This contains spoilers for season one and season two.
Netflix released season two of their hit series “You” on Dec. 26, and it did not disappoint.
If you thought the first season was a rollercoaster, buckle in, because season two is an absolute whirlwind.
Joe, played by Penn Badgley, flees New York and moves to Los Angeles in hopes of escaping his ex-girlfriend, Candace, who he attempted to murder prior to season one. She discovered Joe murdered Beck and tracked him down, so he decided the best course of action would be to move across the country to Los Angeles.
In Los Angeles, Joe changes his name–by changing his name, I mean he commits identity theft–and creates a new life as “Will Bettelheim.” He hopes to stop killing for good and reinvent himself.
“Will” begins working at a grocery store near his apartment complex, Anavrin. He quickly falls in love with Anavrin’s kitchen manager, Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti). Joe supposedly tries his best to avoid getting into a relationship with Love but, unfortunately, entraps her in the same abusive dynamic as he did with Beck. Joe’s character becomes even more complicated as he fails to stop murdering people and lead a normal life.
The show’s writers and producers do an excellent job portraying Joe just as he is: a handsome, smart, and cunning serial murderer. I am so thankful “You” maintained its nuance throughout season two. I feared Netflix would capitalize on Badgley’s popularity and sex appeal to rile up their viewers. Instead, Netflix forces us to grapple with the reality of evil yet again.
In an interview with The New York Times, Badgley said the purpose of his character is to be “this work in progress in dismantling and dissecting the myriad privileges that a young, attractive, white man carries with him.”
We’re left wondering how the hell Joe can get away with this in the two biggest cities in the country without anyone blinking an eye. As Badgley succinctly explained: “If anyone other than a young white man were to behave like these characters behave, nobody’s having it.”