‘YOU’ Season 2 Review: Joe Has a Killer Time in LA

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Penn Badgley and Victoria Pedretti in YOU. Image courtesy of Netflix.

Season 2 of the romance-stalker drama YOU finally released on Netflix the day after Christmas, and this time, Joe Goldberg is in Los Angeles under a new name: William Bettelheim. He yearns for a fresh start in the City of Angels, completely on the other side of the country, away from New York. His past is constantly on his mind while he finds someone new to better himself, or does he?

WARNING: Major spoilers ahead for season 2 of YOU!

Penn Badgley in ‘YOU.’ Image courtesy of Netflix.

Now in LA, Joe has established a new, stolen identity and meets Delilah, his new landlord and reporter, and her little sister, Ellie, an aspiring filmmaker and influencer. Ellie is interning with Henderson, a celebrity who turns out to be bad news and is soon killed by Joe in a soundproof basement. Delilah starts to get suspicious of Joe, and while raiding his apartment, she finds keys to a storage unit. The infamous “murder cage” from season one is at that storage unit. Before she can leave, Joe catches Delilah and locks her in. He returns one day just before her freedom and finds she’s been killed. At his new job at Anavrin, he meets Love and Forty Quinn, twins whose parents own the place. At first, Joe tries not to get close to Love for fear of hurting her, both physically and emotionally. However, they realize they both need each other and start seeing one another. Soon, it’s revealed Forty is seeing someone named Amy Adam, aka Candace Stone, aka Joe’s ex, whom he almost killed. Candace tells Love everything.

Candace follows Joe to the storage unit and locks him in the cage. Love soon comes and demands Candace release, Joe. When she doesn’t, Love follows Candace and kills her. Love goes back to Joe and reveals she’s the one who killed Delilah. They meet Forty at Anavrin and tell Forty Love is pregnant with Joe’s baby. Forty tries to get Love to leave Joe, but she shouldn’t. Before Forty can shoot Joe, a police officer shoots Forty. Joe and Love move into a new house where Joe evidently meets the new “You,” the next-door neighbor.

One scene that deserves mention would be Ellie’s breakdown in episode 9. Worried about her sister, Ellie is afraid something happened to her. Joe tries to console her, but Ellie won’t listen. Jenna Ortega is a former Disney Channel star, having been the lead in the series Stuck in the Middle from 2016-2018, and she also portrayed Young Jane in The CW’s Jane the Virgin throughout the show’s five-season run. This is one of Ortega’s more serious roles; she played it physically and emotionally perfectly.

Penn Badgley and Jenna Ortega in ‘YOU.’ Image courtesy of Netflix.

This season of YOU saw new characters, new settings, and new kills, but not without a few plot twists. Although haunted by Beck in the first few episodes, Joe struggles to start a completely new life and change his ways, telling himself he is not that anymore — “that” being a killer. He knows what he’s capable of, he knows what he did to Candace and Beck and her friends, and he doesn’t want to be that anymore. Season 2 sees a new, more loving side of Joe while still keeping that creepy-like feeling to him but hiding it with other people.

Delilah and Ellie seemed like they were going to just be side characters, but they turned out to be critical to the main story. Here you have two sisters, taking care of each other, being overprotective, and hating each other. One is a young, smart, aspiring filmmaker and influencer who gets caught up in a tragedy, while the other is a young, smart reporter trying to find the truth to the celebrity world. One accidentally stumbles into something she shouldn’t have and ends up getting killed by someone completely unexpected, while the other has to start over and leave her life. Joe changed both of their lives.

Love is a breath of fresh air from Beck. She is a bit more stable and has more personality than Beck because we know more of her backstory, her relationships with her friends, her brother, and her parents. Throughout the season, you don’t suspect anything is wrong with her mentally or that she could be capable of anything wrong. When she reveals what she’s done and why she did it, she did it for love. It wasn’t right, but she’s almost perfect for Joe.

Forty and Joe’s friendship starts off a bit rocky. Forty is a recovering addict and aspiring screenwriter who cares about his sister. He doesn’t know Joe, so when he starts to hit it off with Love, he’s a bit reluctant. However, they begin to get closer throughout the season — Joe becomes Forty’s best friend. Forty goes to New York to see Dr. Nicky and find out what really happened after hearing about what Candace was saying. When he comes back, he desperately tries to get her sister to see the truth, not knowing what she had also done. Forty’s life ends tragically because he was simply trying to protect his sister after she’s been protecting him his whole life.

James Scully and Penn Badgley in ‘YOU.’ Image courtesy of Netflix.

It’s been over a year since the first season of YOU premiered, and this is the first season to be produced by Netflix, giving the actors and the streaming service more wiggle room to do what they want and how they want to adapt the book into the series. Season 2 perfectly set up season 3. Who is the neighbor? Why is Joe so fixated on her? What will happen to Love and their baby? Penn Badgley has proven he is no longer “Lonely Boy” Dan Humphrey on the Upper East Side. He is now Joe Goldberg or William Bettelheim, a guy who will do anything for love, first in New York and now in Los Angeles — where next?

What is it about Joe Goldberg that makes people fall in love with him? What is it about someone who is so enamored with someone they feel the need to do drastic measures in order to have that someone be the only thing they need in their lives? YOU shows how dangerous it is to love someone and how easy it is to fall for someone you don’t know much about. It’s a warning for love, but it’s also a metaphor for love, in a way. You can love someone so much that you completely turn into a different person. Your past may be in the past, but it can haunt you if you don’t let go of it. Someone could change you, for better or for worse.

Ambyr Childers and Penn Badgley in ‘YOU.’ Image courtesy of Netflix.

YOU divides viewers between the act of love and the act of crazy. Some people fall for Joe’s stalker and romantic ways, while others find it insane. The show takes a drama that is about romance and relationships and puts a twist on it. The first season saw Joe kill people who got in the way of his and Beck’s relationship, ultimately killing Beck. Season 2 saw Joe try to get away from his past and old ways so he can start new, until his ex-girlfriend returns. Season 3 has yet to be announced, but Badgley has already seemingly confirmed that season 3 is in the works. In the meantime, if you haven’t already, read You and Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes, the two books that were loosely adapted into the Netflix series.

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By Megan
Megan has been passionate about writing since she was little and has been passionate about all things pop culture and nerdy since almost as long. Joining Nerds and Beyond in 2019, she also graduated from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in Multimedia Journalism. Megan is constantly binge-watching shows and finding new things to obsess over. 9-1-1 and Marvel currently reign as the top obsessions. You can find her on Twitter @marvels911s if you ever want to discuss some certain firefighters.
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