Somebody’s Eyes Are Watching

The new Netflix series "You" sparks suspense and excitement in young adult viewers

photo from Lifetime

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Have you ever felt like someone was watching you? Following you? Stealing your personal belongings and hacking into all of your private accounts? Well, the new hit show You dives right into the life of a stalker and all of his inner thoughts. The audience experiences a first-hand account of the life of a sociopath and all of the deranged actions he does for love.

Let me just start off by saying that this show is insane. Utterly, completely insane.

From the very beginning of the first episode, we are introduced to Joe Goldberg (played by Penn Badgely, former star of the hit drama Gossip Girl). He is an average, probably 24 or 25-year old, male who is the manager of a bookstore in Manhattan. Joe’s voice-over narration allows the audience to hear all of his deranged thoughts and emotions. His dark narration begins as he is describing a girl walking around the bookstore; he begins commenting on her taste in literature and ultimately decides that she will be his new target for love. We soon learn the girl’s name is Guinevere Beck, or just “Beck,” a grad student living in New York City trying to make her writing career take off. Joe’s inner monologue addresses her throughout the entire series.

The show quickly turns into a creepy story when Joe finds and goes through all of her easily accessible social media accounts, all of which are as open as her curtainless apartment that Joe starts spending much of his time peering into. He even starts going out with Beck and her friends and sits at just the right distance so he can hear her but she can’t see him.

As the stalker side of Joe is unleashed, the genuine and average Joe tries to start a casual relationship with Beck (during the time he’s not stalking her). He then learns about Benji, a certain “friend” of Beck’s and decides he must protect her from this man at all costs. He kidnaps Benji and tortures him in a soundproof box in the basement of the bookstore.  After all, Benji is just an obstacle standing in the way of their love.

The voice-over narration works extremely well in You because we understand the mind of a man who thinks the only way to love someone is to have full control over them. We later learn that Joe has this mindset because of the mental abuse he suffered as a child. While this does not give any sort of excuse for torturing and killing people, at least we kind of understand his reasoning for his insanity.

As the series progresses, Joe’s obsession with Beck becomes more and more severe. He stalks her friends and almost everyone she encounters on a daily basis due to his resolve that he must eliminate all competition for her attention. Every time he goes through a situation in his mind, he starts out by saying “That’s crazy. Only an insane person could do something like that.” However, as he thinks more about Beck and how to “help” her, he rationalizes the benefits of committing major felonies. This in and of itself is what makes this plot so twisted. Such an innocent-looking person could quite possibly be a sociopath with very scary intentions.

I think what is so crazy about this show is that Joe seems so normal (when he’s not being completely psychotic). His charismatic charm around Beck is astonishing; he could have just killed one of her friends and she would never know anything is off. Joe even has a special friendship with Paco, a young boy who lives with his mother and her substance-addict boyfriend. He teaches Paco many life lessons, all of which come full circle in the series finale when the entire plot spirals.

You dives into many real-life issues, including modern dating and female empowerment. Although the premise is creepy and quite perverted, I would recommend this show to anyone who is looking to be surprised and kept on edge. This thrilling series holds so many plot twists and suspenseful moments that it will not disappoint.