‘You’ season two review: From horrifying to heinous to hilarious

You have probably heard about “You” by now — no, not like you as in yourself, but rather the popular Netflix series about stalker Joe. The first season aired in September of 2018 and as a late Christmas gift, Netflix gave us season two just after Christmas in 2019.

After this last season, one would wonder how protagonist Joe Goldberg (or his alias, Will Bettelheim) could do anything more … but we know he will, thanks to season three being confirmed.

“You” is originally based on a book series by Caroline Kepnes. For fun, I decided to read the Amazon reviews for the second novel before I began my season two viewing. There were a lot of conflicting views from middle-aged women.

My personal favorite was a review posted by a user called Scubamom who wrote, “Joe is Creepy and I Like It.” Overall, the debate centered around how “it isn’t the same old Joe.” After finishing the season, I have to agree. It isn’t the same old Joe. Some might call it character development. I might call it disappointment. Some things about Joe never change though; he still has his blue baseball cap that apparently acts like an invisibility cloak and his glass cage, holding cell situation.

The first season had me so overwhelmed with anxiety I could hardly watch two episodes in a row. I forced my roommate to watch it with me, and I’m not normally the squeamish type. The characters and events felt too plausible and real to enjoy safely, even with the sheen of theatrics and outlandish drama.

Season two, however, decided to go down the satirical route. Half the season is a parody of Los Angeles. The plot is so horrendously ridiculous that I couldn’t take anything serious; it went from psychological thriller to comedy. Penn Badgley’s voiceover narration is a meme now.

Towards the end, I was exhausted from the absurd, irrational actions. The shock value is shoved into an oven and overbaked at 400 degrees, so by the time the huge “twist” comes along in the final episode, I wasn’t fazed. Additionally, without spoiling too much, the ending doesn’t feel original.

If you watch both Gone Girl and the final episode, you’ll see the similarities.

Parts of season two are copies of season one’s arch: getting involved in the neighbor kid’s life, having a quick rebound after a breakup, having another person obsessed with his lover, daddy issues and more. There are only two good and unique things in this season. One is the subplot of Joe’s childhood, which allows us to see better into how he became the way he is. However, I am weary of the way it is presented entirely, as it seems to condone Joe’s lifestyle choices of toxic relationships. I do worry that viewers may romanticize the toxic traits portrayed in the show, like Scubamom’s comment about how Joe is creepy but she likes it.

The second unique thing is Love’s lesbian friends, Lucy and Sunrise. They constitute approximately 0.02% of total screen time, but they are one of the only positive influences and their wedding is adorable and sweet. They are totally people I would want as friends in real life.

All in all, I believe “You” season two is worth the watch, but I definitely prefer the first season. This season recycles some of the plot and falls short on the realism that drove the intrigue of the prior season, making it more of a comic rendition.

But, I still watched the whole thing of my own freewill, and you bet I’ll be watching season three when it releases. I’m going to give Joe some time to redeem himself, and whether or not he actually does, the show is still addicting.

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