amy’s issues stem from?
The episode opens with a younger Amy – there’s little to confirm this is a flashback, but it’s implied by Amy’s mention of being in her twenties and a reference to Yahoo Chess – having weirdly anonymous sex with an older man in a motel.
When she catches a glimpse of herself, she sees the hook-nosed visage of a pallid witch.
We come to learn that this is rooted in parental disinterest when she was a child. Amy’s parents never wanted children, a fact she was well aware of, and they left her to her own devices more often than not. The witch, a character cribbed from a children’s storybook, becomes the manifestation of her darker, baser side, the aspect of herself that she’s ashamed of.
When Amy sees that witch as herself in the motel, it’s the embodiment of her shame at being seemingly unable to have healthy intimate relationships. She has never been loved, certainly not unconditionally. She has sought that in her adult life, but that witch version of herself, the dark side, has thwarted her efforts.
This, in so many words, she confesses to George, who understandably wants a divorce.
Who burned down Danny’s house?
We get more understanding of Danny’s backstory too, a childhood rooted in bullying and ostracization and, oddly, a kind of dependency on Paul, whom he kept close and deliberately sabotaged – throwing his college applications away – in order to ensure he always had someone around who he could be “better” than.
This is obviously a deeply awful thing and lends credence to Amy’s accusations in Episode 7 that Paul is a stunted man-child because of Danny.
But Danny’s present concern is who burned down the house he built for his parents. He suspects Edwin, but despite him having resentment for Danny rooted in Veronica apparently never having gotten over him, he didn’t do it. As it turns out, nobody did. The wiring was faulty. Danny burned down his own house.
Beef Season 1 Episode 8 Ending Explained
Why does Danny frame Amy?
Danny was banking on arson so that he could claim on the insurance. Since the liability is his, he’s out of luck.
But more so than that, accepting that the wiring was at fault also means accepting what Danny has heard through so much of his life – that he’s an idiot, a loser. He can’t accept that. So, he decides to frame Amy instead.
Danny tells Paul a woman’s glove and a gas canister were found at the scene, and he attempts to put a matching glove in the bathroom cabinet at George and Amy’s place. However, after Amy’s confession, George knows now that Danny isn’t “Zane”.
This leads to a confrontation between the men, and the reappearance of that gun Amy used as a masturbation aid earlier in the series (a sexual oddity that makes more sense after this episode.) Chekhov’s dramatic principles in full effect, Danny knocks George out and flees, driving away in his car, only to discover that Junie is in the back seat.
You can stream Beef Season 1 Episode 8, “The Drama of Original Choice” exclusively on Netflix.