This post contains major spoilers for season 2 of You.
There are few characters I enjoy spending time with more than Penn Badgley’s Joe Goldberg. This is a good thing for someone recapping season 2 of You, the series based on Caroline Kepnes book of the same name, as Joe is our narrator. This is bad because Joe is a stalker. In the sophomore season of the Lifetime-turned-Netflix series, our creepy protagonist shows zero signs of slowing down. He’s up to all of his old tricks, just in a brand-new environment.
But what does it mean that we love to watch a person whose favorite pastime is watching other people and manipulating them into falling in love with him? I believe the intrigue lies in hearing Joe’s inner-monologue, and observing how vastly different it is from our own. He’s able to justify his awful behaviour to himself, thanks to his different — and wrong — moral system. Joe is a horror movie villain who thinks he’s a Tom Hanks rom com hero.
Though Joe likens himself to every romantic comedy hero ever (the bookstore manager is more Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail than Hanks, but you get the point) his idea of grand romance is obsessing over the object of his affection (always a young, beautiful, and talented young woman), often to the point of violence. In season 1, that young, beautiful, and talented young woman was graduate student and aspiring writer Beck (Elizabeth Lail), who met a tragic end.
Using Beck’s social media as a blueprint of her interests, Joe molded himself into her “perfect guy” — and then erased any “toxic” people from her life by literally killing them. When Beck finally caught on to Joe’s psycho stalker tendencies, he attempted to “fix” their relationship problems by locking her in a glass cage. When that didn’t go over so well, Joe killed Beck and blamed it on John Stamos — err, Dr. Nicky, the therapist she was seeing behind Joe’s back.
Joe got away with murder — or did he? At the very end of season 1, Candace (Ambyr Childers) — the ex-girlfriend whom Joe just assumed he killed, because he didn’t stick around long enough to check a pulse — has some unfinished business with Joe. She knows he killed Beck — and she’s been biding her time by stalking him (meta) until she can find out how best to use that information against him.
To get away from Candace, Joe goes to the one e place no one would think to find him: Los Angeles, a city he hates. It’s only a matter of time, however, before he finds a girl he “loves.” Will You season 2 repeat the same cycle as the first season, and if so, how will the series keep itself as fresh as the avocados of the west coast?
L.A. girls are different, butJoe is exactly the same. Binge along with me to find out.
Episode 1: “A Fresh Start”
A redheaded woman lies on the floor, a puddle of blood around her head. Welp, guess that’s it for antagonist Candace — except, wait! The camera pulls out, revealing that Joe is actually on a film set. The redhead is fine. It’s just Hollywood, baby!
Actually, it’s Los Feliz — I know because that’s my Indian restaurant in the background, the show was filmed in my actual L.A. neighborhood — and either way, Joe is not charmed by these showbiz shenanigans in the slightest.
“When you’re running from someone who thinks they know you, the best place to escape is a city they think you hate,” Joe explains. Candace drove Joe all the way out west. How convenient would it be if he happened to run into Ingrid?!
Joe’s new life involves the name Will Bettelheim and an apartment he rents from a building manager named Delilah (Carmela Zumbado) who also moonlights as a celebrity reporter. Delilah hates that Joe hates social media, and also isn’t fond of her precocious 14-year-old sister Ellie (Jenna Ortega) talking Joe up. Clearly, Delilah’s seen her fair share of creeps, because she pinpoints Joe as one immediately.
Joe likens Ellie to Paco (Luca Padovan) the young boy he “protected” back in New York by killing his stepfather. Joe assumes that he may have to protect Ellie too — or would, if he wasn’t “detoxing” from his old life. That means no girlfriend, no scrappy neighbor that needs saving, no drama. He will be a quiet man living a quiet existence. Ha!
This existence involves a job at fancy grocery store Anavrin. (That’s “nirvana” spelled backwards.) Is it Erwhon? Is it Lassens? Their gluten-free cookie dough (I eat gluten all the time, but it’s different!) and kelp noodle salads have taken entirely too much money from me, because unlike Joe, I am apparently a sheep.
“Come for the spring mix and stay for the perfect life that could be yours if you spend enough and quit gluten, you fucking asshole,” Joe narrates. Honestly dude, just @ me.
Despite Joe’s negativity, a job at Anavrin is a coveted one, as “all the casting directors shop here.” Manager Calvin (Adwin Brown) gives him the job after Joe pulls out Crime and Punishment. Turns out that Calvin ordered too many Russian novels for the small bookshop within Anavrin and Joe is the only one who can make them sound like something other people want to read. Joe — err, Will — gets the gig.
As he’s heading out, though, Joe sees his ultimate drug of choice: A pretty lady. Her name is Love (Victoria Pedretti) and she looks practically angelic squeezing an heirloom tomato. Joe reminds himself that he’s not doing this anymore, and by “this,” he means fantasizing and obsessing over a woman he does not yet know.
Of course, it takes all but five seconds for Joe to go over to Love and offer his opinion on what fruits and vegetables look like butts. Love is, at least seemingly, flirting.
“Bell peppers can look extremely vaginal depending on how you cut them,” is something you can only say to a stranger if you’re pretty sure they’re flirting back with you.
Joe and Love part ways, but good news: She’s his new co-worker! If Beck’s way into Joe’s heart was with the written word, Love’s is via food. She’s a pastry chef and despite Joe’s “blah blah blah gluten” spiel, her desserts look very good. (That’s not a metaphor, they really do.)
If his interaction with Love went swimmingly, his first meeting of fellow co-worker Forty (James Scully) didn’t. Friends, I’d love to say that Forty is a compilation of many a Los Angeles stereotype — with his ultra-clean athleisure wear, green juice, and smug condescension — but I’m pretty sure I’ve met this exact human before. Forty’s parents own Anavrin, so he thinks he owns everyone there. Love tells Joe not to worry because he doesn’t actually fire anyone — well, almost ever, anyway.
