Netflix’s third season of ‘You’ adds more chaos, changes character focus

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Emma Newman co-editor-in-chief

“You” fans who thought that the Netflix show was gory and chaotic during its first two seasons haven’t seen anything yet. During its third season, “You” managed to increase the amount of violence and include even more dark themes, keeping the audience consistently entertained–and that’s all thanks to Love Quinn. 

Throughout the show’s first two seasons, the show largely centered around one man: Joe Goldberg, played by Penn Badgley. While his obsessions, Guinevere Beck, Elizabeth Lail, and Love Quinn, played by Victoria Pedretti, would get their own storylines, “You” made it pretty clear that while Joe’s love interests were replaceable, he wasn’t. However, by making Love a protagonist during the show’s third season, the show changed this focus. 

During the last two episodes of “You”’s second season, the show revealed that Love, originally portrayed as a funny, caring, innocent girl, was actually a murderer — just like Joe. This reveal set the scene for season 3, with Love taking Joe’s role as the show’s friendly neighborhood sociopath. 

Throughout Season 3, Love attacked far more people than her husband did. Her unpredictable nature made her, by far, the most interesting character throughout the season. Sometimes, she would be the sweet girl who cried over her brother’s death and made Joe his favorite meals. But during other episodes, she stuck her best friend in a cage and tried to murder the boy next door who claimed to love her. 

Love’s character was the best part of the season–which was almost enough to keep it afloat. However, Love becoming the show’s “craziest” character meant that there was no real room in the plot for Joe’s character. 

Joe engaged in the same behaviors throughout the season that he did during every other season. He buried dead bodies, killed to “protect” the girl he claimed to love and participated in aggressive stalking–to the point where he broke into his latest obsession’s apartment and followed her wherever she went. These behaviors were intriguing and frightening during the first season, but three seasons in, it started to get a little stale. 

During Season 2, it was easier to forget about the fact that Joe was gradually becoming a lackluster character because of the season’s inclusion of interesting side characters like Delilah, Ellie and Forty. Season 3’s minor characters, however, weren’t nearly as compelling. Cary and Sherry were annoying even in their best moments, Natalie and Marienne lacked the depth of Joe’s earlier love interests, and Theo and Matthew were boring and predictable. 

To distract from its lack of dynamic characters, the show heightened its level of insanity. Instead of Joe having one affair, he engaged in two. Love also stepped out on her marriage with her teenage neighbor. The season also included a foursome, heavy drug use and Joe and Love planning murders Bonnie-and-Clyde style.

The season was incredibly entertaining for this reason alone. The suspense was heightened, and the added violence on Love’s part meant there was never a dull moment. And when the season dived into Love and Joe’s toxic marriage by exploiting their murderous tendencies and showing them bringing out the worst in each other, the show was at its best. 

Considering how the season ended, it’s hard to see how Season 4 will be able to match up to the creativity and excitement of its first three seasons. However, if “You”’s next season follows in the successful footsteps of Season 3, viewers can be sure that it won’t be the series’ last. 

Highlights rates this show: 4/5
Warning: This show is rated MA for mature audiences. Highlights does not endorse crude indecent language (L), explicit sexual activity (S), or graphic violence (V).  

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