YOU Review: Darkly, Comical MindF*ckery, and I'm OK With That!

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Everything about YOU Season 2 gives you an adrenaline rush! 

Amidst all of the dark humor, and the grotesque subject matter, it's a gritty, incredibly smart series. Those behind it are capable, and they have managed to take the series to new heights expanding upon what makes YOU masterful in the first place. 

You think you know where something is headed, but they always throw you curveballs. It was the case with YOU Season 2 Episode 7 and YOU Season 2 Episode 8, which were the epitome of batshit insanity at its absolute finest and the best installments yet.

High AF  - YOU Season 2 Episode 8

YOU is underrated in its reception; the shift from Lifetime to Netflix rectified that a bit, but something tells me that it is one of the best-written series some people still aren't watching.

You would be hard-pressed to find other shows that perfectly balance the darkness with comedy, witty dialogue, and rich, compelling characters.

What in the actual ... fuck?

Delilah

But the character studies are what the show does well. One could write off the YOU characters as one-dimensional caricatures with ease.

In a sense, it's a deliberate decision to make those whom Joe surrounds himself with as seemingly one-note as possible.

We see the characters as he views them, so we're trapped in this judgmental headspace along with Joe, often not seeing the depth and layers to someone until he does.

Scaring Candace - Tall  - YOU Season 2 Episode 5

It makes playing certain characters challenging. The actors have the task of playing up their character as Joe views them and allowing that to shift as his perception does.

But every last actor during this season has risen to the challenge. The cast of this second season has been spectacular.

Penn Badgley is exceptional in this role, to the point of it going without saying, but the supporting cast has elevated his performance and the season.

Tough Love - Tall  - YOU Season 2 Episode 7

One of the standouts is Carmela Zumbado. She's been quietly excelling in every scene she's in, but Ex-istential Crisis gave her more breathing room to show us what she's capable of, and what she's capable of is magic.

We never get the full-extent of Delilah's story, but we never need it to understand her. She's as intelligent as she is gorgeous, and she's aware of how others judge her based on her appearance, so she uses it to her advantage.

Maybe I'm cynical, but I really don't think any of that stuff works for anyone who is truly broken. Serves us better to just keep barreling forward and hope the demons can't keep up, so you might as well be who you are. 

Delilah

She's a bit of a hustler, doing what she needs to do to make a buck and support her kid sister. She and Ellie fight often, but she would die for her. Hell, it seems she did.

She has great instincts. Life took a toll on her, and she didn't have a choice not to have them.

Delilah - Tall  - YOU Season 2 Episode 3

She's cynical but somehow manages to not treat everything in life as if it's bleak. Delilah was dogged in her pursuit to expose Hendy.

She's such a go-getter, relentless, and forward that her vulnerable moments were jolting. It's perfectly understandable how Joe came to care about her, befriended her, and even slept with her.

Delilah: It's weird how powerful vulnerability can feel. I don't think I would have had the guts if you hadn't angered me into it. Still not a thank you.
Joe: You know you can always count on me to say the wrong thing. If I told you I was proud would you want to hurt me?
Delilah: Probably.
Joe: OK. Well, I'm definitely not proud of you.

In an alternate universe, they would be the best of friends. But the hour highlighted how much Delilah sacrifices for her sister.

For all the moments where someone questions her judgment as a guardian, you cannot say she doesn't love the hell out of Ellie. Everything she did was for Ellie, and it spoke to how she conducted herself. 

She didn't engage in real relationships with men. She never wanted anything to come between her and Ellie.

Wise Beyond Her Years  - YOU Season 2 Episode 8

She didn't allow herself to have moments of happiness or to be a regular twenty-something woman. Circumstance catapulted her into parenthood, and she never got to be much of a kid herself.

Delilah is a classic example of someone who was existing and not living. She doesn't slow down enough for her demons or anyone else's to catch up to her, so, unfortunately, her downfall was slowing down for Joe.

Joe: I'm sorry our friendship had to end like this.
Delilah: You have a severely fucked concept of friendship.

She knew her instincts about him were right; she didn't take back what her first impression was. However, she was endeared by Joe caring about her and Ellie.

No one has taken care of her or her sister, but Joe found ways to, and she questioned it, but she liked it too.

