Oh, you know what they say: a couple that slays together, stays together.
Season three has this murderous couple living in a suburban hell, and it’s rife with drama and so much twisted, dark, fun humor that you find yourself chuckling every five minutes.
It’s a setting that works wonders for this series and these characters. Badgley and Pedretti’s chemistry has never been better, as they play two completely unhinged individuals not only trapped in a suburban hellscape but in a darkly, hilariously toxic relationship with each other.
As pretentious city-slickers, their lifestyle in Madre Linda is abhorrent. It places both Joe and Love on the outskirts of suburbia, perpetual outcasts in this community comprised of everything they loathe.
The first two installments have the pair at odds with Joe comically deluding himself into casting Love as the villain in his story. Joe’s lack of self-awareness and refusal to accept accountability at every turn remains strong.
In Joe’s mind, the life that they intended to live together would be all worth it if it resulted in a beautiful daughter of whom he could obsess. The plot twist that he had a son was instant and set the tone for how everything would fall apart for Joe from that point forward.
Joe Goldberg doesn’t deserve to be a Girl Dad, and the universe must’ve been playing a fun joke on him. Heaven knows that no one wanted to see how twisted things would get for him if he had a daughter to obsess over instead.
Joe’s inability to connect with baby Henry spoke volumes as he spent much of the first hour afraid that his son would see him for who and what he is. Joe left most of the parenting to Love. While he cared about his son on a surface level, there was a fascinating disconnect.
Joe Voiceover: I never thought to wonder what happens after boy met girl because we know. “And they live happily ever after.” Fade to black. Roll credits. I should’ve asked more questions because I’ve been in some harrowing situations in my life, but this, I could really use a map. But I forged my way in the dark before, I can do it now. I have to. To protect our daughter.
Doctor: Congratulations, dad. It’s a boy.
Joe: It’s a boy?
Joe Voiceover: I’m fucked, and so is he.
It’s not often you see a lack of connection with a newborn from the father’s perspective, so it was a unique take for the series to explore, even briefly.
One of the biggest reasons for Joe’s problems bonding with little Henry was the pesky bit about him being the reincarnation of Forty. Joe can’t escape Forty no matter what he does.
Dottie believing that the spirit of her dead addict son and favorite twin lies in an infant isn’t that surprising, but they’re already doing a number on this kid by calling him Forty instead of Henry. Every time Joe corrects them on the name, the spirit of Forty feels vindicated.
When it eventually clicks with Joe that Henry doesn’t hate him, it’s a nice moment for the two despite the circumstances. You can understand how he doesn’t want to screw Henry up in the ways that he was when he lived in a home for boys.
We both have done bad things. I wanted to move here so that we could start new, be safe, and never do anything bad again.
However, that ship sailed the second the baby was born. The flashbacks into a young Joe’s life serves as the preface to the making of a monster, but otherwise, we don’t need them to know what Joe is supremely screwed up.
If anything, it makes Badgley’s full-hearted attempts to break the spell Joe has on viewers futile. Do we need a reason to sympathize with Joe because of his childhood?
Not that it matters anyway. And sadly, one can already tell it’ll be another season of the internet hailing Joe (and Love) as their deeply problematic faves. Sorry, Penn. Maybe you’re too good at playing equal parts awful and hilarious.
Joe’s afraid of his son ending up like him, so it gives him a sense of purpose, trying to protect Henry. Joe spent the first hour believing that in some ways, he had to save Henry from Love.
But it took a moment to get there because he was obsessed with Natalie, the next-door neighbor.
She was gorgeous, and while Joe crept and peeped, Natalie made moves and crossed lines. Her forwardness came as a surprise, and she cut to the chase.
Maybe that’s part of the reason Joe couldn’t go through with her offer to get spicy in her reading room. Despite his fixation on Natalie, we’ve seen that Joe likes a chase.
While he fantasizes about the object of his obsession seducing him, it’s a different story when that happens in reality.
I can’t just walk out of this web, the spider has my child. Also true, I’ve made mistakes in the past.
