Warning: Spoilers ahead!
You has taken Penn Badgley's Joe Goldberg from the east coast to the west coast, before plopping him and Love (Victoria Pedretti) in the middle of suburbia. But, at the conclusion of season three, Joe ended up a widow and in an entirely foreign place: Paris, France.
In a conversation with E! News, showrunner Sera Gamble said that it wasn't actually the writers who came up with this twist ending. She shared, "That's Greg Berlanti just texting me his idle thoughts on a Thursday night, [which] turned out to be great ideas that excite the entire writers room and then we write toward them all season."
Berlanti's plan makes sense considering Joe is a hopeless romantic with a love for all things literature, two things that Paris is known for.
But Joe's main focus, according to Gamble, is finding former co-worker and lover Marienne Bellamy (Tati Gabrielle). Gamble shared, "That's why he's there."
Moreover, Paris serves as the perfect backdrop for conflict, with Sera saying that the writers ask themselves, "What's a completely different kind of environment to put him in? And then also, what haven't we done that could potentially get him into lots of trouble?"
In essence, the writers plan to put Joe in an unfamiliar environment, because he will no longer have that home court advantage. "That was part of the thinking this season as well, with putting him in suburbia among all of these perfect white picket fence families," she explained. "None of that is really his area of expertise either."
Of course, the "more fish out of water he is, the better" the plot is, Gamble reasoned.
As for whether or not Joe will reunite with Forty—his infant son, not Love's dead brother—Gamble said she was unsure, especially since season four was still up in the air at the time she spoke to E! News. (Netflix has since confirmed a fourth season is on the way). Nevertheless, she anticipated Joe will grapple with the loss of both his infant son as well as his identity as a father.
"That's going to be an ongoing conversation, because no, you can't pretend something that huge about a character didn't happen," Gamble said. "I think it will shape him from this moment forward. And even his exact plan of when and if he would return for his son is something that we will...if we get to the writers room...come together and talk about for hours and hours and hours between snacks."
Gamble also noted that You author Caroline Kepnes, who is a producer on the show, has "a lot of really interesting ideas and perspectives on Joe as a father," including how it affects his worldview and his psyche.
In addition to that internal struggle, Joe is still hiding from countless individuals, including Dottie Quinn (Saffron Burrows), Ellie Alves (Jenna Ortega), Theo (Dylan Arnold) and Matthew Engler (Scott Speedman). And Gamble said that they're not the only ones Joe has to be worry about, remarking, "I would put pretty much everyone who's ever met Joe and gotten away to be on the threat list."
However, Dottie can only go after Joe if she or the authorities determine that he didn't actually die in the fire alongside Love. And if she does, she still has some healing of her own to do.
Gamble said that at the end of season three, Love's mom is "pretty destroyed."
"She's in active addiction. She's lost everyone in her family," Gamble shared. "So, at least in the short term, I can say that she's in a pretty awful place and not really a place where you could be super calculating and strategic with your life, because she's just in crisis. But again she's alive and she's out there."
As for Ellie, Gamble confirmed that Joe will try to look out for her in any way he can, but she can't promise the actress will ever make a return to the show. This isn't because Joe abandons Ellie. Rather, it's real world scheduling conflicts.
"Jenna is so busy and she is in the middle of so many amazing projects but the thing I can say about the story and the show is that we talk about Ellie a lot," she explained. "We referenced her in the season because we wanted to make it clear that, yes, she's still out there and she does fundamentally represent a sort of threat to Joe, because she completely has his number in terms of who and what he is and what he has done."
All this talk about threats begs the question: Does Joe ever get caught?
Gamble's short answers is, yes, Joe will hopefully one day be caught for murder, stalking, harassment or any other crime he commits on the daily. In fact, she said that she, the writers and Penn "like thinking about the possibility that he'll be punished."
The problem is that they routinely grapple with what a true punishment would be. Gamble shared that when they are in the writers room, "we frequently end up spinning out just these theoretical conversations about what the most fitting one would be. Should he be killed? Oh no, that would be too easy. Should he be in jail?"
She added, "Like, people think a lot about this, everyone associated with the show thinks about how to punish Joe."
One thing Gamble can guarantee is that Joe won't ever turn himself in. She explained that Joe doesn't believe he's a bad person at heart. Rather, he likes to tell himself that "he really had no other choice but to behave the way he did."
"He doesn't ever hurt anybody or kill anybody because he wants to be violent or craves blood. He's not built in the image of that classic serial killer who like craves blood or something," she said. "In my mind, he's quite the opposite of that. He is telling himself a story about what he has to do to be a good man; to be heroic."
And, by the way, Love is 100 percent dead. Some fans have floated the theory that the baker somehow survives the fire and poison, and goes all Joe on Joe, but Gamble flat-out denied that this is possible. She plainly stated, "No, like we weren't trying to make you think there was definitely a parachute under her seat in the airplane. Like, we stabbed her with the syringe on camera, we dragged her body across the floor and then we blew up the kitchen."
So, while Victoria Pedretti did a marvelous job portraying this sadistic mama bear, it's unlikely she'll return as anything more than a figment of Joe's imagination.
Season three of You is streaming now on Netflix.