Racy Hookup  - YOU Season 2 Episode 8

When she shared her news about her story getting published in Variety, it should've served as some foreshadowing -- the Beck of it all.

She was so proud of herself, and Joe's pride was genuine. Delilah had the story of a girl who was capable of more, but life had other plans.

Delilah: It's weird how powerful vulnerability can feel. I don't think I would have had the guts if you hadn't angered me into it. Still not a thank you.
Joe: You know you can always count on me to say the wrong thing. If I told you I was proud would you want to hurt me?
Delilah: Probably.
Joe: OK. Well, I'm definitely not proud of you.

It makes her death all the more tragic. She had potential and was on the path toward reaching it. Joe had a kinship with her. He did love her.

And like Candace said, Joe's love is dangerous.

Tough Love - Tall  - YOU Season 2 Episode 7

Even at she put on the tough front, she stayed and took care of Joe when he was sick from his cleanse. She spent the night getting drunk and having honest, real conversations.

They were mostly from her part, but Joe had to find ways to tell half-truths anytime he was with either of the Alves sisters because of how good they are at reading through bullshit.

Delilah will go free even if it means breaking my own heart.

Joe Voiceover

It was an hour of seeing the best of Delilah -- all the different sides to her. Falling in love with this amazing woman as her tough exterior slipped away.

New Neighbors  - YOU Season 2 Episode 3

It was strength in her vulnerability, and Delilah was such a survivor. But then she didn't make it.

Joe prompted her to tell her story. She was free of what happened to her and on a path toward moving on -- opening herself up to happiness and relationships that didn't involve quickies in alleyways with Joe or quicks trysts with David.

In the Cage  - YOU Season 2 Episode 8

Freeing herself from Hendy by telling her truth meant she was the spark to start a movement, and agreeing to go on a date with David meant she could open her heart up to love.

Delilah: What are you going to do? I will scream.
Joe: It's soundproof.
Delilah: Just think about Ellie. She will be alone!

And Delilah was many things, but she wanted that, too. She deserved it. But the twisted tragedy is she died before all the things at her fingertips came to realization.

She died before she could find love with David, or see her work published, or the effects her words had on all of Hendy's victims. She died before she could say goodbye to her sister -- the love of her life.

It was the perfect gut-punch after the hilarity of Fear and Loathing in Beverly Hills. You knew the only way her story would end was in her death, but it didn't stop you from hoping. It didn't stop the shock of her bloody body lying inside of the cage.

This Again  - YOU Season 2 Episode 8

And again, say what you will about how unscrupulous a series of this caliber may seem, but despite the subject matter, YOU didn't exploit the deaths of these women.

They didn't linger on their dead bodies in some warped sense of tragedy/violence porn. They didn't desecrate their bodies with exploitative camera shots and angles.

And it's effective. A simple flash of her lying in the cage winded me.

Joe, damaged finds damaged. Every time.

Delilah

It was upsetting that she ended up there in the first place. She was an investigative type, so it was inevitable. The moment David told her he recognized Joe from the night of Hendy's death, she couldn't leave it alone.

Incognito - Tall  - YOU Season 2 Episode 1

It was wrong of her to go searching through his apartment, but it was within character for her to do so. It seemed like Joe would get off scot-free again since he moved his trinket box, but she found his storage key and went looking instead.

Delilah is better than me. If my spidey senses were going off that Joe killed Hendy, I would've left well enough alone. She flashed to all the things she told Joe, how outraged he was by Hendy's actions, and how interested he was in her quest to take Hendy down.

Ellie: Hey, creep, do me a favor. Instead of Delilah, fuck anything else, cool? 
Joe: How, why do you know about that?
Ellie: Just be a normal person and rebound on Flingr instead of your literal neighbor.

She thought about how protective Joe was of Ellie. She could figure out his motivations for killing Hendy, and she knew she provided most of them.

Henderson - Tall - YOU Season 2 Episode 2

As fucked up as it sounds, Joe was always good to her and Ellie.

Without knowing anything else about Joe and his terrifying past, I probably wouldn't have looked any further or told anyone anything.

White Male Fragility. 

Ellie [scoffs]

I would've felt like he was doing some warped, toxically male protective thing, and I wouldn't have pushed the issue.

Oddly, I'm not sure Delilah would've pushed the issue. Joe put her in the cage until he could figure out a plan that didn't include murdering her, and I do think Delilah believed him when he said he wasn't going to kill her.

