Warning: there are major spoilers for season three of You ahead!
In the first two seasons of You, a Netflix hit show and Penn Badgley’s creepy debut post-Dan Humphries fame, we saw charismatic and creepy Joe becoming obsessed with women, endlessly stalking them, and somehow still playing it cool (that is, until he got them into his freezer/basement/see-through room and committed a few murders). We ended season two with the belief that Joe had finally met his match in Love, who might be just as terrifying as he is.
When he was (maybe?) going to kill her at the end (he is not a good example for how to show your love, FYI), Love announced she was pregnant, and we were left on a major cliff-hanger to learn what their life would be like as new parents in a new suburban life. If that’s the last you’ve seen, stop right now, pull up Netflix, and start bingeing (trust me, you won’t be able to just watch one episode). Whatever you do, stop reading now because spoilers ahead!
For those of you who have already watched or are too scared to watch and just want to know what happens (usually me), the much-anticipated third season was as shocking as it was binge-worthy. It was so good, in fact, that many people are calling it better than the seasons before it and multiple editors on The Everygirl team binged it in one weekend. So was it really worth the hype? Here’s everything we thought about the much-anticipated season:
What Happened This Season
Season three finds pop culture’s favorite creepy couple, Love and Joe, relocated to a Californian suburb in an effort to give their newborn son, Henry (I mean Forty?) a “normal” life. Given the 10 episodes of absolute insanity, you can bet they did not achieve said normal life. Before you believe that a season about a married couple wouldn’t have the same signature creep-factor from the first two seasons, it wouldn’t be You without some stalking and (spoiler alert) it’s still Joe (when will he learn?). Their relationship dynamic changes with the lack of thrill (AKA murder/obsession/violence) so Joe repeats his cycle of obsession with a new love interest: next-door neighbor, Natalie (cliche, but whatever). When Natalie “mysteriously” disappears (looking at you, Love), the entire town is sent into a media frenzy trying to find her before Joe and Love concoct a perfect plan to conceal the murder and get them off the hook.
To absolutely no one’s surprise, Joe finds a new object of desire in his boss, Marienne, who seems unbelievably cool besides the fact that she’s into him too (why do girls keep falling for him?). Throw in a douchebag ex-husband, a custody battle, and a desperate attempt to spice up a marriage’s sex life and you basically have the premise of an amazing soap opera until you remember that the main characters are murderers. You’ll hold your breath as Love finds out about Joe’s adoration for Marienne and invites her over, pretending to be Joe (this can only end badly).
Love has a change of heart (phew), directs her attention to a paralyzed Joe (long story), who then kills her, frames her for all the crimes, and cuts off his own toes before setting the house on fire to make it seem like he died as well. Claaassic Joe. If you’re worried about Henry (aren’t we all?), he stayed with Dante (Joe’s coworker) who always wanted a child, so at least it was a Happily Ever After for someone? Anyway, the season ends with Joe in Paris (Emily in Paris could never) assuming a new identity, AKA another day, another dollar for ol’ Dan Humphries–I mean Joe. Killer premise for season four (pun intended)!
What We Thought
Joe and Love as parents
As soon as we knew Love was pregnant at the end of season two, I think it’s safe to say we all had our doubts, as one does when two murderers are responsible for a child. Love seemed to more seamlessly fit into the “mom” title, while Joe worried endlessly that the baby didn’t like him or that he would fail the baby (I mean, yeah). While it was touching to see how much Love and Joe loved Henry and wanted to be better for him, it was devastating to see Henry tossed off to a babysitter/willing coworker/drunk grandmother when the couple had to conceal some crimes. Even worse? The fact that they buried a dead body with Henry two feet away. Do better, Love and Joe.
