Living in suburbia is a killer.
Joe and Love's attempts to navigate the confines of suburban life while going into overdrive trying to cover up their misdeeds is the type of quality content that we tune in for, and YOU Season 3 Episode 3 and YOU Season 3 Episode 4 presented that to us in spades.
The bodies are dropping in unexpected ways, and while on the surface, Joe and Love's partnership appears solid, Theo and Marienne may jeopardize that.
I take back what I said about the series addressing the pandemic. It was more than a throwaway line when you factor in the second person Love emotionally reacted to by the end of Missing White Woman Syndrome.
As we're two years deep into what feels like a neverending pandemic, there was something morbidly gratifying about Love bludgeoning anti-vaxxer Gil with a rolling pin. His dismissal that her baby nearly died from the freaking MEASLES after exposure to his grimy little children was enraging
He's not OK, some fucking braindead anti-vaxxer got him sick and is probably out there getting God knows how many other people sick with some horrible life-threatening virus that shouldn't even be a thing anymore ...Love
And worse yet, his wife didn't have the decency to acknowledge it when Love called to inform the parents of the children exposed to Henry of the predicament.
YOU's morbid humor and profound social commentary as it reflects back to us all the facets and ills of society remains undefeated. If anything, it's on display more this season than previous ones, and it pushes the relatability factor that much further.
We saw it in so many ways during these two installments of a season that also intends to dig into past traumas to reveal how they shaped Joe and Love and dictate their every move as humans, but more importantly these days, as parents.
All these two are trying to do right now, in their twisted ways, is protect Henry and ensure that he is nowhere near as screwed up as either of them are.
You have to get better. I haven't always been the best person but being your dad is changing me. Get better, just get better and I promise to be a man worthy of raising you.Joe
In a few instances, it felt as if the series forgot their characters and their respective knowledge.
Joe is guilty of projecting white women idealism, given that the objects of his most twisted affection and desires are white women (they're the only ones he ever places on pedestals and inherently views as flawless). But he also isn't aloof to some of the ails of society.
He's spent two and a half seasons dragging the hell out of the types of white people, their pretentiousness, and how aloof they are to society, namely the wealthy ones.
In that sense, it felt bizarre that Dante and Marienne had to walk him through the concept of Missing White Woman Syndrome and society and the media's bias that has them tripping over themselves to fixate on pretty suburban white women while turning a blind eye to others.
Marienne: Missing White Woman Syndrome is America's favorite pastime next to porn.
Joe: Missing White Woman..?
Dante: Syndrome. When upper-class, attractive white ladies go missing, they get tons of media coverage. Doesn't happen for other victims.
Joe: Yeah. Well, the media has a thirst for anything salacious right?
Joe Voiceover: Why do I feel like I'm failing a test?
Marienne: We're speaking of a specific phenomenon. When white women receive a disproportionately high level of public attention a very clear message is being sent. White women deserve to be rescued. The rest of us can fend for ourselves.
It made sense for Love, a wealthy, elite white woman whose family always protected them from the realities that afflict others outside of their social bubble, never considered the media storm that would happen when Natalie disappeared.
It didn't make sense that Joe behaved as if this concept was new to him. The scene only served as social commentary to the viewers and a chance to implement the title of the episode and thus was one of the few times where the dialogue was annoyingly and unintentionally hamfisted.
The execution of the Missing White Woman Syndrome was sound. The entire community of Madre Linda, led by attention-seeking Sherry, was obsessed with Natalie's disappearance and Matthew's potential involvement in it as if it was their very own true-crime story.
Interestingly, even Joe and Love's reactions to the increased attention on Natalie's disappearance served as a commentary on privilege and disparity.
You are not making me kill anyone! We are not doing that to our son.Joe
Love is accustomed to flying off the handle in her fits of protective rage and having someone her family hired and paid do all the dirty work of fixing her mess and cleaning up after her.
Meanwhile, Joe goes into action, forced to clean up after himself and cover his tracks. He managed to keep a level head through most of the ordeal because even when he has close calls, this is his norm.
Love never had to consider everything that happens after her acts. Joe was Love's port in a storm, fielding questions and throwing off suspicions.
And Joe managed to think on his feet to detract from all the unfortunate little moments when the detectives' attention would turn to them.
Telling a partial truth is often the best way to lie, so Joe admitting to masturbating in his car deflected from the implications that he and Natalie were having an affair.
And attention to Love's bakery shifted when they found the ring at that rest stop in the woods. Of course, that's what prompted a search party in the area Joe and Love initially buried her.
Another point highlighting Joe and Love's differences was their reaction to framing Matthew. Love's first instinct is always to pin something on an outsider without ever considering whether or not that person deserved it.
Joe often fancies himself a good person while justifying his actions, so he never wants to make some undeserving person a patsy.
