Wednesday, February 13, 2019

You (yes! You!)

***Spoilers Ahead***

Have you watched "You" available now on Netflix?  It stars Penn Badgley of "Gossip Girl" fame and begs the question:  "What would you do for love?"  For a brilliant male bookstore manager (Badgley) who crosses paths with an aspiring female writer named Beck, this question is put to the test. A charming yet awkward crush becomes something even more sinister when the writer becomes the manager's obsession. Using social media and the internet, he uses every tool at his disposal to become close to her, even going so far as to remove any obstacle --including people -- that stands in his way of getting to her. 

"You" originally aired on Lifetime in September 2018 and on Netflix in December 2018 internationally and is based off the 2014 novel by Caroline Kepnes.  Lifetime announced that "You" had been renewed for a second season based on Kepnes' follow-up novel Hidden Bodies, on July 26, 2018, ahead of the series premiere. On December 3, 2018, it was announced that the series would move to Netflix as a "Netflix Original" title, ahead of the premiere of the second season.

There are 10 episodes in season one and I love the way the series is filmed with Badgley providing running commentary.  As a mom of two daughters I am constantly on my kids about over-sharing and internet safety and keeping the damn mini-blinds closed!  I have a 24-year old and a 19-year old and every week I remind them about being aware of their surroundings, letting some one know where you are, who you're with, where you're going next, etc.  As the series progesses and the storyline develops, it's easy to see how Joe keeps tabs on Beck and how Beck puts the pieces together when she finally starts to have doubts about Joe.  These two use Google, Facebook and Instagram like nobody's business. 

Badgley is convincingly creepy good as Joe.  He's the kind, thoughtful, good-looking boyfriend every girl would love to date.  But I just couldn't stand the portrayal of Beck by Elizabeth Lail.  What a dipshit.  Seriously.  Beck has serious daddy issues and I just can't believe her Spidey senses weren't exploding.  Hell, her Spidey senses were barely even tingling.  All she worried about was getting laid on the Staten Island Ferry.  Her boyfriend (Benji) conveniently "disappears" and ghosts everyone he knows but is somehow posting stuff as if he was on vacation.  Where the hell are his parents, anyway?  Then, she discovers that Joe's former love interest, Candace, has also "disappeared."  And Candace's side piece, her music manager, mysteriously dies.  And Candace's brother (who is in a mental institution) dies.  Oh!  And let's not forget Beck's best friend, Peaches (played by Pretty Little Liars alum, Shay Mitchell).  And then, the abusive alcoholic boyfriend of the single mom who lives next door to Joe dies a violent death. 

Ethan is one of Joe's co-workers at the bookstore who is eternally optimistic about love and life.  And at first I really liked Ethan's character.  Then I got really aggravated with Ethan.  C'mon Ethan.  You know something "dark" happened between Joe and Candace and you know old man Mooney is definitely not asking any questions about payroll or any other day-to-day operations of the bookstore.  And, you work at the bookstore but never ever go down to the storage area in the basement??? 

Which brings me to my disappointment in Paco.  Paco is Joe's young next door neighbor with an addict mom who has an abusive boyfriend.  Paco gets supplies to eliminate Benji's body (rope, fertilizer, etc).  And Paco knows that Joe killed the mom's boyfriend.  And, Paco literally slams the door on Beck's face as she's frantically fighting for her life to get out of the basement.  I understand Joe's been the only one in Paco's corner and Paco idolizes him, but I'm glad Paco and his mom moved out of state.  I think he could have easily been a psychopath in the making.  However, season two hints that Joe may be relocating to California. Isn't that where Paco and his mom are headed???

And now on to the best part of the whole series . . . . Mr. John Stamos! 

Stamos plays "Dr. Nicky," Beck's good-looking, weed-smoking therapist.  Joe gets jealous of their relationship and starts therapy sessions with Dr. Nicky to get some intel on Beck.  Turns out Joe had plenty to be jealous of as Beck is definitely doing the horizontal hula with Dr. Nicky.  When Beck finally discovers what Joe's been up to these last couple of months and he locks her up in the basement, they conspire to place the blame squarely on Dr. Nicky's shoulders.  We are left to believe that Joe kills Beck as the series ends with a slo-mo montage of a body in a blue tarp being dug up, Dr. Nicky being carted off by the police with blue lights blaring and mild-mannered book store manager Joe just going about his daily business sweeping up the store, etc. 

Except I don't think Beck is dead.  While he's keeping her in the basement he clearly tells her, "Beck.  You're not listening to me.  I would never hurt anyone I loved."  From what we've seen, this appears to be true.  He hated her boyfriend Benji, he hated her friend Peaches, he hated Ron the abusive parole officer, he hated Candace's side piece.  However, he loved Candace (who shows up on Joe's doorstep in the closing scene), he cared for Karen (the rebound girlfriend after Beck broke up with him), he cared for Paco and his mother and he obviously "loved" Beck. 