New Dungeon  - YOU Season 2 Episode 2

Joe was willing to orchestrate an elaborate plan with time-release handcuffs and leave the country before killing Delilah or causing Ellie any pain. Maybe Delilah recognized that; it's hard to say, and we'll probably never know.

Does it count that he tried to be a decent person?

The self-restraint he showed with Milo was impressive considering his past.

He just spent two years traversing Asia so he could sprinkle James' ashes all over the Himalayas. And now he's back traversing Love's vagina. Again. Because he does that periodically.

Forty

He didn't handle being dumped well, but Forty being in his corner helped him a bit.

Seeking Approval - tall  - YOU Season 2 Episode 5

He allowed many of them to talk him into online dating, and again, more hilarity ensued when he had to go on a series of first dates with oddballs.

His attempts at making Love jealous weren't the most effective, but her relationship with Milo was bound to self-implode.

Forty did make some points about Milo's intentions. They proved to be correct when Milo blew up on Forty and then on Love.

Ellie: Hey, creep, do me a favor. Instead of Delilah, fuck anything else, cool? 
Joe: How, why do you know about that?
Ellie: Just be a normal person and rebound on Flingr instead of your literal neighbor.

He probably did harbor feelings for her the whole time, and he was waiting for her to choose him after James died. He did come across a bit opportunistic, and there's something about him not noticing how little she was into him that grated.

Milo - YOU Season 2 Episode 8

Milo was trying to wear her down into a relationship, which is gross. However, he's not wrong for his feelings about Forty. It's a lot to expect anyone to accept the codependency between Forty and Love.

It's too much to expect anyone to go along with Forty's flamboyancy, meddling, and disastrous personality. Joe doesn't even put up with it the way Love thinks.

Forty: Hey as Shakespeare once said: Bitcheth was crazy.

Joe was right; Milo was Love's Karen.

Joe donned his stalker hat and was ready to get to business. He even went on a comical run following Milo that mirrored the same one he did with Peach. Joe is not in shape to be a successful stalker/killer.

Stalker Joe Caught - YOU Season 1 Episode 7

But Gabe thwarting him with a special brand of the radical honesty he claims Love lives her life in was an unexpected delight.

Charlie Barnett didn't have much of a presence during the series until this hour. I'm familiar with his work from his time spent on Chicago Fire, but he didn't get a chance to shine on this series until his healing session with Joe.

Gabe: So you believe your truth makes you unworthy of love?
Joe Voiceover: I need to stop talking now.
Joe: Yes.
Gabe: And therefore you're unworthy of love.
Joe: Yes

He truly did come across like a human lie-detector, and the way he managed to break Joe down was fascinating. It's the most real Joe allowed himself to be with another person, and he did all of this without exposing himself for his murderous ways.

It was an impressive feat for him, but it also gave us more insight into his background with his mother. She put together a plan to run away from his father, but it also included her running with some guy who showed zero interest in having a kid tag along with him.

Self-Love  - YOU Season 2 Episode 7

Joe has a long history of feeling unworthy of love. It started with his abusive father and negligent mother and spiraled from there.

But they keep alluding to this darkness that his mother seemed to possess as well. The hallucinations of her kept emphasizing "We" as if she also was someone who indulged in dark fare and murder.

You have been in the pursuit of someone to love and care for all of your life. What if you were that person? What if you're all that you need? 

Gabe

Gabe taught him the importance of self-love, and for someone like Joe, it's a double-edged sword. He does need to love himself, and that's probably one of the reasons he's ended up this way.

Baby Joe - YOU Season 2 Episode 7

Gabe read the hell out of him about this need to seek love elsewhere. However, giving someone like Joe a personal mantra (to replace the previous one of all of his murder victims) to the effect of "And I'm OK with That" is dangerous, too.

He spent all of this time deluding himself into thinking he's better than he is.

But damn if it wasn't amusing as heck every time he added an "And I'm OK with that" to all of his thoughts.

As long as we're together, we'll always be home.

Joe's Mom

I half expected him to say it as he finished killing Milo for stepping to Love with all that negative energy and spitting at Joe's feet like a jackass.

Milo - YOU Season 2 Episode 8

Damn this show, Joe got that murderous look in his eye. At that moment, if he killed Milo too, I would've been OK with that.