Natalie’s shameless flirting made him retreat to Love and their home, and he used that to have sex with Love for the first time in months. It was a hell of a violation for Love. What’s potentially fascinating about this season is that Joe is with someone who knows him to his deepest, darkest core.
She knows what he’s capable of, so Joe can’t get anything past her no matter how often he gaslights the ever loving shit out of her. Love as an object of Joe’s affection who survived introduces a deeper and richer layer to this series and how Joe goes about doing things.
She knows the signs of when Joe’s attentions are elsewhere, and she calls him out on it, too. He wasn’t devoted to her or Henry enough, save for the times when he had the baby strapped to his chest or in a stroller as he stalked Natalie.
Natalie played into a lot of Joe’s fantasies about needing to be needed. He likes to envision himself as the hero of the story. When he heard about her seemingly loveless marriage with Matthew (a scrumptious Scott Speedman) in a tech-prison masquerading as a home, Joe wanted to save her.
Natalie: Hey, neighbor. Want a drink?
Joe: How’d you get my number?
Natalie: My husband works in tech.
Joe: So not at all invasive tech?
Shockingly, who knew that he would fail to do so, not only from her husband but from Love?
Initially, it seemed as if Love and Natalie would become fast friends, and the tension between them because of Joe would brew for at least half the season.
Natalie was the only real one in Madre Linda. She was a cliche too, the bored, trophy housewife, but compared to the Sherry’s and Kiki’s of the neighborhood — she was a breath of fresh air.
It was a shock when Natalie only made it to the premiere’s end after Love caught her in a lie. Love reacts on emotion and is notoriously impulsive without thinking of the consequences, compared to Joe, who manages to think a few steps ahead and plots things out more.
Love killing Natalie with an ax was brutal, but her “look what you made me do” attitude when she called in Joe was priceless. Joe thinks he’s superior to everyone and is a better person than Love, but he doesn’t see how much they’re the same.
The two of them are fated. Joe’s defensive reasoning for killing Natalie was a move ripped from the Joe playbook, justifying the action by blaming Joe for starting to fall for her.
But some of the greatest laughs of the two installments came from these two frantically trying to cover up a crime scene and dump a body while bickering like the married couple they are.
Joe’s “Fuck Love and whoever made these trashbags” internal monologue as he struggled to find the perforated line and clean up after Love stormed off with aloof baby Henry was one of the most hysterical scenes of this series ever.
Fuck Love! Fuck her. Fuck this. Fuck whoever made these little fucking bags! Where the fuck is that little perforated line? Which fucking end is it?! I should let Love take the fall for this, but no, no, she knows what I’ve done. She knows me. Fuck marriage.
The downside to Love abruptly murdering the wife of a millionaire tech genius is that the efforts they’ll have to make to keep this death and their involvement in it under wraps could reasonably last the entire season.
But thanks to some of the funniest therapist sessions on television, Love and Joe will be a united front and can maybe get through all of it together.
Chandra was damn good at her job, except for the fact that she couldn’t figure out they both are, in fact, murderers. She got down to the core of the issues with both Joe and Love, and she could figure out how they’re similar and drawn to each other.
It’s their mutual fear of abandonment after people see the darkest parts of them that led Joe to hit a turning point in his War of the Roses hellscape of a marriage with Love. Therapy made Joe fall in love with Love again.
I was wrong, Natalie. I thought you were the threat to my marriage. But the real problem to my marriage is my fucking wife!
They could recommit to each other and officially start their marriage on the solid ground of covering up Natalie’s murder together. True love, am I right?
But neither of them has reason to trust each other, and it was gratifying when they each pointed it out. Love swears that everything she does is to protect her family. She dismissed Candace and Delilah’s deaths because of that.
And Love’s genuine obsession and love for Joe didn’t make her blind or stupid. She delved right into the elephant in the room. The only reason she’s still alive right now is because of Henry.
Otherwise, Love would’ve been another body — another woman Joe added to his collection of women he quite literally loved to death.
