Season three of ‘You’ is a killer watch

Claire Silva

Prepare to feel a lingering sense of paranoia after finishing this show, because Joe Goldberg is back and deadlier than ever in the third season of “You,” released on Oct. 15. The first season of the show, released in 2018, introduced psycho-killer Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) and his ongoing obsession with Guinevere Beck, a customer at the bookstore he runs. Early on, Joe admits to an extreme fixation on finding the “one”— the perfect companion. Joe repeatedly seeks a “damsel in distress” attempting to become her rescuer, but once his subject does not meet his unreasonable expectations of innocence and purity, Joe murders her with little mercy. In season two, Joe moves to Los Angeles in hopes of starting fresh but instead continues his killing streak after facing the complications of his past identity. He then focuses on a new woman, Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti). Surprisingly, Joe’s new fascination does not resemble his past infatuations, as she is more similar to Joe than he anticipated. When Love reveals she is pregnant with Joe’s child, he decides to settle down with her and abandon his dangerous temptations.

Starring Penn Badgley and Victoria Quinn, “You” follows the twisted couple through their gruesome new life together.

Season three begins with a fresh breath of suburbia. Now married, Love and Joe move to the fictional Bay Area town of “Madre Linda,” which introduces them to “mom-fluencers” and neighborhoods with white picket fences that uncannily resemble Marin communities. As a Marin resident, the watch is all the more enticing. The Conrads live next door and are self-proclaimed influencers who are entertainingly awful. As the couple practices sheltering parenting tactics and embodies the classic suburban family, they are unbearably similar to a stereotypical Marin resident. Madre Linda’s superficial perfection hides the true, disturbing tendencies of its residents. 

Joe’s notorious inner dialogue narrates the show, portraying the people in his life as he wishes with little concern for their personal story. Though the self-narration can initially go unquestioned, it becomes evident as the show progresses that the story has only been told through the murderer’s view — Joe tells each story through his experience and perspective, provoking a feeling of connection and sympathy for him. As Joe victimizes himself, it becomes difficult to not root for him.

While Badgley’s performance is undoubtedly gripping, season three mainly highlights Pedretti’s performance as Love. Initially, Love and Joe’s relationship appears to be just another entanglement that Joe traps himself in, however, new challenges thicken their relationship and reveal an alarmingly violent side of Love. Participating in, if not leading, the team’s questionable actions, Love almost becomes too twisted for Joe. While the couple’s actions seem to mirror each other, Joe holds himself to a higher standard than his wife. He kills only with intention while Love’s impulsive murders are fueled by mishaps in her marriage. Though Pedretti masters the surface-level character of Love Quinn as a nurturing wife, caring mother and driven baker, her ability to gradually reveal Love’s true, gruesome personality is what makes the character so gripping. Love’s seemingly flawless life makes her actions more unsettling, yet it is difficult to view Love as a villain. Pedretti’s portrayal of Love displays an underlying darkness in a personal way that makes her relatable, as most are familiar with the desire Love has to protect her loved ones. 

The newly married couple Joe and Love take on parenting with a twist of horror, as finding happiness proves to be more difficult than expected. Taking care of their newborn Henry has put a strain on Joe and Love’s marriage. As a result, Joe returns to his old habits, as he now rationalizes his murders with his marriage problems. While Joe has always expressed his desire for a family, his personality in season three especially revolves around being the perfect

Attempting to bond with his new neighbor Cary Conrad, Joe tries to settle into a new lifestyle. (Photo Courtesy of IMDb)

“family man.” His new mentality raises the stakes of his actions, as he now uses his family as justification for his questionable behaviors. The couple kills for the pursuit of happiness, hoping “one last murder” will prove their commitment to marriage.  

Though season three is phenomenal, its repetition of previous seasons leaves the viewer wondering how the creators can further Joe’s storyline in coming seasons. Though the show follows Joe through various locations and relationships, the overall storyline remains constant; Joe finds a new subject to obsess over and gets upset when she doesn’t fulfill his expectations. But maybe this continuity is what makes a fourth season necessary, as viewers become curious to explore a new side of Joe. 

Season three of “You” is packed with 10 episodes of addicting interactions, framed by a Marin-like bubble of a seemingly perfect town filled with seemingly perfect people. However, the complexity lies beneath the surface and intensifies the show. While its gruesome details and appalling characters are initially unbearable, you will find yourself secretly rooting for its characters by episode 10 and killing for another season.