And so it ends.
YOU's wildly addictive and thrilling first season came to a close with YOU Season 1 Episode 10, and now the long wait for the second season begins.
Was it everything you hoped for and more? It was an exhilarating finale that gave us more Mooney and Joe background, dual voice-overs, Beck's satisfactory last stand and more.
The way YOU handles the deaths of female characters is commendable. There is a long, disturbing history of the deaths of women being used to shape and develop the male's storyline. In addition to that, women's deaths have been so violent, brutal, and obscene they serve as violence porn that desensitizes the masses.
There was a wave of that not too long ago with multiple series across the entertainment spectrum killing off women in such violent, brutal, disgusting ways there were op-eds and trending hashtags about it.
Given YOU's premise, it fit the bill of capitalizing on the never-ending trend of violating women that is disturbing and redundant but also realistic enough to still be relevant no matter how much we wish otherwise.
When Joe killed Peach, it was easy to assume it was a stylistic choice made for the extra suspense. Did he kill her? Because the cardinal rule of television deaths is " no corpse, no death."
A single gunshot heard in the distance gave us an idea as to what happened, and a flash forward to the others post-funeral was the confirmation that she was dead.
I realized upon Beck's death that it wasn't just a tactic used for suspense. It was a deliberate choice to not pander to the gratuitous violence and brutality for shock value that plagues most.
We spent an entire season watching Joe violate Beck, so we didn't need to see the brutal way he killed her. I don't know what it says about our current state of reality where it caught me off guard that we didn't see the act itself or the direct aftermath of it.
And thus, the season ends as self-aware and reflective as it started. Did I mention how much I've enjoyed this twisted little series? Because I do.
Beck, God bless her, remained an oxy-moronic mess until the very end. However, she showed those preservation skills that we hoped to see, and she made a valiant effort to free herself from Joe's caged hell.
The daft-clever woman made some impressive moves with not so stellar execution (pardon the pun), but it's fitting that in her last days on Earth she was likable again.
Lail was at her best yet as Beck pled with Joe to release her, put those manipulative skills to use to orchestrate her release from the cage, spat out a litany of acerbic and snarky comments that had me stifling a laugh or two, and lashed out at Joe going off on him.
Beck: You, you are him. You are the bad thing. You are the thing that you should have killed.
Joe: You let me out. We can just talk.
Beck: You know what I think? I think that this was all just an excuse. An excuse to justify creeping into girls' lives and violating the shit out of them! I think you love it, the power, you love it!
Joe: No, no I don't.
Beck: I think that this is the perfect excuse to take out people like Benji and Peach who always looked down on you and your whole miserable life, but God, you are not special. You're broken. I could never love you! Rot in there you psychotic asshole! You're going to spend the rest of your life in jail!
Beck's short-lived triumphant moment of telling Joe who and what he is was beyond satisfying.
Joe was long overdue to hear about himself. He deluded himself into believing he's not a despicable person. He convinced himself that all of his actions were justifiable and in the name of love.
There were a couple of quotes that came to mind during that scene. They summed up Joe this season, especially this episode. Both are from a poet by the name of Rudy Francisco; one from a poem aptly titled "Monster."
The first is: "Let's vow to never become the monsters we are trying to protect ourselves from or the closets in which they hide." The other quote is: "There are still millions of monsters walking this earth pretending to be men."
Joe spent so much time convincing himself that he wasn't like the Benjis, or Peaches, or Professor Leahys of the world. He convinced himself that he wasn't like his father or Mooney. He was wanted to protect Beck from all of these monsters in the world, but he failed to realize that he was the monster.
He convinced himself that he was a better man than he is. He thought everything he did was somehow for Beck's benefit, but what was lost on him is that she never asked for any of it. She didn't ask for his protection or for him to purge her life of all the toxic people in it.
It didn't take an armchair psychologist to piece together what contributed to Joe being the way that he is. Beck didn't need all those sessions with Dr. Nicky to reach the conclusion she reached about Joe.
Joe: Oh God. I wish I knew what you were thinking. Tell me.
Beck VO: What's in the box?
Beck: Tell me. Tell me I'm crazy. Tell me you didn't kill Benji. Tell me you didn't kill Peach.
