Is it any surprise that Joe is even more irrational and irritating now that he’s Beck’s stalker-boyfriend than he was when he was just her stalker? They have this cozy routine where he watches her sleep and then smells her underwear when he thinks she isn’t looking. It’s all your standard-issue psycho stuff. But I guess Beck has forgotten the totally reasonable point she made not that long ago about how she’s never met any of Joe’s friends, because rather than press him on his monastic lifestyle, she’s trying, pathetically, to bring Joe into her friend group.
Temporarily setting aside every problematic thing about this relationship that is Joe’s fault — like how he is a homicidal scumbag who has been lying to Beck from the jump and is still reading all of her text messages through her old phone — I would just say that it is so obnoxious of Beck to bring her boyfriend to her girls’-night Bachelor watch party. (Almost as obnoxious as it is for Joe to ask, via voice-over, why “self-respecting women tolerate this crap.”) Joe also judges Beck’s friends for drinking skinny girl cocktails. JOE, YOUR GIRLFRIEND IS THIN. You don’t get to trash women who opt for low-calorie beverages.
Joe thinks Peach “has it out” for him (he is correct) and that “if I just keep being the perfect boyfriend” Beck will choose him over Peach (he is incorrect). Being cold, distant, and sporadically unavailable would be so much more appealing to a Beck kind of girl. There’s a reason Rory ditched Dean for Jess. But this is not Joe’s way.
I love that Annika just swoops into Mr. Mooney’s wearing a velvet ankle-length robe and shouting “this place is musty” at a bookstore. She chirps about her rates per Instagram — “I get $12,000 for a selfie in glasses” — and graciously offers to give Mooney’s some free PR. Joe’s take on Annika’s career as a body-positive social-media star: “It would be genuinely empowering if it weren’t so clearly a rebellion against being Peach’s ‘fat friend’ from prep school.” Then Joe spots a picture on Annika’s phone of the girls that features a pre-nose-job Peach — it’s almost as captivating as Shay Mitchell’s postmodern Biore spon-con — and encourages Annika to post it as a #tbt. He even crafts her a caption: “Bitches being our most authentic selves.”
High off that sad little victory, Joe gets wildly overdressed for the cheesiest date imaginable — it involves a horse-drawn carriage — while Beck, who always looks like she just blindly threw on whatever some random girl left on the floor of a Madewell dressing room, has to cancel because Annika is having a meltdown. Someone whose name rhymes with iconic American novelist J.D. Salinger anonymously posted this old video of a drunk Annika spewing some casual racism, and her followers and sponsors are all abandoning her.
In positive news, and in what I have to say is a miracle considering Beck has produced exactly one good story under her new adviser’s guidance, said adviser offers to hook Beck up with an agent who can help her get some paying jobs writing personal essays and reviews. Ecstatic, Beck reports back to Peach, who gracefully negs her so she can take charge of this situation, dangling the offer of a meeting with Very Important Agent “Roger Stevens.” (In the world of You, all the women have hilariously unlikely names, and all the men have names like Joe, Ron, and Roger Stevens.) Peach knows Roger “from when he was a counselor at my Jew camp,” and now I have even more questions about how Peach is supposed to be related to J.D. Salinger. Anyway Peach is throwing a party at Joe’s bookstore so Beck can meet this Roger fellow, because that’s super necessary.
Joe realizes he’s underestimated Peach — who calls him “Joseph,” which makes him even more insane than he already is and I really appreciate that — so he starts stalking her, too. Or, well, he tries to. I like this little injection of realism into the WTF-world that is You: Just because you’ve decided to do recon on your enemy doesn’t mean you’re magically fit enough to chase them down on their morning run. I will give Joe points for his disgust at Peach’s interior-design stylings: “Gauche? Demented? If this is the fruit (lol) of Peach’s imagination there’s no telling what horrors she’s capable of.”
Joe returns home and I literally burst out laughing at the sight of the stairwell urchin reading Wuthering Heights, but it turns out he has secret reading material under that cover: Juvenilia: The prosecution of minors in New York State. I scream at my screen: OBVIOUSLY THIS DICKENSIAN SQUALOR TEEN WOULD BE LOOKING THIS UP ON THE INTERNET. But anyway, Joe insists that “taking a swing at Ron” or — the no-duh next step — alerting child services will only result in this basically an orphan becoming actually an orphan who bounces around a broken system until he ages out, at which point he will also be broken, and his life will have no meaning or worth. Joe’s prescription: The Count of Monte Cristo. It is, Joe assures him, about “revenge, and more importantly, living with the enemy.”
