Why The You Finale Ending Is The Perfect Punishment For Joe Goldberg

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Warning: Major spoilers ahead for You season 2 finale, “Love, Actually.”
You season 1 wraps with one of Joe Goldberg’s (Penn Badgley) worst case scenarios. No, Joe doesn't go to jail for any of his horrific crimes. But, he is rejected by his girlfriend moments after she pretends to love him. It is a metaphorical knife twist for Joe that results in him murdering Guinevere Beck (Elizabeth Lail)
The close of You season 2 couldn’t be more different than its predecessor. The Netflix show’s 2019 finale, “Love, Actually,” gives its serial killing antihero Joe everything he has long believed he wanted: a loving partner, a sprawling home, and a baby on the way. Joe Goldberg, at last, should be happy. 
Instead, Joe is more miserable than ever. His friend Delilah Alves (Carmela Zumbado) is dead. Delilah's little sister, 15-year-old Ellie (Jenna Ortega), is in the wind. Joe is living with the woman who caused all of this carnage: Love Quinn ( (Haunting of Hillhouse’s Victoria Pedretti), the future mother of his child. 
With the multiple twists of “Love, Actually,” You has trapped Joe in an emotional cage of his own making. It's a master class in elaborate punishment.
You season 2 poses Joe’s new love interest Love as a beautiful, L.A.-style-quirky woman from a broken home. She loves cooking, baking, her co-dependent twin brother Forty (Heathers’ James Scully), and brunch with her spiritual friends. She hates her alienating mother and cheating father. Love is sketched as “a perfectly imperfect girl,” as she complains to Joe in “Actually.” 
Yet Love so much more than all of that. Love is a murderer just like Joe. As we officially learn in the finale — and can guess much earlier — Love killed Forty’s sexual predator au pair back when they were teenagers. Love is also the one who killed Delilah in Joe’s makeshift storage prison. Love is, as she says during “Actually,” Joe’s true soulmate. 
Viewers learn all of these bombshells at the top of “Love, Actually,” when Love opens the chapter with her own voiceover flashback montage. We see Teen Love (Olivia Ragan) knock her twin out and slit the throat of his older teen nanny. Forty is covered in blood and, when he wakes up, holding a knife. Everyone assumes Forty is the real killer and the wealthy Quinns cover up the crime. Love confesses to manipulating the scene.
Love’s violent side reemerges years later when she decides she wants to create her own family. She hoped to have a child with her first husband James, but he died before they could conceive a baby (James also refused the idea prior to his death). When Love met Joe, she explains, her dreams were reborn. She became obsessed with Joe and the life she could have with him. She even used Beck’s terrible posthumous book to figure out Joe was the one who killed his season 1 girlfriend. This so-called passion — along with the chilling serial killer trophies Love found — only made her fall more in love. When Joe pulled away, Love used multiple schemes to get the relationship back on track. Her fling with Australian hunk Milo was one of them, and it is hinted Love hoped Joe would murder Milo to prove his love for her. 
Finally, Love killed Delilah and Joe’s ex Candace (Ambyr Childers) to protect her relationship. In Love’s mind, this twisted act of devotion should bond her and Joe forever. Joe, on the other hand, is instantly horrified. That is because, as Love tells Joe in the finale, “While I was seeing you, really seeing you, you were gazing at a goddamn fantasy.” Now that time is over, and Joe is forced to look at the person he has tied himself to forever. 
Because, as Love screams at the midpoint of “Actually,” she is pregnant. In a moment Joe goes from nearly killing Love to accepting he must find a way to make a future with her. At the wedding of Love’s best friends Lucy (Marielle Scott) and Sunrise (Melanie Field, another Heathers alum) it seems like Joe really could love his bloodthirsty match, Love. Then he is forced to face Ellie, who reminds him how monstrous this entire situation is as she flees L.A. Joe says he is the only thing standing between Ellie and “worse” people, reminding us of how he truly views Love. 
The final confrontation of You season 2 cements Joe’s connection to Love even more. Forty corners Joe and Love in the Quinn family store of Anavrin to accuse Joe of his many crimes (Forty is correct). However, when Delilah’s cop hookup buddy Fincher (Danny Vasquez) enters the scene, all he sees is an agitated Forty preparing to execute a seemingly innocent Joe. Fincher shoots Forty. After his death, police realise Forty may have killed his ex-friend Henderson (Chris D'Elia), and the Quinns once again use their power to shut down the investigation. All of Joe’s many season 2 crimes — like actually killing Henderson — are therefore also untouchable. 
“Sometimes a man gets exactly what he wishes for,” Joe says in voiceover towards the end of the finale. “And that can be the most perfect punishment of all.” 
In the last scene of “Love, Actually,” we see Joe begrudgingly living in the suburbs of L.A. with Love, the woman who is carrying his child and could also ruin his life with all of the secrets she knows about him. Joe has already chosen a mysterious new neighbour woman to be the object of his obsession, dubbing her, “with her books, and her sunshine,” the new “You.” For Joe, she is the silver lining of his self-created imprisonment. For us, she is the road ahead for You season 3.  
But we’re all forgetting about Love. Love is a woman who has already proven she is ready to kill to protect the family she so desperately wants. Don’t be surprised if Joe and his wandering eyes are Love's 2020 victims, you.
You season 2 is available on Netflix now

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