Netflix Review: You (Season 2) – The Creepiest Show on Television Continues (Spoiler-Free)

The show focused on a crazed stalker of women shifts to the other side of the US and to a new target.

SUMMARY (Spoilers for Season 1)

Having killed the object of his obsession in season 1, Beck (Elizabeth Lail), Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) moves to Los Angeles to flee another of his exes, Candace (Ambyr Childers) and resolves to quit his stalker lifestyle. He gets a new identity from Will Bettelheim (Robin Lord Taylor) and gets hired at a bookstore owned by Forty Quinn (James Scully). He moves in next to reporter Delilah (Carmelo Zumbado) and her sister Ellie (Jenna Ortega), but quickly falls for another woman named Love (Victoria Pedretti). Joe attempts to change his ways for her, but his inner crazy stalker starts to come out.

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Penn Badgley does a great job, just like before. It scares me.


This show has an interesting way of simultaneously being so disturbing that I don’t want to watch it but so unpredictable and creatively told that I can’t stop. It’s the only binge show where I have to take breaks for my sanity but know that I have to go back to binging it or it will eat at me to not know where the story goes. It’s even more annoying because so much of the story structure is recycled from Season 1, but it still feels surprising. I will say that, much like last season, several times it felt like the entire show changed in an episode, and it never got old. 

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We also have some interesting side-elements that just pop-up and they work well.

Part of what allows the show to change so frequently is that we always have a focal point in our unreliable narrator, which is usually Joe/Will narrating a story towards the object of his obsession. Since he lies to that person, and vicariously himself, frequently, he’s also deceiving the audience. The conflict between what we see objectively and what is narrated to us is one of the most compelling aspects of the show, frequently making us realize that we’re being sympathetic TO A MURDEROUS STALKER. Whereas in Season 1 we might have had hope that he really would realize the nature of his actions in time to keep himself from going over the last line he had, by this point we know that he was willing to rationalize his own actions no matter how extreme. He claims that he wants to reform, but the nature of television tells us any reformation will be replaced by another obsession. Still, that means that the viewers will always be on our toes.

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He. Kills. People. And yet he has a ton of defenders on-line and I get it.

One change to the season is the presence of Candace, who was presumed to be Joe’s first victim before Beck in Season 1. It turns out that she’s not dead, but she is determined to destroy Joe’s life for what he did to her. While she is technically the antagonist, she’s clearly the anti-villain to Joe’s anti-hero. We have no sympathy for her actions from his perspective, with Joe denying any ill-intent towards her, but ultimately she is in the “right.” Joe stalks and kills women. She’s a woman. It’s amazing how much the narrative can make her seem like the crazy one, just by playing things from Joe’s point of view. 

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The other supporting characters in this season are a step-up from the first. They’re much more complex and contain their own hidden dark sides. Forty, who seems like a complete spoiled rich-kid with delusions of artistic grandeur, turns out to be much more relatable. Love’s friends are given more depth than Beck’s companions. Heck, we even get some flashes into Joe’s past which tell us a bit about how he got to be who he is. Just a solid improvement in this category.

Overall, this show is still disturbing, but it also has the ability to constantly surprise the viewer with all of the twists and close-calls. If you liked the first season, you’ll like this one.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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Netflix Review – You: A Show Worth Obsessing Over? (Spoiler-Free)

Lifetime’s brilliant and unsung show You goes to Netflix and it’s hard to stop watching it… even if you’re in the bushes.


Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) is a bookstore manager who becomes attracted to a patron, an aspiring writer named Guinevere “Beck” Beck (Elizabeth Lail). He begins to follow her, stalking her, planning out methods by which he can become her boyfriend. This only covers episode one, but literally anything else about the show is a spoiler.

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She’s a writer, he’s a reader. It’s a match made from him following her home.


Like most of you, I didn’t hear about this show during its original run, but after hearing about it, I had to give it a try and dang, I would never have expected this level out of Lifetime. Granted, I don’t watch Lifetime, so maybe that’s on me.

The first positive of the show is that almost all of the characters are so much deeper than they originally appear. A lot of this is derived from the way in which we are introduced to them. At the beginning of the show, we almost exclusively see things from Joe’s viewpoint, complete with his narration. Joe is presented as a smart man, basically a Hannibal-Lector-esque predator, so we hardly question any of the conclusions and deductions he makes during the first few episodes… which makes it so much more interesting when we get more objective scenes where we find out that he isn’t as omniscient as he thinks and that the stereotypes he thinks that most of the supporting characters fit are not exactly what they turn out to be.

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Beck’s friends are so much more than they first appear.

Another positive is that they don’t exactly make Joe the enviable model of villain protagonist/anti-hero that we sometimes see in modern media, with guys wanting to be Don Draper (despite him being miserable for almost all of the series) or, more frighteningly, Dexter. Yes, some people, including some women, apparently, message Penn Badgley talking about how much they want to be, or be with, the character, but for the most part I think the show does go out of the way to make him undesirable. One way they do this is by making him the butt of many of the jokes in the show, ranging from him being massively wrong about his deductions to wildly overestimating some of his abilities and failing at a task he believes he’ll easily complete. It helps that Joe, while monstrous, still has positive traits, like when he is attempting to stop his neighbor from being abused by her boyfriend. By being able to hear his inner motivations, some of the things that he does are given grander, more heroic motivations… right until the show shifts to an objective point of view and we’re reminded that, oh, right, THIS GUY IS HORRIFYING.

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He’s literally a stalker and you almost like him.

The acting is spectacular, pretty much all around, with special credit going to the two leads and Luca Padovan who plays Joe’s young neighbor who is dealing with his mom’s horrible relationship and Natalie Paul who plays his babysitter. The cinematography and direction are both solid. The atmosphere that the show builds around Joe’s stalking conveys the darkness of the topic, while also putting in enough levity to make it tolerable.

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They have such great interplay.

The biggest positive, though, is that the show is almost impossible to predict. The writing is spectacular, but it really shines when the series alternates between playing things out how they would in real life and how they would in fiction. Sometimes, Joe succeeds only because the narrative allows him to pull off stunts that should be nearly impossible, but sometimes he fails at things because that’s what would happen in real life. The fact that you’re dealing simultaneously with both fiction and real logics keeps you on your toes. Additionally, the overall arc of the season doesn’t play out in the way that most stories of this kind do.

It helps that the show starts off narrated almost entirely from Joe’s perspective, before shifting to give us other viewpoints, allowing for a little bit of Rashomon-esque recontextualization of encounters, meaning that the narrative can suddenly change a character’s motivations while not invalidating the rest of their behaviors.

Overall, I was blown away by how much I ended up enjoying this series. I can’t wait for season 2. Give it a shot if you can handle a little darkness in your shows.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (, follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.