‘It’s cool how you get in the monster’s POV, you understand why he does stuff, almost like its… justified.’ While some of the analogies employed by Netflix’s new thriller ‘You’ can seem more than a little heavy-handed, they can help the viewer to understand how it easy it is to root for the villain when you see the story from their perspective.
Adapted from Caroline Kepnes’ entirely second-person novel, You tells the deranged ‘romance’ of poet Guinevere Beck (Elizabeth Lail) and obsessed bookstore clerk Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley). Perhaps the show’s greatest strength is how this romance can have the audience wishing for something positive to somehow blossom between the two of them – right before Joe’s stalker behaviour and lack of awareness for his own obsession makes it clear that this is too far removed from anything approaching a healthy relationship to ever be viable.
However, You also proves itself surprisingly adept at social commentary, questioning how we approach social media and how much of our lives we put online. After all, Joe is able to find Beck’s address, family history and poetry all by searching her Instagram and Facebook feeds after a five-minute conversation where all he learned about her was her name. While Joe is a fairly ruthless and ultimately terrifying character, he is no master sleuth, the show makes it clear that without the invasive role of social media, Beck may have been able to avoid this intense obsession.
Ultimately, the show’s many flaws, including flat dialogue and lifeless side characters, aren’t enough to prevent You from being a solid binge watch. The social commentary is thought-provoking without being overbearing and our leads are truly complex characters who, although the audience may desperately hope can resolve their problems, continually spiral into darkness throughout the show.