And the twisted tale continues.
You’d half expect one would need to take a shower to wash off the icky midway through YOU Season 2, but you get desensitized to it after a while.
The highly anticipated Candace and Joe reunion in LA did NOT disappoint.
The first hour gave us a myriad of flashbacks, and it was a particularly inspired move on the writers’ part. We’ve learned how easy it is to get wrapped up in Joe’s shenanigans.
You spend enough time in the man’s head and seeing things from his perspective, and you grow accustomed to his way of thinking and begrudgingly accept some of his actions.
However, thanks to those flashbacks, we were able to see things from Candace’s perspective. The viewpoint of one of Joe’s victims is essential to processing how horrific his actions are — how vile he is.
Candace’s flashbacks and her verbal sparring with Joe juxtaposed with Joe’s utter devotion to Love and being the perfect boyfriend was brilliantly done.
Forty joked about it later on, but it is like Joe has two different personalities. Once he decides you’re on the outs with him, it can turn ugly and deadly.
Candace: Will Bettelheim. What a great name. Almost sounds made up.
Joe Voiceover: Is she trying to spar with me?
Joe: It’s funny, I was just thinking Amy Adam, how totally ungoogleable.
We know Joe used to look at Candace the same way he does with Love, to a degree. Oddly, his relationship with Love does feel different than what we know of his dynamic with Candace, Beck, and hell, even Karen.
He loves her different. He claimed the previous obsessions were mere infatuations, and Love is the real deal. It’s something It’s not unlike things he said before about Beck.
However, we’ve spent a lot of time watching their relationship unfold. He didn’t go in with any delusions about the woman he was obsessed over. He did get to know her for who she is, and he hasn’t attempted to fit her into a mold of his design.
Like the kids say, fuck my life.
He knows her bit by bit because of how forthcoming she is about who she is, and he loves her. If he wasn’t Joe, you wouldn’t question the authenticity of their relationship.
Meeting the parents was a huge step for them. At the risk of sounding like Joe, the wellness/ renewal ceremony was the most pretentious, absurd demonstration the series has put forth to date.
Dios, the white linen, and tent/huts, and the wolf. What the hell was the wolf thing?
They say when it comes to reading people, always trust the intuition of animals and babies. The wolf was not feeling Joe at all. It knew what was up.
Ray and Dottie were characters, but they failed to come across as hokey caricatures, so kudos.
Dottie: Ah, to be young.
Joe: Oh you’re still young.
Dottie: Tell that to my vagina. No one warns you one day you wake up dryer than the Sahara.
Ray’s steadfast disdain for Forty and Dottie hitting on Joe and speaking about her dried up vagina only to slap the hell out of her daughter later were a journey for that hour.
Joe impressed her parents, but it’s not worth much here. It would be easy to call out the Quinn family for being toxic as hell and the parents for being awful, but it’s more to it than that.
It’s not unreasonable for Ray to want Forty to get his life together. Forty is a mess, but then, when you learn more about his background, you understand why.
It’s not eczema, Forty. Addiction is not an on and off thing, and it’s no excuse for being a bum.
Tragedy mars the backgrounds of nearly all the characters. Initially, it seems a bit heavy-handed, but then it’s not only realistic, but it serves a larger purpose of showing how they’ve coped with their pasts.
It hits home the point that people like Joe — their sad childhoods don’t excuse their behavior. He’s one of the most judgmental individuals in existence, but he allows his past to define him.
He does this while criticizing how others grapple with their demons, too. But also, tragedies and traumas manifest themselves in different ways for everyone.
Forty is an overwhelming figure and a disaster child, but the reasoning makes sense.
Of course, your brother destroyed my life. Our life. I was trying to help you, Love. Altruism is dangerous.
His first love committed statutory rape. His parents focused on keeping it under wraps and throwing money at the problem instead of dealing with it properly. She killed herself, and Forty was the one who found her.
It’s more than enough to mess a person up, and he never received the help he deserved. Instead, it was Love’s job to look after him.
Love is like a helicopter parent, so he reservations about Candace stemmed from the eventual spiral Forty would go down when he failed to get his father’s approval with his latest girlfriend.
