Season three of “You” premiered on Netflix on Oct. 15, just in time for the Halloween season. The show, based on Caroline Kepnes’ book series, follows the life of sadistic serial killer Joe Goldberg [Penn Badgley] as he navigates fatherhood and wealthy suburbia for the first time in his life.
Goldberg’s modus operandi is hyper-fixation and obsession. In seasons one and two, the objects of his affection were Guinevere Beck [Elizabeth Lail] and Love Quinn [Victoria Pedretti], respectively.
In season one, Beck, an aspiring writer, catches Joe’s eye as she begins to frequent the used book store that he works at in New York. This attention quickly turns into an all-consuming passion, and Joe begins to stalk her, learning all of her ticks and interests. He then uses this information to draw her in under false pretenses, and ultimately begins to date her. Once Beck becomes aware of Joe’s obsession with her, she panics, causing her psychopathic boyfriend to lock her in the basement of the store and eventually murder her.
The subsequent season Joe moves across the country to Los Angeles to start a new life, free of the skeletons in his closet (or, in this case, the body in his basement). Right out of the gate, he meets Love, a L.A.-based chef. Their love story develops relatively organically, with just minor stalking on Goldberg’s end. Any progress is good progress, right? Although their quasi-normal romance seems indicative of a fresh start for Goldberg, he still cannot escape from his violent background, killing all who get in the way of their budding relationship.
As their relationship develops, Love’s true identity comes to light, and Joe realizes they have more in common than he had originally thought. It is revealed to Joe that Love dug up his past, memorizing it to tactfully lure him in. She admits towards the end of the season that she, too, has a hallowed past, full of murder, jealousy and hyper-posession. When Joe realizes that his role has shifted from the hunter to the hunted, he fears Love and what she is capable of.
He finally gets her into a compromised position, and attempts to kill her, but stops in his tracks when Love informs him that she is pregnant with his child. Immediately, Joe’s icy exterior thaws to a more human version of himself, and he quickly adapts to the role of “future father”. In the last scene of the final episode, Joe and Love are seen in their new home in the suburbs of California, and Joe swiftly finds a new fixation; his neighbor Natalie Engler (Michaela McManus).
Season three picks up where we left off, and (spoiler alert), Natalie doesn’t live much longer once Love realizes that her husband, and father of her child, has eyes for another. In a fit of rage, she exterminates the only distraction in the way of her picturesque family unit. It doesn’t take the Goldbergs long to realize that no freshly manicured lawns or luscious lifestyles will pull them away from their hallowed history, and they fall back into their own ways rather quickly. The all-consuming jealousy that was one of Joe’s Hallmarks is inherited by Love, and throughout much of the most recent season, the couple begins going to therapy to work on their relationship.
Joe tries to clear his head and keep his distance, and he takes up a job at their local library. Falling back into his own bibliophilic ways, Joe uses his job as an escape; an escape from Love, from his son, Henry and from the lingering stress of his childhood trauma which has come to light since the birth of his child.
At this job, he meets a coworker who becomes the new subject of his affection. Shockingly, Love finds ‘love’ in unexpected places, too! You’ll have to watch to find out more. Unbeknownst to each other, the husband and wife each found their own extramarital infatuations. These affairs accompany lying and deceit, driving Love and Joe to further insanity, which all comes to a head in the finale.
“You” is brilliantly written and psychologically exhausting, as it highlights the fact that mania is inescapable. Further, it drives home the notion that the past always comes back to catch up to you, no matter how far “You” run.
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