Things may be going well for Joe, but he’s still paranoid about Candace. In flashback, we learn that Candace essentially threatened to “fucking destroy” Joe’s world, not by taking him to the police and turning him in, but by...well, we don’t know yet. As vague as the threat was, it was enough for Joe to smash his phone on the ground, jump in a cab, and head to LAX without a dream or cardigan.
Candace makes Joe über paranoid: He accidentally destroys Ellie’s phone after he’s convinced she’s filming him on purpose. Later, when he discovers that Love has no public social media presence, he returns to Ellie, new iPhone in hand, to ask for her help. He wants to craft a new social media persona, one to impress Love.
Love seems more and more perfect to Joe. He finds her screaming at a worker at the DMV who won’t help a woman who speaks Arabic. Later, when Joe gets vicious sunburn, she arrives at his apartment with an apple cider vinegar treatment. Unlike Beck, Love is pursuing Joe immediately. He’s pushing her away because he knows the danger a relationship with her would put him in.
And yet...he’s not pushing that hard. He lets Love take him on a wild food adventure through Los Angeles, in search of his “perfect bite.” It’s here they finally go to my Indian place, where Joe declares he could “bathe in that sauce.” Though she makes him try tacos and dim sum and all the favorites of Angelenos, ultimately it’s Love’s home cooked roasted chicken — made with sensual love at Anavrin’s kitchen — that is Joe’s perfect bite.
If Joe wasn’t a stalker, it’d be damn cute, so just as a reminder: he killed his last girlfriend!
In the middle of their roasted chicken dinner at Anavrin, Love tells Joe the truth: She’s married, or rather, was. Her husband died, less than three years after they tied the knot in the community garden she and Joe passed by during their foodie adventure hour.
Love says most people don’t understand, as hardly anyone gets married at her age, let alone is widowed. She, however, thinks Joe probably does understand: Ever since she lost her husband, she’s been able to detect those who have gone through her brand of loss. If Love is referring to the death of Beck, boy, does this gift only give her half the story.
Still, it’s a sweet enough way to end the episode...which means this episode of You isn’t yet over. Joe heads back to his apartment where Ellie tells him that a man named Jasper is looking for him — he has something he needs to “give back.” Joe plays it cool but is clearly distressed.
He heads to his storage locker, where, surprise, Joe has rebuilt his glass cage!!!! Inside is the real Will Bettelheim (Robin Lord Taylor) the one Jasper was really looking for.
Oh oh oh, and everything that Joe said about detoxing from love earlier this episode was complete and total bullshit. Joe, you’re a messy, messy dude.
As revealed via flashbacks, Joe did set his sights on Love, far earlier than that initial meeting in the grocery store. It was seeing her, while walking down the street through that film set, that encouraged him to manipulate Calvin into giving him a job in the book department. (He saw Calvin had trouble pushing Russian literature, because again, Joe is a stalker.) His second floor apartment? Joe chose it because he has a telescope that can look directly into Love’s home.
Joe is back, baby. And he’s as much a creep as ever!
Episode 2: “Just The Tip”
In case you were wondering how Joe made his fake life as real as possible, it was surprisingly genius.
Joe headed west as Joe, but realized quickly that in order to evade Candace, he would have to find a new identity — one that was untraceable. Enter the real Will, a man whose shady Craigslist ad promises people a chance to escape from who they once were via faked Google search results, a fraudulent passport that looks like the real deal, the whole shebang. Will has achieved this for himself because he’s a conspiracy theorist (with a serious mental health condition) who is afraid of everything from chem trails to GMO foods. Instead of paying Will to erase Joe’s identity...Joe steals Will’s, and throws him in his brand-new glass cage.
As for Jasper, Will spent his money without giving him his documents for disappearing. Now, Joe has to pay Jasper $3,000 in order to make him go away and not blow up his lovely new life with Love. (Pending their soon-to-launch relationship, of course.) After faking a first-edition book for the cash, Joe goes to meet Jasper, who seems like an affable, dad-like dude. Turns out, he’s not — at all! Jasper informs Joe as politely as possible that Joe actually owes him $50,000, to which Joe promises to deliver by the end of the day. Jasper knows that he’ll come through — because, just after he shakes Joe’s hand, he pins his hand down and severs the top of his pinky with a knife.
Jasper promises the severed tip — which he put on ice — will be returned to Joe upon the return of his money. Real Will instructs Joe to head to a party in the Valley (how very Clueless) in order to retrieve the rest of the cash from a man named Rufus, but when Joe arrives, he learns that Will actually sent him to pick up the Canadian pills for his bipolar disorder.
Jasper comes to the storage unit, and Joe explains everything: Who he really is, why he has Will locked in a glass cage, and how Will is the one who owes Jasper the money. Jasper — though delighted to learn that Joe went all “Hannibal Lector” on Will — says that he doesn’t really care who gives him the money, then threatens Joe with a knife. Joe, of course, has the upper hand, and covertly grabs a weapon to stab Jasper to death. Body count of the season is currently at one, but I don’t think anyone will miss this guy very much.
Joe and Will have apparently formed a twisted bromance: After Will’s paranoia made him shun the bipolar meds he sneakily sent Joe to fetch, Joe started putting them in his green juice. A now lucid Will is somewhat grateful for Joe doing so, then tells him that he was so out of it, he thought that Joe killed a guy. Ha, ha...ha?
Hope Joe continues to enjoy caring for his pet, because Will seems like a fairly chill dude.
As all of this is going on, we learn that Love is totally smitten with Joe. She takes him to a fish market, where the two make-out surrounded by salmon. Still, Joe isn’t sure that he wants to move forward with Love just yet. The ghost of Beck is haunting him, and he’s terrified of making the same mistakes with Love. When Love invites Joe to have brunch with her friends, he bails, citing some task he has to do with Forty.
The problem, as it turns out, is that Love and Forty are twins — and therefore, Forty tattled on Joe lying about his whereabouts. Love doesn’t get it: they kissed; doesn’t he like her? Unlike Beck, who definitely took some time to warm up to Joe, Love appears all-in on this would-be relationship. She even stress cooks when things sour between them. Ultimately, they decide to be “friends” — which pains Joe as much as it does Love — but it’s clear that this relationship won’t stay in the platonic zone for very long.
