On October 15th, the third season of the serial killer soap opera You hits Netflix. In the first two seasons, Joe stalked women in New York and L.A., respectively. In the third season, the homicidal ‘hopeless romantic’ moves to the suburbs to start a family, but giving up his obsessive ways proves impossible.
To prepare for the upcoming season, we’re looking back at some of the most memorable characters in You, ranked from least to most horrible. Grab yourself a kombucha from Anavrin (just don’t touch the meat grinder) and settle in for a walk down macabre memory lane.
Spoilers for seasons 1 and 2 of You to follow!
Paco and Ellie
These two share a spot on the list because they served the same purpose in Joe’s twisted mind.
Paco, his young neighbor in New York; and Ellie, the precocious teen who lives next door to him in L.A., are both vulnerable and give Joe a chance to prove to himself that he’s not such a bad guy. Inevitably, they both become heartbreaking collateral in Joe’s twisted ego gymnastics.
Both children ultimately survive their encounters with Joe, but their families and lives are changed forever—all so Joe can sleep at night.
A friend of Paco’s mom, lovely Karen has the misfortune of being Joe’s rebound from Beck in season 1.
Karen is a standout character for attempting to give Beck some good advice about Joe, and for her satisfying response when Joe dumps her for his ex. It was a nice change to see Joe get at least a fraction of the disdain he deserves, particularly from someone as sensible as Karen.
If you’re Joe Goldberg’s neighbor, there’s a good chance you won’t live to renew your lease. Such is the case for poor Delilah in season 2, an avenging journalist attempting to raise her younger sister Ellie alone. Delilah seems like she would have held the men of Hollywood accountable if Mr. Storage Locker hadn’t moved into the building. RIP, Delilah.
Poor Candace. In season 2, she plays an absolutely thankless role trying to protect other women from Joe.
Candace and Joe used to date, and when she tried to end things, he buried her alive. Candace escaped, but wasn’t believed by officials. She tried valiantly to take justice into her own hands, but was stopped dead in her tracks by Joe’s new girlfriend, Love.
Love’s complicated twin, Forty (yes, their parents like tennis), is hiding a lot of dark secrets for his sister, but it’s easy to understand his loyalty. Fragile but loving Forty had a difficult life, and a truly dark death.
Beck’s rich best friend Peaches was a complicated lady, but not the stalker that Joe perceived her to be. That’s called projection, Joe. Despite her chronic pettiness, Peaches didn’t deserve to die, nor did she deserve for her murder to be framed by Joe as a suicide.
A scammer whom Joe hires off the dark web to help him assume a new identity in LA, Will is arguably somewhat culpable for the violence Joe wreaks in California. Will might be the only adult Joe shows mercy to in the series, and he’s unscrupulous enough to keep some of Joe’s own secrets.
Sure, Beck’s boyfriend before Joe wasn’t a keeper—but he didn’t deserve to be held in a subterranean cell and poisoned by peanuts. As far as the men of You go, he was practically a prince!
Professor Paul Leahy
Beck’s grad school professor thinks Beck has what it takes to make it as a writer—assuming she puts in some ‘extra credit’ with him. Like many of the men on You, Professor Leahy might not be as lethal as Joe, but he’s equally accustomed to treating women as extensions of his ego.
Sadly for the future students he’ll work with, the pervy professor survives his time in Joe’s orbit.
Ron is Pancho’s abusive step-father, and a critical character in season 1. Ron’s temper triggers memories for Joe of his own childhood, which ultimately results in Ron’s death.
Even though Ron was an abuser, he also was one of the characters in season 1 who came close to catching Joe and preventing him from creating even more carnage.
Dr. Nicky, played to perfection by John Stamos, is Beck’s therapist—and also Joe’s, once Joe comes up with a fake identity and scams his way into the practice.
Of course, we eventually learn that Dr. Nicky is almost as sick as Joe himself: he’s been having an affair with his patient, Beck, for a long time.
Is it bad that we don’t hate Love Quinn, Joe’s equally-violent partner? Compared to Joe, Love’s a walk in the park, even though she’s left a trail of bodies behind her nearly as long as his. But hey, Love can cook! And unlike Joe (at least, as far as we know as of season 2), at least one of Love’s previous partners died of natural causes. See, she’s harmless as a kitten, right?
Love is still alive, but we’ll see how long she survives her relationship.
Ahh, Joe. Despite being surprisingly sympathetic at times, and operating with his own weird moral compass (see: the murder of Henderson), Joe is ultimately a lethal misogynist with a white knight complex.
Actor Penn Badgley has at times had to remind fans that Joe should not be fetishized, but we need no reminder. Joe, there wouldn’t be a You without you, but you’re still a gigantic garbage person.
Mononymous comedian Henderson is known as a nice guy in Hollywood, but his affable exterior hides predatory behavior: Henderson uses his influence to sexually assault underage girls like Ellie.
Maybe because it’s hard to extricate the character of Henderson from the real-life allegations against Chris D’Elia, the actor who portrayed him, but Henderson has landed at the top of this list for being the most horrible human on You—yes, more horrible even than Joe.
Thankfully, like D’Elia’s career should be, Henderson is dead.