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TV review: ‘You’ looks certain to return but can improve ★★★☆☆

4 mins read

Season two of hit Netflix original series You was released on Boxing Day – ideal to watch if you had some spare time to binge watch another series before returning to uni or work.

A year or so after the events of the first season, we follow psychopathic protagonist Joe (Penn Badgley) to Los Angeles where – surprise, surprise – he falls for a new girl. It is soon clear that series two will follow a pretty similar narrative. The first episode gives the viewers a recap of series one with Joe’s delusional and slightly sinister summary of previous events.

In the first episode you are introduced to Love (Victoria Pedretti), a new co-worker of Joe’s who seems exactly his type: beautiful, slightly unique and with something about her you can’t quite put your finger on.

From the first time she is introduced, the thought running through your mind will be here we go again. The further into the series you get, the more hints there are of Joe’s obsessive behaviour and fantasising– the start of everything that went wrong in season one.

Joe, under his new name Will, tries to convince the audience with a calm yet manic direct narrative that he has changed, and it won’t happen again. But it doesn’t take long for Joe’s past to catch up with him as we find out exactly why he has moved to L.A and things start to detrimentally unravel.

It only takes until episode two for Joe to kiss his new conquest. There is something unsettling about him being able to stalk her and plan everything to manifest a situation that appears to be a romantic serendipity when it is quite the opposite.

Psychopathic: Penn Badgley as Joe. Credit: Netflix

The most chilling thing about the show is the way You illustrates this extremely real threat through the use of social media in the show. The focus on social media is intensified in this season. After fleeing New York following the first season, Joe has no choice but to create an identity online and a key part of creating this persona is through social media.

Despite the dark themes and narrative, You should be a brilliant series that hooks you in. However, the excessive, monotonous voiceover from Joe can become slightly boring and repetitive, making it easy to lose interest.

But the story’s escalation is well-crafted. Getting caught up in his own trail of lies, it is not long before, like season one, Joe’s creepiness gives way to something much worse.

There is a standout scene in an early episode that juxtaposes Joe doing something horrendous with Love completing a contrasting and altogether more innocent task. It is simple but works well and is evidence of the show’s progression this season.

In later episodes, a huge twist comes and is brilliantly written. Although a third season has not been confirmed, with that ending, a return for You is almost guaranteed.

Featured image credit: Beth Dubber/Netflix

Film Media and Journalism student at the University of Stirling. Film and comment editor at Brig Newspaper. Edinburgh / Stirling

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