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The Development of You’s Love Quinn and Why We Want to See Women Be Bad

You trailer still with Joe, Love, and their son standing together.

One can agree that the Netflix Original Series, You, piqued viewers’ interest all over the world. Joe Goldberg’s immaculate, calculated, and frankly terrifying narration is a trademark of the show. It’s essentially what keeps the audience intrigued and curious about the main character and a villain of his own narrative. Throughout the show, he reportsin great detailhis continuous stalking of Guinevere, Marianne, and Love Quinn, all in his stoic, honey-laced voice.

This article contains spoilers for the Netflix Original Series You.

The latter aforementioned character plays a more constant role in Joe’s life. She is a female entrepreneur and an advanced killer who is a perfect match for him. Love Quinn outshines and challenges Joe in ways that one could only dream about in the third season of the series. The character, brilliantly portrayed by Victoria Pedretti, kicks the killings up a notch (or several notches) and seizes our attention.

What happens in Madre Linda stays in Madre Linda. But what exactly are the residents of this small but mighty Californian town focused on? Gossip, gluten-free food, and drama are amongst the most discussed topics. That’s where newlyweds Joe and Love, along with their son Henry, decide to settle.

As soon as the new chapter for the married couple and their newborn begins, we quickly realize that Joe’s hunger isn’t tamedon the contrary. As Love decides to broaden her career horizons and return to baking, Joe finds a job at a small yet charming bookstore managed by Marielle (Tati Gabrielle), his new victim.

Joe pursues Marielle despite having a beautiful, talented, and killer (sic!) wife and an adorable baby boy, proving that old habits die hard. Although, unfortunately, the old adage applies to Love in some ways, as well, as the character cannot control her murderous instincts. Whether it’s a beautiful, lonely woman next door or an ignorant, anti-vax neighbor, once you’re on Love’s kill list, you’re stuck there.

The third season of You is notable not only for featuring a domesticated Joe Goldberg. The show’s creators, Greg Berlanti and Sera Gamble, work tirelessly to make Love Quinn Joe’s equal and final match. As a result, they give the character more autonomy and freedom, resulting in excellent character development.

Love is now more than just an astute woman, a seasoned killer, and a mother. As the new season begins, she desires to return to the art of baking. A Fresh Tart, Love’s bakery, opens soon after. Although it initially appears that the bakery won’t be popular with Madre Linda residents, including calorie-counting Sherry (Shalita Grant) and Cary (Travis Von Winkle), it quickly becomes a great meeting place for all the gossip seekers.

Love’s character development doesn’t stop there. As unbelievable as it may appear, Pedretti’s character holds a higher body count in the third season than Joe, who is more focused on stalking than killing. The woman, like her husband, struggles with habits that die hard. There are times when we believe the killer instincts have taken over entirely.

Love, however, manages to surprise us and continues to play house and be a wife, mother, and small business owner. With many elaborative killing scenes, including a dough roller, Love juggles her business with attempts to rekindle the passion between her and Joe. She even has a little bit time scheduled for flirting with Theo (Dylan Arnold), her neighbor’s son and, coincidentally, a step-son of Love’s victim.

The scenes in which the character takes over the narration are one of the most evident factors demonstrating that Love is an integral part of the story and a multi-dimensional character. Previously reserved for Joe, it only serves to validate that Love becomes a co-leader of the narrative. As they lead a truly Mr. & Mrs. Smith life, the woman surely is a new favorite villain.

With Love’s continuous presence, acting as Joe’s new adversary and rival, the series’ creators perfectly demonstrate Joe’s hypocrisy, deceit, and darkness. There is a scene in the third season where Joe recounts how bored he is with his suburban life. His dislike and, further, his hatred for his wife becomes more evident as we go from episode to episode. The character even calls Love a “monster” and fears for Henry’s safety.

The subject of double standards appears to be a major theme of the third season, and it’s brilliantly executed. Love doesn’t become an exception to the rule; she possesses as many killer skills as Joe, and yet, the man treats her actions as way worse and morally wrong than his own. We may even risk it and say that he truly believes in this. As we watch a battle between Love and Joe, who work tirelessly to distinguish themselves from one another, it becomes clear that they are, after all, a perfect match, making the third season finale that much sadder and more disappointing.

Even with Wolf’s bane, a rookie cannot outwit the masterthat much is clear from You’s season finale. Love loses a battle with her husband, whose obsession with Marielle outweighs his love for his wife and son. In reality, the ending is quite bleak and repetitive. Without Love, the series loses an illustrious character who had the potential to fulfill Joe’s other, more positive side and become his worthy opponent and a perfect partner in crime.

However, predicting the creators’ intentions isn’t exactly possible. Taking a look at the other side, perhaps the goal of the ending was to highlight the sad reality that men like Joe rarely lose because life isn’t kind to women. One thing is certain: The character of Love Quinn demonstrates that female viewers enjoy watching other women being evil onscreen. For many years, we’ve seen men in a variety of roles: banker, family man, villain, robber, or superhero. Male characters are ever-present in our lives; they are multi-layered and complex.

We’ve finally reached a point where we’re seeing more multidimensional female characters. They don’t just appear as housewives or “boss babes,” but as flawed, full-fledged people. The character of Love Quinn, expertly crafted by Victoria Pedretti, is just the beginning. Let’s hope that we will see even more female characters in many different roles.

(featured image: Netflix)

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Zofia (she/her) lives in LA and is passionate about pop culture, television, and Stevie Nicks. She graduated from the University of Wroclaw, Poland with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Social Communication/Creative Writing. Her work revolves around women in television and film. She has written for First Showing, Screen Queens, Film Inquiry and more. She loves the Scream films, Carol, and Birds of Prey. She wants Sarah Paulson to be her gal pal and go for drinks with her. Her Twitter: @thefilmnerdette. More of her work can be found here.