Forty was like a puppy following Ray around trying to get his father to notice him. It was pathetic and sad.
And when he didn’t get what he was seeking, he turned to drugs again. You can’t be sober for another person, and it’s a hell of a burden to put on those around him.
If you take your eyes off of him for a second, he’s doing crack in a hut. And if you don’t strap him down, he’s making a spectacle at his parents’ ceremony.
Forty was a mess, but Love was unraveling. Your heart aches for her. She’s caught in this web of love and toxicity, and it’s family.
It’s harder to untangle yourself when it’s family. It’s a kind of loyalty, love, and devotion that you can’t part ways with, and sometimes you don’t want to do it.
Dottie: You’ve done enough. All you ever have to do is keep your brother safe. You’ve failed.
Love: You’re a fucking hypocrite!
YOU captured the complexities of family dynamics and ties well. Nothing was more striking than Dottie’s response to Love. Sorry, pun unintended.
Love and Forty are twins, but Love behaves and is often treated like the eldest daughter. It should be endless studies on the dynamic of the eldest daughter in families (there are a few, but there could be more).
For some reason, more responsibility is always placed on the oldest girl to serve as the caretaker of her siblings, specifically the boys.
Love: The thing is people take advantage of people with money. That’s just a fact. I’m not going to apologize for protecting my family. Ever.
Joe Voiceover: Privilege check. Aisle one.
Love’s relationship with her brother is a spot-on depiction of that. Her parents, namely her mother, place impossible standards on her. They shift the parental role to her, making her share the duty of protecting and caring for her brother.
Forty lacks agency; they don’t hold him accountable for his actions as if he’s “just a kid,” but Love is a failure if Forty screws up since she’s the responsible adult.
It’s classic. Joe saw it for what it was worth, and she loves him because of his willingness to share the burden with her. She wants and needs someone to help her get through all of the crazy.
They had their first fight because of his inability to share the load in the way she deemed fit. But he goes above and beyond, and he even connects to Love due to their past experiences.
Love: Can I tell you I love you yet?
Joe: Whenever you’re ready. In the meantime, let me say it. I love you, Love. It’s a complicated word.
Joe: Is their another word? Our word.
Love: Um. I wolf you.
Joe: I wolf you too.
Love: It’s like you’re part of my pack.
Joe: I am your pack.
They have such soft, tender moments, and in those quiet moments, your heart breaks for Love. Joe is giving her what she needs, but it’s all a lie.
Jumping back and forth from those tender moments with Love and Joe to the chilling scenes he shared with Candace was an emotional ride.
Before the flashbacks, you viewed Candace as a woman out for revenge. She was intimidating, determined, and strong-willed.
She and Joe spent both installments engaging in this game of cat and mouse. They both were using the Quinns as their battleground to get to each other.
Joe: I’m not afraid of you anymore. If you really had something on me, you would have turned me in already.
Candace: I’m not afraid of you either.
Joe: Why would you be afraid of me? Candace, it was an accident. End of story. I never tried to kill you.
Candace: You know what they say? You never know if you’re fight or flight until you’re forced to find out. Turns out, I’m fight. So now I’ve found you. I’m not going anywhere, and I don’t care what you tell yourself because all I have to do is wait for you to mess up. Murder has a way of following you, and you’re not getting away with it.
But Candace isn’t this invincible, avenging angel or antagonist. She’s a scared victim.
She’s petrified of Joe. She has reason to be, too. It was like someone hit the pause button on their games to remind us of the gravity of the situation and how it affects Candace.
The fear in her eyes, when left alone with him, was all too real. The idea of hugging him triggered her and sent her on a near spiral. She was barely keeping it together.
Candace’s flashbacks to what happened to her were stomach-churning. He kidnapped her and took her out to the woods for a romantic picnic.
Candace: What am I supposed to do?
Officer: He thinks you’re dead. You want really off the record advice? Stay that way.
Candace: This is unreal
And when she tried to run, he went after her. He didn’t mean to knock her head into a rock, but he never intends to murder half the people he has killed.