See the places this series takes you?

While we're at it, Forty could be added to the list at any point in time, and I also would be OK with that.

All this time I've been worried that my own sins would be my undoing only to be kidnapped because of Forty fucking Quinn. 

Joe Voiceover

It's to James Scully's credit that you can go from finding hapless Forty endearing or sympathetic to hating his guts at any given moment.

Bonding with Forty - Tall  - YOU Season 2 Episode 3

Like many of the other characters, Forty has a certain duality that keeps you radically swinging from one end to the other.

The rich, entitled, needy, drug-addled lothario is like an oversized puppy in constant need of supervision and care. After spending an entire season with him, you get sucked into his emotional torpedo.

White Male Fragility. 

Forty is exhaustive from his constant need for approval to his self-destructive ways. He's always chasing some happiness or validation.

The Quinn family supposedly thrives on radical honesty, which is absurd given everything we've learned about their cover-ups, but Forty is the one who can dish out truths but can't take them.

He's the living embodiment of the fragile male ego masquerading as bravado and bluster. Dear God, YOU; you guys nailed it.

Everyone has to tiptoe around his feelings at every turn, while he's free to be as callous and blunt as he pleases.

Forty: You gotta be careful, Sport because you're about to feel everything.
Joe Voiceover: All I feel is rage. I tried, Love, but your brother's a lost cause.

He's emotionally manipulative, and it has to be exhausting for anyone, especially Love feeling as though she's the only person who can keep him together.

Others were relieved when it seemed Amy/Candace could take on that burden, and Love could share it with Joe, but it further reiterates how she was expected to take care of this grown man who doesn't face repercussions for his actions.

Wellness Weekend - Tall - YOU Season 2 Episode 5

Her mother's attempt at making amends with Love was all for show. It was to appeal to Ray again.

Even in her moments where she acknowledged that they have to improve their relationship, Dottie made it known that she sees herself in Love, but she also expects her to be the strong one all of the time.

OK, Miss "sic the PI on my girlfriend for my protection," retract the claws lest you scratch yourself with hypocrisy.

Forty

They see Forty as weak. Hell, maybe he is, but no one allows him to grow up.

The series found a new way to tip into batshit crazy, delicious absurdity when Forty arranged for him and Joe to be kidnapped for the sake of completing his script.

It was like something ripped from the Hangover. Brilliant writing, and the person or people responsible for it deserve all the accolades.

Also, can we take a minute to appreciate Badgley's abilities as a comedic actor? His physicality, delivery, and cadence -- his comedic chops on this twisted ass series are so nuanced and underrated.

Joe thought he was paying for any number of his dozens of sins only to discover Forty was responsible. What do you even do with someone like Forty?

And now I've dragged this poor idiot into my bullshit.

Joe Voiceover

What the fuck?

The funny thing about Joe's experiences in LA is how he encounters people who are a different kind of nuts.

Welcome to LA - Tall - YOU Season 2 Episode 1

But it's funny how terribly and epically things escalate for Joe. It's always a case of matters getting out of his control and spiraling in ways he couldn't possibly foresee before resulting in the worst outcomes.

This crazy, entitled, sick son of a bitch. How has he lived this long? And so many accidents can happen in a hotel room. No, no!

Joe Voiceover

All he wanted was to get everything in order and get the hell out of town before Delilah's handcuffs unlocked. It should've been simple.

However, he kept losing time dicking around with Forty's madness. Then, newly appointed assistant Ellie was thrown into the mix.

Troublesome Duo - YOU Season 2 Episode 8

Joe loves Ellie, so in the back of his mind, there was always this need to make sure she was OK while he was trying to get out of there.

But after months of believing he was a better person, those primal, basic instincts were coming to the surface. For the past few installments, he's gone through thinking of doing something unspeakable and then talking himself out of it -- reminding himself he doesn't do that.

How dark is he going to get? Maybe he'll let it go. No. He enjoys this. He's a sadist. And before it's even begun, Forty has ruined their marriage. I've seen Forty the addict, Forty the braggart, the crybaby, the manipulator. But I've never seen this side. Your brother, Love, is dangerous.

Joe Voiceover

The fact that these thoughts pop into his head in the first place is disturbing enough.