Another person Joe is trying to figure out is Henderson (Chris D’Elia), a famous comedian he bumps into at the airport and, later, at that party in the Valley. His building manager Delilah is also there, trying to secure a scoop, and has a brief-but-strained interaction with Henderson. To Joe, though, Henderson seems fairly chill — and Joe doesn’t take to rich, famous strangers easily. Henderson even offers for Joe to use his name to get his finger dealt with by a top microsurgeon.
It’s particularly disturbing, then, when Delilah informs Joe that, as a teenager and aspiring writer, Henderson essentially groomed her before seemingly drugging and sexually assaulting her. She tried to write a story about him years later, but all his survivors were like she was: underage and “not white,” meaning “the world would eat them alive.” Joe is sympathetic, but Delilah snaps at him: She doesn’t know what kind of “bad” Joe is, but she “got her radar the hard way.” She warns Joe to stay away from her and Ellie.
Great idea, Delilah, because this is the same Joe who, just hours earlier, was shoving the body of Jasper into a meat grinder, Sweeney Todd style. Unfortunately, what she just told him of Henderson probably means he’s not long for this world, either. Oops.
Great idea, Delilah, because this is the same Joe who, just hours earlier, was shoving the body of Jasper into a meat grinder, Sweeney Todd style. Unfortunately, what she just told him of Henderson probably means he’s not long for this world, either. Oops.
Episode 3: “What Are Friends For?”
Joe and Love’s friendship includes Love placing baked goods in his work locker, which, as anyone in any romantic comedy can attest, is definitely a sign that they are not actually friends. Neither does co-watching baking shows or making bedroom eyes at one another while unloading a produce van. Even Will, who genuinely believes a slew of crazy conspiracy theories, can see that it’s clear Joe and Love will eventually hook up.
It’s only after Love talks to her friends — cool east side moms Sunrise (Melanie Field) and Lucy (Marielle Scott) — about protecting her heart that Love realizes whatever she and Joe are doing isn’t good or healthy. She stops with the baked goods, leaving Joe confused and probably hungry, since he was definitely saving room in his diet for those.
Joe attempts to right his friendship with Love by making her a home cooked meal of all his favorite kids’ foods (sweet, or it would be if Joe wasn’t meticulously stalking this woman) but when Love tries to kiss him, he once again shuts her down. For a guy who declared in his head that he would “walk through fire” for Love, he’s sure putting out mixed messages. Girl, there are so many reasons to run.
Love is not the only Quinn sibling Joe’s focus is on this episode. During Joe’s shift at Anavrin, Love’s twin Forty informs Joe that he is a “filmmaker.” Upon some social media deep diving, Joe discovers that Forty made a celebrated Sundance short called The Third Twin (makes no sense!) but since then, Forty’s attempted to cling to his moderate success by rubbing elbows with the right people. The issue is that the “right people” can’t stand Forty now: He’s a rich kid who talks a big game.
The truth is, Forty isn’t quite as confident as he presents. He’s less of the Los Angeles douchebag that one might expect, and more of an emotional, co-dependent mess. Joe is Forty’s next target in his quest for human connection.
Forty is impressed by Joe’s development talents when Joe “cracks” a film concept about a celebrity stalker at a rehab facility, and now wants to make a movie called False Promises (“like the place in Malibu, but with fake people!”) with Joe. Forty comes in handy later, though, when Joe uses him to get into a party at Henderson’s house.
Joe is trying to take down Henderson, fearing that his young neighbor Ellie will end up meeting the same fate as her big sister Delilah. Ellie, not believing her sister’s story about Henderson, wants to be his intern, and follows him to an improv show to shoot her shot. Little does Ellie know, but Joe is tracking the new phone he got her after breaking hers in the first episode. He tells himself that he will save Ellie from Henderson, the same way he saved Paco from his stepfather in season 1. Which means Henderson’s probably dying, right?
Maybe, but not just yet. Joe decides he’s going to find incriminating evidence about the comedian to prove Delilah’s story, so he schmoozes with one of Henderson’s besties at an improv show, “yes, and”-ing his way into finding Henderson’s after party. That’s where Forty is, because he wants to talk to Henderson about working on some project with him.
Forty is way in over his head: No one at this party wants him here. While Joe searches for Henderson’s laptop (hoping there’s something gross on there hacker Will could find that would take Hendy down), Forty makes an alcohol-fueled scene in the living room. Joe reluctantly comes to his rescue, but not before Henderson plays white knight. Henderson kindly tells Forty that he’s happy to set up a meeting with him, and then kicks the rest of the guests out so Forty can go home without being totally humiliated. Even Joe questions if Hendy is actually a good guy.
Love comes to Joe’s house, where Forty looks like a little embarrassed boy curled up on the couch. Love gives him a pep talk — clearly, she really loves her brother — while Joe watches from the window, not wanting to overstep. (Since when?) When Joe returns, though, it’s obvious that Love and Joe can’t make this friendship thing work. The two sleep together, complicating things.
Alas, in the morning, it’s not just Love and Joe. Forty is still in Joe’s apartment, ready to make breakfast. Um, did Joe just enter into a weird throuple situation? Maybe, but at least Forty gives Joe some decent information: Henderson has a secret playroom, which may be where his real secrets are. Interesting...
Episode 4: “The Good, The Bad, & The Hendy”
Remember how Joe was always threatened by Beck’s relationship with Peach (Shay Mitchell)? The pattern repeats with Love’s — admittedly pretty co-dependent — connection with her brother. Since Forty is longer sober, Love feels a need to protect him at all costs, which includes hiding her new romance with Joe until she believes Forty can “handle” it. Joe pretends he’s not super frustrated with the situation, but when Love cancels their would-be sex-filled weekend trip to Santa Barbara to hang with Forty, he can’t help but interven by shipping the “filmmaker” off to SXSW. Unfortunately for Joe, Love joins her brother to look out for him , too she’s smart enough to see through Joe’s manipulation. Sharing is caring, Joe. If you want Love, you better want Forty, too.
