Spoilers ahead for YOU Season 3.
Joe started YOU Season 3 trying to be a better role model for his infant son. But if his body count is any indication, he winds up even further from that goal by season’s end. After trying to amicably — at least by his standards — leave Love (Victoria Pedretti) for his boss Marienne (Tati Gabrielle), Joe finds himself scrambling to cover up his crimes and wrest himself from Love’s grasp. The climactic face-off between the couple — which results in Love’s death after she attempts to temporarily paralyze Joe to hash out their issues — is perhaps the only way to end a season as wild as YOU’s third outing, which had “a lot of balls in the air” compared to the first two seasons, showrunner Sera Gamble tells Bustle.
When the series picks up, Joe and Love are married and adjusting to new parenthood with their son Henry. “It’s not as cut and dried when you get into marriage as when you just, like, meet a girl in New York City and hurl yourself at happily ever after,” Gamble says. “We knew that this would be a little bit more complicated [and that] there’d be more twists and turns in the relationship, because marriage is just more complicated. Parenthood is just more complicated.”
After a season of trying to ingratiate himself to the well-off San Francisco suburb of Madre Linda, Joe fakes his death and goes on the run in hopes of reuniting with Marienne in Paris. Below, Gamble breaks down what the final twists of YOU Season 3 mean for Joe’s future.
Why Did Joe Kill Love?
Joe and Love’s allegiance to each other shifts more than a few times throughout the season, ending in a showdown between a man obsessed and a woman scorned. Joe comes out on top, killing Love and framing her for all of their crimes — including the ones he committed alone.
Gamble says Love was always meant to die. “We always planned to do this two-season arc with [Love], and we talked about it with [star Victoria Pedretti] the day we met her,” Gamble says. Still, she acknowledges that there were times when they thought about keeping Love around. “It’s always really tempting, especially when you’re working with actors of this caliber.”
Ultimately, the purpose of Love’s story was to illustrate the gender dynamics that separate her and Joe. And by the end of Season 3, the writers felt they had achieved that. “This is a show that explores how quick we are to forgive men, and how quick we are to judge women. And it’s like, name a woman we judge more than mothers,” Gamble says. “We can have Love do crazy things but also have her make what I think are really strong points about being a mother and a woman and how impossible it is to please the world when you’re trying to raise a child.”
Why Did Joe Leave Henry?
When he flees Madre Linda, Joe leaves a lot of wreckage in his wake. He also leaves his son on his library coworker Dante’s doorstep. While abandoning a child isn’t usually considered great parenting, it’s a step forward for a serial killer. “I think that’s a bit of insight and growth for Joe, that he’s able to recognize at the end of the season that he maybe isn’t the best parent at the moment,” Gamble says.
Henry was also a driving factor in who got caught up in Joe and Love’s web. “If you are a new parent and you’re capable of caging and murdering people, what would drive you to that?” Gamble says. “It ended up being Gil in the cage because their baby was threatened by him.”
What Happened To Everyone Else In Madre Linda?
After Joe frames Love’s death as a murder-suicide and escapes to Paris under new cover, Madre Linda mostly gets back to business as usual. Theo (Dylan Arnold) survives Love’s attempt to murder him and reunites with his stepdad Matthew (Scott Speedman). Sherry (Shalita Grant) and Cary (Travis VanWinkle) also successfully escape their imprisonment in Joe and Love’s cage after finding a secret key and capitalize on their trauma by giving motivational talks about how the experience strengthened them as a couple.
Gamble says the team knew they wanted Sherry and Cary to end up in the cage to contrast the strengths of their relationship against Joe and Love’s and worked backwards from there. “It was sort of our marriage counseling 2.0: Joe and Love do it in a therapist’s office, Sherry and Cary do it in a cage.”
Will Joe Find Marienne?
Love initially invites Marienne over intending to kill her, but after sharing a moment with her and her daughter, she decides to simply warn Marienne about Joe, advising her to run as far away from him as possible. Should Joe succeed in finding Marienne, don’t expect him to get his happy ending. “If [Joe] wasn’t murdering people all the time then maybe [he and Marienne] would co-parent and read a lot of books and run a library … but that [relationship]’s just not gonna work,” Gamble says.
What Does This All Mean For YOU Season 4?
When we last see Joe, he’s back to his old habits: hunting down Marienne in Paris, hoping to live happily ever after. “He does keep walking closer and closer to these truths about himself,” Gamble says of Joe’s emotional evolution. “But at the same time he is still fundamentally working off of this principle — I personally think he’s mistaken — which is that you can find what you need outside of yourself in other people.”
Though Joe has grown in some ways, he’s still a creepy stalker and murderer, and he’ll be back up to his old antics come Season 4. “Periodically Penn checks in with me and is like, ‘Are we gonna redeem him?’” Gamble laughs. “And I say ‘No…’ and he goes ‘Good, just making sure.’”