Love: He is the only reason I’m still alive. How do you think that makes me feel? I can’t trust you.
Joe: I can’t trust you either! I was trying to yes, yes, yes, I did things, but I have worked hard to be better, and I’m not that person anymore, but now I will be burying bodies until I’m 70 years old because if I’m not 100% into you all of the time, you will keep killing people.
Love: If I’m not enough for you, you’ll kill me!
Love knows that, and she’s aware of how Joe is and that there isn’t much to keep her from meeting her maker if he reaches a turning point in their relationship.
It’s probably why Joe’s obsession with Natalie freaked Love out so much, too. If Joe finds a new woman, at some point, he can decide that Love serves no purpose, and that could be the end of her.
Joe argues that Love knows too much about him to be trustworthy, and she could turn on him at any point. It put them in more of a blackmail hostage situation than a partnership.
But thanks to therapy, they’ve learned that they can be a team. Their fight doesn’t have to be some conflict between the two of them. They can join forces and fight external forces.
Their common cause doesn’t have to be only Henry. Chandra probably didn’t intend “covering up a murder in suburbia” as the thing that keeps them bonded, but whatever works, yes?
Even your friendly neighborhood stalker killers go to couples therapy.
The sessions and the revelations from therapy are where Joe and Love were at their most sympathetic. The prospect of them serving as teammates as they try to stay ahead of the hell to come now that Matthew knows his wife is missing is exciting.
The only thing better than Joe and Love as rivals to each other is the two of them as a united front.
Happily ever after looks a lot different than I thought, and a family, the reality of one, might not be for everyone, but it’s all I ever wanted, so I’m going to make this work no matter what it takes. Goodbye, you.
Love is interesting in that she snaps and kills people, but she’s squeamish and not accustomed to the gruesome methods Joe takes to dispose of bodies.
Her reaction to his confession about the meat grinder was priceless, and she did look at him like he was a monster when he broke Natalie’s finger to get the ring and told her why he pulled her teeth out.
Are they ever in a position to judge each other?
Love pledged that she wouldn’t be killing people again and putting him in that position. They at least have a “safe space” for the event that either of them falls off the wagon.
It’s a sign of Joe’s commitment that his cage has become theirs. Although, they still hid keys from each other inside of the thing.
Sherry is tempting fate, and she may be the first inhabitant at the rate she’s going.
Sherry’s passive-aggressive queen bee shtick is enough to drive Love insane. The woman has it out or Love. It’s as if she made slighting Love her new hobby.
Sherry has no respect for Love’s bakery plans. Something tells me that without Sherry’s approval, no one else will patronize Frest Tart.
Love: I would absolutely kill for you.
Joe: Love, I would kill for you too, and Henry.
Love: Okay, so I promise to do everything I can to make sure you never have to do that.
Joe: I promise, too. Never again.
- Nice to know that Joe is still sending money to Ellie, even if he is stealing books to sell to do it.
- One thing Joe is going to do is find somewhere book-related to work. Marienne seems cool, but she must have a story.
- Matthew’s stepson Theo is thirsty AF, and his crush on Love might become a problem.
- Nothing says family bonding like burying a body together. How are we supposed to be appalled by the grisly acts happening when the show is this damn funny?
- Sherry’s tirade over her kids not being allowed to eat fruit was insane.
Sherry: You have completely spiked their blood sugar.
Love: They’re sugar-free.
Sherry: There’s sugar in raspberries, Love. We don’t let them eat fruit.
- Joe wearing Natalie’s hat and coat in case there were cameras was too funny.
- While it felt wholly unnecessary to mention the pandemic or acknowledge that this takes place in a fictional post-pandemic world, the digs about the elite having access to a vaccination before anyone else elicited a snort.
Over to you, YOU Fanatics!
What would you rate the premiere? How much are you enjoying Joe and Love versus suburbia? Are you surprised Natalie got murdered this soon?
Hit those comments below, and then make your way over to the next reviews!
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.