‘You’ third season leaves viewers on edge this fall

Carol Chen

The psychological thriller series “You” returned to Netflix on Oct. 15 for its third season.

The show, based on the books by Caroline Kepnes, depicts the perspective of serial killer and stalker Joe Goldberg, played by Penn Badgley. Joe is a bibliophile with a troubled past who has always believed in finding a soulmate and would go as far as murdering those in his way.

In the first season, Joe becomes infatuated with Guinevere Beck when she walks into his bookstore in New York City. Despite Joe’s efforts to win Beck’s heart, things went awry in the end. In season two, Joe relocates to Los Angeles where he meets Love Quinn, a chef with her own dark past.

In season three, Joe and Love start their married life in Madre Linda, a fictional Silicon Valley suburb, while raising their newborn son, Henry. The couple must balance being good parents, maintaining a healthy marriage and assimilating into the suburbs. Obstacles such as affairs and nosy neighbors are a threat to the couple’s public image.

“You”’ has all the components of a psychological thriller. Joe is the unreliable narrator and charismatic protagonist, so the audience must differentiate his perspective from reality. Yet, many eventually grow to root for him because he is not entirely a terrible person. His troubled past and willingness to help children show a caring side of him and almost justify his actions. With the recurring themes of addiction, violence and plot twists, the writers leave viewers in suspense and hungry for the next episode.

The show also serves as a commentary on the idiocy of the upper-middle class. Although the show has touched on how out of touch the wealthy are in previous seasons, season three includes the aspect of race. Marienne Bellamy, played by Tati Gabrielle, is a Black single mother fighting for custody of her daughter against her ex-husband, a rich white man. While Marienne struggles for her voice to be heard in the system, another character who is a wealthy white woman easily attracts the support of Madre Linda in light of her disappearance.

Some fans complain the show gets repetitive with certain tropes: a new setting, social media addicted friends and damsels in distress. However, this season manages to add new twists. The writers incorporated COVID-19 into the plot, which actually halted the production of the show for two months. This season also dives deeper into Joe’s childhood through flashbacks that provide a reasoning behind who he is today.

The main cast of this season accurately portrays  the characters. Badgley continues doing a great job of playing Joe, and Pedretti returns this season to play Love. She does a phenomenal job of playing a character who is impulsive, emotional and complex.

The ending of this season leaves the audience anticipating more. Netflix has already confirmed a fourth season, but no date has been announced.