The couple who slays together may stay together, but Joe isn't going to like a single second of it.
Season three continues to take us on a batshit ride of emotions, violence, murder, and fun. And YOU Season 3 Episode 7 and YOU Season 3 Episode 8 understood the assignment and delivered on all fronts.
For both installments, it was the side characters who shined, from Love's tragic trainwreck of a mother, Dottie, to Marienne's egotistical ex, Ryan, and affable caricatures that are the Conrads.
All of these figures in Joe and Love's life, unwittingly serving as pawns in their twisted marriage that makes everyone around them casualties.
Joe and Love are similar yet resent each other for that while simultaneously foisting all the ails of their relationship upon one another when they don't have bouts of self-awareness.
They've spent all season recommitting to their relationship and partnership and then failing themselves or each other. It's always been evident that Love is more committed to their relationship than Joe ever is, and she's spent the better part of months trying to make him love her.
No one gets Love and accepts what she is the way that Joe does, so it makes sense that she clings to him so closely even when she knows he'll never love her back the same way. On paper, they should work.
She's been turning to Theo to fulfill her emotional needs, and her grief over Forty has made her desperate to keep Joe by any means necessary. She can't afford to lose anyone else, and next to Forty, Joe is the only person on this Earth who knows her.
But she isn't enough to hold Joe's interest. She isn't enough for him; she never will be (no one ever van be). They've been trying to make things work between them, but he has a problem that she cannot fix or control no matter how many people she attacks or murders.
Love: Who is she?
Joe: Excuse me?
Love: Who were you thinking about just then?
Joe: Nobody. Just you. It's always you.
Love: Bullshit. I know you, Joe. No matter what I do I'll never be good enough for you.
It's like we're witnessing Love go insane with the typical issues you expect to see from a working mother and suburban wife with an extra dash of pervasion, violence, secrecy, and pervasive, deeply rooted trauma.
Love is desperate in her attempts to be normal, but it's beyond their capabilities. What's fascinating is how she adjusts the abnormal parts of their lives to make them normal and routine.
The problem with Love choosing to make Joe her soulmate is that Joe never confirmed that he did the same. Joe views her as a partner, co-parent, and ally.
They're with each other in the trenches, and they have each other's backs in the sense that Joe knows it'll be his downfall, too, if something ever happens to Love, and he can't subject his son to that.
Their partnership is primal, two kindred spirits who are stuck with each other. Love's impression of it their bond is to be hopeful and idealize it, whereas Joe, more often than not, is a realist.
But they know each other so well, and that's where it's been wild to witness everyone around them unknowingly trapped in their web of toxicity.
Marienne's commentary about spouses knowing you so well that they can keep destroying you was a spot-on observation. They say that love is giving someone the power to destroy you and trusting that they won't.
Joe knows Love so well that he's aware of the measures he has to take to conceal his interest in Marienne. If Love figures anything out about her, Marienne is a goner.
Joe knows that jealousy and possessiveness fuels Love. He's smart enough to recognize that she's unhappy and misses the carefree woman she used to be and her wild side.
Joe can read her like a book, so even when he's obsessed with Marienne and his attentions are elsewhere, it speaks volumes that he knows Love so well inside and out.
It also boggles the mind that he underestimates her ability to know him well, too. Because Love knows the hell out of her husband.
Most of these two installments were people seeing through Joe and calling him out on it. Marienne's daughter isn't a fan of his. When it comes to assessments of people, you can almost always trust the judgment of children and animals.
Marienne; You know the worst part about being married is that they actually know you so well that they can just use it for the rest of your life.
It's like Juliette knows something is off about her mother's new friend, and she wants no parts of it. Never lose that ability, baby girl.
Marienne herself isn't afraid to challenge Joe on his meddling and possessiveness. She may have appreciated him submitting her work to that editor, but she made it known that he overstepped, and she wouldn't have that again.
Marienne is quite firm in her boundaries and expressing them. In many ways, it feels as if she's someone who will catch on to what Joe is sooner rather than later.
And as awful as Ryan is, it was hysterical when he confronted Joe and called him out about the stalking. Joe always thinks that he's invisible in his stupid baseball cap, lurking in the background like a creep, but Ryan lets him know that he's been aware of Joe for a minute.
I have been played. I couldn't dose Ryan because he's been dosing the whole time and his tolerance is through the roof.Joe Voiceover
Ryan is a human piece of excrement, obnoxious, and the bastion of white male entitlement and privilege. But it would've been messed up if Joe successfully managed to drug this man and jeopardize his sobriety so Marienne could get her daughter back.
