Last time on You, Joe (Penn Badgley) and Beck (Elizabeth Lail), both liars in their own unique ways, were getting closer than ever. This week, someone will come between them — but don't worry. Joe has plans.
"Living With the Enemy" asks a big question: What is a stalker, anyway? Joe fits neatly into the category, sure, but as we learn over the course of the episode, someone has stalked Beck for far longer than Joe has.
That person is Peach (Shay Mitchell), whose obsession with Beck might not be dangerous for other people, the way Joe’s is, but certainly has repercussions for Beck. Essentially, Peach wants Beck to always need her — and Beck achieving success on her own means that, one day, Beck may not.
When Beck tells Peach that she was offered an opportunity to connect with a literary agent, Peach (a Salinger, if you recall) claims she had intentions of setting Beck up with a very fancy agent friend — someone who could make her career more than whatever promoted assistant her MFA professor is touting.
Peach decides to throw a party for Beck at Joe’s bookshop, where Peach arranges an introduction between Beck and Fancy Agent Richard. They hit it off, but Joe’s suspicious — and, as it turns out, rightfully so. After a nice meeting with Beck, Richard asks Peach if Beck truly is the writer she proclaims to be. Peach offers a lukewarm “she has a lot to learn,” and Joe overhears. Peach isn’t trying to give Beck’s career a boost, she’s hoping to hinder it. At least, until it befits Peach for Beck to find writerly success.
You somehow makes us root for Joe in this episode. Is Peach truly the greater of two evils? Well, unless she offed one of her exes (she name drops James Franco, anyone check on him lately?) probably not. Still, Joe doesn’t even need to hack her laptop and find a huge file of Beck pics to realize that Peach is a very toxic person. Clearly, she’s secretly in love, or at least infatuated, with Beck — and anyone who Beck gets close to becomes Peach’s enemy number one. It’s why she’s so keen on making Joe a bad guy, and why she’s so quick to push her theory that Joe stole her laptop or rare book from her shelf.
To be fair, Joe did do these things. But I’m not so sure that Peach would be convinced of it unless she was also obsessed with Beck. The truth is, Joe and Peach have a lot in common in that they are willing to do whatever it takes to keep Beck close. For Joe, it’s… well, kill every threat in his path. For Peach, it’s fake (yet another) suicide attempt. Yep, Peach downs not-quite-enough sleeping pills to get Beck to forgive her following a nasty fight over the book agent’s lack of interest in anything but getting in Beck’s pants.
Note: Can we add Richard The Book Agent to You’s ever-growing list of bad men? New York is full of them.
If you weren’t inside Joe’s head, like we are, you might think that Joe is actually a very understanding and considerate boyfriend. He doesn’t make a fuss about Beck ditching his meticulously-planned Fitzgerald date night in order to talk Annika (Kathryn Gallagher) off the ledge (after Peach retaliated against an unflattering #TBT by posting Annika’s racist rant on Instagram) and dutifully goes over to Peach’s apartment with Beck to “save” Peach from not-so-certain death.
Of course, Joe’s also pretty eager to get Peach out of Beck’s life, and he knows that Peach will always one-up him in the trickery department. If only these two weren’t so obsessed with the same woman — they could swap manipulation methods. So, Joe keeps things simple, and jogs behind Peach in Central Park. One whack over the head, and Peach is a bloody mess on the ground.
The fact that Beck calls Joe later to tell him Peach is in the emergency room and not a body bag is a sheer miracle. Joe isn’t thrilled, though I’m pretty sure Peach did not see his face. Will Peach point the finger at Joe anyway? Probably… though she is pretty vulnerable in a hospital. Maybe Joe will solve his Peach problem, after all.
One other problem that Joe is facing: Paco (Luca Padovan) his young next door neighbor, is no longer okay with just taking his stepfather’s Ron's (Daniel Cosgrove) abuse. He wants revenge, right now, and even Joe insisting to Paco that life in a group home isn’t worth it doesn’t stop Paco from dosing his stepfather with sleeping pills.
Fortunately, Joe is able to wake the stepdad up in order to save Paco from a bad few years in juvenile detention… which only leads to the stepdad beating the crap out of Joe. No good deed goes unpunished, I guess — though I think even Joe would agree that nearly killing Peach probably cancels this good deed out.
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