Damage finds damage.
Delilah uttered those wise words, and she was NOT wrong. Like moths to a flame, Joe and Love found each other, but when faced with his brand of crazy, he lost interest.
At some point, halfway through the last hour, it flew off the rails, but not so far that it wasn't entertaining.
YOU is nothing if not entertaining.
They pulled out all the stops for those final hours that somehow managed to go at a breakneck pace but also too slow at the same time as it burned through the plot like the series was recalling there had to be a conclusion.
But bloody hell, what a conclusion it was.
YOU is a lesson in first impressions. The majority of the time, people who encounter Joe feel as though something is off. The LA crew were more instinctual in this than those in NYC.
The first gut impression was that something was off about him, but then with time and exposure to him, the nagging feeling dissipates.
I have to know who killed Delilah. Even if it was me.Joe Voiceover
It's what happened with the Alves sisters, David Fincher, and a host of others who encountered Joe.
But the same can be said about Love. Think about it; she had an unusual first introduction.
It was a sense of desperation when it came to how drawn she was to Joe. She was the one who went after him and didn't stop until they were together.
She wore him down when he was supposedly attempting to not to fall into his old habits. She fell for him so hard and fast, even though she knew nothing about him.
Yeah, you did some terrible things, but that's what sensitive people do when they're trapped in a bad relationship.Love
Love went hard to get her man, and the first glimmer of darkness in her was how she got off the first time they had sex.
The timing of it was a bit questionable, and much like their entire relationship, Forty was there, in the next room. But Love jumped Joe's bones, and it got kinky and wicked super damn fast.
In hindsight, Love gagging and choking him while she, uh, took him for a spin sans safe word was her giving him a sneak-peek of who she was and what she was capable of, but he didn't see it.
He never saw her, but to be fair, most of us didn't either.
Love is proof of how delicious it is when this type of role is gender-swapped. She was able to do and be the same as Joe, but better.
Joe: What kind of sick mind thinks forcing a teenager into the system is doing her a favor?
Love: If you have a better idea, I'm open to that.
Joe: I'm sorry, it's very hard to think clearly in the river of crazy you're spewing.
Love: OK, get a grip. I thought you would be the last person who'd be hysterical.
Joe: Hysterical? You killed Delilah!
Love: Because you killed a fucking celebrity. You know why this is happening? Because while I was seeing you, really seeing you, you were busy gazing at a goddamn fantasy. A perfectly imperfect girl. Saw what you wanted to see, but I was always right here the whole time. It wasn't that hard. You just had to look.
She was better at hiding it.
Love sensed Joe's depravity from the start, and she was the one to notice and fixate on him first. She didn't know his story, but she did her research and figured him out fast.
Love had the scoop on Joe faster than anyone else, which proved how damn smart she is. Meanwhile, Joe was, as Love said, blinded by fantasy.
He saw who he wanted to see. And Love is right; Joe gets caught up on his fantasy of what he wants that the women are interchangeable.
I realized Guinevere Beck was unspecial and mediocre. She didn't deserve you.Love
He can slot whomever he obsesses over next into the position. He thinks love is within his wheelhouse, but it isn't.
At least, romantic love eludes him. I think it's possible for him to love others, but not romantically or sexually, not in a healthy way.
None of his love is the healthy kind, and it's all dangerous. But the way he loves Paco and Ellie is different.
I'd like to think his love for Ellie is what almost cost him the relationship with Love.
He was stunned that she was the one to kill Delilah, and the first thing that came out of his mouth was: "What about Ellie?"
Joe: What about Ellie?
Love: Ellie's going to be fine.
Love's plan to frame Ellie for Henderson's murder before using the Quinn connections to get her out and then having her placed in foster care was the point where Joe considered killing the woman he claimed he loved.
It is a special kind of twisted that he had no problem accepting and feeling relieved when he thought Forty was like him but lost his shit when he found out about Love.
It's part of the misogynistic streak he doesn't believe he possesses. He holds his women up on a pedestal -- lionizes them, and holds them to some purity standard so he can be their savior.
He's read to much classic literature and likes a damsel. Forty is someone who could find kinship with, but the woman he loved being as crazy as he is doesn't fit his fantasy.
I dealt with Delilah the same way I dealt with the au pair. I'm protecting you because I want to, Joe. You didn't break me. You owe your heart to me. We're soulmates, Joe.Love
But Joe's love for these select people in his life, and the protective streak he has for them -- the guilt he possesses when he lets them down is one of his only redeeming qualities.
Love's story was a spectacular one. Victoria Pedretti was sensational once she got to unleash who Love was at her core.
