The Third Season Of ‘You’ Is Just Crazy Enough To Be Entertaining



The 3rd season of “You” has captivated viewers with its violent entertainment.

Katya Roudakov, Staff Writer

WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for You.

The highly anticipated third season of Netflix’s serial killer thriller You came out in mid-October, and it certainly quenched viewers’ thirst for murder. The stars of season two, Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) and Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti), returned, living as a married couple in the rich Northern California suburb of Madre Linda.

At first, season three seems to follow the same formulaic plot seen in seasons one and two: resident psychopath and serial killer Joe sees a new woman, in this case next-door neighbor Natalie Engler (Michaela McManus), and becomes obsessed with her. However, this is quickly turned on its head when Joe’s wife finds out and axe-murders his fixation. Now, being introduced to a character that should’ve been the main focus of the season’s plot, just for that very character to be murdered, less than an episode in. Unexpected, to say the least.

Joe, obviously, does not take well to this, but feels obligated to fight for their marriage for the sake of their newborn son, Henry. He’s determined to give Henry a better childhood than he had, not to mention protect him from his murderous mother (because having just one serial killer parent is so much better than two).

This season also gives us a good look into Joe’s childhood, and specifically the events that followed him shooting and killing his mother’s abusive partner. Initially, these flashbacks gave the impression that the bullying Joe endured while at an orphanage was the root of all of his issues, which seemed like a lazy way to let him off of the hook. But it was soon revealed that even as a child, he was eager to murder when it came to a woman he loved.

Personally, I was relieved at this, since it was starting to look like the show was okay with Joe’s behavior. Especially since we see the story through Joe’s eyes, it can be easy to grow familiar with his actions, and think that his thought process is healthy or normal.

Joe and Love decide to try out couple’s therapy, while the residents of Madre Linda start to realize that one of their neighbors is missing. Natalie, Joe’s brief obsession, was married to a disconnected tech mogul that instantly became suspect number one. Having disposed of Natalie’s body in the woods and manufacturing a storyline for her disappearance, Joe and Love can focus on mending their relationship and fitting into the community.

Joe gets a job at the local library, where he quickly finds a new fascination with his boss, and Love opens a bakery, fighting the unrelenting diets of Madre Linda. She also has an affair with Theo (Dylan Arnold), stepson of none other than Natalie Engler herself.

Meanwhile, the mommy-bloggers of Madre Linda take it upon themselves to find Natalie, and soon the entire town is in on the effort. The episode during which this takes place is even called “Missing White Woman Syndrome,” in reference to the widespread public reaction that occurs when an upper-middle-class white woman goes missing, in contrast with the limited public reaction and media coverage garnered by other demographics.

This concept is especially relevant today, with the recent case of Gabby Petito. Petito, a 22 year old, amassed nation-wide attention when she disappeared in September. During the many searches for her body, at least six other individuals’ remains were found, most of which came from also-missing people of color. This information sparked outrage in many communities online, with people frustrated that Petito’s case got so much more media coverage than the others’. Petito’s boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, was believed by many to be the cause of Petito’s death, ironically following the “it’s always the husband” trope joked about in You.

Matthew (Scott Speedman), Natalie’s husband, is actually one of the most normal characters in the show. He’s convinced that his shady neighbors were the ones behind his wife’s murder, and, despite being correct, is written off by the other characters. It’s especially interesting since Joe himself realizes that. For a psychopath to notice something like that, it’s got to be really bad. That said, Matthew does break laws in his endeavors, and isn’t totally blameless. But still, I think it’s perfectly justified to be extreme when you’re tracking down your wife’s killer.

Joe kills a startling two people this season, half of his average body count from the first two seasons. This can be attributed to his determination to change who he is, for the sake of Henry. However, that doesn’t end up going as planned for Joe, since his obsession with his boss Marienne (Tati Gabrielle) quickly leads to him murdering her ex-husband. Now, as bad as that is, he definitely deserved it.

Love takes on more of the killing in this season, though her actual death count is deceivingly low: despite almost killing eight people, she only really got the best of three.

Characters fly in and out of the show, but somehow it’s not difficult to keep track of it all. Madre Linda feels exaggerated, but realistically, it would be easy to find an identical neighborhood in suburban Northern California, and it certainly makes for an entertaining setting. Something about a shallow community already rife with drama unknowingly hosting impulsive murderers… It’s the kind of exaggeration that we need to make our current existence seem manageable.

An action-packed finale ends in Joe leaving baby Henry at the doorstep of a library coworker, murdering Love, faking his own death, burning down their house, and framing Love for it all. He even cuts off two of his toes, to really sell it all. He sets off to find Marienne under a new name, convinced once again that she is his one true love.

The plot is crazy, the characters crazier, and yet this season perfectly rides the line between insane and believable. The fourth season is set up to be drastically different from this one, but I have faith that it will be just as exciting.

Even though he tries, Joe’s actions are only indicative of how he will never change. You succeeds in showing the true monstrosity of a psychopath like Joe, despite us only seeing his own perspective, and provides just the intensity needed to distract us in today’s climate.