Wednesday, September 12, 2018

You - Pilot

The "Pilot" for You is one of the creepiest concepts I've seen on cable television. No magic, beasts, or sci-fi creatures here, the horror comes from every day life. Presented from the view of bookstore manager Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley), the show's first episode introduces Joe and the audience to the beautiful Guinevere Beck (Elizabeth Lail) who immediately infatuates Joe. Outwardly a pretty nice guy, Joe helps the teenage neighbor whose parents often go at it, and certainly comes off charming to those he meets. He's also a stalker who goes to great lengths to dive into Beck's life from stalking her on social media, to following her around town and listening in to her conversations with friends (led by Shay Mitchell), to breaking into her home and rifling through her computer and phone.

Less bloody than Dexter, the first episode of You is far more insidious in the kinds of attacks perpetrated by our protagonist. What's obvious pretty early is there is something wrong with Joe, who is constant abscribing hidden meaning to Beck's actions and dreaming of their future life together, but the twist here is that he is our protagonist and, outside of his growing obsession with Beck, appears at first to be a reasonably good guy. The problem is the stalking is the majority of who and what Joe is and it escalates quickly (even to the point of masturbating outside her apartment to feel closer to the object of his desire). Wrapping his obsession as romantic ideals, Joe eventually finds his way into Beck's life. The question here becomes just how far is he willing to go to stay there (as we see in final scenes violence is no hurdle), and how long can he keep the truth from the woman he genuinely seems to care for (albeit in one hell of a creepy ass way).

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