‘You’ Season 3: Why [Spoiler] Was Killed Off in Episode 1

At the beginning of You Season 3, Joe Goldberg still hasn’t met Natalie Engler, the neighbor who caught his eye at the end of You Season 2. That changes one evening when she comes across Joe in a grocery store parking lot, letting him know she’s been watching him too. Love Quinn, realizing there’s something between them, becomes overrun with jealousy, so much that she killed Natalie in You Season 3 Episode 1.

Showrunner Sera Gamble discussed the moment in an interview, explaining why there was no other choice but to kill off Natalie.

Penn Badgley as Joe Goldberg in 'You' Seeason 3 stares at his reflection in the bedroom mirror.
Penn Badgley as Joe Goldberg in ‘You’ Season 3 | John P. Fleenor/Netflix

What happened to Natalie in ‘You’

Love (Victoria Pedretti) became suspicious of Joe (Penn Badgley) and Natalie (Michaela McManus) after Natalie told her at a party that she still hadn’t met Joe, not realizing Joe had told Love he’d had drinks with Natalie earlier in the week.

Confronted about Natalie’s remarks, Joe admitted that more had happened between them: Natalie came on to him, but he left before it went further. From there, Love backed down and even appeared to become friends with Nat.

One day, Natalie, knowing Love’s dream is to become a pastry chef, took her to look at a property for a bakery. The two were heading downstairs when Love, out of nowhere, grabbed an ax and swung it at Natalie’s head, killing her. It turns out Love had discovered Natalie’s underwear while digging out baking materials from their storage room, sending her into a jealous rage.

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Natalie’s death in ‘You’ shocked viewers

After seeing the You Season 2 finale, many viewers probably expected that Joe’s obsession with Natalie would be the focus of You Season 3 — which is exactly why writers decided to kill her off so early.

“You do have to keep switching things up,” Gamble told TVLine of the twist. “I’m going to say this, and Future Me is going to be really pissed that I said this out loud: With a show like this, where Season 1 was such a particular fun, twisty ride coming off of Caroline [Kepnes’] book, we really had to prove to you at the beginning of Season 2 that we would still be able to surprise you. So we did a lot of stuff in Season 2 to try to do that.”

“The conversation at the beginning of Season 3 was ‘What do you think would happen if you were a viewer?’ And it’s that Michaela would be in the whole season, so we were like, ‘She’s got to go in Episode 1,'” Gamble continued.

Badgley and Pedretti say they were also fans of the idea.

“I was into it, because it was like, ‘Oh, this is going to go in some other direction,’” Badgley said. “That’s always exciting.”

Pedretti echoed that, explaining: “It’s fun when you can subvert people’s expectations on television these days. We’ve all consumed so much of it, so I find that it’s harder to be surprised.”

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What happened at the end of ‘You’ Season 3

As the third season of You played out, Joe developed a new obsession with his boss Marienne Bellamy (Tati Gabrielle). He was planning on leaving Love for her, but Love was able to persuade Marienne to leave without him by telling her the truth about Joe. Love was also going to kill Joe for betraying her, but Joe murdered her first. He then faked his death and left for Paris to search for Marienne.

Although Marienne doesn’t seem like the person who would be OK with Joe’s ways, Gamble teased to The A.V. Club that he could manipulate her into thinking Love was lying.

“He thinks that this is all just a misunderstanding, that he can clean it up with her,” Gamble explained. “I think if he didn’t believe that, he would have gotten on a plane. I think we were hearing his honest, uncensored thoughts when he was paralyzed on the ground and he was just like, ‘Don’t let her poison you against me with her lies,’ basically. So he sees this as something he can potentially fix.”

We’ll see how it all unfolds when You Season 4 drops. But in the meantime, check out the latest season now on Netflix.