You boss on why they killed [SPOILER], whether season 4 will take place in Paris
Warning: This post contains spoilers from You season 3.
You's third season did not mess around. What began as a story about two reformed murderers trying to live a happy, married life in the suburbs quickly devolved into two murderers realizing they cannot change their ways, even if they are parents. And after a season of chaos, Joe (Penn Badgley) and Love (Victoria Pedretti) came to the conclusion that they're not meant to be. Or rather, Love tried to kill Joe but he saw it coming and instead, she ended up dead.
EW spoke with You showrunner Sera Gamble about the rollercoaster of a season, that ending, and what season 4 might hold.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: This was the first season where you all didn't have a finished Caroline Kepnes novel as a blueprint. How did that change things?
SERA GAMBLE: I think if you're adapting material like Caroline's books that are so helpful, you live in low-key terror of the day you run out of book. And that's what happened. We ran out of book. She was still writing. We didn't get to see it. It's like the water wings came off for this season. So I would say, in certain ways, that's more difficult because I find Caroline's writing to be so helpful to the TV process, maybe in some small part because she herself is a TV writer as well. But it was a security blanket, for sure, knowing that we could go to those books and really just like remind ourselves of why Forty existed, for example. You know? It's a very grounding thing, but in success, you split off into a parallel timeline, and then now the show and the books are cousins. We're the side of the family where more people are murderers than her books.
Was Caroline involved at all in season 3?
Yeah, she's a consultant on the show. She was very intensely writing her books this season, but she and I talked. She talked to [executive producer] Greg Berlanti. She popped into the writers' room to say hello. And we always send her the material as well. So if there's something she wants to flag or ask a question about, she can. She did walk me through some of her ideas for the novel's Joe, and we sort of grabbed what we could. But at a certain point, it felt like once we did what we did with Love, we had sort of decided that we were going to tell a different story for now, and then maybe we'll be able to dovetail back at some other point.
Let's talk about Joe and Love as a married couple. At times, I did wonder if they were perfect, and at others, it was watching Joe live with his nemesis.
Welcome to marriage. [Laughs] Marriage is hard. And by the way, I'm in a very happy, pretty new marriage. I got married shortly before we started writing the new season, and I'm very happy and grateful to have our little pandemic pod here. But I live full-time with the person who knows me better than anyone else has ever known me in my entire life, and there are times when that is the best thing that has ever happened to me, and there are times when, if I were a murderer, which I am not, I would just murder him. Right? And we get to do this really super-fun thing where they occasionally bonk people over the head and lock them in a cage. But there's nothing about what they're saying in their couple's therapy, for example, that I think isn't something you can relate to. I mean, I think you can tell when you watch those scenes that the writers got really personal. We talked a lot about what it felt like to be in a serious partnered relationship.
And then you've got Sherry (Shalita Grant) and Cary (Travis Van Winkle) locked in a cage having their own kind of couples therapy.
Well, it's like Love at that point, she's pretty invested in proving to Sherry and Cary that their relationship isn't working out either, but she's wrong. I actually think they have a really great marriage. I mean, I feel like I can't say much about that without being like, "How lucky were we with that casting? What a perfect pair. But we called that section of the season like Couples Counseling Part Two.
Did you all battle with: How many people can we have them kill and still somehow get out of it?
You're not the first person who has said that the body count seems high. I think that might be because there's more than one person doing the killing. I actually, to be honest, was worried at one point that Joe wasn't violent enough. I was like, "Wow, he's really being successful in pulling it back." I think we get pretty far into the season before there's a body that we can fully attribute to him. But I also just don't really think in those terms. I think if I were to, for example, turn in a script that someone wrote early in a season to the studio and our executives were like, "It seems like there's a lot of dead bodies in this episode," I think that would cue me that there was a different problem. As long as this extreme violence is happening for a story reason that you really understand, the characters are going through something, you might not agree, but you're with them.
How do you feel like being parents has changed them, or has it changed them?
Pretty much every person who shared their experience with being a parent said it was, far and away, the thing that changed them the most. It's beautiful. It's wonderful. Watching a child grow up is very cool, but you're totally responsible for them. It's terrifying. And that is a really interesting place to put these two characters in, that level of helplessness and protectiveness. All of that is coming out. Love hitting Gil over the head and putting him in the cage came out of a conversation. I asked the parents in the room, "What scares you the most?" And they started to talk about when their children are sick, like how they would literally pull it out of their kid's body and put it in their own if they could. And I was like, "Let's translate that through Love Quinn."
Speaking of Love, what went into the decision to kill her?
We kind of knew this is where it was going from the beginning. We had a conversation with Victoria about it at her audition, that we had this idea for a two-season story with them. Things can always change, of course, and they do. We talked about everything. You get really attached to these characters, and it's not just the writers, it's other actors and directors who were like, "You know, you could do this other thing," because they want to spend more time with them, which is good. It's a good sign that you're getting something right.
What was it about Joe killing Love that you felt like was the right story move?
Joe is Joe. We knew for sure that their relationship would end by the end of the two seasons. And I think we talked pretty early about the idea that she would die, and certainly Victoria knew that for a long time. And I was like, "If we change our minds, we'll tell you right away because if you have to do like a mental adjustment." But we did talk about other things. You always are like, "But would it be better if there were a parachute under the seat in airplanes, that when it explodes, we can later…" Right? And it's so funny. We're so trained to do that that people have asked me if she's really dead, and I'm like, "Her corpse is on camera. You watch him deliver the lethal dose. She's lying there for an entire scene, and then he sets her on fire." [Laughs] It's like, "She's dead."
So will next season theoretically be in Paris, or is that just kind of like a temporary getaway?
It could. I think Joe is great when he's in an environment that's not natural to him, that's foreign to him. So literally foreign could be very cool. And it's a big, wide world out there. That's something I've learned from watching Netflix, where I've been watching shows from lots of other countries lately. It's the thing about being in a pandemic. You're home. You can barely go down the street, much less get on a plane. And I have to say, it's made us want to explore more of the world in any way we can.