Even though we're constantly experiencing this series about a man who abuses, gaslights, and murders, for some reason, every time he does something else cruel and heinous, it's shocking and disappointing.
However, the switch that Ryan was never sober and Joe's dosing did nothing for this man who was still getting high was a shock, and somehow it made Joe's willful drugging and poisoning of this douchebag not feel as bad.
And those are the things that YOU always does to its viewers. We shouldn't feel that way, you know? Scott Michael Foster sells the sleazy smugness of Ryan so well. Even though everything that Joe does is wrong, you also want some karmic justice for Ryan.
He discredits his ex-wife, shares revenge porn of her, and chums it up with the judge who's supposed to rule on their custody hearing.
Marienne: If Ryan finds out that I was with a married man however innocently he'll use it and I'll never get custody.
Joe Voiceover: You're right, Ryan is a problem but there are always problems in love stories. I'll find a way to fix it for you.
Ryan is possessive and abusive in how he treats Marienne, and you want him to get his comeuppance, but the right way, not the Joe way.
Grudgingly, Joe has gotten too good at juggling his fixations with his marriage. He devotes all of his time to wanting Marienne, pushing the boundaries she keeps establishing, and hoping they can somehow be together.
But he also does shockingly well at managing Love as much as he can, given the circumstances. From expensive, thoughtful gifts to sex acts, he gives her just enough to appease her and at the right time before she flys off the handle or suspects too much.
He manipulates situations to his advantage to throw her off of his trail. Joe checked out of his marriage, but he knew he had to act jealous when Love used Theo to get under Joe's skin.
And he made an entire game out of exploiting her suggestion of swinging after Sherry propositioned her to push them toward an open marriage.
He knew Love was too jealous to pull that off, but he also wanted their marriage to implode without it falling on him.
Shalita Grant has been killing it as Sherry, and these installments were her best yet. Her proposition of Love was so unexpectedly delightful, and the entire sequence of their swing night was comedic gold leading up to Love knocking her out.
Her expressive disappointment when Love called out the safe word just as the sex with Joe was getting good and she was near climax was laugh out loud funny.
Love: I know you're not Sherry's biggest fan.
Joe voiceover: I'd rather fuck a cactus.
And Travis Van Winkle's Cary started with shades of Benji and then evolved into something uniquely his own and pure entertainment.
Together, Sherry and Cary are quite a match, and their chemistry is deceptively good and humorous. Of course, they make others sign nondisclosures about their romantic dalliances.
The doughnut scene was a perfect execution of those lovey-dovey, voyeuristic couples who make you cringe. And Cary rolling into the place with suitcases filled with sex toys and supplements felt true to form.
Also, who didn't cackle at the mention of self-lover Cary? He's not so much bisexual as Cary-sexual, ogling himself nude in all his glory.
Cary: If you don't want to fuck yourself, how is someone going to want to fuck you, my man?
Joe voiceover: Oh, of course. Cary is Cary-sexual.
Only in the Madre Linda hellscape could a shootout with crossbows under the cloak of darkness and white picket fences ensue between Joe and Cary.
And Cary and Sherry are bound to give us more dark comedy as the latest inhabitants of the cage. Bring it on!
They were the real standouts of "Swing and Miss," whereas Saffron Burrows shined her brightest as Dottie during "We're All Mad Here."
The complicated relationship between Dottie and Love has been unfolding all season, and it reached its height during that hour.
Love's mommy issues consume her so much, and Dottie doesn't give enough recognition to the past and how she let Love down. We're all fucked up people who past our shit on to others. Parents and children, right?
Dottie's spiral from the divorce proceedings played out beautifully. The running mascara and disheveled look elevated Burrows' spectacular performance of a woman who lost everything.
She had these honest moments of vulnerability with Love, but Love's issues with her mother always took over, and she couldn't listen to her or empathize much.
Love's been so consumed with her marriage that she wasn't considering that her mother's marriage had more layers to it than she'll ever know.
Dottie built up the Anavrin brand, but she lost everything to her husband, and he took her vineyard, which represented so much to her, too. When you add that to her constant grief over Forty, her breakdown was inevitable.
Love slighting her by not letting Dottie babysit was the last straw for her. Baby Henry was all she had left.
