Bloody hell this series is so damn twisted!
After an hour that focused on Beck who has become a human chew toy, YOU Season 1 Episode 5 was all about the two sickos who are playing tug-o-war for Beck's affection.
It was quite a ride.
This hour should've been called "The Misadventures of Joseph and Peaches." The two most manipulative players of the series, who are often playing chess while everyone is playing checkers, were trying to outdo one another left and right.
Through manipulation, vindictiveness, and murder attempts, their behavior was disturbing and repulsive; it was also the type of entertainment where you couldn't peel your eyes away even if you wanted.
The rivalry between Joseph and Peaches had been building for a long while. The opening where Joe's internal monologue went on and on about the routine into which he and Beck fell, suggests that the pair has been dating for quite some time now.
Peach: Hard not to stare, huh? Rodger keeps it tight. I guess the book business isn't always so pale and flaccid.
Joe: Did Beck tell you I started jogging?
Peach: Fun. Runner's high is better than sex and for some they last longer.
Joe Voiceover: Touche bitch.
Joe: Honestly I'm starting to think people who run just hate themselves.
Peach: No. It's all about the music, Joseph. Find the right song and the whole thing becomes effortless like Rodger and Beck. Can I be honest? She's lucky she has me. Beck rarely knows what's best for her.
The tension between Joseph and Peaches was at an all-time high. It was palpable, and one or both of them escalating was all but inevitable. We knew that he would attack her while she was jogging, but the way we got there was so unexpected.
Joe has a remarkable ability to be exceptionally observant and discerning with others while lacking the most basic sense of self-awareness. I lost count of the many times he either jokingly or accusatorially referred to someone as something that he is himself.
He did it the most with Peach when calling her an obsessed, perverse stalker. You know, Joe, the guy who not only did the same but used Peach's perverted Beck stash to jerk off like he was pissing on her territory out of spite said that. Ha!
It's those tongue-in-cheek moments that make YOU so humorous even when what's taking place is unquestionably disturbing as all hell.
It's funny that Joe gave Paco The Count of Monte Cristo to teach the kid about patience when exacting justice, and he spent a great deal of time lauding himself for his patience putting up with Joe's friends who, in his mind, are the antithesis of feminism (because he's such a feminist, you guys).
He was all about patience, yet he did not execute a plan to deal with Peach. He didn't bide his time and exercise a modicum of patience because Joe runs hot. He runs on impulse, and when something sets him off, he stews in it for a brief moment and then reacts.
He didn't think anything through beyond jogging after Peach. The frenetic delivery of his thoughts was brilliant.
What's so strange about Joe is that he shows glimmers of decency. He's a pretentious, arrogant asshole, but he did treat Annika better than Peach did.
He called out why Annika was Team Joe, and he loathed the girl for being a social media influencer and everything else she had going on, and he manipulated and used the hell out of her, but he was kind to her.
He knew Peach always took potshots at Annika's weight because the girl was curvier than her other friends, and he did little things to make Annika feel better. He knew that Annika hid her hurt and insecurity behind humor and fake confidence. When he allowed Annika to promote Mooney's, it seemed genuine.
You're teaching me to be more patient, and God knows I need the help when it comes to your friends. For some reason, we share our nights with your friends and appointment viewing like The Bachelor. How can self-respecting women tolerate this crap? Sometimes I swear I'm the only real feminist you know.Joe
Joe has an odd way of empathizing with or doing little things to help who he feels is "the little guy" even when he doesn't particularly care for the person. In that way, he's similar to Peach.
Where they differ is no matter how scathing Joe's inner dialogue about a person is, he still treats them well on the outside. He knows how to treat people with respect. He won over Annika without even trying because he didn't treat her like he found her irritating.
Of course, he also used Annika and didn't think twice about the effects his manipulative would have on her because he still found her vapid and her interests and status as an influencer frivolous. He knew the blowback after she posted that picture of Peach pre-nose job would be disastrous.
Peach was going to get back at Annika, and it was epic. Annika became a pawn in the game between Joseph and Peaches. Annika was something else, but I felt for her. It's crazy that you could be in a toxic friendship circle where a "friend" could ruin everything you built with the click of a button.
Peaches used the thing Annika loved most (social media) to destroy her. God, that's messed up. It also speaks to the social media age wherein folks are frothing at the mouth just waiting to get offended.
