Friday, October 15, 2021

You season three: In an incredibly fresh new instalment, Joe and Love yearn to be the perfect relationship review.

You Season Three

You season three: In an incredibly fresh new installment, Joe and Love yearn to be the perfect relationship review.

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The third series lives up to the high standards set by the previous seasons and proceeds at a thrillingly fast pace.

Joe Goldberg has returned, and he's got a lot on his plate. In the third season of You, Penn Badgley's nasty, obsessed, sly serial killer returns not only as a married man, but also as the father of a newborn kid. He and his wife Love are ready – or so they think – to conform their warped personalities to the sanitised mould of an upmarket California suburb. But, given that Joe and Love both have skeletons in their closets, this happily ever after will have to end before it can begin.

You, which was a huge hit after Netflix took up the first season (from Lifetime) in 2018, could be running out of steam by now. However, the third season deftly navigates the challenge of reinvention, tossing Joe and Love a number of new curveballs while remaining true to the premise that has made the series a hit. (It's also worth noting that the books on which the production is based, by novelist Caroline Kepnes, have performed admirably.) You Love Me, the novel's third instalment, became an instant New York Times bestseller and received rave reviews.)

Joe was last seen on the dizzying season two finale, which opened with a five-minute plot shock revealing that Love (a beautifully nuanced Victoria Pedretti) was also a killer, and that she had tracked Joe in the same way that he had stalked his own victims. Love informed Joe that she was pregnant with their kid just before he was about to kill her. As a result of the couple's relocation to the imaginary town of Madre Linda, Joe laid down his copy of Crime and Punishment just long enough to become obsessed with their new female neighbour.

Season three of You does an excellent job of blending the problems of Joe and Love, new parents, with the problems of Joe and Love, seasoned assassins, right from the start. Are they fighting because they're tired or because they can't stop themselves from reverting to old behaviours they swore they'd give up? They desperately want to believe it's the former, even when we know it's the latter. Their denial propels the plot ahead, bringing them in the office of an inattentive marriage counsellor who assures them that they will be alright because they are "not killers." This is only one of many instances in which the series succeeds in establishing Love and Joe's bizarre brand of domesticity.

Season three of You does an excellent job of blending the problems of Joe and Love, new parents, with the problems of Joe and Love, seasoned assassins, right from the start. Are they fighting because they're tired or because they can't stop themselves from reverting to old behaviours they swore they'd give up? They desperately want to believe it's the former, even when we know it's the latter. Their denial propels the plot ahead, bringing them in the office of an inattentive marriage counsellor who assures them that they will be alright because they are "not killers." This is only one of many instances in which the series succeeds in establishing Love and Joe's bizarre brand of domesticity. A subplot involving Joe and Love's younger neighbour Theo Engler (Dylan Arnold) adds dimension, while Tati Gabrielle as local librarian Marienne is fascinating.

It's difficult to see You being a better version of itself than it is right now in the third season. It lives up to the high standards set in prior seasons and proceeds at a deliciously frantic pace. There are a lot of moving components, but they're all handled in a straightforward, dynamic manner that keeps the plot going forward. Both Pedretti and Badgley have mastered the knack of portraying unpredictable individuals. Every raised brow, every head tilt hints at the prospect of a terrible bombshell.

Of course, with each new victim, You become a little more unbelievable. Joe and Love's combined body count would have caught more than a little notice in the real world by now. But the show manages to persuade us to suspend our disbelief because it's so entertaining, so messed-up, and the characters are in so much difficulty that we urgently want it to continue.

You could be resting on your laurels by now, continuously replicating your initial notion without recreating the excitement of the beginning, thanks to having a large fanbase. So, kudos to the writers who have succeeded in bringing it to new heights in such a masterful way. Not every show would have been up to the task, but You did, which is fortunate because Netflix has already renewed it for a fourth season.

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