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“You”: Netflix’s New Hit Thriller

Ever wonder what happens when Serena van der Woodsen finally comes to her senses and leaves Dan Humphrey? Well, thanks to the new Netflix Original “YOU,” now we know! Apparently, he takes his cyber stalking skills off of Gossip Girl and onto the streets of New York, more specifically, across the street from an aspiring writer.

In the chilling new series, bookstore manager Joe Goldberg focuses his latest obsession on Guinevere Beck, slowly inserting himself into her life before eventually controlling it. Now, based on that little synopsis, you might have already made up your mind about who the good guys and the bad guys are. However, the reason this show is so captivating is that at some points, you find yourself actually rooting for the stalker. Allow me to explain with some mild spoilers…

The series opens with Joe scrolling through Beck’s Instagram feed. His voiceover reassures himself that she wants to be looked at, or she wouldn’t be posting the pictures. Just from that two minute introduction, the viewer automatically hates Joe. I found myself picturing my public Instagram account, thinking that posting a selfie doesn’t warrant someone stalking you. It introduces an interesting perspective, though, as it allows you to dive in to the deranged mind and constant rationalization of a stalker. You see him staring into her window, telling himself that if she didn’t want to be looked at, that she’d close her blinds. You see him following her around and slowly start cutting people out of her life that he deems a threat, all while rationalizing to himself that he’s doing what’s best for her. This notion that he’s saving her is ironic, seeing as he is the reason for her eventual downfall. 

But before that happens, you see their love story play out. Even though the reason that they met and the things they have in common are fabricated, you come to realize that the feelings that Beck develops for him are real. You start feeling bad for Joe because you realize he actually thinks he’s helping her by committing all of these murders. You see the people in Beck’s life wrong her, and at some points, you’re begging Joe to get rid of them. You see glimpses of Joe’s history and begin to understand why he is the way that he is. You see moments of his compassion in his scenes with Paco and start to think maybe he’s not that bad. Your mind is in a constant state of cognitive dissonance because you know he’s a stalker and a murderer, but you’re rooting for him to overcome that so he and Beck can just be together. But he doesn’t, and you start to hate him again.

By the time it’s all over, the inevitable has happened. We all knew this wouldn’t end well for Beck, and after she’s gone, we go back to hating him because there’s no relationship to root for anymore. You think, what else could happen? What could be more interesting than him stalking this girl until she falls in love with him? And then, the ex-girlfriend walks in, alluding to an exciting second season. Season two is scheduled to drop in the fall, and I’m excited to see if Joe finally gets caught or if Candace suffers the same fate as Beck.

Katya Awar

Northeastern '22

I'm a sophomore at Northeastern University majoring in Media and Screen Studies and minoring in English and Musical Theater. I hope to be a screen writer one day!
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