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Netflix’s You Season 2 | Mishandling of Candace Stone’s Trauma

Spoilers alert!

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Netflix’s You season 2 is here and as expected, it was crazier and even darker than the last one. Though I have to admit, the story was more interesting in this one. The shocking twist at the end, that has led to many theories, is certainly captivating. However, You season 2 still had some elements from season 1 that were flawed. We’re talking about the mishandling of trauma that Joe (Penn Badgley)’s victims have suffered. Especially Candace Stone (Ambyr Childers).

What happened in the 2nd Season

Some people were already calling the show misogynistic in its nature. The women are victims whose lives are completely changed due to Joe’s doings. In You season 2, we saw Joe, now known as Will Bettelheim, try to live a bit differently. He’s hoping for some kind of redemption by falling for another woman Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti). Though things take an unexpected turn and things go out of his control. Ultimately, it’s Love that’s writing their love story and not the other way around.

This wasn’t just Joe Goldberg and Love Quinn’s story though. There’s the overly clingy and codependent brother, Forty (James Scully). Another character that is a huge character in the You series is Candace (Ambyr Childers). Candace is from Joe’s past.

Candace Stone Comes for Revenge in You Season 2

She was the first love of his that we know of. While we were not clear on what happened with Candace Stone, we find out soon that Joe tried to murder her out of rage. She got out alive without Joe knowing at all. In You season 2, Candace infiltrates Joe’s new life as Will in LA by dating Love Quinn’s brother Forty Quinn.

Forty and Candace are characters you should definitely root for but the show makes it complicated by subtly urging you to not do that.

That’s because the whole story is being narrated from Joe Goldberg’s perspective. Even though we’re tricked into believing he’s trying to better himself in season 2. He’s still the same dangerous guy who really should be in jail by now. The consequence of that is that Candace Stone and Forty Quinn’s trauma is greatly mishandled. And both end up dead.

Candace’s Past is Somewhat Revealed

For those people that still somehow romanticize stalker/murderer Joe Goldberg, this one is for you. Firstly, you do realize that this is messed up, right? Secondly, he killed Beck (Elizabeth Lail), someone he claimed to love with all his heart right after he tried to kill Candace. He was in love with them both or thought he was. Per him, everything he does is for love. His twisted version of love, that is.

Candace survives the first attempt of murder by Joe Goldberg. We see in You season 2 that she even tries to go to the police and report the case. Unfortunately, due to lack of evidence, the police officer is unable to help Candace and ends up giving her terrible advice. This showed her that the police simply were not going to make the effort of helping her. They dismissed the case as ‘domestic abuse’ and the woman officer basically suggested to her that she should stay her whole life hidden from her abuser. This reminded me of Netflix’s Unbelievable, a story where we see a girl report her rape to the police but due to the police officers being biased, she ends up redacting her claim and her whole life gets ruined.

There’s a strong pattern to see here. The trauma of the victims is completely ignored. With Candace’s case, she’s not even getting the benefit of the doubt.

Netflix’s You Ignored Candace’s Trauma

I was happy to see her come back for revenge in You season 2, but the series completely messed that up. Let’s recap. Candace joins Forty, Joe, and Love on Quinn’s holiday getaway. There’s a truth circle where everyone has to share their truths. It’s supposed to be a positive exercise that would help cleanse the psyche.

When it was Candace’s turn to go, she takes a dig about Joe when she shares her wish of traveling to Italy. This was Joe’s original dream. Afterward, it’s Joe’s turn. Though Joe had to accept what Candace had to say and then hug her. When Joe takes the steps to hug her, Candace gets triggered and we see flashbacks of her in a violent exchange with Joe. Despite her trying to get out of this traumatic situation by coming up with a logical reason, she cannot. Love and Forty Quinn’s mother Dottie is in charge of the group and coaxes Candace into not fearing love and just hugging the man before her.

When Candace or Amy Adam (her new identity) hugs Joe, she is visibly distressed and traumatized. Things don’t improve when she ultimately leaves the group to be alone in her own yurt. Joe follows her there alone, completely oblivious of the pain Candace might be going through.

Joe is just hyperfocused on his love for Love Quinn and for letting nothing stand in the way. It’s apparent when he utters:

 “I really think this has all been some big misunderstanding,”

And his narration is speaking that he won’t hurt women especially at the moment ‘where they are out of their minds.’

We all know that Candace ends up dying, something we were fearing. The only twist was that Candace is killed by the equally sociopathic Love Quinn and not Joe Goldberg.

Candace Should Not Have Died Netflix’s ‘You’

She was the hero the Netflix’s You series needed. Someone who could actually put Joe to jail and protect Love Quinn (if she was not psychotic like Joe and normal like her and Beck). The biggest tragedy was that her death meant nothing at all. She went through trauma, survived, fought her way through, faced her abuser again and did everything to put him in jail.

Yet, she didn’t get to do that and instead everyone around her kept questioning her motives. I get why Love did it, but it was heartbreaking when even Forty refused to believe her at first.

We didn’t even get to see her side of things because we were held captive by Joe’s mind and narration. He only showed one side to us, the side where Candace is a hindrance in his path to a warped sense of redemption. One where he rights his wrongs by loving Love and helping people like Ellie (Jenna Ortega) and Delilah (Carmela Zumbado).

The little flashbacks didn’t do Candace justice. How did she cope with it all? A life where she’s always in fear. Where she is having to deal with the fact that her abuser is out there, walking free and endangering others. There was nothing of that there. If the showrunners had added it, the story would have been more nuanced.

Ambyr Childers’ character deserved so much better. And her death should not be for naught. Joe Goldberg better get the hell to jail in the upcoming seasons of Netflix’s You.

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