We all look for love in all the wrong places, right? For Joe Goldberg, he takes things to the next level when he finds love. Season 1 of You showed us that. And boy, was it shocking addicting. When season 2 was announced, it was easy to be excited considering that the finale of season one ended with a cliffhanger. This time, it is a full Netlfix production (season one was originally a Lifetime production), and there are some noticeable differences, but fear not, they’re mostly good. More on that later. For now, let’s dive into what makes season two great.
We pick up right where the first season left off. Candace has found Joe and they have some unfinished business, apparently. Before we figure out what Candace wants, Joe escapes and flees to Los Angelas, the last place anyone would look for him (because he hates LA). The first episode does a great job of introducing us to the new Joe, aka Will. He changes his name and is overall looking for a fresh start away from Candace and his life in New York. Without spoiling anything, the first episode has a nice little twist at the end that shows the audience that we’re in for a wild ride this season.
This season does a great job expanding on Joe’s backstory, specifically his childhood and relationship with his mom. It also gives us a look at Candace and what happened between them. Each episode has a flashback or two that gives us a better understanding on why Joe started killing in the first place. Doing this makes it even more challenging as the viewer to side or not side with Joe’s actions. He’s not out there murdering random people, he kills out of love or simply because someone is a bad person and he thinks they deserve to die. The writing is so good that it makes you try to walk that tight rope of “yeah I agree with Joe” or “oh my god, he’s insane.” That’s what makes You so addicting.
This show wouldn’t be anything without a love interest. Beck from season 1 was so frustratingly captivating that it made their relationship feel relatable, mainly because we’ve all been with someone toxic before. The time around it is completely different when Joe meets Love, a Baker at the store he works at. She is completely different from Beck and possibly the type of woman Joe needs. He digs his claws in her immediately and their relationship has plenty of ups and downs throughout the season. Overall, Penn Badgley (Joe) and Victoria Pedretti (Love) have great chemistry and they do a fantastic job selling themselves as a couple on screen.
Season 2 of You introduces some new characters, some of which work well and some are inconsistent. The apartment Joe moves to gives us a look at Delilah, the property manager, and Ellie, her 15 year old sister who aspires to work in film. At first, these two are easy to not like (by design), but as the show goes on they both become vital to certain plot points and overall, they’re likable. Ellie is the only one that gets slightly annoying, mainly because of this overbearing self righteousness that Joe has to protect her. There are times, especially in the last few episodes, that this feels a little forced. He’s done so many bad things, but he can’t leave this girl behind? Feels odd. Maybe that’s the writers’ way of showing that he isn’t a TERRIBLE person, but either way it feels overdone a bit.
One of the most pivotal characters introduced is Love’s brother, Forty. He is a Sundance winning screenwriter that never really did much more after that 15 minutes of fame, and he’s been trying his best to write something that’ll get picked up again. Love is intensely protective of him because of his past abuse of drugs and tendency to implode when things don’t go his way. This gets in the way of Joe and Love’s relationship quite often. Joe, being the great boyfriend he is, supports and helps Forty out whenever Love asks. Forty’s character is one of the best the show has had so far. He goes from being Joe’s enemy to his ally multiple times throughout the show, and their dynamic is crucial to the events of the last several episodes.
One of the best things the writers do with this season is that they shake up the shows formula a bit. Not enough to give it a new identity, but enough to make it feel different and improved. Netflix brought in a few new writers that ended up writing some of the season’s best episodes. In addition to that, the gore and shock factor elevated a bit and the way the show was shot felt cleaner, concise, and prettier. Netflix taking over the production of the show is definitely the best thing that could have happened to it.
The season as a whole is very refreshing because not one episode feels pointless or like filler. There were a few episodes in season 1 that felt kind of unnecessary, which detracted from the show a tiny bit. These episodes have significant meaning and they each add to the story. With the way it ends, it definitely leaves the door open for a season 3. There is truly so much they can do with this show. It could end up being similar to Dexter, but just with a better ending (hopefully).
Season 2 is binge-worthy and if you liked the first season at all, check it out. It improves upon the first season’s weaknesses and adds more layers to Joe’s character, which will only lead to people getting more invested in him. For now, we patiently await the announcement of season 3.