Annika's entire body positivity reputation crumbled before her eyes because Peach anonymously released video of a drunken Annika observing that in her experience black men have been more inclined to appreciate her curves than white men.
It hardly seems like a controversial statement to make, but unfortunately, these days, anything racial is immediately categorized as racist. Annika had to take the loss thanks to vindicative Peaches.
It's also thanks to a manipulative Joseph orchestrating the entire fallout. Joe used Annika as bait so he could feel validated in his animosity when Peach retaliated. The crazy thing about all of it is that Joe is right about Peach being the worst.
I know what it's like to be in love with you Beck. This is not what love looks like. This is not how love behaves. This is the work of a sick mind. Let's call it what it is perversion. Now I understand why Peach is setting you up for failure. She's not threatened by you. She's obsessed with you. She wants to watch you, have you, control you like she controls every other piece of her life. She wants you all to herself. Beck, you have a stalker.Joe Voiceover
It's the case of the pot calling the kettle black with their little game. It's the manipulative, disturbed, obsessed person recognizing the other manipulative, disturbed, obsessed person. In the battle between the two of them, there is no honorable person -- no side representative of "good."
But the lovely thing about this show is they give us enough about a person to shade them in, add layers, and make even those despicable characters sympathetic in a way. Think about it, the most loathsome characters on the series are the ones who are overtly caricatures. They are the ones who are boring.
In this series, being evil, disturbing, or psychotic aren't dealbreakers because those characters are the most interesting. It's the characters that are somewhat decent on the surface or normal -- they are the characters that are boring. Go figure.
There are parts of Peach that are sympathetic. You know what's odd? How Joe doesn't thoroughly stalk the people in Beck's life until something prompts him. You would think he would want to research each of Beck's friends in detail in the beginning.
It's a wonder Joe didn't doxx the hell out of Peaches early, especially when he picked up that she was suspicious of him. This hour we were given a crash course in all things Peach Salinger, and it was worth the wait.
Peach is neurotic as heck, and the effects of growing up in a too perfect upper-class household wreaked havoc on her. The way she meticulously keeps food diaries and notates everything drove home that she has serious control issues. The worst part is that she's in the closet when it comes to her attraction to other women.
On the one hand, I hate that reconciling her sexuality is at the center of Peach's neuroses and unhealthy behavior. Peach's issues are probably so much more than homophobia (internal or otherwise) and societal pressures and obligations as it relates to the homophobia, but it's still front and center.
On the other hand, the series emphasized multiple times that there was nothing wrong or abnormal about Peach's initial feelings for Beck, so that made up for it a bit.
Joe Voiceover: Stop me if you've heard this one before. A girl grows up in a strict old money family where any deviations from tradition are punished. Two choices: be like them, or be excommunicated. No love, no money. At some point, she makes a friend. That's you, Beck. She develops a harmless crush, and it's 2018, who gives a shit if she's gay, or bi, or pan, or just a mortal in the presence of your dangerous and exceptional pheromones? I'll tell you who, her family. So she takes her normal, healthy feelings and crushes them -- nurses them in a dark secret place for years until they mutate into an obsession -- a sickness. And now your best friend is a stalker and a sociopath, and oh God, a liar. Runner's high is a myth. Why the hell did I take up running again? I'm in hell, Beck, even if I can show the proof you wouldn't believe me, and now you're not even talking to me. Which means you're in trouble.
Peach's obsession with Beck is dissimilar to Joe's, and dare I say it, makes hers creepier and more toxic. In fact, the more we learned about Peach, the more toxic her relationship with Beck became.
Her passcode to her laptop was her nickname for Beck. She has an entire file on Beck filled with pictures of Beck including those where Beck is asleep or nude. She does want Beck, but she wants to own her and control her, and she does whatever she needs to do to guarantee Beck is part of her life.
Peach's obsession has gone on for years seemingly undetected, which is terrifying. It should go without saying that Joseph and Peaches are dangerous and out of bounds, but Peach's obsession is scarier and more toxic in a lot of ways.
Joe wants Beck, and his real danger comes in the form of what he does to other people in the name of Beck. But Joe manipulates situations to gain favor with Beck.
