You, created by Sera Gamble and Greg Berlanti, is a riveting Netflix series. I’d heard praise about the first season and actor Penn Badgley’s acting as the stalky, obsessive and deadly Joe Goldberg, but I was not interested at first. Sure, I know he’s from Gossip Girl, but my first thought was, “if you’ve seen one white guy serial killer show or movie, you’ve seen them all.” How wrong I was. I have binged every season. You’s third season is like watching a collision from the sidelines; you’re unable to look away because you want to see who walks away. You continues to have great dialogue, killer acting and ups the drama to flabbergasted levels.
A Match Made In…
Joe’s narration is what makes the series so striking. His ability to critique everyone around him and his self-awareness of his privilege does not deter him from navigating a mental labyrinth to justify his horrific actions. Through stalking, charm, subterfuge—and murder here or there—Joe wins the heart of the woman he’s obsessed with, Guinevere Beck (Elizabeth Lail), only to kill her when Beck realizes who he is and rejects him in the first season.
In the second season, Joe, on the run from his first girlfriend he left for dead, Candace Stone (Ambyr Childers), moves from New York City to Los Angeles. There, Joe falls in love with Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti, The Haunting of Hill House), unaware at first that his amour also has a similar penchant for murder, sans Joe’s impulse control. So Joe decides to murder Love until he realizes she’s pregnant. After that, the only natural choice is for Joe and Love to marry, move to suburbia, and live happily ever after. Well, they would have a better shot if they weren’t both killers, ruled by their emotions.
Danger In Suburbia
Los Angeles was hell for Joe, so suburbia must be one of the deeper levels. With the season 2 finale showing Joe gazing at his neighbor through a wooden fence, I assumed the majority of drama that arises in this new season would stem from Joe. But there is plenty of madness to go around with the union of Joe and Love. Seeing two killers look at each other like one is worse than the other made me yell at the television, “you’re both bad.” They are looking down on each other from the bowels. Joe’s methodical, calculated nature for killing horrifies Love, while Love’s unplanned, impulsive kills disturbs Joe.
This season is bonkers. In previous seasons the focus was Joe fixating on a woman, but this season Joe’s got more pressing issues. Joe’s habits will not work with Love. We have the usual body count, but now complete with couple’s therapy and what should be mundane suburban life. But with two killers trying to maintain their marriage and shelter their baby while curbing their natures, they have more than the average issues to overcome. On top of which, is Love’s mother, Dottie (Saffron Burrows), who flits in and out of their lives to swoon over their baby because she believes the baby is the reincarnation of her dead son—Love’s twin—Forty (James Scully).
Relatable Despite The Murderous Duo
You includes societal issues, incorporating them into the story with ease. Joe and Love’s story includes antivax hazards as suburban hell no doubt houses ableist “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” minions. After all, antivaxxing continues to gain popularity, and risking others lives can have dire consequences. I loved the conversation about “Missing White Woman Syndrome” via two librarians, Dante (Ben Mehl) and Marienne (Tati Gabrielle) discussing the current missing white woman in Madre Linda. Marienne breaks it down and shades Joe, and folks like him, who try to downplay the focus on rescuing missing white women by generalizing media salaciousness. You doesn’t shove social critiques down audience’s throats, but makes it a natural part of Joe and Love’s journey.
Phenomenal Acting Immerses You in You
The acting in Netflix’s You season 3 continues to hook and drag us in—think Pinhead style—and I have no complaints. Penn Badgley’s narration is hilarious as usual, but with the additional snark he gives on his killer companion, this whole season is a WTF mood. The only other series I remember inspiring these levels of zaniness was Tiger King. Victoria Pedretti is phenomenal and we get to see both her killer side, and the wife gaslit by her less-than-faithful husband. The blend of reality and fiction is amazing in You.
Side characters stand out too. Saffron Burrows as Dottie gets in on the action and we get to see more than her selfish behavior. Her character, Dottie, read Love for filth and I had to rewind to see that a few times because it was that good. Shalita Grant and Travis Van Winkle—who play couple Sherry and Cary respectively—are annoying, preachy braggarts in their “fake it till you make it” world, but they also get moments to show other sides of themselves. Tati Gabrielle as Marienne needs to be a household name now. Her acting and expressions bring a nuance to every character she plays. I was praying for her this whole series because any character in the orbit of Joe and Love is not safe.
Keeps Getting Better
With all the above, a quartet of adults—led by Sherry—living their best “mean girls” life, it is plain that the You suburbs should be the last frontier, where few want to boldly go. I’m not sure how Netflix’s You managed to top the other seasons, but for me it did. The amount of drama and danger hidden among the domesticity blew me away. I do not like shows about serial killers, especially white ones, but somehow You keeps dragging me in. That’s a credit to the creators, dialogue and acting. You created a world that’s addictive. People’s thoughts on this season of You will be fascinating to hear. Who is team Joe or team Love? Choose your fighter.