I am one of those people that was initially reluctant to watch more than a few episodes of the eerily creepy show ‘You’ where the main lead, Joe (Penn Badgley) is a stalker that has obsessive and violent tendencies. But I stuck it out for season one and was pleasantly surprised with the introduction of another lead, Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti) in season 2.
With Love in the picture, there’s more nuance to the story, and there’s also some confusion for the viewer on how they think the ending should be.
Proceed with caution now, there are spoilers ahead!
A brief recap on the thriller drama series, You.
In season 1, Joe works at a bookstore where he met and fell in love with Guinevere Beck (Elizabeth Lail). When Beck found out who Joe really was, Joe kills her. And frames her murder on her therapist, Dr. Nicky (John Stamos). During all this, he also kills Beck’s best friend, Peach (Shay Mitchell).
Then for a fresh new start, he moves to Los Angeles, where he finds another woman to obsess over, Love Quinn. Though, their relationship isn’t always solid, with their past coming to haunt them often and Love’s co-dependent twin brother, Forty (James Scully). And there’s also another one of Joe’s ex-girlfriends, Candace (Ambyr Childers).
Candace, (the one he tried to kill) had escaped and tried to bring Joe down. Candace fake dates Forty even to get close to Joe and his new woman.
She warns Love about Joe and this leads to Love and Joe temporarily breaking up. Meanwhile, Joe’s neighbor Delilah (who he had a minor fling with), is trapped in his basement after finding out the truth about him. Joe doesn’t want to kill Delilah, however it appears he might have when he was on drugs (thanks to Forty’s insane obsession in finishing a script). Later, we see that Candace finds out what happened and traps Joe with the deceased Delilah. She tells Love to look at Joe and see what really happened.
Then we see a great plot twist. You see, Love actually is okay with all that. And she loves Joe, and actually accepts him for who he is. She ends up killing Candace and reveals to Joe that she killed Delilah too.
Joe is shocked and believes Love is a monster (even though he himself is a serial killer too but his sense of logic was always flawed, let’s be honest). He almost kills Love, but doesn’t when Love reveals she’s pregnant.
Meanwhile, Forty finds out that Joe killed Beck and framed Dr. Nicky. He wants to protect Love and puts a gun on Joe. But Love already knows the murderous past of Joe, and she doesn’t mind it. Because you know, she’s killed people too so it’s not a big deal, duh. This makes Forty look at disgust at his twin sister, Love. He’s shocked at how she could love someone like Joe and how she’s actually happy to pregnant with his kid.
Then a policeman comes in the scene and shoots Forty (resulting in his death), thinking that he’s saving Joe and Love. But actually everyone needs protection from this toxic couple. As we see in ‘You’ Season 3.
Related: Netflix You Season 2 Hilarious Memes
‘You’ Season 3 adds the right flavor of typical marriage problems into an already problematic couple
Joe and Love move to Madre Linda, a suburban town with rich socialites and fake personalities. There’s the picture-perfect couple Sherry and Cary Conrad (who deserve a nod for their complex characters and wonderful acting by Travis Van Winkle and Shalita Grant) and tech entrepreneurs.
What ‘You’ did so creatively and brilliantly was that it’s the only show that you’d never root for anyone. Well, not any adult. You would always root for the kids and pray for their well-being, especially Love and Joe’s child, Henry. He really had some back luck with having insane serial killers as parents.
But actually, as much as you hate the Goldbergs, you approve of their parenting skills. They always (or at least try to) put their child first. They trap Gil (whose antivaxxer ideology harmed their child with measles), and would even kill him in order to protect Henry. Even though that’s not a logical way to deal with things, you get why a couple who casually murders people would do that to Gil.
So, for just a little bit, you sympathize with them. But the thing is, you have to choose between Love and Joe. Who is the lesser of two evils?
And that’s the beauty of the show. Because they’re both equally evil, they’re both the same person. They kill people and they don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, just argue on the ways to clean up and who actually deserves to die.
In just the first episode, Love ends up killing their next-door neighbor, Natalie Engler. She assumes there was an affair between Joe and Natalie. But actually there wasn’t. It was just a typical Joe obsession that he gets over with after deciding that he’s going to protect his own family, no matter what.
We see Joe slowly learning to love his wife Love, despite the monster he thinks she is. They end up going to couples therapy and actually end up fixing some of their problems. Mainly Joe’s addiction to loving any attractive woman that comes his way, and Love’s possessiveness leading to her killing said woman. Of course, they only indirectly talk about it with their therapist who thinks they’re just your everyday normal couple facing marriage problems.
But slowly, they settle down after covering up Natalie’s murder and blaming it on Gil, and try to understand each other more.
But something else happens. Joe and Love become victims of what most marriages do, boredem. Yes, boredem that leads to the wife sleeping with a college teenager next door, Theo (Dylan Arnold). And for Joe to start obsessing over his attractive boss, Marienne (Tati Gabrille). Joe also again believing Love is a monster that he doesn’t love anymore.