Joe’s relationship problems are hardly the biggest issue of his week. He’s determined to take down Henderson, and breaks into his house to search the playroom Forty told him about. There are a lot of whips, chains and leather (there’s also a motion-activated Roomba, which becomes problematic later) plus a video camera pointed at a bare mattress, but the bizarre part is that there are a ton of paper masks of Henderson’s face everywhere. Deeply, deeply unsettling!
If Henderson is a kinky guy who asks consenting adults to wear his own face, though, that’s not much of an issue. Then, Joe finds his smoking gun: Henderson’s photos of underage girls, half-dressed, in a hidden cigar box.
Joe drops the polaroids off on Delilah’s doorstep, who, as it happens, is hooking up with a hot cop named David Fincher (Danny Vasquez). The pictures should be the key to finishing her story about Henderson being a predator, but she’s conflicted. As a reporter, how can she share these photos with anyone if she, too, was a survivor of Henderson’s crimes? She’s coming from a place of complete bias — and there’s a photo of herself in there, too. Her “fuck buddy” (her words) says he’ll take care of it, and tell the right people in the police department that he got the photos from an anonymous source. Maybe Delilah can finally take her assaulter down, once and for all.
The other issue? Ellie is still hanging out with Hendy, despite lying to Delilah about it. Assuming it was Delilah who installed the spyware on her phone (it was really Joe) Ellie covertly removed it, and has been manipulating her messages ever since to make it look like she’s behaving. Delilah doesn’t know anything about Ellie’s digital life, but Joe does, and he was initially fooled by Ellie’s little scam.
Yet Ellie is still in trouble, and Joe needs to protect her. Joe follows Ellie to Henderson’s house late at night, where Henderson had planned a screening only for it to conveniently be canceled last minute. Bummed, Ellie begs Henderson to let her show him the short film she was working on instead.
Henderson initially does everything right. He reminds Ellie that she’s 15 and therefore they shouldn’t be hanging out alone. She convinces him to let her stay, and they watch the film together. Henderson is all compliments, and not skeezy ones: He genuinely seems to respect her work. This, as we know, is exactly how Delilah fell into his trap when she approached him for screenwriting advice. (Side bar: If Henderson is a filmmaker-comedian, who is his real-world counterpart?)
After the movie, Ellie begs Henderson to hear her feature film pitch, and Hendy acquises. Before they get started, though, he pours Ellie a watermelon juice — and Joe watches as he laces it with a mysterious powder that one could deduce is a seditive or date rape drug. Fortunately, he distracts Hendy in time to put a heavier dose of the drug into his scotch to knock him out.
Hendy and Ellie pass out, and Joe takes Henderson to the basement, where he ties him up and confronts him about the photos. Hendy admits that he takes the nude pictures, but claims that he doesn’t touch the girls he photographs. They don’t remember, so...what’s the harm, right?
When that strategy doesn’t work, Henderson tells Joe that his stepfather sexually abused him as a child, and that his mom told him never to tell anyone the truth about it. Joe feels for Henderson — we see flashbacks to Joe’s own disturbing childhood with his mom, who would pick up men at the grocery store and then leave him alone for hours — but can’t stand it when Hendy insists Joe must be just like him. Joe doesn’t want to be broken the way Henderson is broken. It’s the final straw when Joe insists love (or rather “Love”) can save him, and Henderson all but laughs in his face.
Now that Henderson knows it’s Joe who tied him up (Joe removed his Henderson mask midway through his little threatening speech) there’s really no hope for both of them to get out of the playroom alive. Joe, after all, has already stabbed Henderson in the wrist. This is a Peach situation all over again.
During a struggle on the staircase, Henderson wriggles out of Joe’s grasp. Joe shoves Henderson down the stairs, and Henderson tumbles downward, cracking his head on the basement floor. There’s blood everywhere.
Yeeeeeeep, Hendy is dead.
Joe tries his best to clean up the crime scene, realizing he cannot make the same mistake he did with Peach. (Remember that jar of urine he left in her house?) Still, there’s only so much he can do when his nose bleeds, dripping blood next to Henderson’s pool of it only for it to be mixed together by that pesky Roomba. He has to get rid of the bloodied evidence, so he throws it all in a trash bag and hopes for the best.
Detective David Fincher stops Joe with his “bag of things to donate to Goodwill.” Joe hands it over to him, thinking for sure this is it for his freedom. Instead, the police officer just takes Henderson’s fancy, limited-edition headphones as payment for Joe jaywalking across the street. He better hope there’s no blood on them.
With the Henderson situation somewhat taken care of, Joe heads to his pet Will. All episode, Joe has been thinking of ways that he can release Will while still ensuring he won’t turn him in. Will is aware of the dilemma, and tells Joe that knows there’s no way that Joe can trust him enough to let him go. Yet, Joe still releases Will from his cage. He wants to be a good person, and maybe this action will finally prove to himself that he is one.
You know. Despite the whole “I killed a comedian!” thing.
Even if Will thinks Joe is a better person now, there’s still one person out for blood. At the end of the episode, Love and Forty are about to sit down for brunch at SXSW when Forty declares he just met an amazing girl. That amazing girl, tragically for Joe, is Candace — but she’s going by Amy now. Guess Joe isn’t the only one who can fake an identity.
Fun fact for those who haven’t read Kepnes’ book Hidden Bodies: Candace is dead in the book, having been murdered by Joe, so the novel introduces new character Amy, a girl who works in Joe’s bookshop whom he dates immediately following Beck’s death. Amy steals from Joe, and flees to Los Angeles, leaving him no choice but to head west. Here, the roles have been reversed: “Amy” is the cat, and Joe the mouse. Happy hunting, Candace.
Episode 5: “You Have A Good Wellkend, Joe!”
Wellness can be exhausting, at least when a wellness retreat comes with a slew of Quinn family drama. Love, Forty, Joe, and Candace arrive at the Quinn family “wellkend” to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the twins’ wealthy parents, and it soon becomes clear that no amount of vegan food and shaman rituals can heal trauma.
First thing’s first: Holy crap, Love’s parents are monsters!