Time for the swanky party! Beck, as is her standard practice, is underdressed and self-conscious about it, even though this party was thrown for the express purpose of facilitating her introduction to a literary agent and she could have just asked Peach to borrow a dress. Joe gives her a very good pep talk, I must admit, and off she goes into the waiting arms of Roger Stevens, the kind of guy who audibly “mwahs!” so, there’s that. While Roger charms Beck, Peach just trashes Joe for working in the “pale and flaccid” book business. (I’m digging her power accessories, by the way.)
A series of extremely improbable things happen next involving Peach’s possessions. For one thing, I don’t believe she would bring her laptop to this party. I don’t believe she keeps a handwritten food diary; she would for sure be keeping that on her phone. I don’t believe Joe could take Peach’s laptop and then move it across the city, to and from her bag and apartment and his apartment, as he proceeds to do for the rest of the episode, without getting caught. And I would like to believe that, upon finding an old Polaroid of his girlfriend in a cherry-print bikini, Joe would not drop everything to jerk off in the torture cage where he murdered Benji not three episodes ago. But here we are, all of us together, and each one of these things does happen. What a world.
When Joe emerges from the basement, he overhears a laughably indiscreet Peach tell Roger that Beck’s more of a work in progress and to “be gentle” when he rejects her.
Back at Beck’s place, Peach is tearing through all the drawers because her laptop is missing and her spidey sense is tingling. She knows Joe took it. Beck’s reaction is basically: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I already found Beck grating but I see now that our heroine has what I like to call Bella Swan Syndrome: When a female character is aggressively unremarkable but, somehow, everyone else in the story is infatuated with her and fights over her constantly. (No offense, Kristen Stewart! But we can all agree: Bella is lame as hell. Her interests are like … laundry? I think?) We are to believe that no one is immune to Beck’s charms and that every guy (and most women) who meet her can’t contain themselves, they just have to have her. As Blythe might ask, does the character we’ve met really support that narrative?
Anyway, Joe managed to get Peach’s laptop back to her house, or close enough to it, that the Find My Computer GPS sends Peach home with her tail between her legs. (But not before she allows for the possibility that an ex is creeping on her: “Let’s just say that James Franco and I didn’t end well.”) And while he still had it, Joe found out that (1) her password is “Beckalicious,” and (2) Peach is obsessed with Beck, and presumably in love with her but forbidden from being with her because, I guess, her rich family won’t let her be with a woman? Or because Beck is poor? This is not totally explained, but no matter, Joe is quite distraught.
After Peach leaves, Joe word-vomits everything he heard Peach and Roger say right at Beck, who, as we know, has the emotional resilience of a 2-year-old. She runs away in a rage, straight into Roger’s awaiting limo, where their meeting is to take place. And look, I don’t mean to fail you as a professional recapper but I am not going to bother to detail what happened in this limo because it is the exact same scene that played out with Beck and Professor Pervy, right down to the knee-touching and the “whoops, did I say I read your stuff? I didn’t really and what I did read wasn’t that special!”
The best part of this is when Beck confronts Peach, and Peach’s way of saying she had no idea Roger would do that is, “I mean, he’s been clean since 9/11. Beck, when it happened, he was in an airport.” Are the best lines of this program wasted on Peach? Discuss.
Joe has only one friend left in this world, but even the hallway moppet is pissed at him today. He is VERY ANGRY about The Count of Monte Cristo because it suggests a person wait at least a decade before exacting a complicated and elaborate revenge and meanwhile Ron is throwing mom against the wall NOW.
Beck comes back to Joe’s place to do a sad doorway lean and apologize. Just as things are getting cozy, a call comes in from Peach, who took a bunch of pills but does not want to call 911, which should be your first tip that Peach probably took, like, four Percocet and a handful of Tic-Tacs just to get Beck’s attention. It works. Peach begs Beck to stay the night and after what feels like maybe product placement for meloxicam — is that a thing people just have lying around their medicine cabinets? — Joe is exiled, left to his soft-core fantasies of his only love making out in her underwear with his only hate.
Joe understands his only option is to do a murder. And not even a well-thought-out murder that involves staging a fake suicide at Peach’s apartment — has no one watched Heathers but me? And also Peach LITERALLY just acted out this fake almost-suicide, it would be perfect! No that I’m encouraging; I’m just saying, if you’re going to do it, do it right. Don’t do what Joe does which is … sprint up behind Peach as she runs under a bridge and bash her head in with a rock, and then don’t even check to make sure she’s not breathing, just run away and chuck the rock with all your fingerprints and her blood on it right off the path where it can easily be found. Peach, as Joe will soon discover, survives this amateur non-assassination. Wonder what she’ll remember when she comes to in the ER!
When Joe gets home, he finds his saddest little neighbor tried to kill Ron. Should he call 911? “No! Not if you ever want to see your mother again!” Joe helps Ron regain consciousness through the power of making him vomit, and to say thank you, Ron pummels Joe’s face in. On the bright side, this is a great alibi for the whole Peach situation.