He thought she was dead, so he buried and left her. Candace climbed out of a grave he dug and threw her in. How do you come back from that?
And when she went to the police, in true, disturbing form, there wasn’t enough evidence to suggest he did anything to her.
The cop told Candace that between her record, and the lack of evidence, the best they could do was a restraining order and call it a domestic dispute.
He thought he killed her, buried her body, and she lived to see another day only for a cop to tell her it was a domestic disturbance.
Candace coming here crosses a line. I need a new plan. If you think about it, she’s already living on borrowed time. She resurrected like some sort of ginger vampire. To suck my life away. Dealing with her is nothing but balancing the cosmic scales. It’s not safe her walking around free. She’s dangerous not just to me. To your brother. To you.
Fortunately, the cop was the one who told her to go on the run, since Joe thought she was dead. She was happy to stay anonymous until she saw what happened to Beck.
She didn’t want Joe to get away with killing anyone else, and it’s fair and reasonable. She was unprepared for what it would entail.
Her confrontation with Joe got to her too. Joe went from acknowledging what he did but dismissing it since he didn’t mean to kill her, to acting like he didn’t do anything at all.
All in a span of one conversation. Whenever he spoke about Candace, he claimed she ruined his life.
Joe: I really think this is just some misunderstanding.
Candace: Stop gaslighting me.
He made himself out to be the victim. In a stunning display of zero self-awareness and accountability, he didn’t understand why she would be scared of him. Gaslighting, thy name is Joe Goldberg.
Candace collected herself enough to tell Joe she would destroy him by letting everything catch up to him. She knows that his worst enemy is himself.
She does her little parts to push things along, but she’s relying on Joe’s knack for self-destruction. She gave a nice speech about how she learned her fear response was “fight,” and she’s fighting back as best as she can.
I appreciate how you aren’t racist against gingers.
She’s not going away, and the heaviness of Candace’s trauma slipped to the peripheral again in favor of their cat and mouse games.
Joe’s fighting his baser instinct; he’s starting to slip. He knows he has to handle Candace, but he went from swearing to not kill her to go to the place she’s staying to do whatever he had planned.
Joe and Candace are both so bad at being sneaky. Joe is better with practice, and Candace sucks at cover stories.
But both of them are outmatched by Love. She’s a smart woman, and it was not a surprise when Joe figured out the private detective he thought was following him was someone she hired.
She can’t hold a knife. One swift move and no, no she’s wrong. I don’t hurt people, especially women, especially women who are out of their minds. That’s not me.
She wanted to look into Candace. Candace is a terrible liar, and her cover stories are flimsy, so Love’s radar went up. Her family is wealthy, and she figured Candace was some gold digger looking for a payout.
Shockingly, Candace told Love the truth and showed her pictures of herself with Joe. All she could do was hope that Love believed her.
However, Joe spun his tales again, and it worked to some degree. Candace does come across like a crazy ex, and Joe’s good at lying. Also, Love is in love with him.
Love: What do you want with Will?
Candace: His name is not Will. It’s Joe Goldberg. He’s my ex-boyfriend. I know this sounds crazy, but I am telling you the truth. He attacked me, and almost killed me.
Love: He what?
Candace: And he killed the girl after me.
Love: Is this some kind of joke?
Candace: I wish it was. I only came here to protect you.
She broke up with him.
But if she believes the full extent of what Candace said remains undetermined. However, it’s telling that she broke up with him after he said he never loved anyone like her before.
Candace told her that Joe’s love is dangerous.
A small part of her has to be bothered by those words.
She was also coping with her anniversary with her late husband. It was such a pleasant surprise when they showed the flashbacks, and we found out he was deaf.
It’s always a treat when all kinds of representation are organically incorporated in a series. Although, I did wonder why Love never signed with him to communicate.
It would be easy to blame Candace, and I do, but what is life without Love? I guess I’m going to find out.
She has a hard time with secrets and dishonesty because of her husband not informing her he was sick until two months later. She wanted to have kids with him, but he was putting it off, presumably because of his knowledge that he was dying.
