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Netflix’s You Has Outgrown its Unique Premise in All of the Proper Methods

Notice: Full SPOILERS observe for You Season 4 Half 1 and Half 2. 

Netflix’s You isn’t only a present that makes you sound extraordinarily creepy at any time when somebody asks you what you’ve been watching currently (“Oh, I’ve been watching You”). The pulpy thriller has garnered a loyal fan base that stored the present alive throughout its transition from Lifetime to Netflix, and has stored it operating for 4 seasons. As a type of devoted followers, I’ll admit to being a bit stunned by the present’s longevity. Once I completed watching the primary season, I used to be left shaken up, compelled, and impressed by the stability of soapy drama and gripping pressure.

However after I heard that the present had been renewed for an additional season, I used to be greater than slightly confused. It was an amazing season of tv, but it surely additionally felt comparatively full, like one thing greatest suited to a one-off restricted sequence. However I tuned in and continued to look at as one season became two, three, and most lately 4, and I let You show me incorrect. As You has progressed, I’ve taken discover of the way it’s shifted and advanced over time – what it discarded when it didn’t work, and what it embraced and explored on a deeper degree. You started with a premise that was extremely entertaining, however appeared to depart little room to develop. However because it has progressed, it has not solely lived as much as the promise of its first season, it has blossomed into one thing far bolder and extra attention-grabbing.

The place It Began 

The present started with an introduction to Joe Goldberg (or Will, as he’s identified at first), a captivating, bookish man with a secret penchant for damaging obsession. He stalks and later romances Guinevere Beck, a younger author that he manipulates right into a relationship. Over the course of Season 1, Joe’s conduct grows extra harmful and erratic as he commits horrific acts, all whereas justifying them to himself with love or a need to guard Beck from those who may want her hurt. However Joe is each inch an unreliable narrator, and his fragile justifications crumble as Beck discovers his true nature. Tense, dramatic, and at occasions crossing over into overt psychological horror, the primary season of You rockets towards a stomach-dropping finale that cements Joe as a monster, regardless of how a lot he tries to play the tortured romantic.

It additionally left off with a lingering query: how the hell do you observe a season of tv that ended with most of its predominant characters lifeless and its murderous lead strolling away from the wreckage unscathed?

All You Wants Is Love

The reply arrived with Season 2, which noticed the present following the identical fundamental method as Season 1: Boy meets woman, boy stalks woman, boy does some murders and locks just a few folks (typically the woman in query) in a glass cage. Swap New York for Los Angeles, aspiring author Guinevere Beck for Erewhon-style grocery chain heiress Love Quinn, and a predatory therapist for a predatory comic, and the present’s second verse began out just about the identical as the primary. However identical to Joe Goldberg himself, there may be extra happening right here than meets the attention. The quirky, free-spirited Love has hidden depths which are simply as darkish as Joe’s, depths he will get a glimpse of towards the top of the season when Love murders his ex and confesses that she was stalking him and murdering folks on his behalf your complete time. Love is to Joe as Joe was to Guinevere Beck in Season 1. This additionally, notably, marks the sequence’ first main deviation from its supply materials. Issues play out fairly in another way for Love and Joe in Hidden Our bodies, the novel that Season 2 was based mostly on. This alteration not solely caught followers of the ebook unexpectedly, but it surely added a welcome injection of drama and intrigue to the sequence as an entire.

Continuously, Joe has the higher hand on You, staying one step forward of his love pursuits and potential victims. All through the present’s first season, he had a number of near-misses the place somebody virtually had him pinned down, virtually acquired a bonus over him, just for him to show the tables on the final minute. In Season 2, nonetheless, the viewers is handled to the sight of Joe stripped of his standard energy. He’s actually taken unexpectedly, and thrust into the function he has reserved for his unsuspecting objects of affection. The hunter, with out even noticing, grew to become the hunted. This subversion of expectations, each the viewers’s and Joe’s, makes for a scrumptious twist. Even higher, Joe makes the stunning choice to let Love stay, to marry her and lift a baby collectively. With the reveal of Love’s true nature, the present gave the viewers a short style of what occurs As soon as once more, the present left itself with the seemingly inconceivable activity of continuous the story previous this stunning plot level, with out letting itself turn into stale and predictable.

New Territory

Season 3 took Joe out of town and into the rich suburban group of Madre Linda, surrounded by tech cash and mommy bloggers as he and Love tried to play out a fantasy of home bliss. This season noticed Joe in an unfamiliar setting, not simply geographically talking. Lastly, the viewers acquired a glimpse at Joe after he acquired every thing he claimed to need: a house, a household, and any individual to like who beloved him too. But it surely didn’t make him completely happy. Regardless of her identify, Joe was unwilling to like Love. Season 3 sacrificed a number of the sluggish burn of the primary two seasons in favor of roiling home drama, with a killer twist.

