When you put a thriller on Netflix about a creepy but likable serial killer played by Penn Badgley that is based on a book, 90% of people will not or have not read that book. And an even bigger amount of people will not read the lesser known and not-as-hyped sequel to that book.
Aaaaand then there’s me.
I just finished You S2 and, as a reader of the books, I have MANY questions. And many opinions! Let’s get into them.
But first, make sure you’ve actually finished the season, because there are many spoilers ahead.
Also, if you need a recap, you can find my S1 Adaptation review here.
Okay. So, S2 picks up right where we left off at the end of the S1 cliffhanger: Candace walks into the bookstore. Surprise! She’s not dead. Book-Candace’s dead body was thrown out to sea with rocks in her pockets. Apparently, show-Candace was just hit on the head with a rock and then buried alive. So, yeah, she’s back. And she’s why Joe runs away to LA.
Now, in the book Hidden Bodies, which I enjoyed more than the average reader, Joe does not find Candace. Instead, a girl named Amy walks into the bookstore, and Joe falls for her in the wake of Beck’s death. And Amy cons the fuck out of Joe. So he moves to LA not only for a fresh start, but also to find Amy and kill her. Duh.
But regardless, the main plot remains, as Joe winds up in LA one way or another. And he meets Love. And he falls in love with Love. And…well, that’s actually where the similarities end. You S2 really doesn’t take a lot from Hidden Bodies. Characters, sure. Some plot points, though twisted and changed, okay. But it really is it’s own story.
Hidden Bodies follows Joe as he slowly realizes his love for Love is way more important than his vengeance for Amy. He goes through all these ridiculous obstacles with Love and Forty and his neighbors, winds up killing a few people, has the chance to kill Amy but doesn’t, tries to kill Forty but fails, confesses everything to Love who is totally OK with it because she is pregnant and loves him, and in the end at a Taco Bell, he is arrested. But the Quinns are so wealthy and powerful that he’s confident he’ll be OK.
If you’ve watched S2 of You, you know that’s…similar, but not really what happens. You S2 is more about Joe falling it love with Love while also trying to rid himself of Candace. Joe does go through a lot of weird moments with Love and Forty, and he does kill a couple people, but he finds out Love is also a killer. Which freaks him out. And Candace is killed by Love. And Forty tries to kill Joe. Everything is a little…backwards. Similar, but different.
I liked You S2 just as much as I liked reading Hidden Bodies, just for different reasons. Hidden Bodies is this wild, crazy continuation of the adventures of Joe, the Nice Guy Serial Killer. I love his voice, I love his journey, and I love that I love him despite the fact that he’s a murderer. I liked You S2 because the characters feel more real, there’s more dimension to them, and it’s got the same ridiculous feel to the book but still manages to take it in a new and interesting direction that’s just as enjoyable. I liked that I could still be surprised (in a good way) after having already read the book.
If you recall my review of S1, my biggest complaint was the huge change in Joe’s character. He is more human in the show. He’s more likable (in a much more obvious way as opposed to in the book). Like in S1, S2 introduces a child (though this time an adolescent) to perpetuate that good-guy ‘I’m trying to help’ aspect of Joe. We also get a ton of flashbacks of Joe’s past, which again piles on the sympathy for his character. Gives him ‘a reason’ for being the way he is. Like when a bully gets an origin story and you’re like “aww poor guy” but also that doesn’t give him an excuse. Anyway, I hated all of that in S1, but this time around, I didn’t mind it. It makes sense for the show. It also makes me feel better about rooting for the guy. Which is the intent.
One unique thing about this season: It scared me to see how much I hated Candace. Candace is a victim. Sure, she’s kind of a bitch and is rude to Joe, but then he knocks her out, ties her up, and then (air quotes) accidentally “kills” her and buries her. And then she comes back and Joe is so annoyed with her and I am annoyed by her. Isn’t that crazy? We see this show predominately from Joe’s perspective, so we see and feel through him. It’s scary how a guy can twist things to make us hate the victim. It was the same way in S1 with Peach. I hate-hate-hated Peach, but…did that mean she deserved to die? No, obviously not. And yet I didn’t even care. Because it benefited Joe.
As for the actors: love, love, loved them. So much. This show is perfectly cast.
Penn is amazing, as always.
And Candace we got a glimpse of last season, but this season she plays a huge role. Ambyr Childers is great as the vindictive ex-girlfriend, even though I dislike her character the whole time (and yes I’m sorry I hate myself for it).
Victoria Pedretti is Love Quinn, and I think I love her as much as Joe does. She was my favorite in The Haunting of Hill House S1. I’m glad she stays alive in this show so that she has so much screen time. Beautiful, and such a talented actor.
James Scully is Forty Quinn, who does an amazing job and is so much better than the way I pictured Forty in the book. I really liked this portrayal of Forty and we can just forget about the book version please.
If you’ve read the books, I recommend watching You because the show has a different feel to it and it will still shock you, in a good way at that. If you haven’t read the books, you’re missing out, but you don’t need to have read them to enjoy the show. This series is so well done. I love it. I can’t get enough of it.
But that ending.
WHO IS THE MYSTERY NEIGHBOR????
Hidden Bodies ends, like I said, with Joe in jail. But You S2 ends with Joe and Love moving in together, waiting for Joe’s baby to be born. And then Joe starts monologuing about his neighbor:
“There you were with your books and your sunshine. So close but worlds away. I will figure out a way, a way to get to you. See you soon, neighbor.”
I don’t get a “you’re a stranger and I’m in love with you” vibe. I get the idea that Joe knows this person, purposefully moved in next to them, and needs to deal with them. I’ve thought of a few possibilities, but the one that makes the most sense is that it’s Joe’s mom. She is the focal point of his flashbacks. And when Love asks him earlier in the season what happened to his mom, he doesn’t really give her an answer. He just says she’s not around anymore. That leads me to believe it’s his mom. But we’ll see.
I’m glad You is continuing, but it’ll be weird not having a book to base it on! They could always take some unused chunks from Hidden Bodies, but like I said, we’ll see. I’m already eager to devour S3.