Spoilers for You season 2 ahead, as well as a trigger warning: violence against men and women. In the second season of Netflix's You, we learn a little more about Joe Goldberg's past and what contributed to Joe becoming, um, a serial murderer and stalker of women. The flashbacks come in bits and pieces, and there are plenty of aspects that aren't super clear—Joe gets flashes throughout the season, so there isn't one scene where all is suddenly revealed. But, one way or another, we do learn a lot about Joe's painful childhood relationship with his mom.
She's certainly not as troubled as his dad, who's seen beating his mom and using a cigarette to burn Joe's arm (his dad is a full-on villain). But Joe's mom has a complex relationship to her son as well. Sometimes she abandons him in favor of anonymous sexual encounters—she may also be doing drugs? It's unclear!—but then she shows praise and love to her son, protecting him when her husband turns violent. At one point, she promises Joe they'll leave his dad and it'll just be the two of them, which is all young Joe wants...but then she shows up with a new boyfriend.
Young Joe kills his dad with his mom's revolver while trying to defend her from his violent father. His mom immediately reassures him, saying that he was doing what he needed to do to protect her. (Sounds familiar!) Not long after, his mom gives him up to foster care, saying she can't take care of him.
One of the most interesting aspects here is that we are put into Joe's shoes: We're not sure, exactly, why his mom behaves the way she does. It's this back and forth that's compelling here—she sometimes withholds her love, and sometimes she doesn't—that's actually pretty common in child abuse and, in my opinion, really well done. It kind of explains, in a made-for-TV kind of way, why Joe would go back and forth between idealizing a woman and then being bitterly disappointed when they don't live up to his expectations and/or abandon him.
A post shared by YOU (@younetflix)
A photo posted by on
One of the intriguing things about Joe's memories is that it's not made totally clear what happens to his mom. After he's taken away, that's the last we hear about her (I was actually expecting her to turn up later in the season, but no dice).
You know that old TV/movie saying—if there's no body, the person's not dead? (Remember, there was a body for Beck, who is very much dead.) So, if there's a season 3, and I hope there is, one of the plot points could be whether she's still around. Can you imagine how messy that would be?
For more stories like this, including celebrity news, beauty and fashion advice, savvy political commentary, and fascinating features, sign up for the Marie Claire newsletter.
Katherine’s a Boston-based contributor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle—from “Clueless” to Everlane to news about Lizzo. She’s been a freelancer for 11 years and has had roles with Cosmopolitan and Bustle, with bylines in Parents, Seventeen, and elsewhere. It’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.
My Bags Are Packed to Go OOO—These Are the Pieces I’m Bringing to Italy
“Sing to me, Paolo.”
By Humaa Hussain
I Spoke to a Jewelry Expert—Here's How to Make Your Silvery Jewelry Look Like New in Four Steps
Five minutes is all you need to bring the sparkle back to your favorite piece.
By Brooke Knappenberger
Princess Kate Looked "Furious" With Prince William on Rare Occasion She Couldn't Mask "Negative Emotions," Body Language Expert Says
But it was all sorted out soon enough.
By Iris Goldsztajn
The 80 Best K-Dramas You'll Be Completely Hooked On
Wait, how is it already 2 a.m.?
By Quinci LeGardye
Selena Gomez Revealed Meryl Streep Is Joining 'Only Murders in the Building' Season 3
Fans are losing it.
By Iris Goldsztajn
The 56 Best Musical Movies of All Time: Iconic Movie Musicals
All the dance numbers! All the show tunes!
By Amanda Mitchell
Sophia Brown on Joining the World of ‘The Witcher: Blood Origin’
The actress opens up about the “surreal process” of playing the Lark in the Netflix fantasy prequel.
By Quinci LeGardye
'Ginny & Georgia' Season 2: Everything We Know
Netflix owes us answers after that ending.
By Zoe Guy
The Unstoppable Alia Bhatt
Bollywood’s silver-screen darling is both at the top of her game and just getting started.
By Neha Prakash
29 Nude Movies With Porn-Level Nudity
All the nudity of porn, but with the plot and storylines of mainstream film.
By Kayleigh Roberts
The Cast of 'The Crown' Season 5: Your Guide
The Mountbatten-Windsors have been recast—again.
By Andrea Park