You season 2: Penn Badgley’s Joe is in a new city and has a new name, but he’s as creepy as ever

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Hannah-Rose Yee
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You season 2: Penn Badgley and Victoria Pedretti.

The second season of the stalker series we all binged last year is coming to Netflix very, very soon. Here’s everything you need to know about the new episodes. 

When You premiered on Lifetime in the middle of 2018 it did so to very little interest or acclaim.

But when the entire first series dropped onto Netflix in December last year it was a different story altogether. Searches for the show spiked on Google and social media was flooded with posts about the series and, in particular, the way it dealt with the narrative of a man whose romantic overtures shifted over the course of the series from courtly to downright creepy.

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You season 2: Penn Badgley has an important message for anyone who’s fallen for Joe

Joe, played by Penn Badgley, wasn’t a good boyfriend, he was a stalker and a violent murderer. And the object of all his affections, Beck (Elizabeth Lail), was a complicated and, at times, unlikeable female character. In short, the series upended the stereotypical romantic comedy narrative to expose just how toxic the genre has become.

Now that it’s coming back for a second season, based on author Caroline Kepnes’ second novel Hidden Bodies, here’s everything you need to know.

Is there a trailer for You season two?

On 16 December, Netflix finally dropped the trailer for the second season of the show. Are you ready for this?

 In the trailer, the murderous bookstore manager heads to Los Angeles for a “fresh start”.

It isn’t long, however, before his ex Candace (Ambyr Childers) is back on the scene, and she’s keen to deal with their “unfinished business.”

“You did it again, didn’t you?” she says in the trailer, presumably referring to the ill-fated Beck of season one.

Despite Candace working overtime to teach Joe a lesson he won’t forget, he soon finds himself falling head over heels for someone new. However, judging by that mournful cover of Radiohead’s Creep playing in the background, it seems as if Love (Victoria Pedretti) could be about to become Joe’s latest victim…

What is the release date of You season two? 

You season two is dropping on Netflix on 26 December, Boxing Day. Perfect timing, right? Just when you will have emerged from your Christmas Day stupor, Netflix and season two of You will be there ripe for the bingeing. Enjoy. 

Who is in the cast of You season two?

Anyone who hasn’t made it to the end of You season one, look away now, spoilers lie ahead. For those who have made it, then you know that by the conclusion of the season most of the original cast of You is dead, and at the hands of Joe, too.

Season two of You is going to feature a brand new female lead called, incredibly, Love. She will be played by Victoria Pedretti of The Haunting of Hill House and Quentin Tarantino’s forthcoming Once Upon A Time In Hollywood fame. 

Victoria Pedretti

Joining Pedretti and Badgley is Heathers’ James Scully, who will play Love’s brother Forty, a man working his way through a 12-step addiction program. Jenna Ortega from Jane the Virgin will also star in You as teenager Ellie, an ingenious con artist whose tricks and schemes fool the adults in her life.  

Who are the new characters in You season two? 

There will be two new characters joining the second season of the Netflix thriller, characters that don’t appear in Caroline Kepnes’ original book series. 

The first is Sunrise, a stay-at-home “mommy blogger” in Los Angeles raising a toddler with her partner Lucy and the second is Sandy, a mysterious woman from Joe’s past who comes back to haunt him. (Sidebar: Does anyone else think this sounds like the plot of the Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick movie A Simple Favour directed by Last Christmas’ Paul Feig? Considering how razor-sharp that movie was, we’re not complaining.) 

Heathers’ Melanie Field will play Sunrise and Magda Apanowicz, from The Magicians, will take on the role of Sandy. We knew that Joe couldn’t run from his history forever. Here’s hoping that Sandy is ready to serve a big dollop of comeuppance to this awful man. 

Also joining season two of You is Charlie Barnett, who you might have seen most recently on Russian Doll. He will be starring as Gabe, the best friend of Joe’s new target Love. We all know how things ended for Beck’s best friend in the first season – spoiler, not well – so our advice to Gabe is to watch his back. 

