TV Review: You (S2) | More Psychological and Grounded

This psychological thriller television series lead developed by Sera Gamble and Greg Berlanti is inspired by Caroline Kepnes’ novels “Hidden Bodies,” and lead by Penn Badgley.

Last season: A dangerously charming, intensely obsessive young man goes to extreme measures to insert himself into the lives of Beck, a young woman he is transfixed by, and her friends.

Premise: After locking up and killing Beck for discovering his secret, Joe sucessfully framed Beck’s therapist for her murder. Four months later, Joe is ran out of NYC when a ghost of his past tracks him down. He flees to L.A. in an attempt to start over.

Victoria Pedretti, and Penn Badgley in You

Review: Toward the end of season one I wondered where could the story go without completely changing the show? Well that first episode in season two has quieted those concerns. Joe, now Will, is on the run and trying to manage his addiction. New place, new people, new problems and that tag line is all the more true as the season progresses. I love how they foreshadowed the arc of season two in that first episode. Thinking about it, they did it toward the end of season one.

Even in Joe/Will’s mind that first fantasy was a bit off. It’s like he instinctively new what he was bound to find out during the rest of the season. Season one and two have similar beats, Joe trying to help out the new people in his life making him in precarious situation every he does. As if his “good deeds” doesn’t bring him any good karma but bring him further down the rabbit hole.
The thing that struck me the most about the second season is how, irrevocably damaged Joe is. Not that I ever thought that he could be fixed but if you perceive him as an addict, you might fool yourself into thinking that maybe he could manage it. There are moments that would or could support that idea but ultimately you realize that he just can’t. There’s also this glaring hypocrisy in Joe that was quite surprising. This was demonstrated before but it reached a peak for me when Love Quinn was concerned. I realized then that how deeply Joe yearned for a fantasy version of his life and the relationship he has. He’s not interested in the truth but the ideal version of how things could be.

Season two is even stronger than the first, more psychological and grounded. That line is still expertly toed, and the character are dived into a little deeper. I’m not sure where the story could go but they’ve established key characters to make a third season interesting.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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