Things get complicated as Marienne has feelings for Joe too and she’s trying to get custody of her child over her shitty ex-husband, Ryan (Scott Michael Foster). Love doesn’t pick up on what’s happening right away. She’s just feeling torn over how Joe is distracted or how he has fallen out of love with her yet again. Love feels bored, exhausted, inadequate, confused, and angry. Even if she has her own bakery and the perfect family, she feels not enough. During those moments, you almost feel sorry for Love.
But there’s one thing that is always gooing to stay true for Love, even when she’s screwing Theo, she thinks Joe is her soulmate. And she’s going to do whatever it takes for them to stay together.
Even if it means having a sexual night with Sherry and Cary. Joe, while reluctantly having sex with Sherry, fantasizes about Marienne because that’s the only way he can actually finish the task he has in order to pretend he’s devoted to his wife and her whimsical wishes. (Yeah, the show is pretty messed up).
And Love is intelligent, too smart for any normal suburban wife, she senses Joe is in love with another woman. Leading to a messy fight, resulting in the Conrads knowing how Love killed Natalie. Of course, Sherry and Cary end up in the basement, and their basement time actually led me to loving this couple way more than any other fictional married couples. They also end up surviving, and honestly I would have been angry if they hadn’t.
And oh Love is also this close to killing Theo, but only hits up and leaves him in the bakery. Joe ends up saving Theo by dropping him off to the hospital.
He still thinks he can get his happily ever after with Marienne and their kids. At this moment, you kind of wish that for Joe too. But you really don’t because Joe needs to atone for the very serious crimes he’s committed.
After Joe kills Ryan (for Marienne of course), Love solves the puzzle and figures out she is Joe’s new obsession. Love and Joe end up having a dinner where she confesses to accidentally killing her first husband James. She then reveals that she used a paralyzer (acitone) on Joe too, leaving Joe temporarily paralyzed.
She texts Marienne from Joe’s phone to come to their house. And then tells Marienne how Joe is a dangerous guy who killed her ex. Love is confronting Marienne on why she chose Joe, while she is planning to murder her.
But then Juliette (Marienne’s daughter) tells her mother that she needs to go to the restroom. Leading to Love changing her course of actions. A warm moment where you’re again on Team Love. I mean Love kills people, but at least she won’t kill a mother and at least she isn’t a creep like Joe!
So, Love warns Marienne to stay away from Madre Linda and to go away as far as possible. We almost see Marienne and Love having a bonding moment where Marienne also wants to see Love escape the abusive husband. Of course, she doesn’t know of Love’s violent tendencies yet, thankfully. Marienne and Juliette escape the hellscape that is Joe and Love and hopefully their paths never cross (as much as Joe wants).
Then in a climactic moment, we see Love almost killing Joe, but Joe is equally as smart as Love. They’re both seasoned serial killers, so it kind of makes sense. Joe knew about the acitone because Love was planting that in their garden and had already prepared an antidote which he took before their dinner. He ends up killing Love, the mother of his child, with the poison of her own making. Love’s last dying words are haunting for the viewer, as she says that they’re both good for each other, just not for their child, Henry. Henry, who will know what a monster his father is. At this point, you’re just Team Henry. And of course, you were always Team Henry.
Joe leaves Henry with the only wholesome and normal parents of this town, Dante (Ben Mehl) and Lansing, and leaves a note requesting them to take care of Henry like their own child. Of course, they take him on and love him unconditionally.
Joe then chops up his own toes, and writes a suicide note for Love. The note reveals that she got tired of being judged in the suburban town and ended up killing her husband and herself.
An ending we didn’t know if we want, because Joe is still alive.
Throughout You season 3, there are hints of Joe trying to redeem himself. Of him trying to better himself and have a life where he finds the love he was meant to be with. A life where he doesn’t have to kill anyone, stalk anyone, do anything he would later regret.
Though, we don’t really know that for sure because Joe has killed people and justified it many times. He’s killed women he claimed to love, thinking it was for the greater good.
He might have been right in killing Love, who was somehow a more destructive and impulsive serial killer than he was. But he’s still deeply flawed.
And let’s face it, Love was also a really good character too. If the show made a risky and bold move in killing Joe instead of Love, we might have had an even better season 4. Maybe Love would have been able to redeem herself in ways Joe couldn’t. The constant battle for the viewer on who should live and who shouldn’t makes for a very interesting watch.
Personally, I’m glad Marienne is safe. And Henry is with stable loving parents like Dante and Lansing. Of course, also that the Conrads got out of the basement safe and alive. As Joe said, after Love died and he escaped, the town of Madre Linda actually healed.
Even Theo and his father Matthew Engler (Scott Speedman) started to form a bond, one of few wholesome moments in the entire show.
Despite the fact that main cast of the show is toxic, ‘You’ season 3 still gives us a happy ending of sorts. I cannot wait for what happens in season 4.