Love and Joe battle, cheat, strive couple’s remedy and swinging alike, and so they additionally often kill folks. The ups and downs of their tumultuous marriage, paired with the damaging previous habits that refuse to die (regardless of how excessive their physique rely will get) lend Season 3 a novel taste that units it aside from the earlier seasons. From Love’s outbursts taking over an additional little bit of Mama Bear rage – her killing an anti-vaxxer for giving her child measles, for instance – to Joe’s standard field of stalker trophies serving as proof of his infidelity, the present retains its leads’ distinctive dysfunctions whereas additionally casting them in a brand new mild. Writing a compelling follow-up to Season 2 was a troublesome problem, but it surely was one which the present managed to rise to, and even surpass.

One of many issues that enables You to proceed topping itself efficiently is its wealthy character work. Every season comes with a contemporary ensemble of vibrant secondary characters, from Season 2’s precocious Ellie Alves to the breakout stars of Season 3, Sherry and Cary. However one of many saving grace of seasons 2 and three is, indubitably, Love Quinn. Love took the present to unexpected heights, each as a compelling character in her personal proper and as an ideal foil to Joe himself. His interior monologue all through Season 3 is spent calling Love “loopy” and “a killer,” despite the fact that she has by no means achieved something he hasn’t additionally achieved time and time once more. In Love, Joe was pressured to take an extended, onerous look within the mirror, staring down all the components of himself he’s so determined to fake don’t exist. Finally, he couldn’t bear wanting any longer, and selected to shatter the mirror moderately than accepting the truths he noticed there. So, Joe killed Love, faked his personal loss of life, and burned his previous life to the bottom.

The Newest Chapter

This brings us to the just-completed Season 4, a brand new chapter for Joe, or Jonathan, as he’s identified in his new life. In London, working a soft educating place at a college, with no remaining ties to his former life, Joe has satisfied himself that this time he’ll actually be a distinct man. No, however actually this time. Certain, he’s stated that a number of occasions now, however absolutely his insistence on compartmentalizing the darker components of himself and simply pretending they don’t exist will work out simply tremendous for everybody. You Season 4 may have been a retread of previous floor, however as an alternative it was the present’s most bold season but.

Season 4 spent its first half throwing Joe into his self-proclaimed least favourite style, a whodunnit fashion homicide thriller the place a faceless killer picked off a gaggle of rich mates one after the other, taunting him from afar. Regardless of his protests, Joe lastly acquired to play the function he spent the primary three seasons eager to play: the great man, the tortured hero attempting his greatest to battle the forces of evil at any price. Certain, typically he needed to do dangerous issues to get the job achieved, but it surely was all within the service of a noble trigger. The shift in tone and style was refreshing, but in addition felt slightly bit too handy. After years of monstrous conduct, now Joe was going to be let off the hook and given permission by his circumstances to double down on seeing himself as a basically good individual? It simply didn’t appear truthful.

Nicely, as at all times, issues with Joe weren’t precisely as they appeared. “Detective” Joe Goldberg, and the serial killer he was enjoying cat and mouse with, had been one and the identical. “It was all in his head!” is a twist that may really feel hackneyed, however on this case the execution of it allowed the present to pivot in a brand new, bold course as soon as extra. After 4 seasons of cognitive dissonance, of Joe hurting numerous folks whereas nonetheless seeing himself as “a superb man who did a foul factor” and by no means realized from it, Joe lastly made the selection to embrace his killer intuition. By the top of the season, Joe is a very completely different individual. Not simply in identify, or location this time, however as a person who’s now not mendacity to himself, and is way extra harmful for it.

With every new season, You has stretched itself slightly bit additional, gotten a bit extra comfy enjoying with its format and shifting into a really completely different present than it was in its first season. Although some followers of the present will doubtless be pissed off to see it veering thus far off of its authentic path, I’m thrilled to see a present making massive, daring swings (even when they don’t at all times hit). In a media panorama stuffed with remakes and reboots trying to recapture the lightning in a bottle of their predecessors, You boldly performs with its personal method and refuses to take refuge within the acquainted.

From the streets of New York, to a Hollywood romance, to Suburban Nightmare, darkish London fairytale, and now, an American Psycho fashion climb to the highest of the social ladder, Joe and You itself have each come a good distance. I can’t wait to see the place the present goes subsequent, as a result of now that Joe has reached the very best potential heights? There’s nowhere to go however down, and I hope the present manages to proceed to high itself whereas concurrently lastly attending to see him fall.

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