Review: Anyone could be watching ‘YOU,’ season 2

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Photo credit: Netflix

One of Netflix's promotional photos for the launch of season two. The show follows Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) on his hunt for love.

Netflix released the second season of its original series “You” on Thursday, Dec. 26.  The psychological thriller is centered around serial killer and stalker Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley). Created by Greg Berlanti and Sera Gamble, the show caught my attention because of the many memes posted on TikTok and Instagram. Penn Badgley’s character in this show is similar to his “Gossip Girl” role of Dan Humphrey, a boy who stalks Manhattan’s elite socialites.

Set in New York City, the first season of “You” follows bookstore clerk Joe and his delusional, toxic and unhealthy obsession with freelance writer Guinevere Beck (Elizabeth Lail). After spotting Beck one day at his job, he’s drawn to her and his quest for her heart begins. 

During the first season and series of the show, Joe’s character is made to be both a protagonist and an antagonist. We as the audience want to root for Joe because he has good intentions and is willing to do anything for the people he loves. He seems like a normal lovable guy, and he even watches over Paco (Luca Padovan), a child from his apartment complex whose mother is stuck in an abusive relationship. Joe has a savior complex that follows in his relationship with Beck: her family life isn’t perfect and she seems vulnerable. Joe believes he can save her and protect her from the bad world. But his fear of losing the people he cares about leads him to act in an unethical and creepy way. Who we think is a seemingly normal and charming man is actually a kidnapper and serial killer. After seeing a ghost from his past, Joe believes it’s time for a change and decides to leave New York, hoping for a fresh start.

Netflix

The second season is set in sunny Los Angeles, a place Joe clearly hates. He’s hoping to rid his mind of the horrendous events that took place back in New York. He does this by literally taking the name of fake ID maker and erratic character Will Bettleheim (Robin Lord Taylor).

Joe kidnaps the real Will Bettleheim and holds him hostage in a glass box located at a storage center until he can figure out what to do with him.

Joe gets some cash and rents run-down apartment in Will Bettleheim’s name. He meets his landlord Delilah (Carmela Zumbado) and her little sister Ellie (Jenna Ortega). Delilah is also a journalist and is set on breaking her story, an exposé on a comedian and sexual predator, so she isn’t always around to look after her sister. Similar to Joe and Paco in the first season,”Will” makes it his mission to watch over Ellie and protect her.

Joe is running low on cash after renting his new place and decides it’s time to find a job. He finally finds work at produce store Anavrin. There he coincidentally meets chef and daughter of Anavrin owners, Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti). He immediately falls in love with her, yet decides to keep a fair distance from Love because he knows he can be destructive.

Despite Joe trying to keep his distance, Love wants a relationship with Joe. Love is used to trying to fix people, acting as a mother figure to her addict brother Forty (James Scully). She wants to be with “Will” and help him fight the demons of his past.

Joe wants to trust Love. He wants to have an actual relationship, where he doesn’t hack into her phone or follow her every move. Unfortunately Joe’s paranoia doesn’t let him do that and he goes back down the same road as in season one.

The show jumps from present-day to flashbacks from Joe’s childhood. We get to see him and the relationship he had with his mother, which allows us to understand why Joe feels the need to be obsessive and controlling.

This season, in my opinion, is better than the first one. It featured a love interest I liked, someone who seemed down to earth and accepted their flaws instead of trying to hide them. The plotline really pulled me in, from the Love’s addict brother Forty, who was always in the middle of Joe and Love’s relationship to the real Will Beetleheim and the friendship he and Joe created while he was held hostage inside a glass box.

This show makes you feel as though you’re a part of the story because we’re able to get an inside look into Joe’s thoughts and past. You sympathize with Joe and feel for his character, even after all the bad he’s done. I still want him to find his happy ending.

The acting was something that drew me in as well. Penn Badgley made me believe he really was this tormented man who needed to have someone in his life to feel whole. Victoria Pedretti took on the girl next door role while still being genuine and admitting that her life wasn’t perfect.

A problem I had with the show would be the ending. After believing Joe and Love are in it for the long haul and have gone through things that would bring them closer together, Joe finds a completely new stranger to obsess over. We aren’t able to see the stranger’s face, but the look in Joe’s eyes lets us know we’re in for another wild ride next season.

“You” is available to watch on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Google Play, Vudu and YouTube.

  • Story
  • Acting
  • Technical Quality
  • Enjoyment
  • Impact
4.3

Summary

Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) is a charming book lover, stalker, and murderer. He moves to Los Angeles for a fresh start and meets chef Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti) and instantly falls back into his old ways. All the while looking after 15 year old Ellie (Jenna Ortega) and protecting her from danger. The second season of the original series premiered December 26.