Every line she spat was an indictment. It was gratifying at the moment as the victim confronted her predator and called him out on "violating the shit" out of women.
Beck displayed that backbone that had been lacking most of the season. Beck working her magic was a fun scene. She is clever when she wants to be. She knew how to persuade him into releasing her after listening to Joe's past experience with Mooney and his attempts at convincing her he did everything for her.
Beck adapted after her first attempt fell through when her eyes lingered on the door too long. She convinced Joe that she loved him, assured him that she could wait it out until he was ready to release her, and gave him a solution to his problem.
In many ways, Beck was too clever for her good, but kudos to the show for making the stakes interesting. Beck was a goner, and there was no way she was making it out of the finale alive. But damn if I didn't appreciate her fight until the end. The story she fed Joe was the smartest and dumbest thing ever.
As much as I want to hate Joe for taking credit for making Beck the brilliant writer that she is (seriously, I was tempted to yell "Eff you, Joe! At the screen), he made a point.
Joe served as Beck's inspiration. She struggled with her writing before she met him, but he proved that if he put her in a specific position or mindset, the words flowed like honey, and they were compelling.
Didn't you ask for it? So say you can live like this. Say you thank you. Say anything but the truth. What if you can't love him back.Beck VO
Beck's voiceover (which elicited mixed feelings with their placement in the hour), while she typed about Joe, was poetic, and she did sound like a writer with a grasp of prose. Beck's heightened emotions produced an unfortunate but realistic thought process of a violated and traumatized woman who blames herself.
Beck's flashbacks to her childhood were illuminating. Now we know why she befriended the type of girls who ostracized her in her youth. It paralleled Joe as well. She was not a decent person, and her past also affected her and screwed her up, but she did not resort to murder.
However, Beck asking 'didn't you ask for this" over and over in her head as she considered that maybe she invited this type of chaos into her life was poignant. Beck was loathsome, but no one deserves a psycho stalker.
The contrast between those frantic thoughts and her empowering final monologue was well done.
But Beck was naive to believe Paco would save her from Joe. She thwarted saving herself because she did what Joe taught himself not to do and refused to do for most of the hour: panic.
At best, Paco would be too fearful to do anything but run away. Classic flight. At worse, Paco's loyalty to Joe had him minding his business.
It was far too bold of Beck to abandon her tactic of dangling love in Joe's face in favor of wishing ill and damning him when she wasn't sure about her escape route. She wasted precious minutes letting him have it, and by the end, it cost her.
It was also foolish of her to outline the framing for her inevitable murder on Dr. Nicky so soon. She practically wrapped Joe's "get out of jail free" card in a bow and presented it to him as a parting gift.
Beck can come up with some great stories when she's properly motivated, and Nicky was the perfect patsy. Joe barely had to put the work in for that one. Even Beck's friends could stand by his side and back him.
It's hard to believe it impacted Joe being a person of interest. There are too many deaths and disappearances around Joe to be a coincidence. It takes nothing to connect the dots.
Ross: Found an item. We're testing it for DNA now.
Joe: Wow. That would be crazy.
Joe VO: I forgot the goddamn jar.
Joe: Well if it's true, I hope you find the guy.
Joe VO: I should've pissed myself.
Joe: Let me know if there is anything I can do.
Ross: Thanks, Joe. You mind calling if you think of anything else?
Joe VO: And does urine even have DNA?
Joe: Will do.
Say what you will about the Salingers, but they are asking questions. Do Benji's father, friends, and business partner still believe he went off the grid forever?
Ross alluded to finding Joe's urine at the Salinger house. He spoke to the cop who was checking up on the car, right? He spoke to Joe right by Mooney's car, so he would have figured out that Joe was there when Peach died.
Beck had been dodging Ross, so it made Beck and Joe appear suspicious, but now Beck is dead too. Ross doesn't buy the bullshit surrounding Beck's death, but shouldn't he have enough information to go on to keep Joe as a person of interest?
Everyone around Joe is dead or gone. At what point are a million red flags going up?
I cannot lie. I love the fact that Ross being hot on his tail did not deter him from putting an end to Ron. Ron's death was a long time coming, and while murder isn't the answer, his death was satisfactory.