She played manic well, but one of her finest moments was the visual switch she made seconds before slitting Candace's throat with the glass shard.
Seconds before it happened, you knew what was coming, and, unfortunately, the first thought was that Candace should've left well enough alone.
Joe: Where's Candace? What happened?
Love: I took care of it.
Candace thought she was doing a good thing saving others, but instead, Love killed her, Joe is free to do whatever he pleases with another murder spree covered up for him, and the only other person who was onto him and would've picked up her mission is dead.
It was a beautifully executed parallel that Candace and Forty met a similar fate. Both of them knew the truth and were willing to do whatever possible to put an end to Joe.
Unfortunately, they were unreliable witnesses. Everyone held their checkered pasts and choices against them. They were both written off as crazy, and in turn, were driven to insanity trying to make others believe them.
Meanwhile, the real crazies lived to see another day and live their happy little life perfecting their facade.
Candace: Oh God! What is if about Joe fucking Goldberg? Why is it that no one can see him for what he is?
Forty: Careful, you're talking about my family.
Candace: Huh. Don't come crying to me when he kills your sister!
It posed a captivating question: what would Joe do if he faced someone similar to himself?
And the truth is he couldn't handle it.
Everything got away from him toward the end, so his attempt to piece together the night and figure out if he did hurt Delilah was a bit of a breaking point.
He knew he had motive, but he felt hurting Delilah went against everything he thought he stood for, and again, it's something captivating about this connection he had with the Alves sisters.
If I killed this woman, then I deserve this. I thought I only ever acted from a place of love. To protect. But what kind of man would do this? Has Candace been right all along? Have I been fooling myself? Have I just been refusing to face who I really am? What am I?Joe Voiceover
His frustrated scream as he had to clean up another crime scene captured the frantic energy and angst he was feeling after a shitload of things had transpired of which he had no control.
I loved how he slipped in and out of thinking he did kill her and putting it off on other people. When he thought about Will, it would've been a nice twist, but Will was happy in Manila.
A round of applause for Will. In a season filled with MVPs, he might be the top-tier one. He's the only person who survived the cage. He was smart enough to mind his business and get the hell out of the country and away from Joe's crazy ass, and he's thriving in Manila with his girlfriend.
The real Will Bettelheim is the GOAT. You have to respect it.
At the end of the day, only you know who you really are.Will
Joe's relationship with Will is hands down the most effed up friendship in existence, but it was genuine. Joe video called him with blood his shirt and hands and rambled on about what happened, and Will was cool as a cucumber about the whole thing.
He has always been so disturbingly calm about Joe's crazy. He spends time mentoring him and reassuring him that he isn't a bad person. He lets Joe feel like he's not being judged, panders to him a bit to make sure he's never on Joe's radar of potential murder victims again, and then he minds his business.
Be like Will. Will is a survivor, and the smartest mother f*cker of the season.
I don't think I did this to you. I'm going to find out who did to prove it.JoeVoiceover
Joe had to be reminded that he's a good person, even if we all know he isn't.
Delilah's death screwed him up. He also had to deal with Ellie, and it's hard to face the girl whose sister you know is dead, when she's in the dark.
Jenna Ortega has been one of the brightest spots of an incredible season, but her best moment was the breakdown in Joe's kitchen.
When she sobbed and talked about how everyone leaves her -- wondered what was wrong with her, it was heartbreaking and moving beyond words.
Ellie: She was pulling away from me. I could tell. Everybody wants to get away from me. Why? What's wrong with me?
Joe: Ellie, there's nothing wrong with you. Nothing. It's not you.
Joe Voiceover: It's me.
Joe: Don't ever think that.
Joe Voiceover: I know what you see, Love. A good man. But I have my doubts.
It was a moment where you were reminded of how young she was. She's so mature for her age, and she walks around as if nothing shakes her up, but she was her most childlike in that raw, vulnerable scene, and both Ortega and Badgley knocked it out of the damn park.
Finding out about Love's pregnancy made her voyeuristic presence during the scene more chilling. Joe thought she was seeing him as a good person because of how he was handling and comforting this young girl.
Love didn't have compassion for Ellie; she only loved what it meant for their child. It confirmed that Joe would be a great father, but Ellie was an afterthought.
Ellie is going to emerge stronger, smarter, and better off.Love
Joe was trying to come up with scenarios that included adopting Ellie into the family he formed with Love and Forty.
But Love was thinking about how to remove Ellie from their lives so she can get on with the family she always wanted.
It was both a blessing and a curse that Joe spotted Ellie and got her out of there before she saw the rest of what unfolded at the grocery store.