The other flashbacks we’ve seen so far were key to the story unfolding. I’m holding out before saying that hers weren’t significant.
Delilah helped Joe mend his broken heart.
Something was brewing between the two during their moments speaking about the case and Henderson, so their hookup was inevitable.
Delilah: I just want somebody to hurt like I’m hurting.
Joe [touching her shoulder]: Is this okay?
Delilah: Oh hi, look at you asking for consent. Being fucking woke. Gold star.
Joe: I’m sorry he hurt you.
The dynamic between Joe and the sisters in many ways is more entertaining than his relationship with Forty and others associated with Love.
It’s weirdly familial. Each of the sisters turns to him, a virtual stranger, to help out with the other sister.
Ellie is always a wealth of information, and she’s the one who tipped him off about Candace’s unwelcome appearance at his home.
Joe: You’re a good sister.
Elle:I know. So you in? Murder. Hollywood.
Joe Voiceover: She needs someone right now, no matter how cool she’s acting. Candace can wait.
Joe: You got any popcorn?
Ellie: I do. I’m not an animal.
He put off “dealing with” Candace to spend time with Ellie because of her need for company despite her inability to say that.
He seemed to care about Delilah unraveling over trying to expose Hendy to the world. He could acknowledge her trauma, and he handled her with such care, but he can’t extend that to Candace.
He’s angry for Delilah that Hendy remains an idol and hero in death, and he wants Hendy’s memory to be tarnished.
He wants Henderson’s misdeeds and pedophilia to be exposed, but he wants to kill Candace for working to expose him.
I’m sorry, Will. My sister’s a little upset, and she’s also a bitch.
Joe’s cognitive dissonance is astounding.
It took a while for Ellie to face that her friend Hendy was a creep, but she accepted it and had some sweet moments with her big sister.
However, it wasn’t her place to take the photos of the girls let alone suggest they destroy them. She was thinking about the exposure and how it would follow those girls forever, but she took a choice away from them.
Had they not flushed the pictures down the toilet, the cops would’ve been onto something by now.
Now, the cops are looking into Henderson’s death, and they have determined he was murdered. The timing is the worst.
Did you just mansplain and patronize me in the same sentence? Thanks for the D, Will. Bye.
They were well on the path before it was announced, though. They were looking for Ellie and figured out she was the last to see him alive.
If they’ve ruled it murder, then she’s probably going to be a suspect. And now that Joe has convinced Delilah to tell her truth to defy the lionizing of Hendy and expose him for what he was, she might be a suspect, too.
Candace already suspects Joe killed Henderson too. The bodies are piling up, and he’s at risk of exposure.
Forty: Holy fuck. No way.
Forty: Hold on.
Candace: What happened?
Forty: Now they’re saying Henderson was murdered.
Joe Voiceover: Benji, Peach, Beck, Ron, Jasper, Henderson.
Candace: Well, if that’s true a famous man line Henderson they’ll catch who did it. He won’t get away. Murder has a way of following you.
He should probably head out of town, but he’s a real Angeleno now. It was a fun bit of humor incorporating the seven totems and having Joe discover them during this chaotic time for him.
- This show has no right being this funny.
- The Kathy Griffin cameo was so unexpected.
- Love hasn’t set Joe off much, barely at all, but her wealth and privilege are things he’s paying more attention to, and it’s interesting that it was an issue for her and her husband as well.
- Will actually found his girlfriend in Manila and sent Joe a postcard. They had the weirdest relationship.
- Beck’s mediocrity was one of the most agreed upon takes of the first season, so Forty making a movie off of her memoir and Joe being forced to help produce it is laughable.
- Joe isn’t kidding when he said he was pushing his luck staying in LA. What the hell is he thinking?
- He didn’t kill anyone in two episodes. So, his LA Kill Count remains unchanged unless you want to include his relationship with Love. If that’s the case, Joe LA Kill Count: 2½ .
Phew! What are your thoughts on those Candace flashbacks? Were you surprised Joe and Delilah hooked up? What was your impression of the Quinns?
As always, you can watch YOU online here via TV Fanatic.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.