It's odd that Joe never considered that Ron's connections as a C.O. kept Claudia from turning him over. Domestic violence is high among law enforcement officers and those in law enforcement in part because the abuser's victim is fearful that there is nowhere to turn.
Claudia was right in all of that, but it also never felt like Claudia made a real effort. She was so plagued by her other personal issues on top of that, that she deserved that confrontation with Joe. She took Joe for granted and barely knew him.
She wasn't even cautious with him after treating his bullet wound. She assumed after Ron put her in the hospital that Paco would go to Joe, and she never considered that he wouldn't or that he wouldn't try to retaliate? She never called or tried to check on him?
The storyline with Paco has had mixed reviews elsewhere, but it has been interesting seeing history repeating itself. Joe's relationship with Paco was meant to mirror his relationship with Mooney.
Paco humanized Joe and added those extra layers that make him seem like a good guy. It worked because Joe's love for Paco was real, but as we learned, so was Mooney's love for Joe and it was still harmful.
It was another example of how Joe's love is dangerous. This whole time, Joe was trying to look out for Paco and protect him, but he created a mini-version of himself and unleashed him on the world.
Mooney's words to young Joe were chilling. He recognized who and what Joe was because he was the same. He tried to groom him and teach him how to keep his inner monster buried beneath routine and order.
It makes you wonder. How do you handle a person who you know has a proclivity for darkness and violence? How do you raise a repressed or high-functioning psychopath?
Mooney: I know the demons that drive you. I have them too. It takes discipline to prevail. That's why I work you so hard. Why I demand perfection. Love for the books. Respect. I'm trying to teach you a code to love by so that you don't end up like your father.
Young Joe: And when I fail you lock me in.
Mooney: Exactly because I love you. I only hope that it will be enough.
Without meaning to, Joe imparted Mooney's wisdom on Paco, and it's terrifying to think that the cycle could continue. Paco could be on a path towards being like Joe.
The covering up of Ron's murder bonded them and put Paco on a path of no return, but what about Beck?
According to Ethan, Beck achieved posthumous fame, and she is on the news regularly. That means Paco saw her, and he learned of what supposedly happened to her.
Paco is smart, and he knows he's the last person to see Beck alive. She was pleading with him and calling Joe a murderer, at the time.
He probably thought she found out about Ron and had to be dealt with or risk being found out, but the kid had no issue being complicit in both murders and not saying anything. He was barely affected at all. He probably took Joe's words about bad people to heart the same way Joe did when Mooney said it.
Now he and Claudia are off to California for a fresh start. Based on the little tidbits I learned about from book fans, I expected Joe to follow them.
I anticipated Joe finding a new woman to redirect his obsession, so when the bell tinkled and Joe droned on with a similar monologue as the premiere, it wasn't a surprise. It was a jaw-dropping moment when the new girl that caught Joe's eye turned out to be Candace! She's not dead!
Candace: Hey, bunny.
Joe: Candace, you're alive!
Candace: Yeah, so, uh, I think we have some unfinished business to talk about.
Candace was confident, smug, and she looked and sounded like she was prepared to make Joe's life a living hell. That is a promising and exciting prospect. I don't know much about the book series, but it seems like the show is prepared to divert from the books for its sophomore season.
This is a wise decision, and it'll keep all fans on the edge of their seats. The show will be unpredictable, fresh, and crazier than ever with this Candace twist.
It also guarantees the show has more stories to tell and can last longer outside of what the book provides. This move is intriguing, and I cannot wait for next season.
Joe was far too sympathetic, and he was infinitely more entertaining than Beck. There was a fine line between showcasing the dangers of men who prey on women and how normalized it has become, and catering to the narrative.
YOU danced on that line a lot, but while Candace wasn't likable based on the little we know of her, she also is fiery and grittier than Beck. She may be the woman who gives him a run for his money.
If next season, they'll give us opportunities to root for someone other than the psycho-stalker killer, then YOU Season 2 will be even better!
OK, YOU Fanatics, I'm dying to hear from you all after this crazy season. How did you feel about the finale?! Are you shocked that Candace is alive?
What do you hope to see next season?! Hit the comments below!
If you're tempted to binge the series all over again over the holidays, you can watch YOU online here via TV Fanatic!
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.