Forty gives off “poor little rich boy” vibes in spades, but it turns out that Love isn’t wrong about her parents being the absolute worst. Their father all but ignores Forty completely, making him practically beg for his dad’s attention and approval. When he finally is noticed by his father (which comes when Forty asks to invest major money into the new film Forty and Candace/faux Amy are producing) his dad calls him a pathetic loser.
Following his dad drama, Forty relapses, first forgoing the weekend’s vegan diet (he Postmates Taco Bell, Forty’s first relatable quality) and then ordering drugs. Love is panicked over her brother’s safety, so Joe swoops in to save the day. However, when Forty makes a scene during his parent’s vow renewal ceremony, it’s Love who is blamed by their mother for not protecting her brother better. As Love’s mother cradles her “poor baby” Forty in her arms, she calls Love disgusting for not being a better, more caring sibling. When Love tries to interject, her mother slaps her across the face. It’s shocking (“Earth mommy dearest,” muses Joe’s narration) and it becomes obvious that the Quinn family issues run deep.
Afterwards, Joe has a heart-to-heart with Love in their yurt, admitting that his father also hit him as a kid. They both realize they’ve been hiding a lot from one another. Love reveals a darker secret about her family history. It turns out that Forty was sexually abused by their 19-year-old nanny (Forty, then a pre-teen, still believes her to be his first love, but his sister knows better) and when their parents found out, they fired her. The nanny ultimately died by suicide, and Forty found the body — which explains why Love is so freaked out by Forty learning the news of Henderson’s recent “suicide.”
Maybe Love and Joe can move on from their pain, together. They finally say “I love you” (changing it to “I wolf you” when they realize it’s weird that Love’s name is, well, you know) and all seems right in their relationship.
At least, that’s how it looks if you don’t factor in Joe’s little ex-girlfriend problem. Joe meets Candace, who goes by the name “Amy” and pretends to have no idea who Joe really is. They both make jokes about one another’s fake names — Amy Adam is unGoogleable, and Will Bettelheim sounds totally made up! — but neither Quinn nor Forty is the wiser about their history.
We finally learn what happened between Candace and Joe years earlier, and it sheds some much-needed perspective on Candace’s character. Because You is told from Joe’s perspective, Candace is framed almost as the villain of the series. She’s the one who can destroy Joe’s budding relationship and ruin all of his plans for a better life. Even though we may know Joe deserves to be punished for his actions, it’s easy to get swept up in the romantic filter Joe projects onto his every move.
So it’s downright sickening to find out that following his breakup fight with Candace — which was seen in part at the end of season 1 — Joe tied her up and drove her in a creepy van out into the middle of the woods.
We see it all through flashback. These woods are where they had a nice picnic once, and Joe wants to recreate that memory. Except, it’s pitch black, in the middle of the night, and Joe refuses to untie Candace, who is rightfully terrified by her ex-boyfriend’s actions. It’s a Law & Order: SVU episode come to life.
Candace escapes the van, and Joe pursues her. He catches up and pins her to the ground, cracking her head against a rock in the process. Apparently, Joe thought she was dead, which is why he buried her (alive) in the woods.
Yet, in true Pretty Little Liars fashion, Candace climbs out of her would-be grave. The real tragedy is that when she goes to the police and explains her story (to a woman officer, by the way) she’s told that no one will believe her story. The best, off-the-record advice the officer can provide? If Joe thinks she’s dead...maybe she should stay that way, for her own safety. And so, that’s exactly what she did, until now.
Of course Candace is “torturing” Joe by showing up at his girlfriend’s wellness retreat and subtly taunting him in public: She’s traumatized by this bad man who could theoretically murder her and get away with it. If this whole show was told from Candace’s POV, she would be the real heroine here, taking down a very bad man disillusioned into thinking he’s a good guy. Joe doesn’t even apologize for nearly murdering Candace, and instead calls her “crazy” and reminds her that he didn’t mean to leave her for dead.
“Don’t gaslight me,” Candace exclaims at one point in the episode, which is exactly his intention. But has Joe already gaslit us into believing that Candace was the one to fear all along? It’s a reminder that we should be rooting less for Joe to become the good person he believes he can be, and more for Candace to bring this asshole to justice. Just saying.
Candace’s plan to do so does have a few cracks, though. She’s pretending to be an “indie film producer” in order to stay close to new boyfriend Forty, but when Love mentions her friend works at “United,” Candace makes some comment about how she “only flies Southwest.” (Love, for the uninitiated, meant United Talent Agency.) It’s not enough for Love to write off “Amy” immediately, but the seeds of doubt have at least been planted.
Alas, not soon enough for Joe’s liking. At the end of the episode, it’s revealed that the cops now believe Henderson was murdered, much to Candace’s delight — she thinks Joe is to blame for that one, too, since she found Joe in the first place when she caught him in a photograph taken at Henderson’s party with Forty.
Speaking of telling photographs involving Henderson: Ellie finally believes her sister Delilah was assaulted by the late comedian. They decide, together, to burn the photos Joe sent Delilah, so that the victims won’t Google their names and find it associated forever with Henderson’s suicide. Will their feelings about this change when they learn he was murdered? We’ll see.
Not everyone is okay with moving on from their past trauma, though. At the end of the episode, Forty reveals that he and Candace are adapting a book — from one Guinevere Beck. If Candace can’t put Joe in prison, she can certainly create a torture chamber of her own design. Bring it on, Joe. You’ve met your match.
Episode 6: “Farewell, My Bunny”
Fun fact about Henderson? He once gave his bestie Kathy Griffin the literal shirt off his back (and an extra bra?) when some jerk threw a glass of wine on her. That’s just the kind of guy Hendy was to all his pals, Kathy tells the crowd at his star-studded funeral. Joe and Delilah — who attended the service with a flask — know better.
Mostly, though, Joe’s not thinking about how he killed Henderson. He’s trying to quiet the thoughts in his head telling him to kill Candace, who is still hanging on Forty’s arm, pretending to be his film producer. If Joe can’t murder Candace, he can at least find a way to get rid of her — but when he seeks Candace out in his notorious baseball hat, he realizes he’s being followed by someone in a Toyota Camry. Is it an investigator hired by Dr. Nicky (John Stamos) to prove his innocence in Beck’s death? Or that cop he foolishly gave headphone-shaped evidence?