Peach manipulates Beck. She finds ways to get in her head and exploits Beck's feelings disregarding what it does to the woman she claims she loves.
The scariest example was when Beck saw through Peach's stunt with the literary agent. Peach had those connections all that time, but when Beck earned an opportunity for herself, that was when Peach provided aid.
She wants Beck dependent on her. She wants to keep Beck with her money, clout, and connections. Peach doesn't believe in Beck, and if she cared about her, she wouldn't have interfered with Beck working towards her authority.
She also sees Joe as a threat, and she's right about him. He is, but the crazy thing about it is she doesn't have enough to go on to justify her feelings.
The universe has a funny way of keeping us humble. That beating was karmic. I know it. I did a bad thing today but for a good reason, and if there is any justice in the world, you are the reward for all of my suffering.Joe Voiceover
We know Joe took the book, but Peach didn't have enough information to prove it. Joe took her laptop, but Peach didn't have enough for that either. Peach barging into his apartment and rummaging through his things was out of line for someone who is oblivious.
It was even worse that Beck allowed Peach to enter his space and ransack his home without doing or saying anything. Beck stood by as Peach violated someone's space and destroyed one of her friends.
Beck also assumed Joe was lying about Peach when she knew all that time that Peach didn't support her writing and Joe did since they started dating. None of this painted Beck in the best light.
It had one wondering where her backbone is when it comes to Peach, but then Beck asserted herself, and Peach pulled that suicidal stunt. Therein lies what makes Peach scarier than Joe.
Beck: This isn't the first time Peach has tried to kill herself.
Joe: You're kidding.
Beck: I have talked her off of a ledge more times than I can count, so when she needs me she really needs me.
Joe: I understand.
Joe Voiceover: I understand that I'm too late. There's too much history. I understand that without a shadow of a doubt. Peach wins.
That level of emotional manipulation is vicious and unforgivable, but Peach chose to utilize that with the knowledge of Beck's history with her father, and that is unconscionable.
Joe can't compete with years of Peach manipulating Beck like that, but he shouldn't want to compete with that. At that moment, realizing that Peach faked her suicide attempt and it worked on Beck, you could almost understand why Joe wanted to sever the ties between Beck and Peach in some way.
Peach has spent their entire friendship feigning suicide tendencies or attempts to keep Beck in her life. That traps Beck in a toxic relationship where she can't ever consider herself or her needs because she's probably under a constant fear that she can't set off Peach without driving the woman to another attempt. That's not healthy at all.
Peach is right about Joe, but damn if he isn't right about her too. Petition for Beck to get the hell out of NYC and leave all these toxic ass people behind her.
Joe was so focused on his new relationship with Beck and plotting against Peach that he was not paying attention to how dire Paco's situation nor his desperation.
Paco already made a move on Ron and flipped out when Ron regained consciousness and proceeded to beat Joe bloody. Paco is a ticking time bomb, and I'm afraid he's going to do something rash because Joe didn't dissuade him from making a move on Ron.
It was interesting learning more about Joe's background. Now that we know more about it, his kinship with Paco makes sense. He had a similar experience growing up.
I hear what goes on when Ron gets drunk. I get it. You want options, legally defensible options. Maybe you're trying to figure out what will happen if you take a swing at Ron? Put yourself between him and your mom? Well screw the book, I can tell you what happens. Best case, you hurt him. Worse case he hurts you back. Someone at school will see what he did to you and next thing you know CPS is at your door. You have 30 minutes to pack a bag. Your mom loses custody. You get punted from group home to group home to group home until your 18, or you get fed up and see if you can hack it on the streets. Maybe you can do that. I couldn't.Joe
Joe took that beating because he's used to them, but he also felt it was karma for what he did to Peach. It was brutal, and watching Ron wail on the guy was difficult.
He can't hide the fact that he had his ass handed to him, so now one can't help but wonder if that'll make Joe the primary suspect in Peach's attack.
He didn't kill Peach after all. Joe's tense relationship with her and attacking her in broad daylight with potential witnesses might work against him. Now if Peach claims she fought her attacker and Joe shows up battered and bruised, he stands out big time.
Either way, the wonderful world of YOU just got interesting. What do you guys think? Hit the comments, and don't forget you can watch YOU online here via TV Fanatic!
Jasmine Blu is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.