YOU Season 3 is on Netflix and boy are our minds reeling from everything that unfolded. Describing Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) and his wife Love Quinn-Goldberg (Victoria Pedretti) as a complicated couple would be the understatement of the year.
The season picks up from where it left off, with the pair about to welcome a baby and move into the posh suburb of Madre Linda, California. Cue the roster of the filthy rich and us saying RIP to every character we meet. Season 3 finds Love and Joe attempting to be a normal couple but failing horribly after falling into old patterns. And by old patterns we mean Joe obsessing over a new woman and Love murdering anyone Joe lays eyes on. TBH, we’re torn between praising a show this good and also suing the writer for the mental damage caused by The Many Layers of Messed Up we had to sit through.
But anyway, when it comes down to it, who between Love and Joe is the more messed up character? Here’s our verdict divided into categories.
WARNING: Major spoilers ahead!!!
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Let’s start off with the most glaringly obvious one. It’s safe to assume we mean “body count” as in the number of people they killed and not who they slept with. Love and Joe have a lot of blood on their hands (and later, lots of people they slept with too). Starting from Season 1, these are Joe’s victims in chronological order:
- His mom’s boyfriend who he shot after he saw him hurting her.
- Elijah Thornton (Esteban Benito), Joe’s ex-girlfriend Candace (Ambyr Childers) cheated on him with.
- Ron (Daniel Cosgrove), the abusive father next door.
- Benji Ashby (Lou Taylor Pucci), Guinevere Beck’s (Elizabeth Lail) former lover.
- Peach Salinger (Shay Mitchell), Beck’s bestie who got suspicious of Joe.
- Guinevere Beck, Joe’s girlfriend and the object of his obsession in Season 1.
- Jasper Krenn (Steven W. Bailey), tortured Joe to pay for stolen money that Joe didn’t steal.
- Henderson Bunter (Chris D’Elia), a comedian who’s also a predator of underage girls.
- Ryan Goodwin (Scott Michael Foster), the jerk ex-husband of Joe’s latest obsession.
- Love Quinn-Goldberg, his wife whom he overdosed with wolfsbane poison
Now, who has Love killed?
- Sofia (Brooke Johnson), her and Forty’s sexually abusive au pair.
- James Kennedy (Daniel Durant), Love’s ex-husband she accidentally poisoned.
- Delilah Alves (Carmela Zumbado) died because Love wanted to protect Joe.
- Candace Stone was believed to have been murdered by Joe earlier. She was alive alright but ended up murdered by Love.
- Natalie Engler (Michaela McManus) whom Love killed in a fit of jealousy after she found Joe’s mementos.
Final count, Joe killed 10 people to Love’s 5.
We didn’t even add Gil (Mackenzie Astin), another Madre Linda resident Love whacked in the head after she realized his unvaccinated kids gave Henry the measles. Gil was trapped in the iconic glass cage but he later hanged himself after Joe and Love dug up some dirt about him. Not to mention the adorable and innocent Theo Engler (Dylan Arnold) who Love also clocked on the head. Thankfully, Theo survived.
Verdict: Love might have done so many outrageous things this season, but it’s Joe who is clearly wins this round by a mile.
There’s not much of a comparison here since clearly a pair of murderers probably have their moral compasses pointing south. Take Love, for example, a murderer who kills people on a whim. Love goes with the flow of her unbridled emotions, killing people before she knows what’s happening. But props to her for holding back on killing Marienne (Tati Gabrielle) in front of her daughter. Saw a bit of a conscience peeking out for a sec.
Joe on the other hand is more calculating. He thinks about his moves — what to do next, where to dump the body — before he actually goes in for the kill. More often than not, Joe debates reasons in his head and rethinks the repercussions. He doesn’t murder spontaneously, only if it’s his last resort. In his head, he’s doing the right thing being the “savior” of the ones he cares about. He attempts to justify his murders by his desire to keep people safe.
Verdict: Love wins this round. Her lack of morals and twisted mindset caused everyone trouble. Not to mention she didn’t hesitate to kill Theo after she killed Natalie, not caring that Matthew Engler (Scott Speedman), Natalie’s husband and Theo’s father, would’ve been extremely devastated.
Taking responsibility for their actions
To Joe’s credit, he knows how to take responsibility. He hesitates to frame Matthew for Natalie’s death because he took pity on him. In YOU Season 3, we also discover he’s been sending Ellie money by selling rare books to support her. That’s because he felt guilty after leaving her in Los Angeles with a dead sister and no family. Instead of abandoning his son, Henry, Joe makes sure to leave him with a loving couple. Take out the murderer in the equation and Joe’s not that bad.