Dottie drunkenly spazzing out in a drive-thru with Henry in her lap was as horrific as it was intoxicating to witness. You couldn't turn away from it. And she took baby Henry to the vineyard while she burned the whole thing down.
It speaks volumes about her state of mind.
Dottie was such a mess, but you felt for her. And there's this foreboding feeling that something worse can happen, and she'll die or never recover and be the same again. Love will feel terrible if she cut her mother out of her life and she dies, though.
But Dottie spent all season serving as a bit of Love's conscience and a wake-up call. Naturally, she kept that up with Joe.
We know that Dottie and Love have their issues, but it also seems plausible and not some act of vindicativeness that Dottie is right about James. She loves her daughter, but she knows her well enough to be afraid of her to a degree and keep her at arm's length.
When Joe asked Love about James, she admitted that towards the end, James would use his illness as a way to control and gaslight her.
And her feelings about that are valid. It's common and unfair that when someone is battling something, there's no space for the feelings of their caretaker or loved ones.
It's possible that Love didn't kill James, but it also wouldn't be a shock if she did. And that's probably the place Dottie is coming from with all of this.
If she were vindictive, she probably would've told Joe about Theo.
Little did Dottie know, it was more fuel to the fire in Joe's quest to destroy his marriage and get some happily ever after with Marienne.
You're loyal, that's what makes you a good person, but Love has no loyalty to anyone but herself. If anything were to happen to you, I'd never forgive myself.Dottie
He knew Love enough to realize that any woman Joe expresses interest in will receive Love's wrath, but he didn't even consider that he could, too.
Joe thinks he's above everything with Love, and she's the only problem in their relationship.
His inability to rein in his urges and obsessions triggers Love's violent possessiveness, and then he has to clean up. It's an ongoing cycle, and it's how they keep ending up in these messes.
It's insane that it took them this long to realize that they get off on chaos and violence.
I put my best friend in a cage. oh my god, I am so grateful for you. I don't know anyone else who would understand. I don't know what I'd do without you.Love
Joe is right; Violence is their love language, and it's a sure sign that they're meant to be. But bloody hell, how many lives must they ruin or take to work through their marriage issues or childhood traumas?
And Love does act as if this is somehow their routine. It's a dangerous thing.
Despite Joe placing everything on Love, he's at fault for this too. He keeps falling into his patterns, knowing that Love will react as she does, and they end up in these binds. They're toxic and codependent.
Joe needs to give up the notion that he can hide things from Love without her noticing. And Love has to get herself under control.
Love: Our marriage is completely one-sided.
Joe: That is ridiculous.
Love: You made me kill her. In addition to being mother of the fucking year, I had to run fucking interference on one of your fucking patterns! I killed Natalie for fucking you!
It was downright stupid to have a shouting match, picking a fight with Joe about Natalie's murder when he knew the Conrads were within earshot.
Love feels content that they're working together as a team despite her best friends in the cage. But there's no good cop/bad cop thing here.
Joe is right; it's doubtful that Sherry and Cary will get out of this alive, and that will be suspicious as ever.
Matthew is already onto them and thinks that Joe is an abusive man with anger issues. He heard screaming that night, saw the Conrads' car there, and saw Joe cleaning out his trunk in the wee hours of the morning.
Love: I think that' the best sex we ever had.
Joe Voiceover: Yes, it was. The spark our marriage needed doesn't come from swinging. Our love language is violence.
Matthew is a hot mess, and you feel for the man. He hasn't let up on his investigation since Natalie's death. His obsession is eerie, he's jeopardizing his health and well-being, and he's neglectful of Theo.
Your heart breaks for both him and Theo. Matthew knows that he needs to do better as a parent, and he loves Theo so much, but he's incapable of doing better and showing it.
And all Theo wants is his father's love and affection. He knows Matthew isn't okay and needs help.
His entire setup violating the privacy of all of his neighbors is disturbing and unhealthy. And he brought up Theo's relationship with Love, too.
Matthew cares enough about Theo to want him to stop whatever he has going on with Love.
But it was heartbreaking when he kicked Theo out. Theo's always been clear that he stays with his stepfather because he feels like he has no place anywhere else, and Matthew just banned him from the only thing that felt like home.
Swinging was supposed to be my marriage's dying gasp, not theirs. How the fuck are these two getting out of this alive?Joe Voiceover
Over to you, YOU Fanatics.
What are the odds that Sherry and Cary survive? Will Joe get to Ryan before he does him? How much will Matthew figure out?
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.