Joe Goldberg’s latest adventures

PARTNERS IN CRIME: Parents by day, murderers by night. Netflix

Amy Parr | Head Editor

October 31, 2021

You took the world by storm in September 2018 with its’ debut season, and the hype has yet to die down. The Netflix Original revolves around self-proclaimed “serial-monogamist” Joe Goldberg, a psychotically charming serial killer who murders for whichever woman he is obsessed with at the moment. Naturally, such a premise has captivated audiences over the last three years, and season three did not disappoint. 

MIND OF A STALKER: Fans have taken to poking fun at Joe’s inner monologue. @waifswitch on Twitter

The third season, which premiered on October 15, follows Joe and his fellow serial killer wife, Love, as they acclimate to parenthood in the wealthy suburbs of Madre Linda, California. Things go south quickly when Love suspects Joe of an extra-marital affair with the neighbor and proceeds to kill the neighbor with an axe—as any rational lover does. 

“I can’t say that I was surprised that Love killed [the neighbor],” senior Teresa Yubeta said. “She matches Joe’s energy perfectly, which just makes it even more ironic that he thinks of her as a psychopath when he does the exact same thing.” 

Joe’s hypocrisy towards Love is not unintentional. It serves to exemplify societal tendencies to favor straight white men, which actor Penn Badgely, who plays Joe, commented on while on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

“It’s intended to function as a social commentary,” Badgely said. “It says something about how we are willing to be patient and forgive someone who inhabits a body that looks something like mine, the color of my skin, my gender… and how [we are] much less willing to forgive people who don’t fit those boxes.” 

“Love was doing the same exact thing Joe was doing, killing out of anger and desire, yet it was inconvenient for Joe to clean up Love’s mess, so he chose to judge her for what she did,” senior Ava Hassard-Johnson said. “His judgement of Love is hypocritical since Joe killed people who were getting in the way of his love life in prior seasons.”

This nuanced perception of murder is a unique theme throughout the entirety of You, made more apparent by Joe and Love’s extramarital affairs. Love’s affair with the next-door neighbor’s nineteen-year-old son, though technically legal, illustrates another societal tendency regarding gender. If the roles were reversed and Joe had an affair with a teenager, it would be seen as predatory and repulsive. Instead, Love and the neighbor’s relationship is cast in a romantic, flattering light. 

BOY NEXT DOOR trope takes on a sinister meaning with Love’s predatory behavior. Netflix

At one point, the teenage neighbor, Theo, stands outside Love and Joe’s house with a radio playing Lorde’s “Supercut,” whose chorus perfectly encapsulates the sentiment behind the relationship. Lorde sings, “In my head, I did everything right,” reflecting the common misconception that younger people have in optimism about relationships, when in reality it’s all going downhill. Another perfect music choice in this season was the use of Taylor Swift’s Grammy-winning track, “Exile,” featuring Bon Iver, during one of the final scenes of the season. 

“They couldn’t have played a better song for when Joe dragged Love’s body across the floor,” Yubeta said. “The song is the best representation of their relationship because Joe has completely given up on Love. She’s not “his town” anymore so he’s “seeing her out.”

In addition to thought-provoking social commentary and impeccable song choice, the third season of You provides shocking themes, such as arson and polyamory, besides the standard murders and kidnappings. Despite the rather simple premise, the show never fails to surprise and entertain and has already been renewed for a fourth season. “The show leaves you on the edge of your seat, wanting to know what will come next,” Hassard-Johnson said. “I’m excited to see what Joe does next, and the wait can’t go by quick enough.” 

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