The Netflix series, You, has taken over the internet. From garnering considerable press from the media to taking significant space in social media meme culture, You is everywhere. Since the release of the first season over a year ago, fans have been eagerly awaiting the return of everyone’s favorite stalker—Joe Goldberg—who is played by Gossip Girl’s Penn Badgley. With such intense violence, thrills, and twists, the first season left fans wondering what Joe could possibly do next; this question was quickly answered with the release of the show’s new season on Dec. 26.
Joe moves across the country to Los Angeles with a fake identity in an effort to rewrite his broken love story. He tries to fall in love with someone while remaining kind, trusting, loyal, and innocent, but falls short on his attempts to maintain healthy relationship habits. It wouldn't be You without the calculated serial killer trope, especially when juxtaposed against his critiques of LA's superficiality and materialism. He quickly makes his return to secretive behaviors and obsessive stalking, yet each action is met with calm justification. With crazy twists, turns, and surprises, the second season of You is far from disappointing—and is arguably even better than the first.
On top of being incredibly captivating, You raises several thought-provoking questions. As we watch the show and follow the life of a murderer, many of us are surprised to realize that we are rooting for Joe to get away with all of the despicable things he does. Each time his significant other or the police almost uncover his crimes, we find ourselves screaming “No!” and hoping that he somehow doesn’t get caught.
This strange idea that we cannot escape rooting for the bad guy leads to further questions. In particular, You makes us wonder, are we rooting for Joe because he is the main character, or are there other reasons? Many, including Penn Badgley, believe that we want the best for Joe because he is a white man. In a Variety interview with Gina Rodriguez, Badgley explains that You isn’t about love and instead begs the question, “how far are we willing to go to forgive an evil white man?” In this regard, the public’s reaction to Joe’s behavior models the way our country handles gender and race perception. This idea is beyond the scope of what people may think a show targeted for teenagers would encompass.
Filled with romance, captivating plot twists, and intense storylines, You will not disappoint—and the season finale will have you begging for the next.