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Netflix's Beef: The Hidden Meaning Of The Crows Explained

The following article contains spoilers for "Beef" Season 1.

There are many reasons why numerous viewers have been drawn to Netflix's "Beef." There are some outstanding performances, particularly from the two leads. It's a perfect encapsulation of millennial rage and trying to gain control in a meaningless world. And there's ample hidden meaning if you watch closely enough.

One piece of symbolism that's easy to overlook is the presence of crows in "Beef." The birds get the biggest chance to shine in Episode 10, where two crows talk to one another about whether to help Danny (Steven Yeun) and Amy (Ali Wong) after they both drive off a ravine. However, they pop up periodically throughout the show before that. Amy yells at a crow, and Isaac (David Choe) tells a story about Danny nursing a crow back to health. However, there's a significant piece of dialogue that may explain how the crows factor into all of this. 

One character tells a story about how a murder of crows was conditioned to hate Dick Cheney's face, so when they saw the real Dick Cheney, they would attack him. This is actually based on science, as crows and similar birds can remember human faces, meaning they can hold grudges. Seeing how everything that occurs in "Beef" is a result of a single road rage incident between Danny and Amy, incorporating animals who can't let go of things either is appropriate. 

Crows carry great symbolism across cultures

In this regard, the crows could symbolize the heaviest theme in the show — intergenerational trauma. It's a common theme in modern media, with "Everything Everywhere All at Once" and "Turning Red" also dealing with this subject. Redditor u/srsbriyen points this out as well, "when you mess with crows they remember it forever and not only that every crow around them like how amy/danny's trauma sticks with them forever and affects every 'crow' around them." However, that may not be the only facet of the crows' inclusion.

YouTuber BrainPilot has a video dissecting the ending to "Beef," mentioning how crows can be symbolic of transformation. Episode 10 begins with the crow scene, so they could foreshadow the transformation Amy and Danny will experience in that episode, as they begin to empathize with each other's plights, coming to respect one another in the process. Additionally, crows can symbolize oncoming death, and having the birds appear repeatedly throughout the show lend a sense of impending doom. That finally came to fruition in Episode 9 when several characters meet bloody demises. 

There's also a Korean proverb that sounds particularly astute for Netflix's "Beef:" "If a crow tit walks like a stork, it will break its legs." It basically means that pretending to be something you're not will only invite further hardship. Both Amy and Danny initially pretend they don't have trauma and pretend to be all right in order to get ahead in life. But this only complicates matters further. There are numerous ways to interpret the crows in "Beef," and it lends itself to rewatching the show to see what else viewers can glean from the series as a whole.