“The best thing Joe could have done for baby Henry was to give him up to Dante. We can only pray that the character of baby Henry will not remember anything from his toxic beginning.” -Kirra, Graphic Designer
— KHipHopHarlot™ (@KHipHopWorld2) September 17, 2021
I could’ve guessed Joe would find new women to obsess over, but I truly did not think he would act on it since he has this white-knight complex where he really wants to be a good father and husband. Call me naive, but I wasn’t surprised when he turned down Natalie (but not without the usual stalking, fantasizing, and stealing “momentos”). I was, however, surprised when Love had her own affair, and with a 19-year-old, nonetheless. The neighbor’s stepson, Theo, pursues Love, and the audience is left to wonder if she is truly trying to shut him down or if she has mutual feelings. Finally, Joe’s worst affair is with Marienne who he not only sleeps with while the mother of his child conceals the latest murder du jour, but concocts a plan to leave Love and run away with Marienne. All I can say is run, Marienne, run! And not with Joe.
“I actually felt so sorry for Love because her desperation to make her relationship with Joe work had a lot to do with her upbringing and trauma. Obviously, this show is as dramatic as it gets, but we could really learn a thing or two on how not to be in a relationship.” -Andi, Social Media Coordinator
“I can’t say I was shocked when Joe almost immediately gets fixated on a new woman. However, I did not expect Love’s impulsive reaction to finding Joe’s creepy box. Murdering Natalie in the first episode!? You’re kidding right…?” -Kirra, Graphic Designer
“At the end of season two, I really thought Love and Joe would be perfect together because of how similar they are, but in season three, we learn they’re so different. Love is far more impulsive when she kills, while Joe is more calculated. Seeing how different they are created a divide between them.” -Caitlyn, Editorial Intern
The Quinns’ family turmoil
One of the sadder parts of the show (besides, you know, all the innocent deaths) is the turmoil of the Quinn family. Love’s mom Dottie, recently divorced from her husband, follows Love to Madre Linda, and continuously calls Henry “Forty,” seemingly making him into her late son (AKA Love’s twin) who died in season two. Besides the mother-and-daughter tension that lasted basically the entire season, Love is dealing with her own battles as she struggles with letting go of Forty. I’m going to be honest–the bathtub scene was kinda gross, but I did cry. The turmoil amongst the family implodes when Dottie gets drunk, steals Henry, goes through a Drive-Thru, and then lights the vineyard that her husband stole in the divorce on fire (rich people problems?). Luckily, Henry is safe and we last see Dottie on her way to rehab, but I can’t help but think about how Dottie will be when she finds out her only other child is now also dead (I know it’s fiction, but I am so invested).
“Every single time Love or her mom referred to Henry as Forty, a part of my soul died over and over again. Also, can we talk about the fact that Love’s mom knew she was a murderer and warned Joe!? The amount of toxic ego-centered self-preservation had me shaking my head.” -Kirra, Graphic Designer
Our breakout star, Marienne
I would be remiss if I did not dedicate an entire section to stalker-crime TV’s newest sweetheart, Tati Gabrielle, who plays Joe’s most recent obsession. Her first main scene was schooling Joe on Missing White Woman Syndrome, so you can bet she brought a way different perspective for Joe than Beck or Love did. For example, she’s worried that the murder Joe commits “in the name of love” could be pinned on her because “everyone likes to play the story of the crazy Black woman.” While Marienne cautiously has feelings for Joe throughout the season, she leaves as soon as she learns the truth, prioritizing her daughter and escaping to safety. Marienne was a powerful character beyond being likable, smart, and relatable. Basically, I rooted for Marienne more than any other character on the show and she was the breakout star we never knew we needed.
“If there is one character I’m happy freed themselves from Joe’s rusty shackles it’s Marienne! All of Joe’s conquests were murdered by the end of each season, so I’m glad Marienne broke the mold. I hope if she makes an appearance in the next season, she’ll be the one to finally take down Joe.” -Andi, Social Media Coordinator
“Ah, our girl Marienne! Can I preface this by saying no murder is justified, but I am slightly happy her horrible ex is gone. Here’s to hoping Joe never finds her and she can continue to be the badass she is.” -Kirra, Graphic Designer
When Joe starts stalking again
So we thought that maybe that basic baseball cap Joe put on whenever he was stalking would be a thing of the past now that he’s married and settled down (just like the box of love letters we keep from exes, right?). But Joe starts to feel complacent, or maybe he’s less into Love when he knows she is just as terrifying as he is, so he starts to fantasize and stalk Natalie, and then Marienne. BTW, Joe didn’t show much interest in Marienne until his first object of desire was killed and he didn’t feel excited about Love because–IDK–she just had a baby, is opening a business, and dealing with the anxiety of killing a couple of people. It’s like they say: Once a cheater, always a cheater. Or in this case, once a stalker/killer/psychopath… you get the rest.
