Hello, You. Beware, there are spoilers toward the end of this review of You season 3. I’ll mark where you need to turn back.
As season three of Netflix’s juiciest serial killer drama picks up in the made-for-TV suburb of Madre Linda in Northern California, I couldn’t help but think of the opening credits of Showtime’s Weeds—or, more specifically, its theme song, “Little Boxes,” by Malvina Reynolds.
“Little boxes on the hillside, little boxes made of ticky-tacky,” Reynolds cheerfully sings over a maze of identical luxury homes. “Little boxes on the hillside. Little boxes all the same.” Boy, suburbia is enough to make anyone go insane, Hollywood insists. Especially for a couple of sleep-deprived new parents who just so happen to be serial killers.
And yet: Think of the schools. So this “fake plastic suburban hell” is where city boy Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) puts down roots with his murderous wife, Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti), and their newborn son, Henry. (Don’t worry, they found the perfect space for Joe’s glass cage. HOA be damned.)
Just like the little houses in the opening of Weeds, Joe’s days are becoming…repetitive. “I’d imagine parenthood would feel like an essay by Nicholson Baker: tiny moments made magnificent,” Joe intones in his first of many of this season’s internal monologues. “Turns out, parenthood is Groundhog Day as written by Jean-Paul Sartre.”
Still, amid Joe’s restlessness, he’s found a new, grounding purpose in life: “Despite living in some Greek myth about pushing a boulder of baby poop up a hill, it’s incredible, the urge to protect.” And for Joe and Love, protecting Henry means a great school district, nosy neighbors, and absolutely no murder.
Pshaw, who are they kidding? That oath flies out the window extremely early into You season three’s 10-episode run.
This time around, there are three “Yous” stuck in Joe’s head over the course of the season. Of course, there are the women he fixates on: Natalie (Michaela McManus), the bored wife of a tech billionaire (Scott Speedman), and Marienne (Tati Gabrielle), the no-bullshit librarian in the midst of a tumultuous custody battle with her shithead ex. However, while both of them are catnip for the likes of Joe, the most interesting developments gravitate around the most treasured “You” of them all: Henry.
For Henry, Joe will do anything he can to suppress his worst urges out of constant fear he’ll ruin him the same way he’s been ruined by his childhood. Sure, Joe will still stalk a woman from her home to the library with a baby strapped to his chest, but he’ll also do everything in his power not to murder anyone, especially Henry’s mom.
And that tension, my friends, is what makes You season three its best season yet. It’s also the reason season four, which has already been announced, must be the last.
For two seasons of You, creator Sera Gamble and her team of writers did a brilliant job adapting Caroline Kepnes’s novels into a series that unpacks rom-com tropes Hollywood has been spoon-feeding us for years. Think it’s fate that you keep seeing your crush around town? What if it’s actually cyberstalking? Don’t get me started on “I wolf you.”
But after two seasons of that—and far too many innocent dead women left behind—Joe’s obsession is nothing new. Instead, season three finds Joe navigating the ups and downs of his new roles as father and husband. Without any semblance of a honeymoon phase, it’s thrilling to see Love and Joe try to salvage their unhappy marriage through sheer force of will, couples therapy, plenty of cheating, and even a potential orgy—all to varying disastrous ends. And trust me, the ends get disastrous enough to merit the use of crossbows.
Honestly, I could watch these two attempt to out-gaslight, gatekeep, and girlboss each other to a pulpy soundtrack of Baby Queen and Taylor Swift for another 10 episodes. And that’s why You should end with season four.
If you read this far without watching the entirety of You season 3, turn back now. I’ll try to keep the details as vague as possible for ye of little impulse control.
In what may be the most iconic season finale of the year—and the best use of Folklore‘s “Exile” I could ever imagine—You resets to a Joe in his most basic form: a psychopath on the hunt for The One.
With Love and Henry now out of the picture, Joe escapes his little box for the city of Paris, where he believes his latest fixation, Marienne, is hiding out. While I imagine Gamble and her talented team will find a way to keep things fresh—and they should really be applauded for filming the least COVID-apparent season of television produced in 2020–21 so far—I don’t know how much more I can take of this straight white man stalking and killing the women unlucky enough to catch his eye.
And yet You could not have ended with season three. One way or another, Joe Goldberg must be stopped, and Marienne could be the perfect person for the job. Now, that I really want to watch.
Originally Appeared on Glamour