Gaining attention for the pure salaciousness of its stalking-addicted main character Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) — that a surprising number of women are more attracted to than they should be — the hit Netflix series “You” has never been without fans or controversy. After filming delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the highly anticipated third season of the show has finally dropped, providing a much-needed fix of violent, dramatic and enticing entertainment for all who don’t mind a little blood with their television marital drama binge.
Season three follows the tribulations of the marriage between Love Quinn-Goldberg (Victoria Pedretti) and Joe after Joe’s hasty decision to not kill Love in the show’s previous season following her revealing that she was pregnant with his child. Throughout the new season, the pair navigate their relationship as they try to raise their son Henry, all while keeping their murderous and morally corrupt past and present hidden. As Love and Joe attempt to ensure their status within the strict hierarchy of the suburbs, they befriend Sherry (Shalita Grant) and Cary Conrad (Travis Van Winkle), an influencer and supplement company owner, respectively.
But just because they’re willing to commit crimes with one another in no way means that the Quinn-Goldbergs are with each other unconditionally. Both Marienne (Tati Gabrielle), Joe’s colleague at the library, and Theo (Dylan Arnold), the next-door neighbors’ college-aged son, attract their wandering eyes. As the storylines in the show are anything but predictable, “You” sucks viewers into a whirlwind of suspense that will surprise you at every turn.
“You” is the perfect guilty pleasure show filled with absurdity, relentless messy interpersonal drama, and that will have viewers reaching for the popcorn for all 10 episodes. The upper-class, picture-perfect setting of the Madre Linda suburban haven only adds to the excellence of the show’s drama, as the Quinn-Goldberg’s devious providing a perfect juxtaposition to the town’s shallow residents. When neighbor Natalie (Michaela McManus) is murdered, the town of Madre Linda begins to spiral in quick succession, parallel to Joe and Love’s dual chaos, providing a perfect plot arc rising in suspense as the season progresses.
The best parts of the season highlight its complicated character study of Joe’s psyche, exploring his childhood through a series of flashbacks and providing justifications for Joe’s irrational emotional responses and his need to protect all the women he finds himself attracted to, no matter the consequence. This insight, combined with more of the show’s quintessential creepy monologues in which Joe rationalizes his nefarious deeds, emphasizes the firm hold the writers have on his despicable character, which only gets worse as the episodes unfold. This is also true with Love’s character, as she remains wildly unpredictable in the best way, with Pedretti consistently carrying some of the show’s best moments.
However, at times, “You” veers into trying too hard to be a socially aware commentary, trying desperately to take a stance on every presenting social issue from critiquing vapid influencers, anti-vaxxers and the growing tech surveillance problem to the toxicity of affluent suburban cattiness, all so much that it does none of these entirely successfully. The ultimate conglomeration of this has to be in the form of Sherry Conrad, as while she is a quite fun character to watch, she and many of the other Madre Linda residents feel like unfinished caricatures of everything Joe despises.
After an incredibly shocking ending, the show is in no way sustainable for the show’s potential future seasons, as “You” will have to continue to stretch its believability to new heights to allow Joe to continue his devilish pursuit of the women he attaches his desires to. Even so, this season of “You” will hook viewers in whether they like it or not, as its intoxicating drama will have viewers begging for a new season regardless of what it will hold.