Warning: This post contains spoilers from the entire second season of YOU.
Let’s say it one more time: Spoilers! If you haven’t watched all of YOU‘s second season, read at your own risk.
Now, let’s talk about Love! In YOU season 2’s source material, Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes, Love (Victoria Pedretti) accepted Joe (Penn Badgley) for who he was and even went so far as to steal his mug of urine from the Salinger house to prove her loyalty. But in the series, she took things a step further, murdering both Delilah and Candace for the sake of her future (and family) with Joe. “Taking it a step further is our specialty,” YOU showrunner Sera Gamble says with a laugh. “We felt like this would create a really interesting mirror and counterpart for Joe in a way that would make him really uncomfortable. Frequently our job in breaking story for this show is to ask ourselves: What new, better way can we contrive to have Joe have to look himself in the mirror because that’s the thing he’s trying not to do through the whole series. He is a big thoughtful bundle of denial about what he’s really doing.”
Ironically, Love being a perfect counterpart for Joe is the thing that ruins their relationship, at least for him. “He falls deeply in love with a woman that he thinks is really meant for him and then she confirms, ‘Yes, I’m really meant for you, I am the same INCLUDING I’ll do anything for someone I love, up to and including murder if I have to.’ And then he recoils because she sleeps better at night than he does,” Gamble says. “That’s the fun of it. I think shows are the most fun to watch when you really do work hard to make sure that your main character has equals and that the other people you’re bringing into the story are truly besting them and they have to rise to the occasion of the next conflict.”
In terms of the next conflict, Joe has already found his next target by season’s end … and it’s not Love. “That last beat of the last episode is about the fact that he’s learned a lot of lessons,” Gamble says. “He had that moment when he was in the cage and he was able to look Love in the eye and confess and have a level of self-awareness where, in that moment, if things had gone just a little bit differently, he might’ve walked into a police station and turned himself in. But those defense mechanisms are strong and they’re his habit and now he’s in a new, different situation so he’s kind of back to telling himself this is what he needs to do. His way out is always the next woman.”
Speaking of Joe’s ending, the series once again deviated from its source material, Hidden Bodies, by NOT putting Joe in jail. At least not literally. “We actually talked about that ending for the season,” Gamble says. “But he is in jail at the end of the season, it’s just 73 and sunny with eco-conscious landscaping. It’s this very privileged enclave in the west side of Los Angeles but hell is other people and he is now deeply connected with this woman that he loved and then he found out who she really was and now he doesn’t know how to be okay with that.”
Although the series is yet to be renewed for a third season, Gamble says there’s a lot left to explore. “The stakes are pretty high. I have so many questions about Love’s mother who’s incredibly in the picture at the end of the season, like how much she really knows about her children,” Gamble says. “We wrote [the finale] hoping that we will get the opportunity to tell more story because we’re really excited with the seeds planted at the end of season 2.”