You: Season 2
The second season of You is another slice of slick, trashy entertainment which occasionally gets a bit too close to reflecting the sort of attitudes it's aiming to mock
Pulpy stalker drama You has quickly become one of Netflix’s biggest and most meme-able hits (crossing over to Love Island Twitter, and unifying two of today’s top guilty pleasures). After killing his girlfriend Beck in season one, ‘dreamy and brooding’ Joe Goldberg flees New York to start a new life in Los Angeles as Will Bettelheim. Here he meets his new romantic obsession, Love Quinn, and integrates into an obnoxious LA social scene, providing ample opportunity for jabs at millennial culture and privilege – with varying degrees of success.
More stalking and murdering ensues along with daft meta writing and suitably wild plot twists, which makes for slick trashy entertainment. Think somewhere between Dexter and Gossip Girl, but with even fewer morals. By satirising rom-com and Lifetime drama tropes from the point of view of its antihero, You deliberately pushes viewers into the icky position of sympathising with a serial killer, which reads as a cheeky critique on spectatorship and romantic film clichés, as well as our questionable preoccupation with abusive, violent men at the expense of their victims.
However, that self-awareness does not absolve You of its own immorality. A subplot in which Joe goes after a celeb who preys on underage girls tricks us into siding with him further, and through digging into Joe’s disturbing childhood the series comments on cycles of trauma, but also further opens the empathy gates.
In its attempts to stretch the grey zones of its subject matter, You’s balance too often tips in favour of what it professes to mock, which results in a strangely entertaining yet uncomfortable watch.
You is streaming now on Netflix