This Netflix Series Will Leave ‘You’ Breathless

Natalie Dest

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Netflix’s recent release of an adaptation to a popular two-part thriller book series has subscribers hooked on the single-season long tale. Originally a Lifetime debut, “You” is a compelling new drama is being heralded as one of the streaming sites most twisted and addictive series.

“Gossip Girl” actor, Penn Badgley, takes on the role of Joe Goldberg, the series’ murderous stalker who takes on the obsession with a young woman he meets. Working as a bookstore clerk in New York City, Joe rings up Guinevere Beck (portrayed by Elizabeth Lail) and immediately is smitten with her, making it his dire need to learn everything about this NYU grad student. 

Thanks to the credit card that pays for her purchase at Mooney’s Bookstore, Joe catches the name of his new found interest. After following Guinevere over the course of an evening where she, coincidentally enough, slips and falls on subway tracks; Joe begins to play her rescuer. That is the plan, narrated by a constant voice-over as Joe’s thoughts unravel.

During the early stages of his stalking, he discovers Guinevere’s friends as self-absorbed monsters and her on-and-off-again boyfriend as deadly, at least, that’s what he thinks of them to be. After carefully watching the people Guinevere surrounds herself with, Joe deems them as unfit for Guinevere life. And this is where the audience begins to see the stalker alter ego forcefully step in.

With hopes to isolate Guinevere from everyone in her life, Joe begins his quest to make her fall deeply, and hopefully quickly, in love with him. Joe approaches this through his skills of being a top-level digital age stalker.

He utilizes every single thread of Guinevere’s internet presence to manipulate her into a relationship — Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr are his extra pair of eyes. Not only this but following her to poetry readings, outings with her friends and personal activities are his way of monitoring her from the outside.

This will definitely make you never look at social media the same.

“You” also works hard with delving into what drives the kind of dangerous men that we are most afraid of. Joe’s chilling voiceover lurks over every single episode, helping viewers further understand the stalker’s many psychotic, often outright criminal, ideas.

This is a man who is completely driven by both love and desperation. Although you are never exactly going to root for Joe Goldberg, you will get a dark thrill out of seeing what he does next, expectably when his jealousy of Guinevere comes into play.

While the show practically lives through Joe’s dark mind, the audience also gets to peek inside the brain and lifestyle of Guinevere. Through Joe’s stalking, we eventually learn every detail of Guinevere’s life, down to her sexual fantasies and the poetry she hides. “You” made the smart decision in not making Guinevere a secondary character, but rather a leading lady of the show.

Some of the best moments in the series have nothing to do with Joe and how he will get out of his latest stalking-related predicament. Rather, the moments that explore Guinevere’s complicated friendships, her even more complicated family life and her own #MeToo situation with her professor.

Overall, “You” has sharp ideas when it comes to the portrayal of both Joe and Guinevere, showing the drastic differences yet hidden similarities between the two characters. With already a renewed second season, “You” will have to keep upping the ante, keep escalating the intense stalker story that’s happening in Manhattan.

If the “You” psycho-thriller vibes take your interest, stay for the saga of Joe Goldberg and Guinevere Beck with their romantic yet fatal love affair. You can stream the first season on Netflix now.