TV Review: You – A Glorified Look Into the Twisted Mind Of A Serial Killer

TV Review: You - A Glorified Look Into the Twisted Mind Of A Serial Killer

Zoe Long, Editor/Writer

WARNING – This article contains spoilers of the show, and content surrounding murder, death, etc.

On October 15th, 2021, the third season of Netflix’s You was released. Ever since September 9th, 2018, when the very first episode was released, I have been an avid watcher of the show. It is a psychological thriller through and through, making you appalled by the characters actions, while also convincing you to care about, and even root for them. Over the thirty episodes the audience explores murder, love, drugs, children trauma, and more. Within its first few weeks on Netflix, this TV series was watched by 40 million households. 


You follows a man named Joe Goldberg (portrayed by Penn Badgley) on what he would describe as a quest for true love. The audience would more accurately describe the plot as Joe stalking and murdering in order to convince people to love him. Over these past seasons, Joe has gone through the steps of first: finding a love interest, second: stalking them, and third: killing for them, in order to “make their lives together easier”, multiple times.  And sometimes he eventually tries to kill them if they don’t feel the same. Unfortunately, although I love this show, it is very predictable because the creators have made our main character so predictable. As I said before a pattern emerges: find love, murder for love, beg for love, attempt to, or successfully end the life of the person he claims to love. 


A subplot of the show touches upon Joe’s upbringing with an abusive father and absent mother. When he was young, Joe’s father and mother got into a fight and he ended up shooting his father without thinking. Although he knows he caused damage, Joe also recognizes his mother, who he loves incredibly deeply, is going to be dealing with a lot less pain. And to add even more to his pride, his mother doesn’t reprimand him at all, instead telling him he is a “good boy” for protecting her. Personally, I believe this is the exact moment where it all starts. No one is born thinking killing another person can be justified, they have to taught that, and this is the exact moment where Joe was taught that he can find ways to justify murder; And he goes on to do it for years and years. To be frank, his upbringing gave him a “I will save every woman that needs saving” complex, because that is how he felt about his mother. Although, this manifests in a way that leads to people dying and him controlling the women in his relationships. 


The sad truth about this show is that I have seen many edits made of Joe Goldberg while and after killing somebody. I am sure this show was not made with the intent of convincing people to murder others, but I certainly believe they cast someone conventionally attractive in order to confuse the audience. We, as viewers, see Joe Goldberg do some horrific things, and yet at times we find ourselves rooting for him and hoping he pulls it off. We want this streak of chaos to continue because we are intrigued, and some people even glorify it because of Penn Badgley’s good looks. The support is obviously undeserved, and yet he still gets a lot of it because people, especially today, glorify toxic relationships and controlling nature. I 100% believe that the creators of this show knew that this reaction would occur, and they wanted it too. It causes the audience to not just enjoy watching the show, but then have more questions about themselves and society. 


Overall, the show is definitely worth watching. It is nerve-wracking and thought-provoking, introducing something new every episode. Although Joe’s behavior may be predictable at times, that doesn’t mean the behavior of his friends, love interests, and acquaintances is constant AT ALL. There are twists and turns in places no one would expect, throwing every watcher into a loop that makes you question your judgement.  After watching this show from the beginning, I definitely look at true crime in a completely different way because I see how glorified it can become just through the looks of the people involved and the sympathy that exists. I recommend this show to everyone I know, and now to you, because I know that everyone will walk away with something different to say or point out. There are so many layers to unpack, and they are waiting for you to unpack them!