“YOU Season 3 Shouldn’t Follow Dexter’s Mistakes”
YOU and Dexter have a lot in common, but the third season of YOU might be heading toward absolute catastrophe if it makes the same mistakes that the Showtime series did, once upon a time.
The popularity that Dexter managed to accumulate during its time on Showtime, which amassed eight seasons from 2006-2013, was only hindered by the charming serial killer’s trajectory that turned him from a socially withdrawn loner into a devoted stepfather, father, and husband. While much of Dexter’s personality did stem around appearances – more specifically keeping up with them – his psychological profile as a sociopath, which wasn’t completely accurate, didn’t exactly coincide with this sort of cover. Furthermore, as the series wore on, it became tedious.
YOU‘s Joe Goldberg might be headed down the same path, if the second season’s finale bears any weight on the stalker-turned-serial killer’s future as a father-to-be. The show’s third season will drop on Netflix in 2021, which is good for fans of the series, but there are lots of reasons why YOU should learn from Dexter’s mistakes before it’s too late.
Part of what made Dexter such a genius show was its primary character, played expertly by Michael C. Hall. Dexter’s character was, similarly to Joe, an unlikeable character (in theory) that ended up being likable based on how they were played and how writers tricked the audiences. It’s a clever ploy, and a way to make a show about a serial killer who only murders bad guys or a stalker/serial killer who falls in love with every girl he meets last and resonate with audiences, despite them not being able to relate directly. However, likability is one thing, but changing the character in a nonsensical way to tell a story is something entirely different. In season 4 of Dexter, the titular character is a newlywed, stepfather to his girlfriend-turned-wife’s two children, and has a new baby. This was interesting at first because it allowed Dexter to go through the trouble of balancing his killer impulses with domestic chores and responsibilities.
It also paved the way for his interactions with the Trinity killer, Arthur Miller (John Lithgow), who had a wife and children of his own, whom he abused and neglected. This showed Dexter the life he didn’t want, the fate he didn’t want to inflict on people he cared about, and ended up with disastrous results as Trinity murdered his wife and left his baby son on the bathroom floor in her blood, just as Dexter experienced as a child. The roots of which, likely, resulted in him becoming a killer once he reached adulthood, as a combination of PTSD and depersonalization through trauma. However, after Rita’s death, everything went downhill. Dexter was a widower, a father of three, a serial killer, and all the balls he was trying to juggle became tedious and increasingly far-fetched to watch as he narrowly escaped instance after instance of almost getting caught.
While neither YOU or Dexter are tremendously realistic, part of the intrigue surrounding them both is their darker sides, which for Dexter became increasingly less as he added more people he cared about who, in essence, softened him up. At the end of YOU‘s second season, Joe (Penn Badgley) and Love (Victoria Pedretti) are expecting a child, but just as they’re moving into their new home – together – Joe sees “you” through the fence. While ominous and obvious as a set-up for the third season, he’ll likely have the same issues juggling his dark side with a real relationship and a new baby, and it could lead to not only a lot of series-specific drama, but spread the show too thin. Dexter ultimately did this by the time it reached its series finale. There’s a lot more life left in YOU if it can remain sustainable, but depending on the paths it takes, could prove difficult.
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