You Season 1, Episode 2 Recap: Very Bad Boys

Photo: Courtesy of Lifetime.
After a crazy premiere episode that made you reevaluate cute bookstore clerks everywhere, You has returned this week to instill its audience with major trust issues. This episode reminds us that there are all kinds of bad men in this world — and that they do not all look the same.
Joe is perhaps the most insidious of these bad men. For one, he has Benji locked up in the basement of the bookstore, without anyone the wiser. Benji deduces Joe’s real identity (he remembers that Joe was with Beck in the taxi after her train track incident) and tells Joe that he doesn’t even want Beck. Benji sees through her: According to Benji, Beck pretends to be a hard-working, interesting writer, when really she’s only with Benji because he is rich and can take her places.
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Benji’s comments about Beck, who he calls a gold digger, get in Joe’s head. When Beck invites Joe to a party, Joe realizes how desperate she is to keep up with her wealthy friends from Brown, where she went to college. Peach, as it turns out, is a Salinger (yes, that Salinger family) and is mighty suspicious of the boy who plucked Beck from the train tracks. To be fair, she absolutely should be, but if we didn’t know that Joe was a bona fide psychotic stalker, this might read more as a rich girl not wanting her BFF to slum it.
Money is an issue in Beck’s life, which is how she comes up against another bad man. Beck is in graduate school, and in order to keep her subsidized housing, she must retain her position as a full-time teaching assistant. Her professor is, unfortunately, a poster boy for creepy. He invites Beck to drinks to discuss her career, which Beck understands as an opportunity for him to make a move. Yet Beck has to go, and attempts to play along… until the professor tries to slide his hand up her knee.
Beck pushes him off and calls out his bad behavior, boldly. Yet the professor fires back: Stop wearing clothes that show your breasts if you don’t want this. He then takes away her teaching position — a cold, callous move that he knows will affect her ability to stay in New York.
In the #MeToo era, the reaction is expected and familiar, but still disheartening. Beck goes back to his office days later to ask for her job back, under a different adviser. Her professor coldly declines. Beck understands. Then she turns, and locks the door behind her. It’s a moment supposed to make us wonder — will Beck agree to sleep with him in order to stay a teaching assistant?
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Nope. After listening to some advice from Joe (he tells her to “show [her] teeth” and not let those with all the power get her down), she lets the professor know that she is just one of six other young women who have experienced the same behavior.
“You’re trying to call my bluff, but I’m not bluffing,” Beck cooly tells the professor when he suggests she’s making the other women up. Beck has won this round.
Back to OG bad guy Joe. It turns out that Joe’s idea to lock also-awful Benji up like a lizard didn’t come from nowhere. His former boss, the one who owns the bookstore but is now, apparently, busy being old elsewhere, used to lock a young Joe in that same glass cage. So Joe knows exactly how Benji feels, or at least enough to garner some sympathy for the kidnapped artisanal soda maker.
Benji, however, is much worse than we initially thought. Not only can he not even identify his own brand of soda (he claims that Joe gave him generic, drugstore-bought cola when, in fact, Joe had given him his own Home Soda), he’s also a routine drug user and former frat bro who accidentally killed a kid during a hazing ritual. Benji even kept the video to use as blackmail over his friends, like a true sociopath.
Maybe Joe and Benji should forget about Beck and the whole kidnapping thing and become best friends.
Fortunately for Benji, that frat video is one piece of leverage he can use to get the hell out of Joe’s glass cage. He tells Joe where the video is, and suggests the two engage in some mutually-assured destruction.
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We think that Joe bites. He tells Benji that, yes, he found the video, and it was quite compelling. He even gives Benji a maple latte with two Stevia as a token of his appreciation. Benji downs it, thrilled to learn he’ll get out of Joe’s clutches for good.
Except… not so fast. Earlier in the episode, Benji scoffed at Joe’s bagel, telling him that he has “allergies” which include gluten and peanuts. Guess how many spoonfuls of peanut oil it took to make Benji’s throat close? Only two.
Joe may have not wanted to resort to this tactic with Benji, but he’s not having a terrible time. After a few skirted kisses that made me think Beck may have put Joe squarely in the friend zone, Beck finally plants a good one on him at the bookstore. He gave her the confidence to blackmail her professor! Joe’s so happy, he almost forgets he has a body to bury. The kiss is so cute that we might forget that, too.
Some extra weirdness that the show mentioned this episode: At Peach’s party, Joe runs into an old friend of his ex-girlfriend, Candace. Apparently, Candace ran off to Rome with some guy, without telling any of her friends where she went. They were “hurt,” the friend admits to Joe. All signs point to Joe having killed his ex, which, honestly, we could have guessed from the beginning. Stay alert, Beck.
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