It turns out that it’s a private investigator hired by Love to look into “Amy” — she doesn’t trust Forty’s girlfriend either, and happens to have unlimited resources in order to find out the truth about her. When she hears from the P.I. that Candace was lurking around Joe’s apartment, she stages a confrontation. (Joe, meanwhile, gets tied up by the dominatrix Candace rents her apartment from — they both broke into one another’s houses at the very same time.)
Love knows “Amy” is really Candace, and that she’s not a film producer but instead “barely” a waitress. She also spent some time in a mental health facility, per the P.I. 's research. Candace knows that this looks bad — like really, really bad — but comes clean to Love about Joe, how he tried to kill her, and how she’s positive he killed Beck, too.
Joe returns home to find Love waiting for him, and while she doesn’t believe Candace’s entire story — despite it being completely true — she wants to know why Joe lied. Joe, as effortlessly as breathing, constructs a very believable tale. In Joe’s version of things, Candace is his “obsessed” stalker ex-girlfriend. She was the reason he left New York, his job, his life — everything behind. She broke up his friendships, ruined relationships, and basically forced him to change his name to Will Bettelheim.
As for the Beck of it all, Joe claims they only went on one date and that he only learned months later what happened to her. They only took photos together to make her ex-boyfriend jealous.
The Beck lie is one that Joe probably pushed too far on. One date? Come on, Joe, your girlfriend could easily fact check that. Anika (Kathryn Gallagher) is an Instagram influencer, do you want to believe she has never shared a single public pic of Beck and the boy she was dating before her death?
Anyway, it ultimately doesn’t matter. Love doesn’t like being lied to, and while it’s clear she’s heartbroken to say goodbye to Joe (she now knows Will is a fake name, so that’s easier) she can’t accept the bullshit.
We learn a little more about why Love has so many trust issues, and they stem mostly from her relationship with her ex-husband. There’s no darkness in this relationship, not like there is with Love and her parents. James (Daniel Durant) seemed like a pretty great guy. (Interesting to note: He uses sign language and appears to be hearing impaired, and Love communicates with him using sign language as well.) Love even wanted to have kids with him right away, so they could be 40 and live in a van like the Partridge family. Then he was diagnosed with cancer...and didn’t tell her about it for eight weeks. He died soon after, as we know, and I just wanted to give flashback Love a big, huge hug.
Joe is devastated, naturally, but just like he did after his breakup with Beck, he jumps into bed with his neighbor immediately. Delilah is looking to go all Ronan Farrow (her words) on Henderson, and is seeking out women she can talk to who were also victimized by him. Joe reminds Delilah she doesn’t have to. She can tell her own story. His kindness is, shockingly, a turn-on for the often-cold Delilah, and soon, they’re having passionate sex on the floor of her apartment, in front of her crime board.
So...is this the end of Joe and Love? The start of Joe and Delilah? And is Candace really gone?!? Stay tuned, friends...stay tuned.
Episode 7: Ex-istential Crisis
Joe is mourning the loss of Love, but as he quickly learns upon stalking his ex to her apartment, she’s already moved on. At least, that’s what it seems like. Joe catches her mounting a hot Australian dude named Milo (Andrew Creer), and quickly, they’re being cutesy in the Anavrin kitchen.
Forty loathes Milo, and fills Joe in on why. It turns out that the “Avengers-bodied” Milo — a Patagonia heir who loves the #outdoorslife — was Love’s ex-husband’s best friend, who always had a crush on James’ girl. Now that Love is single again, she’s using him as her rebound, much to Joe’s disgust.
Calvin and Forty insist Joe get on the apps, like “Flinger,” and Joe quickly gravitates towards an app for “readers.” What he finds is three very different, equally horrible women, one of whom quotes Hemingway and then sobs into four large glasses of wine. Joe really, really wants Love back.
Joe’s a man who loves repeating his past mistakes, so he follows Milo on his trail one, possibly with intentions of bashing his head in, Peach-style. Alas, he’s caught this time by Love’s BFF Gabe (Charlie Barnett), who also happens to be a Reiki specialist, acupuncturist, and human lie detector. He knows that Joe is stalking Milo because he’s hung up on love, and so Gabe invites him to release his demons in a session with him.
Strangely, it actually works. As Joe is prodded with acupuncture needles, he’s brought to his childhood and examines why he craves Love — and “love” in general — so much. Through flashbacks, we learn more about his mom, who was physically and verbally abused by Joe’s dad. She craved validation from men so badly that, even when escaping her abusive ex, she did so via a different, equally awful, guy. Upon realizing that his effed up childhood was likely a source of his effed up relationships with women now, Joe sobs. He’s instructed to chant. If that’s not evidence of how much Los Angeles can change even the most cynical New Yorker, I don’t know what is.
Meanwhile, Milo wants to take the next step with Love, who has no interest in changing their current relationship status from “rebound.” I’m sure this guy is a far better option than Joe, but it doesn’t sit super well with me that he immediately hooked up with his bestie’s ex, and was essentially just biding his time to wife her up.
While Love is unsure about Milo, Joe bonds with Delilah. Delilah tells Joe she’s publishing her Henderson takedown in Variety, thanking him while reminding him that this is totally not her thanking him. It’s pretty cute, or would be if JOE DIDN’T MURDER HIS LAST GIRLFRIEND! STOP DOING THIS TO ME, SHOW!
After a whiskey walkabout in which Joe realizes that he and Delilah might be just the same type of damaged, the two have sex in a darkened alley. They’re caught immediately by the police, making for a very awkward situation when Delilah’s cop friend David Fincher learns the reason they’re behind bars. Alas, it’s Forty who rescues his “old sport” from the slammer, thrilled that Joe got back on the hookup horse after Love.
Joe and Delilah agree to be friends, but in that way that Joe and Love agreed to be friends months earlier.
