‘You’ Season 3: Love Can Fix Him (Maybe) – Review
It’s that time again. Time to Netflix and gaslight. Or as others like to say, time to watch the new season of You.
Speaking from a strictly moral standpoint, the show should’ve been cancelled a long time ago because Joe and his victims should’ve faced justice. But thank goodness he keeps getting away with it; this show is just too good to stop.
*Please be advised that there are spoilers for You season 2 below.
Last season perfectly blended absurdity with tragedy. Joe (Penn Badgley) met the ingeniously named Love (Victoria Pedretti) and soon discovered that she has a few homicidal tendencies of her own. And a child on the way. The red flags that were once pretty to look at are now giant, crimson banners because now there’s more than just a few bodies between them, now there’s a baby. And because Joe is Joe, he deludes himself into thinking he’s doing the right thing by staying. God forbid you give the baby to a stable family without a history of murder.
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage. But then what? That’s the million-dollar question this season asks. And in true You fashion, we’re sucked down into the rabbit hole before we can get an answer.
The third season wastes no time getting the ball running. The first episode, titled “And They Lived Happily Ever After” (written by Sera Gamble and Mairin Reed), knows exactly what we came for. Joe tries to start over in a new town, but he sees a girl, and then the obsession begins. Stalking, fantasizing, and assuming everything is a sign for him to keep going. The story unashamedly follows this pattern at first because Joe is a creature of habit. But then it reminds us that Joe isn’t the only maniac we have to worry about, and this familiar pattern takes a 180.
This new season impossibly raises the stakes in the best possible way with the baby, marriage, and the lingering feeling that they haven’t fully mourned Forty’s death. They create this Gone Girl-esque dynamic where they react to each other rather than act together. Joe is out of his element, Love has no idea what element she’s in, and it all spells a delicious disaster.
Badgley’s performance as Joe effortlessly keeps pace with the escalated storytelling and it’s only made that much better when contrasted against Pedretti’s unstoppable performance as Love. Their chemistry has undoubtedly grown since last season; that much is clear in the unspoken frustrations and insecure glances they share. Together they convincingly portray a marriage that was doomed from the get-go.
Of course, it’s not You without dramatizing real-life issues to make them easier to tackle. The show has smartly addressed abuse in its many forms, cancel culture, bullying, a flawed criminal justice system, and drug addiction in the past. Now the characters deal with COVID-19 and its effects on the economy, global health, and everyday socialization. Fortunately, the deadly virus isn’t a driving force in the story, but the writers have no issue pointing out the selfishness in the people who value their fun over the health of others. In fact, the writers seem to have no issues writing about anything.
Fans of the last two seasons should have no issue getting into this one. It promises the same two-faced neighborhood drama, hilarious delusions, literary references, and misplaced self-righteousness that got us hooked before but leaves plenty of room for uncertainty on how the plot unfurls. And if the last two seasons are of any indication, You shines in this uncertainty.
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