Review: 'You' S3 spins familiar guilty pleasure yarn
Courtesy of Netflix
When the last season of “You” ended, it left our demented anti-hero Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) at a bit of a crossroads. The Netflix hit, which was saved after the little watched series left its original home on Lifetime, gave Goldberg, a twisted serial killer with an unhealthy habit of stalking unsuspecting women in the shadows, something worth living for: a child. Serving as the millennial generation’s version of “Dexter,” the new season of “You” spins familiar troupes and quick last-minute escapes while digging layers of convoluted nonsense in-between. Over the lengthy ten-episode season (all were provided in advance to reviewing critics), “You” requires a chart to help maintain subplots, characters, and the shit-storm both Joe and his wife, Love (Victoria Pedretti) find themselves in. It remains prime guilty pleasure television, but less is more.
Of course, “You” benefits from Badgley’s exceptional performance, narrating large chunks of the season, as he always does, unspooling hilarious side commentary and making sure viewers know his thought process 1000% of the time. He’s now married to Love and trying to live a quiet, peaceful life in the suburbs, raising his son Henry, but adjusting is hard. This is Joe Goldberg, and anyone who watched the previous seasons understands the narcissistic sociopath can’t keep himself contained. When he starts obsessing over the attractive next-door neighbor Natalie, Love takes notice and begins making assumptions that put into question the couple’s struggling marriage. It’s refreshing to see an individual who is on Joe’s wavelength, but one thing leads to another and before we know it, Joe and Love are cleaning up yet another mess which branches out into several different directions. Some offer unexpected twists; others feel like undercooked fodder.
The writing remains aptly in tune with towing the line between sympathizing with murderers and trying to be darkly humorous at the same time. But one must wonder how many times “You” can keep spinning the same yarn before viewers grow tiresome. There’s hardly an indication “You” plans on throwing in the towel anytime soon, especially after the events of this season left several loose ends and bombshell discoveries, yet as a 10-hour binge, the series becomes a tedious chore. It’s not long into season three when Joe stumbles upon a new flirtation (this one different from Natalie) at the local library and spirals into the same stalker methods which got him into trouble before. Love and Joe even manage to open a bakery equipped with a bunker that’ll obviously trap unsuspecting victims who decided to snoop around the couple’s mysterious life.
The latest season of “You” is more of the same (which probably won’t anger devout fans). Though showrunner Sera Gamble briefly explores themes of marital infidelity, parenthood, and trust issues, eventually Joe Goldberg needs to settle into an alternative rhythm or risk trapping himself in a puzzle that can’t be solved. Or worse, become unwatchable.
All episode of YOU Season 3 drop on Netflix Friday, October 15th