A chance to see ‘You’ from Love’s perspective would have fixed the repetitiveness.
We’re at somewhat of a crossroad when it comes to You. The popular Netflix series is in between Part 1 and Part 2 of its fourth season, and while it’s attempted to switch up the tried-and-true premise that was rehashed in multiple ways through the first three iterations, it still may not be enough to inject some much-needed freshness into the show. Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley), or as we know him in this season, Professor Jonathan Moore, remains an intriguing character and the one who remains the most interesting this season, but it remains to be seen if this redirection of him being the one targeted will be enough to keep You going beyond this season. It’s unfortunate that it’s gotten to this point because Joe really was as complex a character as there is, but there are only so many bodies he can amass and victims he can stalk before it starts to feel unbelievable. You may have missed the mark in killing off Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti) in the Season 3 finale because if it had gone the other way and Love became the protagonist moving forward, it likely would have been the new twist needed to reignite the series.
Love was such a strong character because she was Joe’s equal. In all of his escapades, there was never the necessary pushback to make him feel uncomfortable. That was until Love entered the picture in Season 2 and progressively turned into a fixture in his life. Seeing everything that Joe thought he knew come into question made for some exhilarating storylines between the two. As viewers, there were glimpses shown of how much of an equal she could be to Joe until late in Season 2 when it became evident that she had some serious demons inside her like Joe. It was at that point that You should have realized there was something special within her character, something that deserved to be explored not just further alongside Joe, but delved into more deeply with her own lead role. The opportunity to do a 180 on the face of the show was there for the taking, but sadly it came to a fiery end.
Love Gave ‘You’ New Life in Seasons 2 and 3
When viewers first met Love in Season 2, she stepped into the familiar role of one of Joe’s love interests as the audience learned of her through the eyes of the protagonist. The two went back and forth early on in their budding romance before eventually realizing there was something there. Her character was merely surface-level for the first half of the season until the fifth episode when a deeper dive is offered into Love’s family history while they’re on a wellness retreat. It’s here that the Love-Candace rivalry begins and the details of Forty (James Scully) and his childhood abuse, which eventually takes another turn later in the season, emerge as it’s discovered that Love was the one who killed her and Forty’s childhood babysitter. The layers of Love’s persona begin to peel back and over the next five episodes and through Season 3, viewers are given a front-row seat to the edge-of-your-seat twists and turns that are streamlined through Love.
You goes from being Joe’s story to Love’s story as the show gives her the runway to inject new life into the narrative. Her actions are similar to Joe’s in that they come from a twisted rage of passion, as seen in her murders of Candace (Ambyr Childers) and Delilah (Carmela Zumbado). Still, there are enough subtle differences in her mannerisms, especially in Season 3 that gives her character something Joe can’t offer. She’s able to flip the script on Joe, who only stays with her in a “keep your enemies closer” way after learning she was pregnant, and seeing this new dynamic unfold in the third season was a breath of fresh air. Finally, someone was able to stand toe-to-toe with Joe and for much of that season, it was Love who was the driving force. Much of the plot revolved around her actions with Joe scrambling to help her cover her trail around the murder of Natalie (Michaela McManus) all while seeking a way out of what he saw as a prison. Imagine if Love had come out victorious in this sick, twisted battle of love in the Season 3 finale — seeing Love operate on her own after killing her husband would have made for an exhilarating Season 4.
Yet, You went in a different direction, or should it be called the same direction, as it was Joe who once again came out on top and has gone about his merry way to London where he already has found himself in the middle of a murderous ring. There have been efforts in the fourth season to offer something new, but it may not be enough to give this show the life it needs to continue churning out renewals. We can’t help but wonder what could have been had You pulled a Game of Thrones and offed its star in favor of another character to take the mantle.
What Would ‘You’ Look Like With Love As Its Protagonist?
Season 4 could have seen Love on her own with just Henry at her side as she would have been left to account for her husband’s death and figure out a way to pin his death on someone else. We’ve seen Joe do this numerous times. Having someone else with less practice be the one trying to salvage a horrid situation would have made for an intriguing story. The same premise You carried out with Joe could have essentially continued because it would have unraveled in a new way with a character like Love being the one on the run. How would she have done it with an infant under watch? Would she have told her lonesome mother about all she had done? There would have been so many new ways You could have gone with Love that it’s hard not to see it as the correct decision.
The You Season 4 Part 2 trailer offers a sliver of hope that Love actually didn’t die in that Season 3 finale, as unlikely as that may be. The final shot of the trailer shows Love, holding a book in the glass box, eerily saying “Hi, Joe,” before the shot cuts. Is there any chance that isn’t just a hallucination of Joe’s? It seems improbable that someone who was believed to be poisoned would have escaped a house explosion, but maybe Love had another play at her disposal. At the very least, it’s going to be a joy to see Pedretti back in this world, even if it’s just some supernatural occurrence, as she will surely find a way to mess with Joe’s head and hopefully get thisYou train back on track.
You Season 4: Part 1 is streaming now on Netflix. Part 2 will be available to stream on March 9. Check out Love’s surprise appearance in the Part 2 trailer below.