Oddly, Joe is the only one you could trust to help Ellie in the end, and he did. Badgley was downright maniacal and frightening when he confessed to killing Henderson and told Ellie that Delilah was dead.
Joe: You want the truth? I killed Henderson, and I don't feel guilty about it. What I am is all that stands between you and people who are worse. Now let me help you.
Ellie: You ruined my life!
Joe: I am truly sorry. Side door.
Ellie: Burn in hell.
Joe Voiceover: She should hate me, but as long as she's safe. Is this what fatherhood feels like?
He believed he was the one thing keeping her from harm -- worse people, and he probably was right. Isn't it insane how Joe is off the rails, but there's always someone who is a different kind of threatening?
It almost seems like Joe's real love story is with kids, and not in a perverse way. He relates to them more than he does most adults. He didn't want Ellie to end up like him.
His mother couldn't deal with him killing his father, and it sounded like maybe he had done some other things to creep her out.
Is this how I was always designed to end? Alone, unloved waiting for the police to arrive? Could things have gone any differently? If I walked into a different bookstore, one not run by a Soviet prison guard or maybe if I'd had different parents?Joe Voiceover
She told him he needed to be with men who could set good examples for him, and he was sent to a home for boys. It didn't do him any good, did it?
The beauty of the penultimate finale was how Joe was on the cusp of accepting his fate.
He was tired of running, hiding, and doing horrible things. He recognized his actions were terrible.
He was ready to give in and face his punishment, but Love threw him a curveball. The cage was his punishment as a child dealing with Mooney, and it seemed to have some effect on him as an adult.
It was the first time we've come this close to seeing him take accountability for his actions. He looked at everything he had done with fresh eyes.
Love: Everything is going to be OK.
Joe: What did you do?
Love: Why are you looking at me like that?
Joe: I am so sorry.
Love: Why? She was crazy. She was going to hurt you and us. And I fixed it. We're going to be together now.
Joe: I don't think we can. I think I broke you.
Love: I'm fine.
Joe: Listen to me. This is not your fault. This is not you. Everything I told you is true. Beck. Henderson. Delilah. I killed them. Their blood is on my hands.
Love: Joe. You didn't kill Delilah. I did.
He saw Beck as a victim -- all of the people he hurt as victims, and he accepted the role he played.
It was cathartic to see him reach this point of self-realization and admitting he shifted blame to others. But then, it was taken away just as quickly.
He realized that Candace was right; Love was a reflection of himself. She served as a mirror.
Candace said I'd face myself. Maybe this is it. Facing you.
He understood what those final moments were like with Beck when he locked her away. He processed how his victims felt.
In that cage, the exhaustion hit him, and he confessed everything to Love. He also apologized to Candace, and the only solace there is with how things ended with Candace is knowing his apology was real.
He stopped gaslighting her, and all she had to hear was that she wasn't crazy. He owned his actions, but then he had to face the likes of Love.
Joe's audacity was astonishing. He looked and treated Love like she was off her rocker when she didn't do anything he hasn't done before with the same thought process.
I'm done with excuses. I'm done blaming everyone else for the things I've done. I once told Beck I learned a lesson when Mooney locked me in. Hide a spare key so you can get out of the goddamned cage. But it's time I take responsibility. Accept the punishment for my crime. That a cage is where I belong.Joe Voiceover
They were on the same wavelength when it came to obsessive love and protecting those they cared about.
It turned out Forty didn't kill Sofia. Love did it in an act of protectiveness on behalf of her brother.
She wouldn't let Sofia get away with raping her brother, so she slit her throat. She also knew her parents would coddle Forty and cover for him, and they did.
It put some perspective on why she was compelled to protect and baby Forty so much. She knew he was suffering a lifetime of trauma, guilt, and pain over her actions.
Love: Tell her. Tell her you didn't do this.
Joe: I did. She's right. Everything she said about what I did is true. I'm sorry, you're not crazy. I tried to kill her. I blamed it all on her. But that was a lie like so many others. I thought I was doing it for the best reasons for love. But Love, it wasn't. It was never really love. I never knew love until I met you. I would do anything for you. I just want to be good enough for you. I told myself that I could be different, that I could do it another way but if that was true, Delilah wouldn't be dead. I couldn't face the truth because I didn't want to lose you. I did this. She figured out I killed Henderson, and I killed her.
But nothing she did would make up for not telling her brother the truth to give him a semblance of peace. The rest of Forty's life was shaped by that sole event, and his downward spiral was because of Love's actions.
And then, he was killed. Forty was a pain in the ass for most of the season, but he didn't deserve to go out like that.
