The Greylock Echo

You: A Must-Watch

Penn Badgley as Joe

Photo courtesy of the New York Times

Penn Badgley as Joe

Sophie Jones, Arts and Living Editor

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It was February break, and I had nothing to do, so I thought I might take an hour or so each day to pick away at the new Netflix original series called You. So, I pressed play, and about six hours later I had picked away at all eight episodes of it.

You is a show that follows a young woman living in New York City, named Guinevere Beck, or just “Beck” for short (Elizabeth Lail) who falls for Joe (Penn Badgley) who seems to be a charming, hipster, and chivalrous bookstore employee. At first, the pair seem to be perfect for each other, but almost immediately we see Joe begin to do some way-more-than-creepy things to Beck and the people around her – all without her knowledge. It’s a story about control, about love, about possession. But mostly about manipulation.

A large part of the reason that I couldn’t stop watching was because of how fast-paced and entertaining the show really is. At first, you think it will be a rom-com, but it quickly turns into a thriller that it is not just focused on the two main characters. The less important characters also serve great purposes to the plot in ways that are inventive and thoughtful.

As it takes place in New York City, the city itself becomes a character too, but not in a stereotypical way. No landmarks are shown, but overhead shots and familiar places make the viewers feel trapped or stuck in a different world. Beck’s apartment, for example, becomes instantly recognizable for its large and stalker-ready windows. The bookstore’s temperature controlled rare-book collection room also becomes a space that the viewer instantly recognizes – and not for good reasons.

Even Joe, a character that is completely terrifying, is cast in a light that makes us want to love him. Just like Joe manipulates Beck, the show manipulates us, too, into loving Joe. When it is over and his extreme cruelty finally hits home, we see how easy it can be for those in love to be manipulated and abused.

Not only is it exciting, but the show is funny too. I don’t know if this humor is intentional, because a lot of the time the things that characters do are so stereotypical “millennial” that it’s comical, and some of the name and location choices are really too good to be random. It’s a good study of dating in a technological world in terms of how terrifying it can be as well as how funny and awkward.

My only complaint is the fact that Joe goes to great lengths and risks his own life several times for a girl like Beck. Beck has got to be one of the most generic characters I’ve ever seen. I wanted to like her and root for her as hard as possible, but she truly got on my nerves. There never seemed to be much development with her character – the whole time she just struggled creatively and financially with no true breakthroughs. Joe was by far a more interesting character, which didn’t help me dislike him more, even though I wish I did – watch, and you’ll see just how creepy Joe truly is.

About the Writer
Sophie Jones, Arts & Living Editor







Sophie has been on the Echo staff for two years now. When she’s not expressing her totally correct opinion in a skillfully crafted review,...

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You: A Must-Watch