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Love Doesn’t Last Forever Once Joe Goldberg Is Involved

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It’s a shame to see the young couple separate, partially because this is where the season hits an unfortunate lull. The Quinn-Goldbergs thrive together, developing a genius plan to explain away the disappearance of Natalie, in addition to the death of neighboring anti-vaxxer Gil (Mackenzie Astin). This mini-arc starts the season and showcases it’s very best: this duo is unhinged and it’s incredible to see them embracing that reality. But that’s also why they can’t work.

Joe, dear reader, is an incredibly toxic man. If his every monologue and action hasn’t proven that point, just look at his relationship with Love. In theory, she’s the perfect woman for him: she refuses to reject even his most sociopathic impulses. Sometimes, she even encourages them, whispering in his ear like Lady Macbeth. But Joe only latches onto fantasy women. He wants someone pure and perfect, but Love’s hands are stained in blood. He sees himself in her — the worst, most despicable parts of himself, and that’s why he wants to escape. So he envisions a new possibility, a life with the unsuspecting Marienne.

Joe attempts to destroy his marriage by opening it up — when Cary and Sherry float the idea of swinging, he lets Love know he’s open to the experiment. Secretly he hopes it will destroy the remnants of their marriage. The open marriage discussion sure is fun, but if you’re looking for a healthy example of polyamorous ethics, perhaps the show about two serial killers isn’t the place to be. Instead, consider making noise for the Sherry-Cary dream team. Despite beginning the season as two unbearable additions, they end up stealing the show. Initially, my interest in the Conrads was wholly focused on whether or not Cary wanted to sleep with Joe (he did) and whether or not he’d get to (he didn’t). But trapped in a cage, their marriage viciously unravels, but eventually maintains itself through sheer force of will.

Meanwhile, the Quinn-Goldberg relationship crumbles.Their attempt to spice up their marriage is derailed when Love lets their murderous acts slip within earshot o their guests. Though she ruins any shot we had of Cary and Joe making out, she leads us into the next great stretch of the season: Joe and Love teaming up to take down the Conrads. “The spark our marriage needed doesn’t come from swinging,” Joe realizes, once they drag their unconscious guests back to the living room. “Our love language is violence.”

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