TV Review: 'You' Still Has It In Fantastic Season 2 Premiere

You Joe Goldberg Penn Badgley Netflix
“You” still has it! The Netflix hit’s fantastic Season 2 premiere does not miss a beat from where it left off as Joe (Penn Badgley) arrives in sunny Los Angeles for a reset. Introducing himself as Will, “You” picks up with Joe settling down in the City of Angels. A move that shakes up the dramatic thriller. The first season took place in New York City.

Wittingly or not, Joe seems to like getting lost in big cities, and Los Angeles is the perfect place for “You” to continue following him. Not too long after arriving, Joe has a new job that is bookstore adjacent. A swanky grocery store houses it (think Whole Foods). “You” knows what works, and it leverages it entirely in the Season 2 premiere.

Viewers’ invitation into Joe’s dark mind and rationale remain intact. They still get an inside peek into Joe’s inner monologues and the double life he leads. The writing does not miss a single step. It is absolutely sizzling. Joe’s new obsession, Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti), is introduced in the Season 2 premiere. Love is an enchanting foodie with a beguiling personality.

Joe and Love’s paths cross in a way that should surprise those watching. “You” does not retread any territory where its previous season is concerned. Love and Beck are both very different characters. The Season 2 premiere sets up Joe and Love's dynamic in a way that completely distinguishes itself from his and Beck's last season.

“You” could have settled into the formula it established in its first season and still found success. Instead, it continually challenges itself in the Season 2 premiere, pushing beyond the bounds of expectations. There is not a risk it is unwilling to take or corner it is frightened of drawing Joe into. A feat in television that only counts “The Blacklist” as an equal.

It is an ambition that also recalls the standout “Bates Motel.” For those familiar with this site, you know what high praise that is. Like that series’ approach to Norman Bates, “You” does not shy away from delving into the psychosis that drives Joe’s dangerous rationalization as the Season 2 premiere unearths new threads of his backstory.

Speaking of Joe, Penn Badgley is back in terrifically sharp form in “You.” His performance as Joe resumes with flawless continuity. Badgley’s voiceover remains one of the best ever, and Season 2 gives him marvelous monologues to keep proving why that is.

There is so much that Penn Badgley conveys in his voice. In doing the narration, Badgley essentially creates another version of Joe, which showcases his remarkable versatility. Badgley plays every nook and cranny of this character to the hilt, and his new co-star more than keeps up with him.

Victoria Pedretti is sensational as Love Quinn. Her exuberant performance pulls you in, right from the get-go. It is a turn teeming with engaging charm. She has a megawatt personality. Hence, the thought of her dimming in any way is beyond crushing to contemplate. “You” knows that viewers know she is in extreme danger, which creates tremendous fear for her and others' welfare.

Heading into Season 2, I will admit there were nerves. “You” was the best show on TV last year. It shows no sign of hitting a sophomore slump. Series showrunner, Sera Gamble, has delivered an electrifying second act. The writing is intricate, compelling, and swiftly told. Every piece of its dialogue flows as its plot developments remain sensical and suspenseful.

One unexpected holdover from the former Lifetime series is the commercial breaks in the Season 2 premiere. While unusual for a Netflix original, which usually features no such transitions, it works for “You.” The fade-outs give the series a little something to build towards. Not that “You” needs help conjuring momentum.

The new characters surrounding Joe are wonderful. “You” continues to leave this viewer, asking a question that few shows really leave you wondering the answer to. What is going to happen next? In a show that is continually taking the darkest detours, you know there is no safe guess. In keeping that tension alive, the Season 2 premiere proves “You” is still on the top of its game.

Rating: 9.5/10

Season 1 and Season 2 of “You” are currently streaming on Netflix.

[Featured Image by Beth Dubber / Netflix]