[Warning: The following contains spoilers for You Season 3! Read at your own risk]
You Season 3 was the bloodiest season yet, with Joe (Penn Badgley) and Love (Victoria Pedretti) killing four more people between them and maiming another four more. However, Joe managed to escape once again -- albeit without a few toes -- and has his eyes set on a new obsession as the series heads into Season 4.
"Realistically, [Joe] could [keep murdering] until long after all of us are dead," series creator and showrunner Sera Gamble replied to TV Guide when asked how long she sees Joe's deadly journey lasting. "Part of the discovery of the show is that, 'Good lord, Joe Goldberg can really get away with sh--.' If you're asking me how long the show should go, I am too superstitious to say. I will just say that we have ideas that I am very excited about for another season, but I don't want to say anything to anger the TV Gods."
Of course, for Joe to be going after someone new means that Love didn't survive the season. After attempting couple's therapy, Joe's compulsive need to stalk women and Love's violent jealousy just didn't make the right recipe for a lasting relationship. Love fought hard to keep her marriage afloat, but when she realized that Joe was planning to ditch her for his boss Marienne (Tati Gabrielle), things went even further off the rails. Not only did Love tell Marienne that Joe was the one to kill her abusive ex (Scott Michael Foster), but she warned that Joe was toxic and wouldn't stop until he had claimed Marienne for his own so she should run out of town and never look back. As payback, Joe injected Love with a lethal amount of the paralytic she had tried to use on him to convince him to stay. Then he hacked off a few of his own toes, threw them in a pie, blew up the house, and sent a community watch-wide e-mail from Love claiming responsibility for all of their crimes and killing Joe. We last saw Joe hanging out in Paris, going by the name Nick now, and looking around every corner to find Marienne, vowing to find her.
This sets up a dynamic we haven't seen on You before, with Joe actively pursuing a woman who has been told the truth about who he is. While we hope Marienne is smart enough to stay undercover, Gamble warned not to underestimate Joe's abilities to spin the truth.
"I believe he stands a real chance of making that situation look different, like convince her in some way that it's not what it was," she said. "But definitely the dynamic [at the end of] this season is 'Oh, she's getting away from him.' This is a smart woman who has been told the truth and she is not wasting time. She's not in the business anymore of forgiving bad men."
While Joe might be solely focused on Marienne at the moment, he's left a lot of people behind who might believe that he's dead, but are also aware of his and Love's murdery habits -- namely their former neighbor and cyber security expert Matthew (Scott Speedman). Those loose threads pose a lot of danger if they ever catch wind that Joe wasn't in the house when it blew up.
"I think he has periods of awareness where he realizes all he's done and all the people he's left alive. That's why he's always super suspicious and freaking out all the time," Penn Badgley expounded. "He is deathly afraid that he's left a trail of breadcrumbs behind him. That just makes him this suspicious, awful person, repeating toxic patterns."
As those patterns continue, Joe seems to be losing his grip on any kind of morality. While he objected several times to Love's impulsive killings, he went full-on psychopath when it came to killing Marienne's ex. As the series progresses, Joe's bloodlust is getting harder to satisfy, even if he is in denial about it.
"I think he walks up to the edge of self-awareness, and there are things that he learns about this season. I mean, he's literally in therapy so he's getting all of these insights into [himself]. At one point he has a complete lightbulb about mommy issues, for example," Gamble countered. "He's also de-evolving. He's exposing himself to more and more extreme things. I personally, wouldn't say he's going less crazy over the course of the series."
Joe going farther and farther down a dark path mentally begs the question; when Joe inevitably finds Marienne, is there any potential for her to be the ideal soulmate that Joe has been looking for over the past three seasons? No one else has survived being the object of Joe's obsession.
"No," Badgley said definitively. "The whole point is that if there was [an ideal] someone, it would have been Love. What more do you want, bro? She knows all of it and she does that too. What more do you want? Literally, what more do you want? I think that's the whole point."
Gamble agrees that Joe won't find the validation he's looking for in another person, which means that there is no good news for Marienne in the fact that he hasn't been able to let her go.
"His whole quest that he's on is the wrong one because he's looking outside of himself for something that another person will never really be able to give [him]. Real life doesn't work the way that white-house-picket-fence fantasy of romantic and familial love -- that's just not the truth," the showrunner added. "That's a mistake he makes over, and over, and over again and we haven't gotten tired of it yet. There's a lot of iterations of it to explore."
You Season 3 is now streaming on Netflix. The series has already been renewed for Season 4.