What is the plot of You season two?

After the violent events of season one, You’s second set of episodes opens with Joe leaving behind his past life in New York to start fresh in Los Angeles, including getting a new name, as a trailer for the show tells us.

We see Joe walk into a coffee shop, and as he looks at a woman taking a selfie, a man eating a muffin and a woman typing on her laptop, we’re treated to Joe’s inner monologue.

“You know, love has taken me to some pretty dark places but Los Angeles has got to be as dark as it gets,” he says.

“Your followers see an image and imagine you’re on top of the world. What they don’t see is the effort you’re putting into this fantasy. You’re hiding behind this facade, but why?

“You tell yourself you live off the earth, but that deep breath isn’t you savouring the gluten free muffin. You’re preening your ego and breaking an intermittent fast.

“If it was actually a story of substance, I could forgive you for writing a screenplay instead of a book, but you’re not writing anything groundbreaking. You tell yourself you are but you’re not.”

And then comes the kicker, as Joe reveals he’s also hiding behind (yet another) facade.

“See, that’s the thing about Los Angeles, everyone’s pretending to be somebody they’re not,” he thinks, just before a barista asks him his name. “I’m Will,” he replies.

Showrunner Sera Gamble previously told EW that Joe isn’t looking for love when he meets Love: “He’s truly heartbroken by what has happened, and so what Love offers is a different kind of friendship and a different kind of relationship.” 

You season 2: Heathers’ James Scully, who plays Love’s brother Forty, with Penn Badgley as Joe/Will.
You season 2: Heathers’ James Scully, who plays Love’s brother Forty, with Penn Badgley as Joe/Will.

Unlike Beck, Love is removed from the word of social media and works in a posh food store to pay the bills. (She’s a chef by trade.) And, according to the character synopsis, Love and Joe share a pretty unique bond. “She is also tending to a deep grief, and when she meets Joe, she senses a shared knowledge of profound, life-changing loss.”

Love’s presence is going to radically shift the tone of the series. “[Love] is very warm and there is a carefree aspect to her spirit that really comes from the fact that she has constructed a life for herself that’s about being in the moment and doing what she loves every day,” Gamble mused. “In that way, she’s very very different than the woman that you got to know in season one, Beck.” 

But… what about Beck?

Again, spoiler alert for those who haven’t made it to the end of season one, but… Do we think that Beck is really dead?

At the end of season one, Beck has discovered Joe’s nasty box of souvenirs from previous stalker relationships and finds herself imprisoned in his bookshop dungeon. Beck tries and fails to escape, and the last we see of her is Joe looming over her menacingly. Cut to characters talking about Beck’s death and the arrest of her therapist, framed for the murder.

What happened to Beck?

Lail herself seemed to confirm her character’s death in an interview with Vulture. “I thought it was gonna be some heroic justice at the end, but it’s more true to life that she does die, unfortunately,” Lail said. “It’s more likely that someone would die in that situation… Poor Penn. It’s just him and no-one else [in season two]. He’s just a one-man show.”

But let’s just be the voice of dissent for a second here: we didn’t actually see her die. There were no shots of a dead body, no hard cut to desolate mourners in the rain at a cemetery. And we hate to say it but… Maybe she might not actually be dead? 

It’s the Widows (or literally any superhero movie) rule: if you don’t see them die onscreen, they’re probably still alive. Having said that, we argued the same thing about Bodyguard, apropos of Home Secretary Julia Montague never actually carking it in front of our eyes, and she still ended up being genuinely, properly dead by the end of that series. So take this theory with a grain of salt. 

But wouldn’t the surprise return of Beck, quite literally back with a vengeance, make for a fantastic season two of You(Ed’s note: Beck dies in the book, so there.)

When can we watch You season two?

26 December, baby. Happy Christmas! 

Images: Netflix


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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer based in London. You can find her on the internet talking about movies, television and Chris Pine.

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