“I think Joe really tried to change and be ‘happy’ with Love, but it’s like he can’t escape his instincts to start obsessing over new women.” -Caitlyn, Editorial Intern
“*Pours more wine…* WHY!?” -Kirra, Graphic Designer
— Dilan K (@Dkoovarjee) October 15, 2021
The new setting
Madre Linda was basically a character itself. As “the safest suburb in California,” Love and Joe move to the tiny town for a fresh start. But the town itself is almost what sparks their downfall because Joe feels complacent and bored in this new suburban life (although living in NYC or LA didn’t seem to stop him from seeking out women to stalk, so sounds like he’s just deflecting). The people of the town are interesting because they’re full of mom bloggers and health nuts who won’t give their kids sugar (or vaccines). Between the “manly camping retreats” (raise your hand if you eye-rolled more than 10 times during that scene) and swinger culture (no judgment on the latter!), the suburbs prove to be a little more than what meets the eye.
“The fact that they found a town more toxic than how Los Angeles was portrayed on the show has me applauding the writers. I’m super curious how they seemed to turn every tragedy into a PR opportunity for the town.” -Kirra, Graphic Designer
The shocking twist
It’s always the husband. Or at least, that was the sentiment echoed by neighbors and Love’s mom throughout the entire series that was intended to be in reference to Natalie, but it ended up foreshadowing how Joe killed Love and then framed her for basically everything. Love was definitely not innocent (I mean, she was responsible for the majority of deaths this season), but Joe ended up being the final villain, leaving behind Henry and killing Love before framing the perfect crime scene that puts Love right at the center of it all (she kinda was but he was right in the center with her).
“Just when I think I have a grasp on how this show is going to end, the finale throws me for a loop! Just as I will never know peace with this show, Joe will never be able to stop killing his significant others.” -Andi, Social Media Coordinator
“I have so many thoughts–this season finale will take me months to process. First of all, thank the powers that be that Theo is OK. Even though I spent the majority of the season not enjoying Sharry and Carry, they turned a corner for me when we saw a more realistic glimpse into their relationship in the glass box (and when Sharry found the key? I gasped!). Overall good vibes here, minus the fact that Joe is now free and in Paris. We love a good French moment, but the thought of Joe ruining the most romantic city in the world turns my stomach.” -Kirra, Graphic Designer
I audibly gasped when Joe killed Beck in the first season (after an entire season of saying “he wouldn’t kill her, right??”), and remained at the edge of my seat through the entire season two, but the third season is arguably the most shocking and haunting of them all. With two unpredictable killers and a newborn baby that makes you more invested, there were so many more eerie layers than a man with a glass box in the basement (although I still have nightmares of that alone). Besides the shock value and fear factor, I enjoyed this season because there was an interesting complexity to Joe and Love’s relationship that obviously wasn’t there when Joe was obsessed with these women from “afar.”
I was initially interested in the series because it takes off the rose-colored lenses of a typical boy-meets-girl love story to show the damage, and even danger, behind the white-knight fairy tale. AKA men who come to a woman’s “rescue,” as Joe convinced himself he was so many times. Season three portrayed so much more about love, marriage, and commitment, but it also made statements about race and socioeconomic inequality that was extremely powerful when you look past all the creepy deaths and plot twists.
All in all, consider season three of You an Everygirl team favorite. Shocking twists, characters you love (I’ll be honest: I disliked Sherry at the beginning but was obsessed by the end), and storylines you won’t be able to expect make it a must-watch. Even with a newborn and a suburban setting, You is certainly not the bad-guy-finally-sees-the-light storyline you might’ve optimistically expected when a baby and wife entered the plot. But don’t worry: it’s a lot more interesting than your average murder thriller.