The only surprising part of Love's story was she didn't have any part in her husband's death. It upset her when she couldn't have the family she wanted to create to make up for her own.
But she didn't kill him for it. She thought Joe could be her family, and he accepted Forty too.
Joe resorting to the same methods as Beck to get out of the cage was poetic. He pretended as though he still loved Love to get his way.
It isn't hard to convince someone you love them if you know what they want to hear.Joe Voiceover
He was prepared to kill her for committing the same offenses, and the only thing that kept him from going through with it was her pregnancy news.
Ugh. Pregnancies are rarely compelling story developments. It was no different with this, but it's the only thing that kept Joe with Love.
Joe had everything he could've wanted. He had a woman who understood his darkness and had some proclivities of her own. They both had multiple bodies between the two of them. She saw him for who he was.
What. The. Fuck?!Joe Voiceover
He droned on about that for two seasons. It couldn't have been more ideal for him, and yet, it didn't appeal to him.
Love didn't live up to his image of her, and he still convinced himself that he was different than she was.
He faced his equal, and he didn't like it. He's in love with an idea, and he had to adapt his view of love to stay with her.
Let's be real; he only stayed for his child.
You would think Joe finding love with someone as twisted as him would be oddly rewarding. Like, maybe it means he would leave innocent women alone.
Love: I understand if you can't love me anymore or don't want to.
Joe: I do want to. Real love doesn't evaporate when things get hard. I will earn back your trust. I would do whatever it takes. Nothing is more important than this.
Perhaps, he could retire his stalker ways and settle down in some warped suburban life with someone who sees who he is and doesn't hate him for it.
He could rest at peace with no repercussions.
But it isn't the case.
And that's how YOU gets you every time. No matter how bad his actions are, and what we witness him doing to others, there's a small part of you that hopes he's capable of being better.
So karma and I, we're in a fight. Some people, they get what they deserve. Some people don't.Joe Voiceover
It shouldn't be a surprise when he isn't, but somehow, it always is.
Forty was far savvier than anyone gave him credit for, and it was a shock when he let Love know he was aware of what she did to Sofia.
He was trying to save his sister from Joe -- someone he considered family until Candace helped him see the light.
He tracked down Dr. Nicky to get more information, and the surprise cameo by John Stamos was pleasing.
You are just as broken as I am. You're just a much better liar. Jesus, you think I don't know? After all of these years, you really think I am that dumb? That I don't know what you're capable of? I have tiptoed around it my entire life, and it has eaten me alive. I love you, but you are crazy if you think you're capable of being a good mother.Forty
Nicky found God in prison, and he was OK with being set up; he knew he had to pay for his sins. He wasn't innocent of other things, and he accepted his fate in prison.
Forty's plan to kill Joe did make him seem unhinged.
He knew what his sister was capable of, so why did Joe deserve death and not her? Would it have been a stretch if she was into him because of what he had done?
I didn't kill Beck, but I am guilty. I'm guilty here. She's not the first. She's just the first to end up dead. No, I'm a bad person. I'm exactly where I deserve to be.Dr. Nicky
It was a chance for things to escalate to a new height when he commented on how horrible a mother she would be because of how they were raised and her ways.
Not only did he not want a child to be brought into their family, but a product of both of Love and Joe would be a hot damn mess -- a scary mess.
Joe was waiting for the sweet release of death when Forty held a gun to his head, but Forty got killed instead.
Killing Forty was the most relevancy David had for most of the season, and in hindsight, it's a shame he was wasted. His takedown of Forty was interesting, too. He didn't hesitate to shoot him, and there was cause for it, but you get used to an attempt to talk someone down or even an acknowledgment that the police are there.
Forty's death was another tragedy, but James Scully gave us a killer performance. It's no doubt he was the best scene-stealer of them all.
With Forty's death, so ended the oddly incestual twinship, and Love didn't have anyone else.
Joe's trapped with Love, now. He knows that with the loss of her twin, he is all she has left. He thinks that's his penance.
It's funny how one of the things that turned him off from Love was her privilege and wealth. However, as an honorary Quinn, he benefits from all the things money can afford them.
Dottie: My husband and I appreciate the burden our son's put on you. We also want you to know we're here to ease your burdens however great they may be. Your secrets are safe with us, Will.
Joe Voiceover: Never has a threat worn such a luxuriant veil, and just what is it do your parents think they know about me? What the hell did I tell Forty last night?
It's just another layer of privilege for him that continues to aid in his avoiding repercussions. He's aware that he's attractive, white, and male. He doesn't present as mentally ill either.
