Review: You


“You” was released internationally on Netflix on December 26, 2018, starring Joe Goldberg, played by Penn Badgley, as he embarks on a quest for true love. The series begins with Joe commentating on a girl within the book store he manages. He deduces her personality based on the way she dresses, talks, moves, and begins to fall for her, but all from a distance. However, the situation quickly takes a turn when he looks her up on social media to find her address and proceeds to follow her, hidden in the shadows, attempting to find a way to get closer to her and, eventually, win her affection.

Joe serves as the narrator and protagonist, despite indulging his need for love through stalking, kidnapping, and even murder. 

His misdeeds seem almost dismissable. However, due to the show giving insight into his thoughts, it drew out sympathy from the audience in a cycle of rooting for him and feeling uneasy about his extreme actions. The show even addresses a brilliant allegory for the story and the feelings and direction of the audience’s sympathy. 

This phenomenon of having the audience feel sympathy for a character who does bad is expressed in a genius allegory regarding the book “Frankenstein.” Joe explains that, in Frankenstein, though the monster’s actions are bad, he’s almost forgivable and justified due to him simply not knowing better and the real monster of the story being the doctor who created him.

The audience is made to see this psychopath, who should be seen as crazy, unstable, and evil, as someone who deserves to have things fall into place the way he wants them too. Joe is  Frankenstein’s monster – his actions are unconventional, but his charm allows for the negative feelings towards him because of those actions to be void. 

The first season’s themes, tone, and underlying meaning are not the only thing that makes the show worth watching, but that it is, with just seeing what’s on the surface, entertaining, suspenseful and worth watching.

Thankfully, “You” did not end with a single season. On December 26, 2019, fans were graced with a second season. 

After the events of the first season, Joe made his way to Los Angeles for a fresh start and to try to change and redeem himself from season one’s events. Love, a girl he sees upon his arrival however, quickly derails his plan for reformation as she tempts him back into his ways. The second season contained just as much suspense and entertainment, while also challenging the expectations of the audience by including an abundance of twists and turns that were almost impossible to predict. Each episode was beautifully crafted and a perfect addition to the story the preceding season created. The series overall was incredible, creative, and contained deep and unusual themes that made it all the more entertaining to indulge in. 

Fortunately, season two ended with a cliffhanger, so perhaps there are more incredibly enriching story arcs to be watched in the coming future.


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