I have heard some mentions of the original series, You, on various social media platforms and eventually wanted to see what the hype was about. I was not prepared to spend my entire Thursday binge watching a series I only knew so little about. Where do I begin?
This book-to-show adaptation currently has one season on Netflix with ten episodes each an hour long. There is so much involved in this show; however I have developed a summary without spoilers for those interested in learning more before starting the series.
We start off with Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley), the manager of an old-fashioned bookstore in New York. Joe is a very analytical guy, especially when it comes to people watching. He knows what to look for and is very concrete in the judgements he makes about others. When Beck (Elizabeth Lail), an MFA student, comes into Joe’s bookstore, Joe has an attraction to her and proceeds to protect her and improve her quality of life— without Beck knowing it.
Joe simply does what anyone would do when attracted to someone— he jumps onto Google and searches for them. This seems innocent enough at first, however when Joe starts to show up at Beck’s apartment, university, and every other whereabout it becomes not-so-innocent. Joe is willing to do anything for Beck—even if it is criminal.
On the other hand, Joe is not just stalking girls left and right; he has a heart too and is very sensitive. In Joe’s apartment, we meet his young neighbor, Paco (Luca Padovan), whose mom has an abusive boyfriend, thus forcing Paco to escape reality through books.
This common interest ties Joe and Paco together; Joe brings books from the bookstore for Paco and often gives Paco food that Joe cannot even afford. This relationship between Joe and Paco is reflected in many flashbacks of when Joe was a child and had the recent bookstore owner as his “mentor”. I put mentor in quotations because there is actually more than meets the eye about Joe’s childhood.
In this series we learn about so many symbolic aspects of life and relationships; love, secrets, abuse, manipulation, blackmail, etc. This series makes you question who the protagonist and antagonist really are in this mashup of complex character development and character layers.
You might also have to question how far is too far when you love someone and how easy is it for a stranger to access you from social media? Overall, this series is very thought-provoking and is a quick watch that will have you constantly on your toes the entire time. I recommend this series to anyone who likes a good mystery but not to those that feel uncomfortable with gore, #MeToo, and manipulative relationships.