While we're all anxiously awaiting Season 2, I read some tidbits about what we can expect:
  • We know that Penn Badgley is going to return in the lead role of Joe Goldberg, but as of yet it’s unconfirmed whether any other characters we saw in the first season will join him. However given the body count of the first ten episodes, it’s likely that new characters will be brought in for the next season.
  • It’s currently up in the air whether John Stamos will reappear as therapist Dr. Nicky. Last we saw Nicky was in prison, after being framed for several of Goldberg’s murders, but while speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, showrunner Sera Gamble has expressed interest in him returning: “It’s too soon to say definitely whether John Stamos will return in season two but we have been talking a lot about the character and we’re excited to keep telling that story.”
  • Netflix has confirmed that Victoria Pedretti (who played Nell in The Haunting of Hill House) will appear in season two of You as the female lead. She’ll play a character called Love Quinn, who’s an aspiring chef. 
  • Deadline has reported that the second season of the show will follow bookstore manager Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) “as his search for love takes him to Hollywood where dreams can be made or shattered." 
  • Gamble also revealed that loose ends from Goldberg’s past could return: “Without giving away too much, Joe thinks he’s gone out there by himself [Laughs]. So we can say that with like an ellipsis at the end of the sentence. He’s definitely trying to make a little bit of a left turn in his life. But you know, it’s really fun when a character makes plans right ’cause then you can just go blow them all.” Gamble went on to explain that there’ll be an aspect of Goldberg outrunning his past in his trip to LA, saying: “There’s an aspect of trying to outrun his past and also trying to stop and fix some things and seek some different things for his future.”  Gamble elaborated on this, saying: “If you look at every act of violence that he does in season one, that is potentially something that could come back and bite him.” Gamble added: “Part of the fun of continuing the story is that the loose ends from Joe’s past are still dangling and could come back to him at anytime. He is very worried about the fact that Peach Salinger’s family has hired people to investigate her alleged suicide, and there is evidence potentially still at her house from season one.
  • Gamble has also told The Hollywood Reporter that Joe’s past, and in particular the abuse he received from mentor Mr. Mooney, will be further explored in the next season: “Joe was taken in by a guy who had a certain type of life philosophy that really did rub off on Joe. Joe was already a teenager by the time he even met Mr. Mooney. There’s a lot more to explore about Joe from earlier in his life. Those are the things we’re starting to get into for season two.”
  • So what is the deal with Mr. Mooney?  Joe’s mentor is presented as something of a hard-edged, overwhelmingly strict, and even abusive foster father. While it’s heavily hinted that this upbringing had a huge effect on how Joe himself sees the world (and acts out his fantasies), a second season could shed more light on that upbringing itself, and maybe even what caused Mooney himself to become so vicious. 
  • Let's talk about Candace.  Joe’s ex-girlfriend Candace (Ambyr Childers) appeared in his bookstore and tells him they have unfinished business, so we can expect to find out more of what happened between them.  Throughout the season it was heavily implied that she is dead (and most likely killed by Joe, when he found out she was having an affair with her record producer), but her arrival in the dying seconds of season one was a wild deviation from the source material, and a total heel-turn for the narrative.
  • Throughout the first season Joe maintained that Candace was in Italy, showing her Instagram account to Beck to convince her she was alive; but given the season finale this may not be true.Was she supposed to be dead? Did she really go to Italy all along? Does she know what Joe did, and is continuing to do?
  • Is that piss pot gonna cause a problem?  The private investigator hired to investigate Peach’s death revealed to Dan towards the end of season one that they had found a jar of the suspect’s urine at the site, and were having it DNA tested. Unlike most of the situations Joe got himself in in season one, there’s little he can do to wrap this one up – the pot’s already been bagged as evidence. How will he get out of this one? Pissing in a jar in someone’s house is more than a little suspicious, let alone the day before they die…
  • Are Beck’s remaining friends not suspicious?  Look, it’s fairly clear that they’re a bit… slow on the uptake.  They are self-absorbed and a little more than slightly pretentious but there’s gotta be at least an inkling of suspicion surrounding Joe.  Joe, who entered their friendship group shortly before the death of two of their closest friends?  And, as far as we’re shown, they all seem a little unfazed by the whole thing?  It’ll be interesting to see whether season two brings up any more suspicion amongst the remaining members of Beck’s friendship group.
The first season of You left plenty of threads hanging – and that's exactly what we want from a second run.



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