Joe: I know that you love Natalie, but you're not talking to the press.
Matthew: I don't care about the press.
Joe: You should. If you don't tell your story, they'll tell it for you. You can't be there with Theo if you're behind bars.
So far, Matthew isn't a bad guy. We see him struggling to reconnect with Theo, and his unexpected moment of intimacy with Joe acknowledging his shortcomings as a father and giving Joe advice about fatherhood was illuminating.
Badgley and Speedman were fantastic during that scene -- a sneak peek at a moment of vulnerability for Matthew, who comes across as inaccessible.
Joe, in his feverish state, responded to that kindness. It tugged at his empathy, prompting him to give Matthew advice that defied everything he and Love intended to do by setting him up with that bloody scarf.
The season is very much about trauma, how past traumas and experiences make us who we are today and the fear and determination that comes with wanting to break those cycles for ourselves and our children.
Among the murder, dark humor, and all-around craziness, it's well-written and compelling storytelling and character dissection and development taking place.
I've been kidnapped, held at knifepoint, held at gunpoint, lost a finger, been locked in a cage, but in my history of scared, this is the most scared I've ever been.Joe Voiceover
What's fascinating about Joe and Love this season is how earnest they are and how much they genuinely want to be better. But everything that shaped them still has this firm grasp on them.
Who they are as a result of what they endured has its clutches in them, and no matter how hard Joe and Love try, they keep ending up in these unfortunate scenarios.
As Joe said when he came face to face with Gil lying in the cage still breathing, she didn't kill him, and that's growth.
Every time they look at Henry, they hope that he won't pay for their sins. I also take back the criticism about the flashbacks.
Context is key. The flashbacks align with Joe's desperation when trying to ensure his past experiences don't impact or repeat in Henry's future. The flashbacks fit nicely with the present storyline.
Plus, I want to squeeze and hug little Joe, who is utterly precious.
Joe's issues with women stem from his mother. He's been projecting that on a series of women since. He's spent his entire life regarding his mother as a victim, while the resentment over her giving him up, sending him away, endangering his life, and not taking care of him properly -- are buried deep.
His abandonment issues are a result of her. His warped relationship with idealizing women and unleashing his rage when they don't live up to the idyllic picture in his head is because of her.
And Nurse Fiona may be the first woman to whom he transferred his mommy issues.
Joe's fever dream of hallucination and flashbacks because he contracted the measles and didn't know his mother didn't have him vaccinated or because he covered for her were revealing.
And on the flip side, Love is struggling with similar demons. Forty is gone, and she has no one to stand between her and Dottie.
Pedretti is a dream this season capturing more of Love's nuances. You can't take your eyes off of her. Love can ascribe many of her insecurities about acceptance, especially in the face of a fickle Sherry, to her relationship with Dottie.
Love loathes Sherry, but yet she desperately seeks her approval. Everything about Love is rooted in wanting to please someone and have them love and accept her.
And that's what makes her bond with Theo a dangerous one. She and Joe see the darkest parts of each other, but it doesn't translate to genuine acceptance, and the love Joe had for Love will never be the same.
Hell, you could see the man damn near dissociate after they discovered Gil killed himself.
In Joe's mind, Love keeps slipping up, and he'll be cleaning up after her for the rest of his days. He's already resentful that he's doing the heavier work covering their bases.
Joe won't ever NOT look at Joe like she isn't a liability as a teammate, the weakest one who doesn't pull their weight in the group project, even when she does.
Love was the one who used her father's connection to get that scandalous information about Gil's son, the sexual predator, and her plan to set Gil up as Natalie's lover who killed her and then himself was brilliant.
But for Love, Theo gives her the attention she craves and sees her on a deeper level. He empathizes with living under public scrutiny after the death of a loved one.
He finds her attractive and makes her feel good. Their connection is strong, and their kiss inevitable.
As Love and Joe's partnership grows strained, Theo is appealing for Love.
And all it took for Joe was a vulnerable moment of honesty about how he grew up to connect with Marienne.
She misjudged him because of the neighborhood he lived in, but the second she learned of his hardships, it's like she allowed herself to express her attraction to him.
Marienne has a story, though. And while she isn't who Joe would've obsessed over out of the gate, her expressing interest and softening to him is validation.
Maybe he won't obsess over her, but she'll become one of his people.
But there's no way Joe and Love are out of the woods yet. Matthew doesn't seem like the type to let things go, and learning that his wife was having an affair with Madre Linda's version of Mr. Rogers is unsatisfactory.
Over to you, YOU Fanatics.
Are Joe and Love in the clear? Were you surprised by Gil's death? What do you think will happen between Joe and Marienne and Love and Theo?
Hit the comments! Then head on over to the next review.
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 Twitter.