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Penn Badgley Considers That Mother Of A 'You' Theory

The actor, who plays sociopathic killer Joe Goldberg on the Netflix series, reads your theories and, yes, laughs at all the memes.

Warning! Spoilers ahead for the second season of “You.”

You” Season 2, based on the Caroline Kepnes book “Hidden Bodies,” took Netflix by storm last month as troubled, psychopathic serial stalker Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) found his post-Guinevere Beck (Elizabeth Lail) obsession: widowed California-bred chef Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti). 

Joe moves to Los Angeles looking for a fresh start ― only to fall for Love, a privileged 20-something who co-runs a trendy, health-conscious market called Anavrin with her twin brother, Forty (James Scully), a recovering addict and green juice fanatic. Joe takes a job in their bookstore and soon becomes wrapped up in the family’s tragic past. But as the season rolls on, an unexpected twist shocks the system when it’s revealed that Love herself has her own killer tendencies. Unlike Beck, who dies at the end of the first season when she discovers the truth about Joe, Love would gladly accept him ― and all his crazy ― with wide open arms.

Plus, she’s expecting his baby. (Which is a whole different level of wild.)

Although a Season 3 hasn’t been confirmed, it’s likely imminent, according to Penn Badgley and showrunner Sera Gamble, who sat down with HuffPost on Build Series Thursday. So the fan theories are already rolling in as viewers predict Joe’s next move. 

The last we saw of Joe, he was moving into his new suburban home with Love when he spotted his neighbor through the fence. “This is just the beginning,” he says in voiceover, “because this is where I had to be, exactly where I had to be to meet you. There you were with your books and your sunshine. So close, but worlds away. I will figure out a way, a way to get to you.”

And so, a new troublesome tale of the maniacal male gaze begins. 

The neighbor in "You."
The neighbor in "You."

According to fans on Reddit, however, Joe’s new neighbor could possibly be his mom, who was shown in flashbacks this season. “I feel like it would be a great 3rd season if we could see him with his mother, as it seems like he’s been chasing her this whole time,” user pepabessone wrote.

SoWhoBroughtTheMap added, “I personally hope the mom neighbor theories are true or the writers take it in a new direction instead of ‘You’ being another love interest for Joe to obsess over, because I would hate for the next season to be a rehash of Joe seeing someone, stalking them, falling in love, Love finds out he’s cheating or something, then many people die, and then on to the next location.”

Badgley, for one, thinks the theory is absurd. 

“That’s not true,” he said, pondering the possibility of Joe’s mom being his neighbor. “Look at her arm! She’s a brunette. Oh, what am I saying? She could dye her hair. That was stupid.” 

Yes, Badgley reads your fan theories, and he also checks out Joe Goldberg memes. His favorite? “I like the ones where I have hoops and nails. Those are fun.” 

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Badgley also likes the hat-as-invisibility-cloak memes, calling the interplay “brilliant.” 

So what’s next for Joe in Badgley’s mind? He’d like to see his character brought to justice in some way, even if it means he’d lose his day job. 

“Does it mean death, though? I don’t know,” he said.

Gamble said “death is too easy.”

“We wouldn’t want to rob the world of Joe doing such a terrible job in so many ways every season,” she added. 

To her point, Gamble is not only talking about the allure of “You,” but the ways the show dissects and analyzes the privileged behaviors of a straight, cisgender white man. The showrunner hopes to do the same in future seasons with the addition of the character Love.

“We give all the plausible deniability to men like Joe in this culture,” she said, “but he’s not the only person in America with privilege. Love is maybe just one tick down. So now that we’ve been able to expand the world and we’re all on the same page about the language and metaphor of the show and what we’re really talking about underneath the entertainment of it, Love is intensely privileged in so many ways and I think there’s a lot to say about that with a woman like her, as well. So, why not both? Why not all of it?” 

Watch the full Build Series interview with Badgley and Gamble below: 

CONVERSATIONS