'Beef' ending, explained: What happens to Danny and Amy, according to the creator

Had questions after reaching the end of "Beef"? You were supposed to.


Warning: This post contains spoilers for the ending of "Beef."

"Beef," which stars Ali Wong as Amy Lau and Steven Yeun as Danny Cho, tells the story of how two complete strangers experiencing their own life crises can't let go of a road rage incident. Their beef becomes the catalyst for a chain of events that ends up essentially destroying their lives as they know it.

The series' penultimate episode is gore-filled and features a shootout that leaves several characters either dead or injured.

The series finale then is a startling departure from the action — so surprisingly quiet and simple — but still is living rent-free in our heads.

So we asked the show's creator (who also directed and wrote the final episode), Lee Sung Jin to help break down the show's final two episodes for us.

If you haven't watched yet, be forewarned: there are many, many spoilers ahead.

What’s up with the crows?

The series finale opens on two black crows having a full-on conversation, translated to viewers via closed captioning.

Why crows? Lee has an answer — but he's hesitant to share it.

"I hesitate to answer that because ... I am excited to see how people interpret the crows,” Lee tells TODAY.com. “I just know that crows are everywhere, and they’re very smart.”

He adds that living in Los Angeles, he sees crows “all the time” and they’re “such a part of L.A. life.”

“They should not be underestimated,” he says.

The scene just “made sense” to him. He adds that even though many writers use crows in their work, he felt compelled to include them in his too.

“I don’t know — there’s just something about the L.A. prominence (of crows) plus the sort of spiritual meaning behind them that felt appropriate for the show,” he says.

Crows often act as symbols for death in film and literature but they also can represent change or transformation.

What kind of berries do Amy and Danny accidentally eat?

While lost in the wilderness, Amy threatens Danny at gunpoint and makes him go search for something they can eat. She tells him to find aloe vera, agave and elderberries.

He struggles to do so while Amy keeps brandishing the gun at him from a distance but eventually, Danny seems to track down the three items on Amy's list.

Unfortunately for them, the berries turn out to be poisonous and rather than be nourished by fruity goodness, the two go on a pseudo drug trip while simultaneously vomiting.

It's not entirely clear what kind of berries they eat and the California Poison Control System declined to hazard a guess to TODAY.com's outreach. Lee didn't immediately respond to our follow-up question about the berries either. (We get it, it's not that pressing ... but we wanted to know!)

That said, Neal Denton from the University of Tennessee Extension speculated that the berries were either from pokeweed or nightshade plants.

"Nightshade would be more likely for hallucinations," he tells TODAY.com via text.

Deadly nightshade, as is it commonly known, can be found all over the world. All parts of the plant are toxic, according the U.S. Department of Agriculture but eating the berries can cause rapid heart beat, dilated pupils, delirium, vomiting, hallucinations, and even death due to respiratory failure.

“Why are you so angry all the time?”

Conversations between the main characters in the woods get at show's emotional core.

Amy asks Danny a pointed question: "Why are you so angry all the time?"

“I could ask you the same thing,” he retorts.

Steven Yeun as Danny in episode 108 of "Beef."Netflix

Later in the episode, Danny asks a question of his own: “Why is it so hard for us to be happy?”

Danny, who has seemingly struggled with depression and carries the weight of his family on his shoulders, finds it hard to get in a good mood. In fact, the first time we saw him truly smile in the show is after he pranks Amy by peeing all over her bathroom and then taking off at a full sprint as she chases him.

That scene is the first time we see Amy truly engaged too — not hiding behind the Zen-like character that she's created to safely interact with the world.

Ali Wong as Amy in episode 106 of "Beef."Andrew Cooper / Netflix

Their "Beef" gives the two characters something to live for, however misguided and misdirected. As the series progresses, their decision to keep fighting have increasingly dire consequences — an escalation that eventually reaches a breaking point (make that several).

Lee says the two let their anger get the best of them because they are "trapped" in their own ways.

"I think for a lot of us, when when we’re stuck in our status quo, usually something dramatic has to happen to shake us out of it, whether positive or negative," he explains. "Couples therapists tell you all the time, 'If you’re stuck in a routine, it’s either gonna be like the two people going on a vacation together to break up the routine or like a horrible fight to shake things up."

He says that catalyst will force people to take a "look at issues that have been swept under the rug.

"And I think that’s the case with Danny and Amy — they’re so entrenched in the way that they are that it took this road rage to kind of shake them out of it. It becomes a scapegoat for for a lot of other things going on in their life."

Wong as Amy in the second episode of "Beef." Andrew Cooper / Netflix

So, what's the lesson from the 'Beef' finale?

Lee says there isn't "necessarily" a lesson he wants audiences to take away from this limited series.

"I think part of the joy of watching television is so many things are open to interpretation, but the one hope is that no matter where you’re at in your own life, the show’s gonna offer you something," he says. "Whether it is relating to Amy or Danny or about accepting your shadow self, or just a good laugh or a good thrill. I’m just hoping that the show can connect in some form or fashion."

Yeun echoes those sentiments, saying he doesn't have any "hopes for what (viewers) take away."

"I think we really put this out there to see how it reflects back on everybody. Hopefully people feel comforted," he says.

Young Mazino, who plays Danny’s younger brother Paul, agrees.

"I definitely have some shadows for sure. But I think it’s kind of like 'Naruto,' where you you end up befriending your shadow side to come face-to-face, instead of just leaving it in its locked up little corner cage," he says. ("Naruto" is a Japanese anime show in which the titular character learns to harness his powers as a ninja as he is guided by the spirit demon within him.)

Joseph Lee, who played Amy's husband George, says the cast sees the show as "a mirror."

"We’re showing the characters in the fullness of who they are," he says. "And if the audience is able to see themselves reflected in any of the characters then I think that’s an incredible experience to have."

Does Amy go to the hospital with Danny out of guilt, friendship or something more?

Lee says they left that final scene “very open” intentionally so viewers can make their own interpretation.

He says they debated adding more dialogue to the montage of Amy quietly waiting for Danny to wake up but ultimately decided against it.

“We wanted people to be projecting whatever they were feeling and going through at the time onto the screen,” he explains.

The show ends with Amy in the hospital bed with Danny as he slowly comes to and begins to move his arm — seemingly to go around her — but cuts before the audience can make any concrete conclusions.

What happens next?

Lee says everything is open to interpretation for the audience. He pitched the show to Netflix as a limited series, meaning he didn’t initially intend to have multiple seasons.

But Lee himself is “very curious” as to what becomes of Amy and Danny after the final credits roll.

“We pitched this as a limited anthology when we sold the show, so there’s a little bit of a close ended-ness to the story,” he says. “But you know, if the fans demanded, I certainly wouldn’t mind exploring Danny and Amy more either because I’m very curious what they do after the hospital.”