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You (season 3): Toxic Relationships

In season 3 of Netflix's You, everyone's favorite problematic lover boy, Joe, has finally settled down into marital bliss with Love. Not all is perfect in this cookie-cutter, little boxes town as Joe and Love’s relationship begins a sharp decline. Turns out that staying together for a baby and because you know each other’s murderous secrets isn’t enough to keep a relationship afloat. Gabe delights at the hilarious season that pokes fun at the characters and fans of the series. Kat explains how Joe and Love embody the phrase “our trauma is not our fault, but it is our personal responsibility to heal from it when we become adults”.

Sources in this Episode: ‘You’ Season 3 is its best yet, thanks to its true horrors: Marriage and suburbia

Other Reviews on You, season 3: About Love and Joe’s psyche: We Had A Psychologist "Diagnose" Joe From "You" And It Seems Pretty Accurate A therapist explains how 'You' gets its characters' twisted psychology right Sherry & Cary’s relationship: Three Cheers for You Season 3's MVP Couple: Sherry and Cary - TV Guide Joe’s backstory: Who Is Nurse Fiona In 'You'? Joe's Memories Are Tragic You - Joe Childhood Flashback Scenes Also covered in episode 6, and 9 More General: You Season 3 Twist Ending Explained: Every Question Answered You Season 3 Is the Best The Series Has Ever Been 'You' Season Three Review: an uneven but entertaining turn toward suburban domesticity - The Brown Daily Herald ‘You’ Season Three Review: A Refreshing Look at Murder in the Suburbs | Arts | The Harvard Crimson


Media from this week's episode:


A dangerously charming, intensely obsessive young man goes to extreme measures to insert himself into the lives of those he is transfixed by.

Creators: Sera Gamble, Greg Berlanti

Book: Caroline Kepnes


You, Season 3: Marriage, Suburia and Murder by Gabe Castro

RED: Quotes, someone else's words.

Season 3 of Netflix’s You finds Joe married to Love in a suburban hellscape with a newborn. Last season, Joe nearly killed Love in a fit of rage after she murdered his last love interest. However, his murderous rage was cut short when Love informs him of her pregnancy. After a quick marriage, the two begin their life of wedded bliss in Madre Linda.

Not all is perfect in this cookie-cutter, little boxes town as Joe and Love’s relationship begins a sharp decline. Turns out that staying together for a baby and because you know each other’s murderous secrets isn’t enough to keep a relationship afloat. Despite the idyllic suburb and picturesque life, Joe is going to Joe. He sets back into his toxic ways, setting his eyes on their married neighbor, Natalie. While Joe slips into old habits, Love, aware of his fascinations, takes matters into her own hands to preserve their marriage.

What we get with this season is a whole lot of toxicity and murder. Love murders because Joe isn’t attracted to her and as she explains, screaming in the rain (while trying to bury a body she murdered) “If you’re not attracted to me, you may kill me!”

Joe continues his lustful ways, stalking new victims despite his wife’s new murderous defense mechanisms. Even their therapist is alarmed by their complicated relationship though she insists they are “many things but neither of them are murderers.” (she says to two murderers).

In an article on Washington Post, ‘You’ Season 3 is its best yet, thanks to its true horrors: Marriage and suburbia, writer Inkoo Kang explains how well Joe and Love fit into their new neighborhood, one full of villains just like them (only with less murder). “But as much as Joe hates the suburbs, feeling like a predator forced to cage itself, it’s an unexpectedly fitting habitat for him: He’s surrounded by inveterate liars and chronic pretenders just like him, like mommy influencer Sherry or TV journalist Ryan whose sobriety story is just too good to be true. Joe and Love may roll their eyes at the private-school strategizing and self-optimization tips that are supposed to pass for conversation in their town, but in the end, the couple spend all their time putting on a happy front, just like everybody else.”

What I loved about this season was the humor. I found seasons 1 and 2 funny, sure, and a great introduction to a complicated character like Joe. But season 3 is hilarious and self-aware. The season spins classic wedded woes into something more sinister. It sees a husband’s complaint about his wife’s crazy personality and raises it with literal murder. It sees a wife’s worries at her husband’s infidelity and raises it with the threat of her own death. Their complaints about their partners mirror real-life woes and only they and the audience know the heaviness behind these lines. When Joe fantasizes about running off with Henry because Love is dangerous, he concedes that Henry needs a mom. It’s a playful mix of reality and the absurd with each episode. Placed against the backdrop of suburbia, they could be mistaken for any desperate couple, stuck together for the sake of their child’s future.

Joe believes himself the answer to all problems, knowing exactly the kind of man a woman wants. He molds himself to fit what his new “you” needs, or what he thinks they would want. It is only when they reveal themselves to be more than the 2 dimensional, perfect beings whose personalities he has filled in for them, that he loses interest, snaps, and murders them. In Madre Linda, his assumptions have evolved from that of simply what a woman wants to the idyllic husband archetype he strives to be. When Love shows herself to be less than or other than the wife he believes wives should be, he is ready to throw her away. She is not wrong to worry. She is, however, wrong to murder about it. That Washington Post article goes on to say, “His previous soliloquies revealed him to be an unhinged sociopath whose idea of love couldn’t sustain a real relationship. Now, his efforts to fall back in love with his wife expose him, terrifyingly, as one of us.”

The show knows it's absurd. It knows people love Joe and they love Love. And more than that, they love drama. The show laughs at the petty squabbles of this clearly toxic, no-good-for-each-other couple and instead shows us an annoying, surprisingly-the-most-healthy couple instead. The irony is that Joe and Love, at times, make sense. They are just broken, awful, and messy humans who don’t know how to communicate. The problem is that their love language is murder. They haven’t healed from their own traumas, at all, and are therefore in no place to give or receive love. Joe struggles with his troubled past full of abandonment, abuse, and murder while Love struggles with the loss of her other half, her brother, a mysteriously dead husband, and a toxic marriage by her parents. They are two people in need of a lot of support, understanding, and a mirror.

The show gets real about the horrors and toxicity of the suburbs, tech junkies, and fitness trends. It goes even further by stepping away from the problematic Joe and turning to look at fans of the show. Critiquing the fan’s fascination with the villain and his victims. In episode 3 of the series, aptly named Missing White Woman Syndrome, love interest and best person in Madre Linda, Marienne (played by Tati Gabrielle) explains the phenomenon behind the obsession with missing white women. She expresses an annoyance towards the underreported cases of missing women of color in the news and society. The Venn diagram of fans who watch You and those who love True Crime content is one circle. Romanticizing Joe is a problem, one we discussed in our first episode about the program. Even Netflix had to tweet to discourage folx from falling for hi