When I heard of Netflix's new show, "You," I was highly dubious. I am very wary of the mainstream, hyped shows, especially Netflix. However, after reading all the controversy and discourse regarding this one show, I decided I needed to watch it for myself. Interestingly enough, "You" was originally a show on Lifetime, but it garnered barely any viewers or attention. Realizing this, Lifetime decided to sell the show to Netflix. This was a great decision — "You" gained immediate attention, both good and bad.
The show follows a grad student, Beck, who encounters mysterious and charming bookkeeper Joe (Penn Badgley). What starts as an innocent encounter soon turns to obsession on Joe's part. As events unfold, it becomes clear to the viewer that Joe is a possessive stalker with strong psychopathic tendencies, from stealing Beck's phone, journal, and generally following her everywhere.
While some people think the show is romanticizing stalking, I never once thought of Joe's stalking as romantic. I suppose people thought this way because Joe was "helping" Beck, from killing her shitty boyfriend Benji to offing her toxic friend Peach. While some could view these as good things, what Beck says at the end of the series, about it being her life, no matter how messy, is the point.
I think the point of the show is that no one is a perfectly black or white character. Even if we love our friends, we may know that they are toxic and generally bad. It doesn't change them being toxic, but something that someone has to come to terms with themselves. The problem with Joe's tactics is not that he looks out for Beck's best interests, but that he strips her of any choice in the matter. Instead of letting her realize and deal with her problems on her own, Joe simply makes the problem disappear. While some may view this as a good thing, it's inherently wrong, ethically and morally. There can be no betterment of someone's life if the individual doesn't make the change themselves.
What also sets Joe apart from other psychopaths is his relationship with Paco, and how he stands up for him against his abusive mom's boyfriend. This shows the viewer that Joe isn't a complete monster, that he can empathize. What I find intriguing is that while Joe is obviously the "bad guy," Beck also does immoral and heinous things, from cheating on Joe with her therapist and lying about it, and then cheating with Joe on Karen. What I think this does is show that people can be both victims yet also be terrible people, as I think most people agree that cheating is a horrendous thing. While not on the same level as murder, it's a terrible breach of trust.
What I'm interested in is seeing how and why Candace is alive, and what her role in season two will be. With Beck gone, Candace is going to have to fill some big shoes.