Netflix Series, You, Has Viewers Rooting for the Bad Guy

This new series tricks viewers into empathizing with a stalker, and the confusion is creepy, but intriguing.

The Netflix series, You, based on the book by Caroline Kepnes, is a romantic, creepy thriller. The main plot follows the relationship between Joe Goldberg, portrayed by Penn Badgley, and Guinevere Beck, portrayed by Elizabeth Lail.

Goldberg has an obsession with Beck, and throughout the series, he goes above and beyond in order to be close to her. His actions reveal him to be a stalker who appears to be dangerously single-minded about his target.

He manages a bookstore and shows a passion for preserving antique and priceless books. Unfortunately for his victims, he has all the tools necessary to preserve books which also come in handy for preserving bodies.

As the show progresses, it is clear that Goldberg is a true psychopath who displays the ability to seem charming.

Beck, Goldberg’s obsession, is not a likable character, either. She is portrayed as a self-absorbed, tiring, struggling poetry grad student. She cares more about what she looks like in her next Instagram post and she lies to her own friends. She struggles with finances, and the only reason she has an apartment is that she is serving as a teacher assistant in grad school.

Within the first two minutes of the pilot episode, the two characters are introduced. Goldberg narrates most of the series, and in the beginning, he is analyzing Beck from jewelry to her eyebrows. His internal thoughts introduce his beginning as Beck’s stalker.

The most captivating part of the show is Goldberg’s charisma which causes viewers, like the characters he charms, to become complicit in his dangerous fantasies. It becomes a guilty pleasure. Goldberg takes Beck on sweet dates that are any girl’s fantasy. Whenever Beck is talking bad about herself, he talks about how beautiful he believes her to be.

One of the more satirical aspects of the show is how easily Goldberg can find massive amounts of information about Beck through social media. He googled Beck after first meeting her at the bookshop, and he was able to find her address, where she works and her favorite places to hang out. This allowed him to easily stalk her with all this information.

It was truly eye-opening to see how easy it is to find information about one person so quickly, and maybe that was one of the points of the show.

As the show progresses, Goldberg begins to perform sadistic acts on people in Beck’s life because he wants her all for himself. He kidnaps and even kills people, who are too close to Beck–anyone he feels to be a threat.

What keeps the viewer watching are the many moral dilemmas throughout the show, and ultimately, the question of who the hero is and who the villain is. For example, Goldberg shows a softer side by taking care of a little boy who lives next door while at the same time doing horrible things.

I would absolutely recommend this show to those who are into thrillers and who don’t mind graphic scenes. You is different than any other series on Netflix, but it is definitely worth the watch.

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