Disclaimer: The following post contains major spoilers from season 2 of You.
The second season of the psychological thriller You reminded us of Joe’s killer charms (pun intended) and ended with a plot reveal that shocked us more than Dr. Nicky’s imprisonment in season 1.
However, in the midst of all the murderous escapades that Joe aka Will undertakes in season 2, the show’s creators included multiple easter eggs and callbacks to season 1. Like these:
1. Joe’s love interest is called Love and her brother is named Forty. And their names not-so-subtly point to the scoring system in tennis.
Wonder if it is really a coincidence that one of their most intense conversations happen over a game of tennis?
2. The three major books introduced/referenced in the season actually serve as an indication of the way things will unfold for the major characters. Literary easter eggs indeed!
The first season sets up Joe’s fascination with books. And the literary symbolism only gets better in season 2. Joe’s book of the season, Crime and Punishment, is actually an indication of his mental state during the season.
Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment (apart from his stellar stalking skills), helps Joe land the job as a book-seller at Anavrin.
And the theme of Crime and Punishment, especially Raskolnikov’s dilemma, is strikingly similar to the way Joe is feeling in season 2 – wracked with guilt over the crime he has committed and plagued with paranoia and visions of his victim.
Similarly, the book that Love lends Joe–Joan Didion’s Play It as It Lays–is an indication of the future she will have with him.
Because just like the novel’s protagonist Maria, Love too enters into a violent and complicated relationship with Joe. And just like Maria, Love also comes from a complicated and broken childhood.
Lastly, the book that Joe lends to Ellie in episode 6–Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler–focuses on hidden identities and betrayals and is set in LA. And who better to know about hidden identities, than the man with a secret identity, Will aka Joe.
3. The show includes multiple callbacks to season 1, especially to Beck’s best friend, Peach.
The first time that Love and Joe interact, they discuss peaches – specifically, how similar a peach looks to a butt.
When Joe spies on Love and her friends, he references the Paris trip that Peach had planned for Beck in season 1 in his internal dialogue.
In season 1, Joe runs behind Peach in the park and attacks her, after he discovers that she likes Beck as more than just a friend.
In season 2, he attempts the same ploy and runs behind Love’s new love interest, Milo. Only, it does not end with the same result as in season 1.
4. Apart from the ‘Peach callbacks’, the show also includes the following callbacks to season 1.
In season 2, Candace talks about how going to Italy has been her lifelong dream. In season 1, Joe adds fake posts to Candace’s Instagram account which shows her enjoying her life in Italy.
Additionally, just like in season 1, in season 2 Joe again looks after a neighbor’s kid. And much like season 1, gets sexually involved with the child’s caretaker when getting over his breakup.
Lastly, in season 2, he pulls a stack of novels by Charles Dickens and discovers Henderson’s secret toy room. And in season 1, he discovers Beck’s secret at a Charles Dickens festival.
5. In season 2, Joe’s new hiding place for his souvenirs is a reference to the hiding place mentioned in Kepnes’ novel You.
Unlike the ceiling vault from season 1, in season 2 Joe hides souvenirs in a hole in the wall. And the hole is covered with artwork. That’s exactly how his hiding place is described in Caroline Kepne’s novel, You.
6. Now, this may be a bit of a stretch, but Joe’s adopted identity in season 2 could be a reference to his traumatic childhood.
In season 2, Joe adopts the identity of Will Bettelheim. His last name is the same as that of child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim, who was known for working with children with a troubled childhood. Like season 2 reveals, Joe’s childhood–with an absentee mother and an abusive father–was definitely traumatic.
In fact, when Joe meets Love’s father for the first time and introduces himself, Mr. Quinn even asks him if he is, “a fan of Bruno?”
7. A mural of books is part of Joe’s introduction to LA. This could be both, an indication to his job as a bookstore manager in season 1, and his upcoming job of a book-seller in season 2.
Clearly, the hints were all there, we only had to pay attention. But then, Joe is quite distracting.
All images from Netflix, unless specified otherwise.