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One of my favourite shows of 2018 was a show named ‘You’. It was a show I had not seen anything on and my first experience with it was when I pressed play on episode 1 when it first arrived on my NETFLIX. Well, as a late Christmas gift, ‘You’ returned for a second season on the 26th December. Following from where the first season finished, we find Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) as he looks to lay low for a while after a surprise reappearance by his original love Candace (Ambyr Childers). Deciding to relocate to Los Angles – where every citizen has got something to hide, Joe knows he must stick to the straight and narrow and keep a low profile or he’ll face a fate worse than prison: Candace. But, Joe being Joe can’t help himself and quickly falls into his old habits as he sets his eyes on Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti); knowing Candace is on the hunt, Joe changes his name to Will and hopes he can find all the love he’s ever wanted with Love – or to him ‘you’.
You’s first season was amazing, it had thrills, chills, surprises, tragedy and was a show I couldn’t keep my eyes off. But, most importantly; the first season was fresh, it was something different, something I hadn’t seen before, that shouldn’t have worked yet did. Joe is a killer, there are no redeemable qualities about him and yet, the audience finds themselves in the peculiar position of rooting for him to survive. Season 2 is enjoyable, it is really enjoyable that gets better as the show progresses, because it starts to diverge from what you expect. The new characters, dynamics, plot-lines and twists the show introduces does well in adding depth to the season. However, it’s biggest problem is that Season 2 doesn’t have that freshness the first season managed to use as its USP to sell itself to its audience. As the show progresses, it does manage to get back that freshness but the audience will swear for the first five episodes it is watching a carbon copy of the first season. And, that may not be a bad thing but a TV show needs to constantly change the formula, even if that said formula works for the mean-time. That being said, the first few episodes does tease a story line with Candace that lets the audience instantly knows this is not the same story as the first.
Like I said, I did enjoy the season and I think it is still compelling television that the audience won’t be able to stop watching. But, the lack of freshness is clearly indicated in the motions Joe goes through: hell, he even has a token child he takes upon himself to look after. And I completely understand that due to the character of Joe, this is what he will do, instantly find a new woman to fantasise about or he won’t be able to resist helping a child to make himself feel as though he is a good person. And so, the ‘freshness’ I keep referring to isn’t only from a character perspective but also a story perspective, there wasn’t much weight to the story. Joe Goldberg is not a hero, he is not a good person, I had hoped that the show would take more creative risks, and look to shift the focus of the show. Maybe allowing someone else to narrate or give someone else the reins of the show. This does happen at the end of the season for a while and the creators could easily do it in the third season.
Season 2 does still manage to entice the audience and is thoroughly enjoyable, the introduction of Candace to the story is a breath of fresh air, as for the first time we see a scared Joe, this is the first time we see Joe truly helpless as he is a essentially a sitting duck at the mercy of a woman he wronged. All the actors are amazing and so convincing in their roles. Love Quinn as a love interest is wildly different to Beck in the first season, largely aided by the brilliant Forty Quinn (her twin brother). Which was the first time I was invested in a relationship that wasn’t between Joe and Love. I have truly enjoyed spending time with other characters that weren’t Joe or Love, as I loved the dynamics we got between Joe and Forty, and dynamics we got with other new characters like, Delilah Alves who is the building manager at the place Joe is renting and her younger sister and Ellie Alves. I also really liked the decisions the show made with the story, deciding to have Joe move to LA, a place where everyone is to a degree struggling with their demons, whilst having Love be apart of a rich family allowed so much room to play with, with the supporting characters.
I also really enjoyed where the show left these characters, and where they can go (if a third season is green lit). I do, hope that they change a few elements from the show and allow a different character to take the lead for a few episodes and flip the structure of the show on its head but nevertheless I know I will be addicted to whatever they release.