Unfortunately for those shipping Joe and Delilah (do not ship Joe with anyone as Joe murders, etc.) it looks like Love and Joe are still a thing. After Forty calls Milo “vagemite” (giggle) Milo confronts him about ruining Love’s life with his codependency. It gets fiercely heated, quickly, and Milo eventually punches Forty square in the face. He deserves it, sure, but Love would go to hell and back for her troubled brother. She steps in and basically tells Milo to GTFO, as does Joe, who looks like the real white knight in the situation. Love needs someone who loves Forty like she does, and while Joe’s mostly faking it, Milo can’t even do that.
But what of Delilah and Joe? Turns out we don’t have to worry about a love triangle. When Det. Fincher calls Delilah, he tells her he recognizes Joe as the guy who gave him those expensive headphones that Joe claimed he was going to donate to Goodwill. David tells Delilah that was the very same night that Henderson died...and those headphones just so happened to be ones that Henderson was the brand spokesperson for.
Delilah can’t turn off her journalist brain and does some digging in Joe’s apartment, where she finds his storage locker key. Alas, once you find the glass cage, you find all the evidence of Joe’s crimes. Unfortunately for Delilah, Joe’s smart enough to install a nanny cam in the storage space...which is how he finds Delilah before she has time to call 9-1-1.
Soon, she’s Joe’s next pet...but will he let her out eventually, if only for poor Ellie’s sake?!?
Episode 8: “Fear and Loathing in Beverly Hills”
The good news: Joe wants to let Delilah out of the cage! The bad news: He can’t do it right away, lest she go to the police and reveal to the authorities the fact that he, well, locks women in cages. Joe has to disappear in order to let Delilah go free. And that means saying goodbye to Love, forever.
Here’s how it works: Joe gives Delilah a pair of handcuffs, attached to the desk, with a timer on them. When the timer runs down, the handcuffs will unlock, and Joe will be out of the country. The doors are unlocked so Delilah can just walk free.
It’s a perfect plan, which means it won’t work.
Joe planning on leaving Los Angeles is bad timing, as Love just decided she wants him back, despite Joe lying about his entire life.
It’s not the only reason Joe can’t get out of L.A. smoothly. Forty wants Joe to work on polishing his script based on Beck’s book, because Kathryn “Hurt Locker” Bigelow is “thirsty” for it. (Catherine Hardwick seems like the better fit for the project, but who am I to say?)
Joe doesn’t actually want the script to get made, considering that the book is about Beck’s romance with “killer” Dr. Nicky and is therefore mostly bullshit. (Side note: Did Beck write this entire book while in Joe’s death cage?!?) He tries to give Forty quick, helpful notes, before he books it, but in the middle of their notes session, something truly insane happens: Joe and Forty are kidnapped, thrown in the back of a van, and taken to an undisclosed location. Forty, it seems, has outstanding gambling debts.
Just kidding. Forty actually hired these guys to kidnap him and Joe in order for them to get their creative juices flowing, which I would say was weird if I didn’t pay a lot of money for a very similar immersive theater experience in DTLA last year. (It’s still weird, I know.)
Forty tells Joe that he is not allowed to leave until they finish the script, and he means that literally. This is a problem, because Delilah’s handcuffs are due to be unlocked in mere hours. To be fair, Forty is technically Joe’s boss at Anavrin, so really, what other responsibilities does Forty even think Joe has? He doesn’t have a girlfriend anymore!
Ellie, who I hope gets to skip the mailroom at an agency thanks to this hands-on internship, is there with Joe and Forty to help them crack the story. Ellie makes the situation with Delilah all the worse for Joe, and not just because she’s a reminder of the woman Joe is holding temporarily hostage. Ellie, in all her brutal honesty, tells Forty they need to trash their existing script and start from scratch. Her harsh — but true — words send Forty into such a tailspin that he literally jumps out the window to escape from his own inadequacies.
Joe chases Forty down to a bar, where he’s nursing his sorrow. Joe attempts to comfort Forty, who buys Joe a seltzer. Joe (stupidly) drinks it, just before Forty fully loses it. He sees a just-married couple celebrating at the bar, and walks up to them, offering them $10,000 in cash if Forty is allowed to kiss the bride.
It’s a moment that Joe — a legit murderer — is horrified by, and rightfully so. It’s very fucked up. Equally fucked up? Forty secretly drugging Joe’s seltzer with acid, and a lot of it. Joe’s escape from Los Angeles just got even more difficult.
The hallucinations start back at the hotel, where Love — who just had a tense dinner with her awful, awful mother — finds Joe to confess she still wants to be with him. Joe left Love a letter, telling her he was leaving the city, and a very drunk Love declares it “shattered” her. In a good way! Unfortunately for Joe, he is too high to speak, and imagines Love’s eyes start looking like an are anime character. She vomits on the floor, taking his lack of words as rejection.
Meanwhile, Joe goes back to Forty, who wants him to really dive into who Beck is. It’s not great for Joe, as he knows exactly who Beck is, and what really happened to her. He hears Beck’s voice coming from Forty’s mouth, and starts to strangle him, just as we know Joe did to Beck.
“That was like, Joaquin-level method,” Forty muses after Joe finally lets him go. “Respect.”
Forty instructs Joe to get some Moon Juice from Anavrin. (Honestly, Google it.) Joe seemingly goes to do that task, but loses time immediately. His hands are covered in blood — or are they? When Joe looks down again, his hands are clean, and Forty has completely broken the story of Beck’s life on the whiteboard in their hotel room. Forty is no help on the whole “is the blood real?” thing, because everytime he looked at Joe’s hands, all he saw was lobsters.
As Joe tries to figure out the whole “did I kill someone?” thing, Love calls, and declares she rejects his goodbye. She just wants to be with him. Joe, because he is blinded by love, says that he wants that, too. Even a hallucination of his mom, suggesting to him that he killed Delilah during his blackout doesn’t stop him from pursuing his one true Love.
