‘You’ on Netflix follows your friendly neighborhood psychopath Joe Goldberg as he falls obsessively in love with women that catch his attention. The only caveat? His affections sometimes get so strong, they lead to murder. The thriller series and its protagonist take obsessive stalking and jealousy to new heights, making the show a heady mix of romance and crime.
Over two seasons, Joe has fallen in (and out) of love with a few unlucky ladies while leaving a string of dead bodies in his wake. Constantly haunted by his ex-girlfriend but still hungry for the perfect romance, a lot is going on in our hero’s mind. Let’s catch up with Joe and see what’s gone down in ‘You’ seasons 1 and 2. SPOILERS AHEAD.
You Season 1 Recap
We are introduced to Joe Goldberg, a quietly charming dedicated bookstore clerk. When Guinevere Beck walks into the shop one day, Joe is intrigued and begins to stalk her online. A “chance” meeting at night results in him saving her, and the two become closely acquainted.
Seeing as she is drunk, Joe also uses the opportunity to steal Beck’s phone and begins to keep track of all her online activity. When her wealthy and pompous boyfriend Benji threatens to come between them, Joe locks him in a glass vault in the bookstore’s basement and eventually kills him. While attempting to dispose of the body, our hero is almost caught and narrowly escapes.
Joe and Beck start dating, but the latter remains unsure of their relationship. She tells her friend Peach the same, who begins to suspect Joe of not being entirely truthful either. In an attempt to regain Beck’s favor, the romantic psychopath ambushes Peach in the park and bludgeons her with a rock. She, however, survives and begins to form more of a wedge between Joe and Beck. It is eventually revealed that Peach has feelings for Beck, and in a final struggle between Peach and Joe, the former is shot and killed. Joe makes it look like suicide by leaving a note typed out on Peach’s laptop.
He then goes to visit Beck’s counselor, Dr. Nicky, under a false name but begins to suspect that she is sleeping with him. When he confronts Beck about it, the two break up, and Joe eventually decides to move on and starts dating Karen. A few months on, however, he runs into Beck, and their romance rekindles. In a fit of jealousy, Karen then warns Beck about Joe’s past, making her curious about Candace. It is then revealed that Joe’s ex-girlfriend Candace mysteriously disappeared some time ago.
Though Joe is able to allay her fears, Beck eventually discovers the collection of his victims’ phones (including hers and Benji’s) and a few more gruesome souvenirs. She also finds the glass vault in the bookstore’s basement, and Joe arrives just in time to lock her inside it. However, she is eventually able to trick Joe into getting inside the vault himself and attempts to escape the bookstore basement.
In the season finale’s breathless climax, Joe escapes from the vault and kills Beck. The season ends with Joe getting a new start after successfully pinning the blame for all his murders on Dr. Nicky. However, in the closing scenes of the season 1 finale, Candace walks into Joe’s bookstore and tells the startled man that the two still have some unfinished business.
You Season 2 Recap
Season 2 opens with Joe starting afresh in Los Angeles after leaving New York to get away from Candace. He finds a small-time criminal named Will and steals his identity, locking him in a glass vault inside a rented storage unit. It is then revealed that Joe is already infatuated with another woman, Love, and soon gets a job at the trendy department store where she works. Love and Joe eventually get close, but her immature, loudmouthed brother Forty continues to be a thorn in Joe’s side. We also find out that the store Joe works at is owned by Love and Forty’s wealthy parents.
Despite his best efforts to cover them, Love discovers Joe’s dual identities and grows suspicious of him, breaking things off. Joe, who is worried that he might hurt Love like he did Beck, also tries to distance himself from her. However, they are pushed together when Forty goes on a drug and alcohol-fuelled bender, and Joe is forced to take care of him. Just as things with Love begin to go smoothly, Candace once again shows up in Joe’s life, this time by befriending Forty.
Love soon becomes suspicious of Candace and, after discovering her lies, forces her to come clean. While revealing the truth about herself, Candace also reveals Joe’s dark past, resulting in Love breaking up with him again. Joe then has a brief affair with his landlord Delilah, a fiery reporter trying to bring down a local pedophile named Henderson who molested her when she was 17. When Joe breaks into Henderson’s house to collect proof of his guilt, he accidentally ends up killing the man.
Meanwhile, Delilah finds the keys to Joe’s storage locker and finds the glass vault that her tenant used to imprison Will (who he eventually released). Joe is forced to lock Delilah in the glass vault to stop her from revealing his secret. However, he promises not to harm her and secures her with time-release handcuffs, planning to flee the city by the time she gets free.
On his way, he is accosted by Forty, who needs help with writing a script and slips Joe a hallucinogen while holding him captive until the script is finished. When he finally comes around the next morning, our hero rushes to check on Delilah but finds her dead in the vault. Unfortunately, Candace shows up at the vault and manages to trap Joe with Delilah’s dead body. She then calls Love to come and see for herself the truth about Joe’s murderous nature.
Joe is finally forced to come clean to Love but is then surprised when she murders Candace. She then reveals that she has been stalking Joe and is also responsible for Delilah’s murder. To his horror, Joe realizes that he is to Love what Beck was to him and that Love is the actual wolf in sheep’s clothing. As she outlines a plot for them to get away with murder and build a life for themselves, he is struck by the urge to kill her.
However, when Love reveals that she is pregnant with his child, Joe decides to continue to love her. After an incident at the grocery store during which Forty is shot and killed, season 2 ends with Joe and Love moving into their new home. The closing scenes depict Joe now getting ominously infatuated with their new neighbor.
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