NETFLIX’s ‘You’ is quite possibly the guiltiest of all pleasures.
Not because of its serial killer premise or the ability it has to bring you along for various horrendous crimes and keep you, somehow, on Joe’s side, but for how entertaining it makes Joe’s obsession with and violence against women he claims to love.
Joe ‘Gaslight Extraordinaire’ Goldberg has now, by series 3, loved and lost several different women following an initial obsession with them.
Those unhealthy and possessive behaviours are, by Joe’s own voice-over, explained, justified and even made fun of.
The fact that You takes you through every stage of his obsession, infatuation, manipulation and violence, and it just seems par-for-the-course for him, is worrying but it’s the fact that many people, myself included, are lapping this show up for all the problematic and toxic behaviours it portrays is a contradiction in the highest of terms.
If Joe Goldberg was a more ‘Patrick Bateman’ type of character who revelled in the violence he commits, this show simply wouldn’t work in the 21st century, if Joe celebrated his killing or portrayed alpha-male-esque behaviour, this show would feel some 20 years out-of-date.
It’s Joe’s everyman qualities, and the biting voiceover explaining his behaviour and his “love” for his female targets, that just about keep you on his side, but make no mistake, Joe Goldberg is the villain of this piece, he just hasn’t run into the hero quite yet, but he will, he HAS to.
Series 3 is, if you are a fan of You, more of the same.
In the third season, Joe and Love are married and raising their newborn son, Henry, in the Californian suburb of Madre Linda.
As their relationship dynamic takes a new turn, Joe continues to repeat the cycle of obsession with a burgeoning interest in Natalie, the next door neighbour.
This time, Love will flip the script to ensure that her dream of having the perfect family will not be torn away so easily by Joe’s compulsive actions.
Series 3 has removed Joe from the top of the food chain and has replaced him with the just as psychopathic Love.
Joe spends the first half of the season trying to clean up her messes but it isn’t long before his old compulsion’s return to the surface….
Penn Badgley and Victoria Pedretti give stellar performances as Joe and Love, they seem to be able to swing from passion to violence in the blink of an eye and series 3 gives them even more opportunities to explore these broken characters, the scenes with the therapist are particularly fun to watch.
The enduring appeal of this show is seeing Joe trying to get himself out of the holes he repeatedly digs for himself or finds himself in, Love evens the playing field by making a woman as bad as he is but something simply has to give.
The ending of season 3 was, I found, a tad underwhelming given the strength of the 9 episodes that led up to it but it moves the show to another new location for season 4 where, undoubtedly, more chaos, murder and gaslighting will start again.
Season 4 is where he must meet his comeuppance, surely it’s time for Joe to lose more that just a toe or two?
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