Then, Forty announces that he thinks Beck wasn’t killed by Dr. Nicky, but by someone else: Her boyfriend. It was a crime of passion, Forty says. Just as Joe is about to murder his girlfriend’s brother for figuring everything out, Forty confesses something: He killed his previous girlfriend, too. The au pair that died by suicide? Forty doesn’t remember what happened, but remembers standing with a bloody knife.
Joe puts down the glass shard he was going to use to off Forty, and lovingly hugs his newfound soulmate instead. In the words of Will Ferrell: “Did we just become best friends?”
After declaring to Forty that “we’re going to make it,” Joe wakes up on the couch, minutes before Delilah’s handcuffs are set to release. He rushes to the storage unit to find her. The good news? Delilah is still in the cage.
The bad news? She’s very, very dead.
Episode 9: “P.I. Joe”
The second season of You is enjoying breaking from the show’s traditional format. Last episode, it used the countdown to Delilah’s handcuffs clicking open in order to create an episode that felt like a race-against-the-clock thriller. The season’s penultimate episode is essentially a very dark version of The Hangover.
In case anyone thought otherwise, Delilah is definitely dead. In a cruel twist, Delilah’s limp hand is released from the handcuffs at just the right time. Her throat was slit, and Joe’s not sure if he’s responsible for killing her. This throws Joe into an existential crisis. If Joe did kill Delilah, it means that he’s not the good man he believes himself to be. He doesn’t deserve love, or specifically, Love. He broke the promise he made to Delilah, his friend, and took away Ellie’s support system at a time when she needs it the most.
Joe’s quest for the truth is also a quest for redemption. Through flashbacks, we learn that Joe, as a child, shot and killed his abusive father to protect his mom. This event has dictated so many other terrible decisions in his life. At the time, Joe’s mom told him that Joe could never actually hurt someone, because he only killed his dad in order to protect her. But Delilah’s murder — one he didn’t ‘want’ to commit — goes against his former mantra . He’s just a killer.
Joe narrows down suspects throughout the episode, refusing to believe that — even under the influence of heavy hallucinogens — he would be capable of killing his former friend. He calls the real Will Bettelheim, suspecting that he may have wanted revenge on Joe for stealing his identity. Shockingly, Will just wants to be Joe’s friend, and even tells him that, despite everything, he knows Joe is a truly good person. This isn’t exactly true, but it does give Joe the ammo he needs to find Delilah’s real killer.
As Joe pieces together the hours of the night before, he remembers going to Anavrin for Moon Juice. Calvin laughs as Joe tries to get answers about their previous night’s interactions, claiming that Joe attempted to buy Cheetos “the basement” (it’s California, there are no basements, and like Anavrin would ever “carry that ish.”) But Cheetos are a favorite of Delilah’s which means he did, indeed, try to see her , which is, umm, not great. He eventually figures out that Forty dropped him off at the intersection of the storage unit for a “booty call,” which leads him to suspect Forty as the murderer. He did, after all, murder his nanny/statory rapist back in the day.
When Joe goes to Forty’s house to confront him, his mom is there, and tells Joe how happy she is to have him sticking around Los Angeles. In a thinly-veiled threat, she tells Joe that she knows Forty informed him about killing the au pair, and that she’ll happily keep Joe’s darkest secrets now. Hmm. What ever could those be?
As for Forty, he fesses up to what Joe initially assumes is Delilah’s murder, but is, in fact, just him sleeping with Candace despite knowing her and Joe’s past. Joe’s pissed that Forty left him at Delilah’s storage unit regardless: If Forty didn’t kill Delilah, then it’s back to being Joe.
After Joe chews Forty out for sleeping with Candace again (she was the reason he had to leave New York, he laments) Candace arrives at Forty's place. He’s decidedly less friendly than he was the night before, having picked Joe’s friendship over Candace’s friendship-with-benefits. Candace attempts to convince him that Joe is a killer, and that if Forty loved his sister, he would believe her. After all, Forty was the one who figured out that Beck’s boyfriend (a.k.a Joe) was the real killer, instead of her (framed) convicted killer, Dr. Nicky. Though Forty tells Candace coldly that Joe is his “family,” something strikes a nerve when Candace warns Forty not to come crying to her when Joe kills Love. Forty quietly starts investigating...you know, just in case there’s some truth to “crazy” Candace’s story.
As Joe sleuths, Ellie starts hanging out at Joe’s apartment with Love. She has a breakdown, terrified something awful happened to her sister, who is suspiciously MIA. Though Ellie doesn’t suspect Joe, Delilah did get a threatening letter from a Henderson groupie mad about her #MeToo story about the comedian.
Tragically, Delilah is dead, and there’s nothing Joe can do about solving her murder. He goes back to the glass cage to make peace, only to find that Candace has followed him. She locks him in the cage, takes his phone, and tells Love to meet him at the storage unit. This is Candace’s grand victory: With Joe locked in a cage with Delilah’s dead body, the cops and Love will have no choice but to believe her.
Though Joe is angry at first, the longer he spends in the cage, the more he realizes that Candace is right. He isn’t a good person. He did kill Delilah, or at the very least is responsible for her death.
Love shows up to find her beloved boyfriend in the cage. She implores Candace to release him, but Candace refuses. She wants Love to believe what she can now see with her two eyes. Even more cathartic for Candace is that Joe finally believes her. He tells Love that Candace is right. He did horrible things. He did try to kill Candace, despite convincing himself it was all just an accident, or hopeless misunderstanding. Joe looks Candace in the eye and offers a sincere, long overdue apology.
Love runs out of the storage unit, crying. Candace follows her, used to the pain of learning that someone you once cared about is a monster. Love vomits over the trash can (so much vomiting from Love this season) and Candace pats her back...which, as it turns out, is a huge mistake on Candace’s part.
Love stabs Candace in the throat with the sharp edge of a glass bottle, effectively killing her. Love, as it turns out, isn’t quite as sweet as Joe thought.
(Side bar: Why are there no security cameras in the storage facility?!?)
Love heads back to the storage unit, eerily calm. Joe asks her: “Where’s Candace?”
After a moment, Love replies: “I took care of it.”
Hmm...just as her parents did with the au pair? Or is there more to that story, too…