The battle of the psychos in Netflix’s ‘You’: Love vs Joe
(Credit: John P. Fleenor / Netflix)

Editor's Choice

The battle of the psychos in Netflix’s 'You': Love vs Joe

“We’re all a little broken. Yet some pieces still manage to fit together.”– Love Quinn

Out of all the antagonists that Netflix has birthed, Joe Goldberg and Love Quinn from You are definitely the most deranged and terrifying of them all. A match made in heaven, these two bond over their mutual love for violence, blood, obsession, jealousy and self-centred ideals. Although the duo’s relationship in the third season was fragile and delicate due to the individual personal hell they were residing in respectively, they still proved to be a great team together.

However, fans seem to be kinder in their reactions towards Joe than Love. In fact, they often gush over him and romanticise him while they portray Love as a somewhat monstrous character. Although they are both equally despicable, we, at Best of Netflix, decided to play Devil’s advocate and defend Love Quinn against all Joe-loving fans

Portrayed by Penn Badgley, Joe Goldberg is easily the most vicious and petrifying character ever created by Netflix. Aside from his love for books, he has a penchant for confining women in a glass cage, manipulating and torturing them, collecting women’s underwear and disposing of bodies safely. The monstrosity he hides beneath his innocent boy-next-door facade makes him deadlier and horrifying. He follows the actions of the women he obsesses over and wants to possess them. His saviour complex makes the women in question appear fragile and in desperate need of his help and attention. 

Enter Love Quinn, who shatters Joe’s view on womankind. She is always a step ahead of Joe with much darker and more sinister thoughts. Love’s twisted psyche is rooted in her very childhood where parental neglect and ignorance causes her to be codependent with her twin Forty. Love’s murderous streak begins from her nascent teenage years when she kills their au pair Sofia to prevent the latter from sexually assaulting her already-drugged brother, Forty.

Although it was an act of self-defence, Love, desperate to cover her tracks, blamed her brother as it would have been “easier”. Love’s knack for murder emanates from jealousy and insecurity, something that was visible when she murdered Delilah and Candace, convincing Joe how broken she was. Even in the third season, she murdered the rich neighbour woman in the basement due to her proximity with Joe. Joe’s actual love interest, Marianne was spared because of her daughter Juliette.  

Love and Joe are equally terrible. Then why is it that Joe gets away with all his terrible deeds and heinous crimes while Love bears the brunt of all hatred? Victoria Pedretti, who plays Love Quinn, had an interesting theory wherein she explained that societal expectations of men are terribly low for one to romanticise Joe. While we cannot help but wholeheartedly agree with her, we think that there is another point that comes into play while considering the same. 

Usually, the characteristics attributed to femininity include care, nurture, love and kindness. Love Quinn’s aggressive and toxic behaviour borders on masculine and is seen as transgressive behaviour on the part of the female. By overpowering Joe both physically and psychologically, Quinn prevails as the more dominating figure in the relationship. Fans of the show were previously used to characters like Beck who became the victim in this twisted game of predator and prey. But when Goldberg himself gets preyed on, people sympathise with him, nullifying all the terrible things he has done. 

In the battle of the psychos, Goldberg and Quinn are equally hateful, vile and dangerous. However, from a feminist lens, Goldberg gets off much too easily while Love suffers for her actions in the third season. While we would love Goldberg to get a taste of his own medicine in the fourth season, most likely from Love Quinn’s resurrected ghost, we must agree that together, they make a harrowing dream team!