(Credit: Netflix)

Netflix's 'You' season 3 provides a confusing portrayal of a domesticated Joe Goldberg

'You'
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“I have to protect him at all costs from what happened to me.”– Joe Goldberg

After two riveting seasons of You, Netflix released the third season on Friday that left fans asking more questions, reeling under the extremely thought-provoking premise. While we finally got to see what unfolds in Joe and Love’s life as a married couple, new characters are introduced who add a new dimension to the series and help thicken the plot. From mysterious and flirtatious neighbours to posh, suburban moms trying to chase youth by staying relevant on social media, set in a time after the pandemic, the show’s third season is a rollercoaster ride. 

Let’s be honest, Joe Goldberg is still a panty-sniffing, delusional idiot! He moves to Madre Linda, an upper-class suburban neighbourhood, with his heavily pregnant girlfriend-turned-wife Love Quinn who gives birth to a baby boy, Henry, shattering Joe’s dreams of being a father to a baby girl. Joe’s traumatic childhood experiences have already affected his development and created a stunted, self-centred psychopathic character with a severe saviour complex who spends time staring at people for extended time periods while giving the audience members an insight into his extremely disturbing and eerie thoughts via the sardonic voiceovers. 

Joe is trying to be a changed man and a better man for the sake of Henry. However, his marriage with Love grows toxic as the delusional duo try to find a connection with each other despite bearing intense resentment against one another in their hearts. Joe is still collecting other women’s underwear and behaving like an absolute creep while living in fear of his monstrous spouse whose impulsive rage eventually leads to a terrifying situation.

Amidst all the bloody and gory premise of the series, the creators also introduce the bane of modern existence — social media influencers. While Joe and Love are busy battling their own demons, hiding bodies and digging up corpses, in walks the mom-fluencer of Madre Linde-Sherry and her fitness freak husband Cary. The two preach a healthy lifestyle by day and swing with other partners by night. Sherry is a mom to twins and wants to stay relatable and connect with her audiences via Instagram and TikTok and often annoys Love with her condescending comments and snarky gossips. 

Joe’s near-affair with the attractive, successful and now-dead neighbour is followed by Love’s infidelity with the latter’s stepson. Joe also finds a connection with the librarian Marienne and while they both struggle with their burgeoning thoughts of infidelity, they desperately want to be the perfect loving parents to Henry. The sex is passionate, the compliments and gestures genuine and sincere, yet the heart lies elsewhere. Love’s manipulative tendencies overpower rationality and she strikes the iron when hot. 

The season is filled with heavy themes and graphic scenes including abuse, assault, suicide and cheating. Flashbacks to Joe’s traumatic past leaves us confused as to whether one should utterly despise the monster or feel sympathetic towards him.

From being raised within an abusive household to being in denial regarding that abuse, from being placed in a correction home to being picked on and assaulted by the older kids, Joe finally realises mommy issues as the root cause of all his obsessions and problems. His saviour complex emanates from him trying to save his mother from being assaulted by his alcoholic father and the repeated patterns throughout his life where he feels a magnetic attraction to troubled and distressed women. The void in his heart and the boredom that lies at the root of their relationship is salvaged by violence and murder that act as therapeutic drugs and bring them closer than ever. 

The climactic scene is unexpected yet somewhat satisfactory. While it sets the premise of season four into motion, it leaves an amorphous haze of unanswered questions regarding Love’s fate and Joe’s redemption. Joe has escaped unscathed, without any consequences. Will season four be the same? One can only wait to find out and see what it has in store for Joe and Marienne’s future as well as whether Love will emerge yet again to seek vengeance. Will Henry seek out his father? Will Joe finally have to pay for his cruel actions?

While we keep debating the various possible outcomes, check out the announcement for season four:         

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