(warning: this review contains spoilers!)
Our favorite murderous duo has returned! This season, we join Joe and Love as they navigate parenthood, problems in their marriage and the town of Madre Linda and all of its lovely citizens. This season was messy, toxic and the bloodiest yet! so let's dive right in.
Joe, how do we still like you?
Throughout the seasons of YOU, Joe has proven to us countless times that he is always one step ahead of everyone, and this season was no different. Penn Badgley delivered one of his strongest performances yet, and we got to see different sides of Joe: like when he struggled to connect with his son, Henry, or when he found himself cleaning up his wifes' victims. This was fascinating to see since, up until now, Joe had been alone, so he was obviously still adjusting to married life. I especially liked how this season tackled Joe's issue with other men, and the reason why he is so guarded around them stems from his trauma from growing up in a group home.
The show is narrated from Joe's point of view so the excuses he makes for the things he does actually make a lot of sense to us watching, and the audience can't help but like him and his charm. But when we really pull back his layers, we realise that no matter how good of an excuse he has, Joe is evil and he only really thinks about himself, even when he kills other people… This can be seen when Joe brutally murders Mariennes ex husband without ever considering the fact that Marienne's daughter now has to grow up without a father.
In terms of taste in women and/or victims I don’t think Joe necessarily has a type, he’s dated/stalked/killed all sorts of them. However it is clearly noticeable that he likes women who he thinks he can “fix”. For instance, with Beck, he thought he had to “save” her from her previous male partners when in reality she was more than capable of caring for herself. This can be seen in almost every single one of the relationships he has throughout the entirety of the show, romantic or not.
Penn Badgley did a wonderful job at making a murderer so excruciatingly charming, but at times Joe's behaviour was annoyingly hypocritical, especially when it came to Love or as he calls her: his “crazy murderous wife” as if he hasn’t murdered twice as many people as her… Joe’s character is definitely something.
Love is misunderstood:
Moving on to my personal favorite character of the show. Victoria Pedretti has done it again. We got to see the real Love this season, the Love that was sometimes over-romanticized by Joe in season 2 and it was really interesting to watch her struggle through all the different emotions she was facing.
Love was almost like a fresher side of Joe, the way Love killed people was more out of the blue and psychotic, which in my opinion brought a sense of surprise to the show since Joe’s stalking and obsessive behaviors had started getting a little stale by now…
While some may call her impulsive and chaotic, unlike Joe, everything that Love did was to protect her family, which is why I think the hate train on Love must come to a stop. Love went to extremes to try to fix her marriage and raise her son, which, ultimately, was never going to work since Joe sadly wasn’t in it for the long haul anymore.
Love saw and accepted Joe and all of his flaws, something that he unfortunately couldn’t do to her. However sad I may be that it was Love’s final season, I think she had a very satisfying arc and it was wrapped up quite nicely. Whoever is the next love interest in season 4 is going to have a tough act to follow.
In every season of YOU so far, there has always been at least one character to root for or a conventionally "good person" In season 1 it was Beck, whom unfortunately did not make it out alive, in season 2 it was ellie, joe's 15-year old neighbor struggling with her family, and while many may think that this season's good person was Marienne, in my opinion it was actually Theo Engler AKA 19-year old boy next door who has a massive crush on the married woman next door AKA Love.
And while most people thought Theo was really annoying and irrelevant, I think his childlike innocence was kind of, for lack of a better word, cute. Love initially used Theo to try to get information about the secret operation his father was running to try to figure out who killed his wife (spoiler alert: it was Love) But I think that in the finale Love actually really liked Theo and she wanted him to get away but bashing him in the head him seemed like the easiest route. Theo actually ended up making it out alive and I'm really curious to see what role he is going to play in season 4.
Cary and Sherry
If I could award someone in the show for most character development these two would most definitely take the prize. Sherry and Cary Conrad started off as your typical Californian "mommy-blogger" and "fitness-influencer" duo, but quickly began questioning their relationship and everything they've worked for after being locked in the infamous basement cage by Love and Joe. But in their own weird way, they really do bring out the best in each other.
Their scenes in the cage were the perfect blend of comedy, suspense, and drama, Cary confesses to Sherry that he has loved every single version of Sherry, unlike Joe who only loved one version of Love the "perfectly imperfect girl"
After they escape the cage we see them delivering a Ted-Talk about how they became the "masters of their own cage" which would normally make the audience want to roll their eyes, but I for one, can't help but smile because they defeated Joe and Love and officially became this season's MVP's.
There is still much that I haven't gone over in this review since this season was packed with all sorts of happenings, however, I think it’s safe to say that Joe is way beyond saving, and the finale just further solidifies that he’ll never be happy with anyone because when these women don’t fit this idealized, romanticized version of themselves that he has crafted in his head his perception of them is ultimately ruined. Love was the female reflection of him and it repulsed him. What do YOU think will happen next season? ;)