– Han Spinel (mostly-spoiler-free review; brief plot details, and some story direction)
I just finished watching season 2 of ‘You’ (2018- ?), the Netflix series following the obsessive stalker and serial killer, Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley), which is based on Caroline Kepnes’ ongoing series of Novels. Full disclosure, I didn’t watch season 1, and in being inspired by the subject of this article, I don’t really have a desire to if I’m being honest. But here’s why you should watch season 2 – Victoria Pedretti.I wasn’t exactly a fan of the show after the first couple of episodes, nor am I necessarily a fan of the show enough to be awaiting official news of a Season 3 renewal, but you can specifically consider me a fan of Victoria Pedretti. Pedretti plays the above-all-else-truth-seeking Love Quinn, who instantly becomes the object of obsession for Joe. The season centers around Joe becoming infatuated with the idea of “Love,” but quickly discovers and slowly grapples with the challenges of defining and holding onto true love. Pedretti’s Love, in all likelihood, represents a meta examination of love in its, and her(Love), many forms while contextualizing Joe’s backstory and the personal hurdles he ultimately appears to be incapable of overcoming. Kudos to Kepnes et al.
I do not like Joe. I was constantly rooting for him to die or be caught. What? Joe’s backstory is certainly sympathetic, and arguments can be made about some of his actions being narratively good, but a dark knight he is not. In other words, we just can’t trust Joe’s chaotic moral compass, and isn’t trust the foundation of any good love story?This is where Pedretti’s Love comes in with all the charming smiles, breathy sincerity, and fearless truth that one might desire to find at first sight. You might say Pedretti’s Love joined this story to explore unconditional care within the context of confession, and as it pertains to getting characters to stop hiding behind their metaphorical masks (Love’s brother included). Love has a way of cutting to the heart of the matter, and gives ‘You’ hope that her truth-seeking intentions might help Joe become exposed to himself if not the story he hides from (and if you’re like me, the law, if not just consequence, ha).But Pedretti’s Love embodies so much more than truth and consequence alone: Love is patient, Love is kind, Love showers ‘You’ with sparkling spontaneity. And yet, we can never quite get close enough to Love because of a sadness that seems just out of reach from our grasp. Truly, one faces many difficulties when attempting to describe how multidimensional Love(love?) can be.
And during the season’s finale, Love doesn’t shy away from grand gestures: Pedretti sweeps the show off its feet by showcasing her full dynamic range as an actor. It seems Love has long lived on the edge of darkness, and is willing to go to hell and back for the people she cares for… as any true love would. Pedretti shatters her character into a broken window that frames the choices some are forced to make in complete isolation, the inner demons that haunt said choices, and what self-conscious remains to discern right from wrong. ‘You’ seems to be asking if love, true love, Love’s love, is enough to conquer all? Can Love(love?) alone pull Joe out from his moral event horizon? And if so, what would this love(Love?) even look like? Could this Love(love?) last? Pedretti’s performance provides every emotion and heart-breaking detail one might need to begin addressing such questions. And make no mistake, Pedretti’s chops are demonstrated throughout the season (not just the finale) from moments of such infectious joy that even I almost forgot how much I didn’t like Joe (what?), to her fiery resolve when wrongly crossed. Indeed, one should never cross Love.
So, while anxiety might fill my personal outlook for Love’s adapted future in-universe, I’m happily anticipating the future career and characters of Victoria Pedretti. In my opinion, her performance alone is worth your time invested in season 2 of ‘You.’ For more Victoria Pedretti, you can find her in the Netflix series ‘The Haunting of Hill House‘ (2018-on going) and Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Once upon a Time… in Hollywood‘ (2019).
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