YOU took viewers on a rollercoaster ride through its entire first season. We went from Joe’s (Penn Badgely) creepy AF introduction to Beck (Elizabeth Lail) to his stalking her and killing everyone he felt was a threat to their relationship. Throughout all of his dark behavior, fans had to grapple with the fact they were actually rooting for a deeply troubled protagonist, but all of that was turned on its head in the Season 1 finale.
Most of the episode focused on Joe trying to convince Beck that everything he’d done up until this point was for their relationship and that they could still be together if only she could understand. Beck never made it to that point of reconciliation and instead ended up in a body bag. But hey, at least she ended up published at the end!
No one really expected Joe and Beck to ride off into the sunset at the end of the series, but showrunner Sera Gamble and her writing staff still managed to pack a surprising punch. Joe’s next woman of interest walked into the shop in the final scene and to everyone’s astonishment, it was a still very alive Candace (Ambyr Childers)!
TV Guide talked to Gamble about the twist and what it means for Joe and YOU in Season 2.
Is Candace actually back or is Joe have a delusion after the guilt of killing Beck?
Sera Gamble: Watch the scene carefully and you’ll notice whether others can see her as well.
[We went back and re-watched. Joe is definitely not the only one to see her, so Candace is back!]
How much can we expect her to be in Season 2 and will there be more diverting from the book now she’s back in the picture?
Gamble: It’s always a bit of a remix. There’s a ton of great stuff we are planning on doing from the second book. Starting with setting the new season in Los Angeles. But also, now the show has a life of its own and we are excited to take a few things in a direction that will be surprising to everyone, including fans of the books.
A big hook in Season 1 is that we understood Joe, even liked him, as he did these terrible things. Is that something you hope to maintain in Season 2? Do you think it’ll be harder now that he’s killed Beck?
Gamble: We’ll keep letting you into his innermost thoughts, and I think you’re in a better position than ever to understand him now that you’ve seen the finale. Season two becomes an even deeper dive into Joe– why he looks at the world as he does, what he’s able to be honest with himself about, and the lengths he’ll go to in the name of preserving an idea about himself that might be, well, just slightly rooted in denial.
We saw how demoralized Joe was by the guilt of killing people, even if he rationalized it to himself. Are we going to see how guilt is affecting Paco in Season 2? How does a little kid move on after everything he saw with Joe?
Gamble: We leave it up to you to decide how much Joe helped and hurt Paco. Paco was in a terrible situation; at the end of the season he’s driving away toward an objectively better one without Ron. So we felt like we’d found a nice spot to rest the Paco story at the end of season one, but we also felt like we could easily write a season or even a whole new TV show about who Paco is going to grow up to be considering the s–t he saw and the s–t Joe pulled him into.
Have you started talking about what’s going to unravel in Season 2?
Gamble: We just got back in the writers’ room for Season 2. It takes place in Los Angeles…The same way that we had at the academic elite and the the monied elite of New York like Peach Salinger, there is a version in Los Angeles that’s about 1,000 times worse. I’m really excited about the personal stories that we can fold into the Hollywood types that are around the periphery of the experience in Season 2.
Part of the Hollywood type is the public image you put out there, which is something Joe excels at. Can you tease how Joe will adapt to an environment that seems very well suited to him?
Gamble: The point of living in LA is to be in some version of the entertainment business…There’s an emerging tech scene in Los Angeles. There’s an amazing food scene, but those people have an Instagram to feed too. That’s really just part of the deal of being a public figure. [In Los Angeles], it feels like you’re surrounded by people that want to be public figures. One problem that Joe might face coming to Los Angeles is that you can’t walk down the goddamn street without someone posing against a selfie wall for their Instagram. It’s really hard to stay out of pictures. You can’t go to a party without ending up on someone’s [Instagram] stories. If you want to lay low, if you want to stay out of trouble, if you’re trying not to be known Los Angeles is the wrong place to live.
What has been the most compelling thing for you about telling this story?
Gamble:It’s hard to name just one. But I can say it’s been uniquely satisfying to peel back the layers of the “romantic hero” and get at all the [icky] things underneath. That classic white knight character definitely rides in on a Trojan horse.
YOU returns to Lifetime in 2019.