‘You’: Does Covid-19 Exist in Season 3?

The last time You viewers checked in with Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) and Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti) it was the innocent world of 2019. People went out without masks, shook hands and didn’t worry about the coronavirus (COVID-19). You Season 3 premiered Oct. 15 to a world nearly two years into the pandemic, but did COVID happen in Madre Linda?

[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for You Season 3.]

Penn Badgley and Victoria Pedretti in 'You' Season 3
‘You’ Season 3 stars, Penn Badgley and Victoria Pedretti | Netflix

Although no one wears masks or socially distances on the show, You Season 3 confirmed that COVID-19 did happen in the world of the show. Here are two spots in two different episodes where You acknowledged the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Where ‘You’ Season 3 picks up after season 2?

Joe and Love moved to the suburb of Madre Linda, California with their newborn son Henry. As any fan of You might expect, adjusting to mundane family life was challenging for Joe and Love. Joe picked up his obsessions with neighbor Natalie (Michaela McManus), whom Love killed in the season premiere.

In 'You' Season 3, Joe and Love push their baby in a stroller through the streets of Madre Linda.
Joe and Love push baby Henry in a stroller in ‘You’ Season 3 | John P. Fleenor/Netflix

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So Joe and Love were back to their old tricks, only now they had to cover up their crimes with the appearance of a loving family. Love opened a cafe so at least Madre Linda got some good muffins and coffee out of the deal. Joe went to work at the library where he found yet another obsession. Meanwhile, Natalie’s husband (Scott Speedman) obsessed over surveillance footage and his son Theo (Dylan Arnold) began hitting on Love.

COVID-19 happened on ‘You’

Episode 3 of season 3 of You on Netflix was the first time the show acknowledged COVID. Love gets a shocking phone call that Henry is sick in the hospital. She and Joe goe to see him and find out he has the measles. Love is stunned because she thought the measles were eradicated. The doctor explained how this could happen. 

“Even in the age of COVID, there are parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated,” the doctor says. So the events of You Season 3 are occurring “in the age of COVID”.

Love Quinn holds baby Henry while Joe Goldberg stands next to her in 'You' Season 3. Joe is wearing a blue sweater and Love is wearing a striped top.
Penn Badgley as Joe and Victoria Pedretti as Love in ‘You’ Season 3 | John P. Fleenor/Netflix

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At the end of the episode, Love learns it was Gil (Mackenzie Astin) whose child exposed Henry to measles. Gil and his wife don’t believe in vaccines, and their children had mild cases of the measles when they were kids. Love attacks Gil and she and Joe keep him prisoner in their basement. 

You acknowledged COVID-19 again in the season finale. After the events of the finale, Joe is in a new place. At a bar, he overhears two men sitting at a table discussing the post-COVID world. 

“I can’t believe how many people left New York after the pandemic,” one says.

What’s next?

Netflix already greenlit a fourth season of You before season 3 premiered. The way season 3 ended suggests a new path for Joe. He had to fake his own death when he killed Love, leaving his son Henry with new parents, Dante (Ben Mehl) and Lansing (Noel Arthur). Jackson (Bryan Safi) and Andrew (Chris O’Shea) now run the coffee shop and sell merch there. 

Joe can change his identity all he wants, but you can’t take the Joe out of Joe. He’ll surely find a new obsession, and being apart from Henry can’t be good for his longing observational tendencies. Joe was still looking for Marienne (Tati Gabrielle). We’ll see if her disappearing act is permanent in season 4.