Written By: Emma Kubiak
It takes a lot for me to be completely, wholeheartedly invested in a series. I’m the kind of person who gets distracted easily and has to bounce around between shows, and to this day I haven’t been able to watch an entire multi-season series. However, due to the random, unexplainable algorithms of Youtube, I spiraled down a path of videos that led me to starting the series YOU.
Ok, I feel that as a decent human being I should begin this with a warning. There WILL be some spoilers, so if you have any intentions of watching this show in the near future you can’t say I didn’t warn you. Also, this show does get slightly disturbing, it isn’t exactly horror but it will leave you paranoid for a few days. So, watch- and read- at your own risk.
For those of you who have never heard of the series, I’ll give you a little runthrough. We’ve got our main character Joe Goldberg; bookstore manager, intelligent and caring guy, but also a stalker, murderer, hypocrite, and all around psychopath. Joe narrates the story, and sometimes makes you forget how criminally insane he is, but there’s no denying the fact that he’s entertaining to listen to, even through his most aggravating decisions. Our other main character is Guinevere Beck (but what kind of name is “Guinevere”? She just goes by Beck). Beck can be summed up as a “perfectly imperfect” woman; a young, pretty, aspiring writer discovering her true identity and following her dreams in the big city. It’s hard not to have a soft spot for Beck but there are times when you just want to sit her down and have her reflect on her life decisions. I wouldn’t go as far as to call her a dumb blonde, just a simple-minded blonde. Beck has a lot of broken pieces in her life, and if dealing with her pre-existing problems isn’t enough, now she’s got a stalker. There are plenty of other characters. Beck’s friends, Annika and Lynn (both irrelevant) and Peach (very relevant, but we’ll talk about her later,) and Joe’s only friend, a 6 year old boy named Paco who lives next door (which honestly should have been a major red flag from the beginning.) We can’t be bothered with any side plots and characters so let’s move along.
The premise is fairly simple, Joe and Beck meet at the bookstore and, eventually, fall in love. But, Joe couldn’t stand the thought of forming a healthy, natural, relationship; it was as if the entirety of his life was leading up to being with Beck, so nothing was going to stand in his way of winning her over. Things get creepy almost immediately after their first encounter, Joe follows Beck everywhere she goes, takes her phone, breaks into her apartment, and kills anybody that he thinks may threaten his relationship. Basically, he’s insane. But in the words of Joe Goldberg himself, “everything I do, I do for you Beck.” How thoughtful.
Let’s discuss Peach Salinger. We weren’t supposed to like her but she was hands down my favorite character. She’s manipulative, entitled, and vindictive, but hey, she keeps the show relevant, and more importantly, keeps Joe on his toes. Despite her obscene exterior, Peach is a total sweetheart, and she just wants to help her best friend launch her writing career- and help her dodge all of the toxic relationships she finds herself in. The thing I loved about Peach’s character wasn’t just her snarky one-liners she threw at Joe, or the way she strutted around like the rich, superior woman she was, but she added the most interesting plot line to the show: Peach was also obsessed with Beck! What a plot twist that was; Beck had two stalkers, but at least Peach didn’t kill people. Of course Joe couldn’t STAND having any competition in his demented game, so he killed her, leaving me and every other Peach fan devastated. Peach’s death was staged as a suicide, but the Salinger’s know their daughter, and they’re out for whoever killed her. Peach may be gone now, along with many other characters Joe spontaneously killed, but, love her or hate her, when Peach Salinger died, the show died too.
Now I’m faced with the question of “do I recommend watching this show?” Honestly, it’s hard to say. Never have I ever watched something something so disturbingly brilliant. The angles and narration and music all flowed together to create one twisted story of one twisted bookstore manager. Watching the last few episodes of YOU was indescribably irritating, but I couldn’t stop watching it, it was simply intriguing. From every deranged character, to the insane plot line, and to the excessive number of murders, I would have to say that YOU was one of the most interesting shows I’ve seen. I can guarantee that I’ll be watching season 2- as long as they resurrect Peach.