You Season 2 Review – Bigger, badder but not quite better

Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

Episode Guide

A Fresh Start
Just the Tip
What Are Friends For?
The Good, the bad & the Hendy
Have a Good Wellkend, Joe!
Farewell, My Bunny
Ex-istential Crisis
Fear and Loathing in Beverly Hills
P.I. Joe
Love, Actually

 

Hello, You. When Netflix revived the wildly popular You from Lifestyle’s heap of cancelled shows, it was met with a lot of positive buzz from critics and audiences alike. Dropping on ‘Flix back at Christmas in 2019, the second season is both better and worse than the first, keeping the same basic formula but with a lot more melodrama, soap opera shenanigans and crazy twists for good measure. It’s undeniably fun to watch but it’s also a far cry from the dizzying heights of the first season.

The story here wastes absolutely no time diving right into the crux of drama. With Candace showing up at the end of the first season, Joe literally skips town, dons a new persona and relocates to LA. He’s determined to escape the ghosts of his past and start anew.

Unfortunately old habits die hard, and it doesn’t take long before Joe sets his sights on a new victim. Try as he may, the thrill of the chase and preying on a new woman is too much and he succumbs to his perverted instincts.

The woman in question this time is Love Quinn, a well-connected, bubbly woman with a rich family and more than a few secrets of her own. Before we get into that though, Joe finds himself wrapped up in a whole host of busywork subplots to pad out the run-time.

The first comes from Joe’s adopted persona, Will Bettelheim. It turns out the real Will owes a lot of money to the Mafia, which subsequently lands our stalker into hot water. There’s also his neighbours Delilah and Ellie, with the latter mixed up with a potential sex offender too. Joe also has problems at work, along with the threat of Candace returning, along with a personal crusade to win over Love’s brother, Forty.

There’s an awful lot going on this season and You walks a very fine line between messy melodrama and tightly constructed thriller. For the most part it does well to walk the tightrope but late on, especially during episodes 7 and 8, go on for far too long and feel like padding.

The twists that come after this in successive jabs across the end of episode 8 and then in 9 and 10 are enough to look past those issues, but do raise some problems for continuity – including a crowbarred final scene that feels designed specifically to usher in season 3. The irony here is that You could very easily have just ended with this scene cut completely, with a clever societal jab about our crooked justice system.

A lot of the reason season 1 worked so well came from Joe himself. This strange enigma of a man managed to convey a mix of good and bad traits, almost stepping into Dexter-territory at times. However, the show also remained strictly a parodical romance, poking fun at the romcom genre in the process.

Season 2 loses sight of that somewhat in favour of its wacky and crazy twists, flipping the script but not always in a way that favours the show as a whole. It’s not outright bad per-se, but season 2 doesn’t even come close to the great work done the first time around.

Some of those problems stem from the tone too, which wildly deviates between melodrama, thriller, horror… and comedy, for some reason. There are constant self-referential jabs with its cutesy “Hello, You”s and in-jokes surrounding Joe’s past behaviour. There’s even a joke about Dexter here as well. While subtle, it does feel misplaced compared to what we’ve seen before.

Despite those gripes though, You is undeniably a guilty pleasure watch. This deliciously twisted thriller may not be as tightly written as the first season, but it does manage to deliver enough surprises and compelling characters to keep you watching until the end.


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