And now, with the Quinns, he has wealth on his side too. He's checking all of the boxes.
They bought silence regarding Henderson's death when the blame shifted to Forty. They covered up everything.
But a small part of Joe resents them for this wealth.
He lost interest in Love when he found out who she was and she's not someone he conquered.
Joe: What about Ellie?
Love: Ellie's going to be fine.
So as much as it should have been a shock when he ended the hour focused on his neighbor, was it?
After a full season of Joe thinking he was something different, he returned to his old ways. You can say he never abandoned them in the first place.
If you made it through the season feeling as though there was an ounce of redemption with him or thinking that his relationship with Love would guarantee the safety of others, then it was shot to hell with his voiceover.
God, who knew Penn Badgley's voice could be this creepy?
He's onto someone new, and the saga continues. He started the season saying LA was his personal hell, and he ended it feeling as though it was his punishment.
It's funny how fate works. I had no idea that the cage I was building all this time was a trap for me. And when I found myself here locked in, I thought this was the end. But that's not how destiny works. This is just the beginning because this where I had to be, exactly where I had to be ... with you. There you were with your books and your sunshine. So close and worlds away. I will figure out a way. A way to get to you. See you soon, neighbor.Joe Voiceover
But one thing is clear, a leopard doesn't change its spots.
Joe didn't get his comeuppance. It feels worse than it did during YOU Season 1.
He and Love got away with multiple murders and left so many people's lives in shambles. It's unsettling that so many characters died before they peaked.
Did Delilah become a posthumous feminist icon of the #MeToo era? What did she say in her article? Did it go viral?
Is she lauded and praised in death? Did Henderson's empire crumble? Were other women encouraged to come forward? We never found out.
She never got a funeral; her sister didn't get closure or a chance to say goodbye. Henderson was a rich white pedophile who abused and silenced her.
The last thing Delilah wanted was to be another brown girl who fades into obscurity, but isn't that what her fate became no matter how hard she tried to fight it?
She ended up another dead brown girl. She worked to get her truth out, but her death is just a small fragment in a web of lies, so she can't rest in peace.
Ellie lost her sister and has no one. And Joe became another man that let her down. She has enough of the truth, but she's smart enough to know no one will believe her -- the same way Delilah knew people wouldn't believe her either.
It's no real justice for the Alves sisters, but that's horrific in its realism, isn't it?
And there's no justice for Candace. Did she die Amy Adam? Was her final resting place some pine box in an unmarked grave in LA with the other unknown people with no families or loved ones?
Everyone who loved her before thought she was already dead. Her mission to save others from the likes of Joe fell through.
It was the only thing that motivated her, and she fought past her terror and trauma to get some form of justice, but it never happened. She's just ... gone -- a victim destined to be forgotten. No one deserves that.
Meanwhile, Forty's entire life was derailed by one lie, and the moment he took the Quinn motto of "Radical Honesty" into his hands, he was killed for it.
And his death is shrouded in lies and coverups, so there was never any peace for a complicated man who never stood a chance.
We never saw funerals or any form of closure for them, which makes their deaths all the more tragic. Barely blips on a radar. It's so dark.
Now, Joe has found someone new. A working theory is that the neighbor could be his mother he hasn't seen in years. It would be the type of twist YOU would pull off.
Love has taken me to dark places, but Los Angeles has got to be as dark as it gets. When you're running from someone who thinks they know you, the best place to hide is somewhere they think you hate because you do.Joe Voiceover
Even with faced with everything he claimed he wanted, his obsession gets the better of him. It's not about the end result, it's about the chase and journey.
Joe can never be happy, and innocent people will always suffer for it.
It sets the groundworks for a third season, but while the sophomore season was excellent overall, I wonder how they can sustain this.
Part of the thrill is the conflicted feelings where you root for Joe to not get caught while also wanting him to face actual consequences.
But ending the season with Joe having a family and still pursuing someone new after a trail of bodies were left behind like they don't matter, and zero comeuppance is unsettling.
Nevertheless, we'll be tuned in for season three.
Over to you, YOU Fanatics!
Did the Love reveal make your head spin? Were those final moments haunting? We made it through a magnficent second season of YOU, so let's discuss all the lurid details below.
You can watch YOU online here via TV Fanatic!
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is an insomniac who spends late nights and early mornings binge-watching way too many shows and binge-drinking way too much tea. Her eclectic taste makes her an unpredictable viewer with an appreciation for complex characters, diverse representation, dynamic duos, compelling stories, and guilty pleasures. You'll definitely find her obsessively live-tweeting, waxing poetic, and chatting up fellow Fanatics and readers. Follow her on X.