You, Too: Penn Badgley Returns For Second Season as Hopeless Romantic Serial Killer

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You Season 2

Things just can't go smoothly for poor Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley), the earnest young man who just wants to fall in love with the right person -- someone he can protect from all the evil influences that would do them harm, even if it means killing them.

Coming off his last fatally-flawed relationship, Joe flees to Los Angeles, putting a continent between himself and a ghost from his past -- ex-girlfriend Candace (Ambyr Childers) whom he believed dead. All Joe wants to do now is keep his head down and stay out of any relationships. Using a stolen identity of a drug addict (Gotham's Robin Lord Taylor) he keeps locked away in a storage unit, Joe's internal dialogue stresses his disdain for the new age California lifestyle of so many he encounters working at the bakery / book store. And it's there where he finds Love -- literally. Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti) and her twin brother, Forty (James Scully) -- yes, the scions of a pair of tennis-loving parents -- own and operate Anavrin, although Joe doesn't realize that Love is more than a co-worker initially. He tries to distance himself from her, but her attraction to him eventually wears him down to the point he gives in.

Things are going fairly smoothly for Joe -- you know, other than the guy he has locked away -- until he discovers that a celebrity comedian named Henderson (Chris D'Elia) is preying on his fifteen-year-old neighbor, Ellie (Jenna Ortega). Ellie's sister, Delilah (Carmela Zumbado) is Joe's building manager, and has her own regrettable history with the man. Seeking proof of the offense and confronting Henderson, Joe accidentally kills him, and stages it to look like a suicide.

Things begin to spiral out of conrol from that point onward, as Joe spins lie after lie to keep his head above water while maintaining a special relationship with both of the very co-dependent twins -- who have a sordid event in their own past that bonds them.

The thing that separates Joe Goldberg from other killers in fiction is that Joe honestly seems like he doesn't want to do the killing. Moreover, he's not that good at it, with things happening more by accident and bad luck than by intent. And when Candace trails him to Los Angeles, hooking up with Forty on pretense, Joe's desperation reaches a fever pitch, culminating in a plan to flee the country that goes off the rails when Forty doses his drink with LSD, leading up to the season conclusion where you find out that maybe -- just maybe -- Joe is the most normal person in the entire show.

The second season doesn't have quite the obsessive tension as did the first, and Forty's persistent manic episodes get as tiresome for the viewer as they do for the characters who try to support him. However, the season is still one worth binging, albeit in bits and pieces.

Grade: 
3.5 / 5.0