He was already plotting an "accident" for Forty just to get out of there. And the more things slipped from his control, the faster the dark thoughts came to mind.

Forty jumping out of the window and heading to a bar at the first criticism Ellie gave him, was quintessential Forty.

But as if kidnapping Joe wasn't bad enough, he gave him four doses of LSD. Who the fuck does that?!

Forty: You don't think I'm a monster?
Joe: No, you have a bright future.
Joe Voiceover: And on acid, you're a savant.

The urgency of the situation with the sporadic clocks showing what time it was as he processed the new insane thing to happen to him was enough to have one shrieking, gasping, peals of laughter. It was easily the most hysterical hour of this series to date. I might have cried actual tears laughing so hard.

Joe is so bad at being bad. It never works out for him.

High AF  - YOU Season 2 Episode 8

It was a claustrophobic type of hour. You felt the walls closing in on Joe, as things got progressively worse.

He was pushed to the edge of his limits. If he killed Forty by the hour's end, no one would've batted an eye.

Killer Joe - YOU

It seemed like a real possibility when he saw Forty's display with the newlyweds. It triggered him, and it was the moment when you could envision Forty meeting his maker.

It was a disgusting display of self-loathing, privilege, entitlement, and chauvinistic behavior. It was gross, and it had Joe seeing red.

You are not your family.

Sunrise

But it was the color of the hour since he was tripping balls and seeing blood on his hands all of the time.

At some rate, high Joe bumped into drunk Love, but the appearance of Candace was intriguing. They never followed up on it. Forty mentioned he was keeping in contact with her, so was she there or a hallucination?

Candace Returns - YOU Season 1 Episode 10

The visions of his mother could've been his conscience speaking to him. It was engaging and funny, but then it got dark fast.

A sense of dread filled you when Forty sent Joe to retrieve juice, and Joe went all the way to Anavrin and came back. He couldn't remember what happened.

In three hours, he was capable of doing anything. Lower inhibitions for Joe meant he wasn't in control of himself. Joe in control is scary enough, so without it he is properly terrifying.

What in the actual ... fuck?

He couldn't figure out if the blood on his hands meant something more or not, but as he was processing that he was hit with Love contacting him and wanting him back.

Kissing Love

It was fitting that he was curled up in the bathtub dealing with all of his choices. But Love wanting him back meant he didn't want to leave her.

He settled for promising to whisk her (and Forty) away with him. Even when everything is closing in on him, he manages to be delusional and intrinsically optimistic.

He's also always on the cusp of exposing himself and missing it.

Love and Joe - Tall - YOU Season 2 Episode 3

Forty forcing Joe to roleplay Beck and Dr. Nicky could've gone wrong in so many ways. Hell, it did have Joe choking the hell out of Forty, but the guy dismissed it as Joe method-acting instead of having a flashback to when HE killed Beck.

Then, high Forty is more astute than anyone could envision, and he figured out the real way Beck died and who killed her.

And before you could close your mouth after he casually solved it in a stunning moment of clarity for someone who was both high and constantly vapid, he confessed to killing Sofia.

Forty: You don't think I'm a monster?
Joe: No, you have a bright future.
Joe Voiceover: And on acid, you're a savant.

He blacked out in rage and killed the au pair he loved, and his parents staged it to make it look like a suicide.

Bonding with Forty - Tall  - YOU Season 2 Episode 3

Just like that, someone whom Joe couldn't stand became a person he understood. The friendship between Joe and Forty was bizarre all of this time, but this shocking revelation makes it more interesting than ever.

Joe doesn't think Love could love him if she knew the truth, but Forty's truth might give him a false sense of security and comfort.

Joe's mother told him that as long as they were together, they were home. He's been searching for a home in another person ever since.

This Again  - YOU Season 2 Episode 8

He thinks he has found it with Love and by some extension Forty, too.

The complexity of this thruple is a total mindfuck, but then again, so is this season. In the best possible way.

The home stretch is here, but first, let's hear your thoughts about these two installments. Please, tell me you laughed as much as I did. Are you heartbroken over Delilah? Hit the comments below!

Of course, you can watch YOU online here via TV Fanatic!

Ex-istential Crisis Review

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Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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YOU Season 2 Episode 7 Quotes

Forty: Hey as Shakespeare once said: Bitcheth was crazy.

Joe, damaged finds damaged. Every time.

Delilah