Netflix’s “You”: The Perfect Anti-Hero

**This review contains spoilers**

Over Christmas break, Netflix released another original TV drama entitled, “You.” The show follows a seemingly innocent book store employee, Joe Goldberg (played by Penn Badgley), as he meets, falls in love with and stalks his newest muse and customer at the bookstore, Guinevere Beck – Beck for short (Elizabeth Lail).

The two meet casually and for Joe, it’s love at first sight. Analyzing her every move, stalking her and utilizing his internet savvy skills, Joe strategically places himself at the right place at the right time to win Beck over. He learns the ins and outs of her character after successfully stealing her phone. With her phone, Joe even learns what Beck thinks about him and what she says about him to her friends.

Through his obsessive stalking, Joe uncovers Beck’s deepest secrets, acts to protect her from outside dangers and eliminates potential strains on their relationship, including her ever present ex-boyfriend, Benji Ashby, and possessive best friend, Peach Salinger.

Joe’s character is the perfect example of a character that you hate to love, the anti-hero. As Joe falls further and further down the rabbit hole of love, his obsessive stalking and certainly questionable behavior make it hard to love him as a viewer. As you watch the show, you start to rationalize his often illegal actions with Joe’s inner monologue, despite the evil nature of his actions.

From Joe’s point of view, Beck’s best friend Peach is obsessed with possessing and owning Beck. According to Joe’s detective work, Peach’s ownership of Beck’s life is an example of control and consistency in her life, something that Peach severely lacks in her suicidal and drug dependent life.

Joe’s stalking and inner monologue lead both himself as well as the viewer to assume the worst in Peach, helping the viewers to justify Joe’s murdering her. His intentions with each of his killings are good. Joe never kills anyone without the right idea in mind, his system of justice for the people he loves is just a little skewed, to say the least.

Joe killed his abusive neighbor to protect and save their youngest son, Paco, and his mother from their alcoholic and physically abusive father and husband. He killed Peach because he thought she was preventing Beck from living up to her fullest potential as a writer and as a person. He killed Benji because his consistent presence both physically and mentally in Beck’s life was a threat to his relationship and prevented them from moving forward in the way that Joe wanted them to.

All of these explanations seem innocent and reasonable enough, but not enough to kill someone. Not only are Joe’s inner monologues enough to make his actions seem right and even romantic, his attractive looks and Badgely’s previously well known role as Dan Humphrey from “Gossip Girl” make Goldberg a difficult character to hate. This is what makes “You” such a great example of an anti-hero and a great TV show to add to your must-see binge list.

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