“You” Season 3: Scandal in the Suburbs

Mary Beth Johnson

The chilling new installment of Netflix drama “You,” featuring the likes of Penn Badgley and Victoria Pedretti, was released on Oct. 15, 2021. If you’ve been living under a rock, let me catch you up to speed a little bit. “You first aired on Lifetime, and in December 2018, season 1 was released on Netflix. Since then, it has become one of the most-watched shows on the platform. Joe Goldberg, the main character, is speculated to have antisocial tendencies and borderline personality disorder, however, this is never discussed directly in the show. These issues, stemming from Joe’s childhood, plague him throughout his adult life and are the catalyst of the events that unfold in the series. 

Warning: extreme spoiler alerts ahead, do not read if you haven’t seen the show and are planning to watch it. Or do read. It’s up to you. 

The first season introduces Joe as a working man who loves books. At his job, which happens to be at a bookstore, he meets his new obsession, Guinevere Beck. Joe seems to hyper-fixate on certain women all throughout the show, never satisfied with what he has in front of him, and the pattern of falling in love with strangers continues throughout each season. The season ends with a total of four main characters killed by Joe, including Guinevere Beck herself. 

In the second season, Joe makes a fresh start in L.A. where he meets the woman who later becomes his wife, Love Quinn, along with her brother, Forty. He forges a new identity and starts over as a bookstore clerk for the Quinn family market, Anavrin (Nirvana spelled backwards). Joe and Love’s relationship blossoms and the season ends gruesomely, much like the first, with multiple slain including Love’s brother Forty. 

At the end of the second season, the now-married couple is shown moving to the suburbs of Madre Linda, a fictional city in Northern California. Joe immediately finds another woman to obsess over, who happens to be their married next-door-neighbor, Natalie. 

The third season starts off tense. With the arrival of their baby, Love and Joe are surprised to find that they are having a boy. Joe seemed to have had his heart set on having a girl and as his pattern shows, wasn’t satisfied with what life gave him. 

When Love becomes aware of Joe’s infidelity, she kills Natalie in a fit of rage and forces Joe to help cover it up. Natalie is one of many victims of the couple’s toxic and strained relationship. Soon, everyone is talking about the tragedy and the two find it increasingly difficult to keep it together. In my opinion, this event is what set the couple up for failure from the beginning.

The neighbor’s son, whose mom was recently killed by Love, visits their house to welcome his new neighbors. Love takes an interest in the boy named Theo, and they begin a romantic relationship of their own. At the same time, Joe seeks out another woman, Marienne, whom he works with, unbeknownst to Love. Even though the couple recently had a baby, they are now both cheating on each other. On top of the infidelity, this all happens shortly after Love killed Natalie.               

Also introduced early in the season, the Conrad couple, named Sherry and Cary, are the Quinn-Golberg’s neighbors. Sherry runs a lifestyle blog and Cary looks like the human reincarnation of Thor. Together, they are Madre Linda’s power couple, and the two take an interest in Love and Joe. 

As Love’s relationship with Theo escalates, she uses him to get information about his dad’s activities because she is worried he already knows it was her that killed his wife. Theo reveals that his dad has hacked into every camera in Madre Linda and has a list of suspects whom he watches throughout the day. When Love finds out that she and Joe are on the list, they start panicking. 

Alright, you get it. Watch the show if you want to find out what happens, but now it’s review time. 

In my opinion, Joe moving to Madre Linda was a way for him to hide who he really is. The show also likes to sprinkle little clips of Joe’s childhood trauma into the show, seemingly blaming all of his behavior on his upbringing, and his guilt about killing his mom’s boyfriend as a kid. 

It can be inferred that he also wants to protect his newborn son from the pain he suffered as a child, so he sacrificed his own well-being for his son. I don’t like how his childhood trauma, although terrible, is used as a scapegoat to justify Joe’s actions. It doesn’t seem right to justify murder after murder because he didn’t have a stable childhood. 

Something I wish the production team would fix is the amount of awkward pauses in the show. Joe’s thoughts are spoken out loud so that the audience can hear them, but no one in the show can. While I think this aspect of the show sets it apart from others, it also creates little dialogue for Joe outside of his own head. This leaves lots of space in between; for example, when he has a thought during a conversation, he is seen staring off into space as the thought is spoken, leaving him with few lines and making him seem extremely dull. 

One infuriating part about the show is that it does not follow any logical plot, and the final episode of the season is no exception. In my opinion, I much prefer plot lines that are closer to reality, however I make an exception for this show because I love it. I do not think it came as a surprise that either Love or Joe would end up killing the other, but the plot twist was when it happened one after another. 

When Love makes dinner one night, she applies a poisonous substance to the knife on Joe’s plate. After he suggests a divorce, she walks away and he grabs the knife to defend himself just in case. This is when Love comes back and reveals she has poisoned him, and soon Joe succumbs to the effects. 

Right before Love decides to kill him, though, he manages to get a syringe with the same poison (he had noticed Love was growing wolfsbane in the garden and prepared the syringe just in case) and injects it into his wife. She dies, Joe burns their house down and leaves their son with the neighbor, and then he promptly flees to Paris in search of Marienne. 

All in all, the show’s rollercoaster of a plot is intense and though it is nonsensical at times. That said, it is one of my all-time favorites, and I cannot wait to see what happens next in season four.