“You” Season 2 Review

The first season of You caught me off guard. I went in thinking it’d be a by the numbers rom-com style thing with a bit of a twist. What I got was a show that confused the audience by making you invest in a truly horrendous person in a twist on the “everyone is the hero of their own story” cliché. 

Personally, I was happy with it being a one and done season, a brilliant executed series that was hooking from start to finish. The set up for a second season was well done, and we re-join Joe Goldberg in LA, a city that is filled with people who care what people think almost as much as Joe does.

From there, we follow Joe as he tries to fall in love again and predictably runs into all kinds of issues. Once again Penn Badgley is great in the lead role, and there is a lot on his shoulders considering the complicated relationship his character has with the audience. “You” consistently throws up new scenarios for Joe to react to, and the majority of the time he endears himself to the audience.

Then he does something horrific, and as an audience member you find yourself trying to find a way of justifying it. This is compounded with the regular voice over from Joe, telling you exactly how he justifies his actions to himself. It has the effect of giving you a leg up to still rooting for someone who is clearly evil.

This season’s love interest is Love Quinn (a bit on the nose), played by Victoria Pedretti. I really enjoyed her character, as well as her odd family’s dynamics. The main member of that family who we get a lot of time with is Forty Quinn, her brother. At first, he seems like the most generic hipster character ever written but over the course of the ten episodes he turns into something much deeper. Beyond just their sibling relationship, both have their own arcs and although Joe is a key part of their stories, they’re both equally interesting in their own rights.

The issue I have with this season is it is beginning to feel like there is an otherworldly force protecting Joe from being caught out. He has committed several crimes, and somehow, he is still able to do whatever he wants, and nobody has caught him out. The show explains away a lot of this, but at a certain point there needs to be consequences for a character’s actions. It leads me to worry about how long the show can continue to be as entertaining as it has been to date. The ending of the series sets up another season, but I don’t think this show can continue much further beyond that without a changeup of the formula.

The second season of You gives us loads more of what the first season great. It even adds some new elements in the later episodes that keep you guessing what is going to happen right up to the end. I enjoyed this season, but it didn’t have that surprise hit feeling of the first season and going in knowing what to expect and largely being given that makes it good, but not great.

I would still suggest people search the show out on Netflix and give it a try, you’ll know within an episode or two if it you’re going to enjoy it. Right now, the two seasons are excellently made TV that will keep you engrossed and guessing for 20 episodes. Get it while its hot though, I have some concerns about how much longer it will be a success if it sticks to this formula.

Good: Great performances all round, production value is great and the Bad Human as a protagonist thing is executed better than anything else, I have watched.

Bad: Convenience seems to be Joe’s best friend, and the future of the series might be a little shaky.

8/10 – “You” can’t get much better than this.

 

 

You – Netflix Review

I had not heard anything about you before I saw it pop up on Netflix. The trailer suggested a thriller, but a few minutes in you realise that the show is doing something I haven’t seen before, or at least not that I can think of. 

You is set around the life of Joe, a Book store clerk played by Penn Badgley, a guy with an unusual way of courting women. Beck, played by Elizabeth Lail, stumbles into his life and Joe is instantly obsessed. He then begins to stalk her and use the information he gathers to help her fall for him, letting nothing and no-one get in between his plan to be with her.

Joe is an evil character. He is snide, lies his way through everything and stalks Beck in a variety of creepy and all to real ways. In the Digital age, everyone’s online profile is a few taps away, and You highlights how much information is out there, even if it’s not so easy to access in reality (I hope). The show focusing on such a clearly evil and selfish character is a very interesting way to tell this story, as we spend most of our time with joe, learning his thought processes and his reasons for doing things.

After a few hours, you are on Joe’s side somehow, despite seeing him do a variety of sinister actions. This unique take on who to put as the protagonist of a show works well, causing you to question yourself when you realise what Joe is actually doing. He does have real redeeming qualities, which is what makes him a compelling character.

Beck is right on the other side, in that she is an inherently good person, but as we see her from Joe’s pint of view, we see a lot her faults. Even if a lot of the faults are ignored by the infatuated Joe, we see Beck is a flawed but still good person. Throughout the series there are a number of these flawed but good people, coming and going and all showing that Joe is a bad person. Through it all though, I found myself kind of cheering for Joe somehow.

All of these character driven scenes are shot with some very unusual techniques, at times the entire background of a shot is blurred, with just the character on-screen in focus. I imagine it is used to give you the view from Joe’s perspective, that all else is blurred and only Beck is clear in his mind. Other than that, the whole show is well made, with solid performances from everyone, especially Penn Badgley in the lead role.

I stumbled into You, not expecting a great deal, and was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed the show. The premise does wear a bit thin in the later episodes, before a final ramp up in the finale which sets up a new season quite well. If you’re looking for something easy to watch with interesting characters, this is a solid show to take up 10 hours of your time.

Good: Good performances, unique protagonist dynamic and a story I haven’t seen before make You worth watching.

Bad: Gets a bit samey in the mid to late episodes, and some of the “funny” moments fell a bit flat on me. Couple of annoying side characters that didn’t work to me either.

7/10 – Solid show and worth a watch if you like the trailer.