Love is the opposite. She delivers the blow and then bounces after, leaving Joe to deal with her mistakes. When she does take the responsibility, it’s pure evil. She digs up dirt on her victims so they don’t tell on her family, she hatches plots on how to take the police off their scent. Even Joe acknowledged she went overboard at some point.
Verdict: Although they might act responsibly occasionally, all of it stems from selfish desires. And just who is more messed up in taking the reins? It has to be Love again for this one because the moment she sees red, all responsibility flies out the window.
On being a good parent
Oh to have a mom like Love who is a fantastic baker and an equally amazing cook. Or a dad like Joe, a literary junkie who will make sure you grow up to be an intelligent human. Henry had it all. But while cooking and being an intellectual is included in everyone’s definition of adequate parents, the number one requirement is this:
They should not be murderers.
Granted, they love Henry in their own way. Joe took him to the library to bond with him and share a cute laugh, Love protected him from her mother’s antics. In the end, Joe, the serial murderer that he is, sought to save Henry from Love. His wife, however, suggested having another baby possibly in order to trap him more. Guess who’s more messed up?
Verdict: Let’s face it, YOU Season 3 just showed us these two aren’t good parents at all. But someone has to win (or lose) this round and it’s once again the stunning Love Quinn-Goldberg. Who brings their kid with them to bury a dead body?
Cheating on their partner
Love might have been the first one to physically cheat on Joe but he has always emotionally cheated with other women. First, it was Natalie, and then it was the soft-spoken librarian, Marienne. His obsession is the thing that started this whole story and Love knows all too well that it’s inevitable he will leave her side. That’s why jealousy and insecurity prompted her to finally give in to Theo. (BTW, while Theo is cute, he really was about to wreck a family and that is not cool.) But then in her delusion, she has the audacity to accuse Joe of cheating first.
Verdict: While they are both cheaters and cheaters are scum, this round goes to Joe. He knows in his heart of hearts he will never settle for anyone no matter how “in love” he could be. There would always be another woman more alluring than the last.
In YOU Season 3, Joe finally admits he has mommy issues, as in his mom abandoned him when he was young after he shot her boyfriend. And he’s been pretty attached to girls with the same emotional scar since then. Love, on the other hand, still has her mom but Dottie obviously played favorites with her twins often complaining about missing Forty. Dottie is rich and well off but she’s also troubled, insensitive, and an addict. She never protected her children from the nanny that assaulted Forty.
So what’s better, a mom that abandoned you or a mom that stuck around but wasn’t really present in your life?
Verdict: Love wins. A huge part of why Love is so messed up is because of her upbringing and her parents’ lack of affection. She always felt like she had to defend herself and do everything to keep her loved ones from leaving her. If Dottie intervened and believed the twins about their au pair, Love’s instinct to kill wouldn’t’ve sparked to life.
Loving each other/themselves
Do these cold-blooded psychopaths love each other? The best answer would be is that they did at one point. Joe wouldn’t pursue Love if he wasn’t obsessed with her in the beginning. But then she showed him what she’s capable of and in his eyes, it’s even more horrific than everything he has done. Here is a woman who could level with Joe and he doesn’t like it. Love’s selfish and possessive desire to keep Joe all to herself resulted in trapping him with a baby and then with their marriage.
However, for all their confidence going around murdering people, both Love and Joe are actually an insecure pair, if their productive therapy sessions are anything to go by. Love admitted that she’s afraid people will leave her when they find out her ugly side and Joe echoes that it’s good to know his wife is the only one who knows him warts and all. They fit each other like pieces of a puzzle from hell.
Verdict: Yup, it’s Love again. Love has been looking for her namesake for the longest time and she thought she found it with Joe. Now she’s ready to kill for her insecurities. She’s also the victim here, guys.
Love Quinn-Goldberg is the most messed-up character in YOU Season 3. But that’s only because she wasn’t afraid to reveal her true colors and kill for the ones she loved. We all know Joe is equally as unhinged, underneath all his good citizen facade, he is capable of doing worse things. In the end, Joe was the one to deliver the final blow and Love is now wherever Forty is. We’ve got a fourth season coming, who knows, maybe Joe will become even more messed up than his dead wife this time around.
YOU Season 3 is now streaming on Netflix.