Spoilers ahead for YOU Season 2. If you were hoping that YOU Season 2 would end with Joe Goldberg dead or behind bars, you were likely disappointed by the finale. Not only does Joe escape all punishment unscathed, he now has a rich accomplice at his side in Love Quinn. Love is possibly even more unhinged than Joe, and unlike him, she's actually a methodical and competent killer who knows exactly how to take down her prey.
Joe has always been a terrifying figure in part because of how familiar he is: handsome but unremarkable, the image of every 20-something city dweller who drinks coffee out of mason jars and carries around a dog-eared novel. It's when he becomes sexually and romantically fixated on a woman that his true colors begin to show. He stalks, he manipulates, and when the woman does not live up to his controlling and misogynistic ideals, he murders.
Joe is through-and-through a serial killer, but there was always a strange comfort in knowing that Joe is also an inept killer, and that meant he would be captured eventually. He's not that physically fit — he can barely keep up with Season 1's Peach and Season 2's Milo in the park — and his murders are riddled by mistakes. He leaves a jar full of his pee at Peach's house, for example, and didn't even realize Candace was still alive when he buried her. In Season 2, he accidentally kills Henderson, botches the crime scene, and then mindlessly gives Henderson's headphones to Officer Fincher, who quickly susses out that they're not Joe's.
Joe hides evidence of his killings in relatively easy to find places too, and that's how both Beck and Delilah end up uncovering his secret. Then there's Dr. Nicky, who Joe framed for Beck's murder and who could easily identify Joe as the strange, unnamed patient he treated. Considering all this, it seemed inevitable that eventually all of Joe's mistakes would catch up with him, and he'd finally land in jail — which is where he is by the end of Hidden Bodies, the second book in Caroline Kepnes' YOU book series on which the show is based.
However, that's all flipped on its head when Love enters the picture. In Kepnes' novel, Love is described as the affluent heiress of a chain of high-end grocery stores. She's 35 years old, which Joe notes makes her the oldest woman he's ever been involved with. She's described as responsible, sensitive, and kind — a description that proves deviantly true when she accepts Joe even after learning he's a murderer. "Who has the right to hate anyone?" she tells Joe. "All I know is how to love."
YOU showrunners Greg Berlanti and Sera Gamble take Love's characterization one step further by making her an active participant in the killings, as well as Joe's ultimate protector. When Love realizes that Candace has trapped Joe in his own cage with Delilah's dead body, she feigns disgust and horror, only to turn around and slash Candace's throat. Love then reveals she killed both Candace and Delilah because they threatened her and Joe's future together. "She was gonna hurt you," she explains. "And us. And I fixed it."
As it turns out, Love has been stalking and watching Joe just as much as he was her — but unlike him, she had the money and experience from a young age to really hone her psychotic tendencies. "I recognized something in you," she tells him. "Maybe I got a little obsessed." She hired a private investigator to follow him, and eventually broke into his storage unit, where she got cozy in Joe's cell and spent time reading Beck's book. (Beck, she tells Joe, was "unspecial and mediocre.")
As for Delilah, Love calmly tells Joe that she dealt with her the same way she dealt with the childhood babysitter who fondled her brother. Unlike Joe, whose killings are often done in a fit of rage, Love has a method: she always uses a sharp weapon, and she always cuts the throat. Love's murders are pre-meditated, quick, and emotionless, and that coupled with her wealth makes her a significantly bigger threat than Joe. Joe may look like Ted Bundy, but it's Love who truly embodies the identity of a maniacal serial killer — and perhaps an uncatchable one. Is there anything more formidable and terrifying than a murderer who's smart, attractive, and rich?
Joe may paint himself as the hero of this story, but he's pretty powerless — both emotionally and financially — to ever stop Love. Knowing that she's pregnant and willing to do anything for their relationship overrides any internal honor code that Joe claims to have, like his concerns for Ellie. If Joe lets her, Love seems satisfied with using her money and connections to forever protect the both of them from ever facing any consequences for their crimes. While Joe by himself was always on the verge of getting caught, with Love he's practically set for life.
Of course, two serial killers getting a happy ending sounds like a horrible joke, but the final moment of Season 2 hints at an impending clash. Despite having a picture perfect life, in the end Joe peers through the fence and begins to fantasize about the woman sitting by the pool next door. If Joe ends up cheating on Love, either that poor woman is going to pay, or Joe may find himself at the end of Love's knife.