‘You’ season 1 introduced us to Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) who was a bookstore manager but something was off with him right from the start. He met a budding author, Guinevere Beck (Elizabeth Lial), who became his obsession. Season 1 showed how a person’s obsessions can lead him to do everything right from internet stalking to storing someone’s tooth. It was a journey where Joe thought he was in love with Guinevere and she reciprocated the same feelings. Things didn’t go his way, and the first season ended with Joe killing his first love.
Season 2 of ‘You’ ends with Joe living in his own set trap of misfortune. Carl Rogers said that every human being is innately good and so was Joe trying to be when he sent Ellie away from all the mess that he had created. The realization that he was finally going to be a father triggered his parental instincts to save Ellie (Jenna Ortega) from everything that he had done in a short span of time.
I never saw Joe scared of anything or anyone for that matter but to see him scared of their own doings was surprising. When he saw a reflection of himself in Love (Victoria Pedretti), he went into a state of trance and returned back with a lot of wisdom. He knew how she would function because he had been functioning like that too. He saw the desperation in her eyes that he had felt in himself. ‘You’ is a story of love gone wrong; It is a story of a man who rationalizes everything he does. He killed so many people in a span of two seasons and he should have been happy that all the charges against him were erased, but instead he was in despair of his own fate.
Joe was served a sweet revenge by nature in the form of Love Quinn which was of a much higher magnitude than any number of years in prison. People aren’t punished with the intention of not repeating their mistakes again but so that they understand what was wrong and why it was wrong. He saw a monster-like reflection of himself in Love’s eyes and that was enough of a punishment for him to understand that everything he had done was wrong.
In season two when we actually get to know his childhood, I personally developed a soft corner for him. The constant abandonment by his mother made him the guy he is today – desperate for a constant and stable form of love. He saw his mother validate him for killing his father and he had no fear of killing people after that. The depth of Joe’s character is endless. He is so deeply wounded that he has lost his moral compass which I think partially returned when he got to know about his baby.
Living a difficult childhood is hard but not letting the childhood have an effect in adulthood is something that we all must learn. Every family has some issues but those issues are not meant to be the reason or rather take the blame for everything that goes wrong in the future. We are human beings and we are constantly evolving cognitively. Owning up to the past and making a better future is in our hands.
Joe Goldberg is shown to be himself at the end of season two when he is finally settling into the trap of the universe. He has eyes on the new neighbor next door who seems to be his latest target. That stare of his filled with lust and obsession reminded me of the Joe I had seen in season 1. Without having any sort of interaction with her, he already started talking to her in his mind and he is ready to make her his next fascination. Let’s see how he manages to get us at the edge of our seat in season three, released today on Netflix.