“You” Review: Yes, You


Photo by Netflix.

Jessica So, Coeditor-in Chief

Oh, I see you’re flipping through the OCCurrence. You seem to have landed on this page, and not just any page, the page with my article on it. Was it the title that intrigued you? You probably needed a distraction to help recuperate from the brutal day of classes you just barreled through. You’d be excited for the new semester, if only you didn’t have to worry about your new part-time job, but at least you looked up your professors on ratemyprofessor. 

Now, you have a second to not think, to read some harmless review of a show that seems vaguely familiar. You’d like to read it, see if it’s something worth watching, and that’d be the end. But destiny is much more mysterious than that, isn’t it? This is just the beginning because the magazine-style newspaper that caught your eye as soon as you sat down in the student center was exactly where it needed to be, so I could meet… you. 

It’s the inner monologue similar to the one above that makes Joe Goldberg… well, Joe Goldberg. Yes, he’s a killer. Yes, he’s a stalker. And yes, he’s a psychopath. But somehow, despite all of that, you still find yourself rooting for him after all the terrible things he’s done.

“You” is an original Netflix series about a bibliophile named Joe Goldberg, played by Penn Badgley,  who has a tendency to fall obsessively in love. In season one, he embeds himself in the life of a woman named Guinevere Beck after becoming infatuated with her from their brief meeting in a bookstore. 

The series is a twisted love story where everything that Joe does is one hundred percent creepy, but he somehow still comes off as charming. Listening to his inner world behind every choice he opens a window into his narrative, a narrative that’s dangerous but addictively absorbing.

The show displays an interesting psychological take on dating in today’s modern world. With the advent of social media, privacy has become almost obsolete. People post their lives online for the world to see, making it easy for people like Joe Goldberg to gather intimate details and manipulate others. Though, I don’t see the show as a cautionary tale as much as it is vividly entertaining. 

The unbridled means Joe goes through for the sake of “love” makes the story shocking and dramatic. While his charismatic chivalry allows the audience to still feel compassion for him, it’s when he suddenly kills, lies, and manipulates that you can’t help but want to binge watch the entire season. 

After the ending of season one, it might feel easy to guess the formula of the show. He falls in love with another girl. He goes through the same antics. Rinse, wash, and repeat. But the writers of the show did a wonderful job with the second season, keeping it fresh and interesting with new characters and problems that change the stakes of the show. 

In season two, we see a different side of Joe. He’s broken. Hiding in Los Angeles from a vengeful ex-girlfriend, he’s trying to pick up the pieces when he suddenly falls in love again. Only, this time, he tries to keep the girl at arm-lengths while she aim to move in closer to him. 

The different yet similar circumstances lets the show maintain what made it so engrossing in the first place. It’s takes the old ideas of season one and makes them new enough that season 2 is able to live up to its predecessor.

The ending of the second season leaves a lot of wild questions for Joe, as he is in a completely different life stage than he ever was before. Season three, releasing in 2021, already has a ton of entertaining fan theories speculating where the writers will lead Joe next in his unordinary life.