‘You’ on Netflix follows the murderously romantic Joe Goldberg as he falls in (and out) of love while leaving a trail of dead bodies in his wake. Season 3 finds our protagonist embarking on an idyllic domestic life with his wife, Love, and newborn child, but not all is peachy. Joe soon becomes infatuated with other women, and then there is the small matter of Love being an impulsive killer. One thing leads to another and things (as expected) end in death and violence. Between all the chaos of season 3, Joe also severs two of his toes with a kitchen knife. Why does he do that? Let’s find out. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Why Did Joe Cut Off His Toes?
The standoff in the season 3 finale comes down to Joe and his wife, who both realize that one of them will eventually kill the other. Joe has long since planned on running away with his son and latest muse, Merienne. However, when he discovers that Love killed her previous husband when he tried to leave her, our favorite serial killer begins to plan for violence. Hence, a tense roast chicken dinner ensues as the couple sits down together for a meal one last time.
When the subject of divorce is broached, Joe becomes convinced his wife will eventually try to kill him and picks up a knife from the table. Love, however, is equally wily and has covered the blade with a toxin that paralyzes Joe. Eventually, Joe is able to regain control of his limbs and subsequently incapacitates Love, but not before she reveals all his murderous secrets to Merienne.
Hence, Joe finds himself alive but with his wife dead (killed by him) and his secret out in the open. Our hero realizes that the only escape is feigning death. He severs two of his toes and puts one of them in a pie while the other one is placed near Love’s body along with other incriminating evidence of the murders she’s committed. He then sets the house on fire with Love’s body and two of his toes in it and limps out the back door.
In the wreckage of Joe and Love’s house, the latter’s body is found while two of Joe’s toes are discovered, one of them baked inside a pie. Combined with Love’s suicide note, which Joe has written, the conclusion that the authorities and neighbors draw is that the wife was disturbed and eventually murdered her husband. Because of the state his toes are found in, Joe is considered to have been killed and butchered by his wife and possibly even eaten. Therefore, there is no subsequent search for his remains, and the two toes he leaves behind are taken as sufficient proof of his death.
This is the outcome that Joe hopes for, as season 3 closes with him in Paris, seemingly starting a new life. Joe has a habit of wiping his record clean by changing cities, which he does at the end of both season 1 and season 2. In season 3, however, it is not so easy as he is married and has a child. Therefore, to escape from his past crimes and start afresh once more, Joe is forced to make it seem like he’s perished along with Love, which costs him two of his toes.