Warning: This story contains spoilers for season 2 of You, now streaming on Netflix.
Twitter loves a celebrity feud, so it was only a matter of time before people started pitting two of pop culture's most famous killers against one another.
On December 26, 2019, season 2 of You dropped on Netflix, giving fans a new chapter in the saga of Penn Badgley’s serial stalker (and more-than-occasional murderer) Joe Goldberg. In the new season, Joe finds a new lady to stalk — in this case, her name is literally Love (Victoria Pedretti) — but is haunted by the demons of his past.
In season 2, Joe sees visions of the people he’s hurt and been hurt by, including Beck (Elizabeth Lail), the girlfriend he murdered, and his mother Sandy (Magda Apanowicz). Throughout the season, it’s also revealed that Joe killed his father when he was a child, in order to protect his mom from further abuse.
It seems that these visions — as well as Joe’s stalker nature and his murder of his father — are what caused Twitter to see the similarities between the love-obsessed stalker and one of film’s first famous killers: Norman Bates, who is also haunted by his past.
In 1960 Alfred Hitchcock film Psycho (which is based off the book of the same name by Robert Bloch) Norman kills people who “deserve” to be punished while acting as his “mother,” Norma.
Like Joe, Norman is responsible for the death of his father. Much like Joe’s mother, Norman’s mom Norma Bates (Vera Farmiga) — whom Norman has a toxic, co-dependent relationship with — hid the truth. Throughout the show, Norman hallucinates his mother instructing him to commit heinous violence on her behalf.
Since You and Bates Motel have similar characters at their center, fans pit the two killers against one another on Twitter in a March Madness-like battle to find the "worst" killer. Most fans declared that Bates Motel’s Norman was the significantly creepier villain of the two. At least Joe never dressed up like Beck and pretended to be her while killing her friends?
Whoever the macabre winner is, it’s worth noting that both Joe and Norman are cut from the same cloth: They’re both men who use their “love” of certain women in order to justify violence, and punish women who don’t behave exactly the way they want them to.
In fact, Norman and Joe both tried to kill a woman they had a relationship with in the same way: Joe attempted to kill his cheating ex-girlfriend Candace (Ambyr Childers) by bashing her head with a rock, while Norman succeeded in killing friend-turned-something-more Bradley (Nicola Peltz) because his “mother” didn’t think she was behaving like a “good girl” should.
Given that Bates Motel is currently on Netflix, the comparison to You could be just the thing to get more people to tune into the series years after its finale — a post-You binge, if you will. And if Netflix just so happens to want to create a crossover episode and actually pit Joe and Norman against one another — I’ll tune in.