After a season of stalking, gaslighting, and generally obsessing over his "true love" Beck (Elizabeth Lail), millennial psycho Joe (Penn Badgley) did to Beck what he already did to her soda auteur ex-boyfriend. Joe locked Beck in his bookshop's cage, intending to give her a fighting chance for survival. Then, Beck attempted a near-successful escape, insisting she could never, ever love a deranged man like Joe in the process.
In a cruel twist of fate/toxic masculinity, Beck taking her power back was the very thing that set Joe off. In the last moments of the season finale, a not-at-all sorry Joe explains that Beck is "gone." The MFA student's book was released posthumously, and became a best-seller due to the morbid fact that its author was "murdered by her therapist." The sleazy-but-not-murdery Dr. Nicky (John Stamos) is arrested for Joe's crime, and the man who once compared himself to Billy Crystal's Harry is free to stalk the next woman that walks into his bookstore.
It's a chilling ending, as the villain has triumphed. But some people aren't so sure that the finale is as it seems.
Just as it was revealed that Joe's ex-girlfriend Candace (Ambyr Childers) wasn't dead — despite Joe seemingly believing he murdered her — some people on Twitter think the show will pull another plot twist, and have Beck pop up in the flesh. After all, we didn't see a body, or Joe actually kill her... right?
WAS THAT REALLY HER BODY !!!— Lilibeth 🌻 (@Dixxieee_) January 13, 2019
WHAT IF SHES STILL TRAPPED IN THE BOX AND HE JUST MADE IT SEEM LIKES SHES DEAD !!! BECAUSE IF CANDACE IS STILL FUCKING ALIVE WHY NOT MF BECK !!!!
Exactly what i was thinking.— Isabella Stephens (@Beautykillerbel) January 11, 2019
But like, i really don’t think beck is dead? Because yeah we saw a wrapped up body. Buuuuut could it be beck? I have no idea. And Candace? Shit caught me off guard at the end and now I’m here at home not knowing what to do until season 2. 🙃😩
Remember at the end he says to beck “I don’t kill people I love. You’re not listening” I truly don’t think he ever really killed Candace. I think that was his first love. OR he thought he killed her but she was never fully dead lol— maddy (@maddybalik) January 11, 2019
It's true that Beck's dead body does not appear on screen, but there are a few holes in this theory. For one thing, the world does know that Beck is dead. She's not simply missing, a la Benji (Lou Taylor Pucci). She even inadvertently provided Joe with the perfect way to get away with murder: By setting Dr. Nicky up via her Bluebeard letter.
Why didn't we see a body? It might be because translating her murder to the screen would have been, well, a little much. In Caroline Kepnes' original novel, Beck is killed by Joe, but the scene is far more graphic in its depiction of her death by choking.
Given that it all ends the same, did we really need to witness a man kill his partner? You has a lot to say about the insidious ways men exert control over women, but it may have been considered gratuitous to show the actual moment.
If you are still convinced that Beck is hiding somewhere in Nantucket, Elizabeth Lail revealed to Vulture in an interview that she knew Beck would die before she auditioned.
"I thought it was gonna be some heroic justice at the end, but it’s more true to life that she does die, unfortunately. It’s more likely that someone would die in that situation," the actress told the outlet.
Had Joe let Beck live, fans may have second guessed exactly what You wanted to say about his particular brand of toxic masculinity. Joe is not a romantic comedy hero, or a rom-com protagonist, or even a troubled but ultimately "good" guy. He's the villain, and because the people around him failed to recognize that, Beck is dead.