Steven Yeun and Ali Wong's new Netflix show "Beef" is an emotional experience from start to finish. The show follows the story of a frustrated contractor named Danny (Yeun) and a rich, overworked mom named Amy (Wong) who happen to get into a road rage entanglement with each other. Neither one of them can let it go, and they eventually wind up all but destroying each other's lives over the show's ten episodes.
In the ninth episode, "The Great Fabricator," Danny sets the show's conclusion in motion when he accidentally kidnaps Amy's young daughter, June. As Danny prepares to return her, his cousin Isaac (David Choe) bursts into his apartment, having just been released from jail. Isaac is enraged because Danny framed him for his own vandalism — which occurred during the original road rage incident with Amy — and once he realises that there's a millionaire's child in the room, he decides to hold her at ransom in order to fund his defence for his multiple crimes.
He calls Amy to make the threat but she happens to be at her wealthy new business partner Jordan's house. So she tells Isaac to drop her daughter off there, promising that no one will call the cops and he'll be able to make upwards of a million dollars by stealing Jordan's art collection. However, things escalate quickly when Isaac and his accomplices arrive at the house with Danny, his brother Paul, June, and her dog all trapped in the car.
Paul and Danny soon manage to escape, while Jordan and her wife Naomi try to flee to a nearby panic room in the confusion. Naomi, however, presses the button that closes the panic room off too soon, and Jordan winds up being crushed to death as the door closes on her body.
When the police arrive, Isaac starts open-firing at them, leading to a shoot-out. Meanwhile, Paul and Danny hide in the back garden. Danny helps Paul escape by hoisting him up, but when Danny himself can't make it over. In the midst of this, he finally tells Paul that he threw away his college applications and blamed him for burning their parents' house down. Paul runs away but Danny hears a gunshot and believes the former may have been shot.
"Beef"'s final episode, "Figures of Light," begins with Amy standing outside an ambulance and realising that her soon-to-be-ex-husband George (Joseph Lee) has acquired emergency custody of their daughter in light of recent events. Danny drives past her and the pair get into one final road rage incident, driving wildly across dark roads until they both drive off a cliff.
The pair soon realise that they've stranded themselves in a vast, uninhabited wilderness with no service or civilization in sight. At first, they try to avoid each other but they get into another confrontation and Danny pushes Amy down a hill, injuring her ankle. She's then forced to ask Danny to carry her.
After travelling for a full day with no success, the pair grow desperate and Amy tells Danny to forage for elderberries and other plants. The berries they eat happen to be both poisonous and hallucinogenic, though, and they lose touch with reality for the night.
Only in their altered states are the pair able to finally look past their differences. Danny confesses that he'd been trying to return items he'd bought to kill himself the day they met, and they both share that they've long been plagued by heavy feelings of self-loathing and misery. They eventually seem to experience some sort of ego death and begin to believe they're the same person.
The next day, the two finally make it to a place with service and houses in view, and Danny learns Paul isn't dead. As they make their way towards the houses, George — who used Find My iPhone — rushes towards them and seeing Danny holding his wife, shoots him. Danny winds up on life support in a hospital and the show's final frames show Amy lying next to him in bed, her anger finally replaced by profound empathy.
It's a deep ending that showcases the show's core message: So much of the anger and violence in the world is rooted in people's hidden, unprocessed pain, but empathy and connection are balms that can begin to heal those wounds.
"Beef" is now streaming on Netflix.