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You season 3 ending explained: Did Joe and Love survive?

Who lives (and who doesn't) at the end of the third season of You?

Joe (Penn Badgley) in You season 3

**Warning, includes major spoilers for You season three**

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The new season of You on Netflix boasts even more twists and turns that the first two seasons, as lovelorn murderer Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) realises he has finally met his match in the form of his equally homicidal wife, Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti).

While Joe was the main killer we had to worry about in the first season as he went around New York dispatching anyone who got in the way of his true love, by the end of season two it was clear that his latest obsession, Love, would do anything for love herself, including killing her brother’s au pair, Joe’s ex-girlfriend Candace and his friend Delilah. Realising Love was dangerous, Joe decided to kill her but was stopped in his tracks when Love revealed she was pregnant with his baby.

The third season kicked off with Joe and Love (now the Quinn-Goldbergs) settling into married suburban bliss with baby Henry in the picturesque Northern Californian town of Madre Linda. However, living in a town populated with judgemental parents, annoying mummy bloggers, carbohydrate-denying fitness fanatics and wealthy tech-types would be enough to send most people over the end, so it is almost understandable that the couple’s murderous tendencies were reawakened, initially by Love, who manages to kill someone before the end of the first episode.

By the time the final episode of the season began, their neighbour Natalie, an anti-vaxxer parent, and Ryan, the ex-husband of librarian Marienne (Joe’s current obsession) were among the dead bodies piling up.

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Netflix

In episode 10, titled ‘What is Love?’, Joe realises he wants to leave Love and Madre Linda behind, and start a new life with Marienne, her daughter, and Henry, but there are loose ends to be tied up – including what to do about Sherry and Cary Conrad, who are alive but locked in a glass cage beneath Love’s bakery, and teenager Theo, who Love hit over the head and left for dead when he discovered the caged couple.

However, Joe’s plans are thrown into disarray when Love reveals she knows about his feelings for Marienne. After confessing that she killed her first husband, James, by giving him too much of the paralytic Aconite that she wanted to just subdue him with, Joe realises Love has used the same drug on him and he is unable to move or escape.

Lying on the floor paralysed, he hears Marienne arrive and Love tell her that Joe lied about himself, he killed Ryan, and she and her daughter should run away from him and disappear before it is too late.

Unbeknownst to Love, Joe is regaining feeling in his hands, and when she returns with a cleaver to kill him, he stabs her with a syringe containing a large dose of aconite, revealing that he knew she had been growing something suspicious in her garden so he had made sure he had his own dose, and that he also had taken adrenaline to counter the effects of the drug on him.

Is Love really dead?

Joe says that the amount of aconite (or wolfsbane as it is also known) he injected into Love would be enough to stop her heart, and after she breathes her last words (“we’re perfect for each other”) she certainly looks dead.

Just to be sure, Joe takes their wedding photo album, sets it on fire and throws it into the gas cooker, causing an explosion close to where Love’s body lays. The combination of a heart-stopping drug and a raging fire means Joe (and the world) presumes that Love is really dead – however, some fans are already second-guessing the show’s ending and wondering whether Love made it out alive.

Of course, she could have faked her paralysis and scurried out of the house before it burst into flames, ready to stalk Joe all over Europe, especially after the You writers pulled a similar twist on us in season one, when Joe’s ex Candace – who he had ‘killed’ and buried – shockingly turned up alive. But, in interviews with Newsweek, both show runner  Sera Gamble and Love herself, Victoria Pedretti, promised that Love really did meet a crispy end in season three.

“She is [dead]. We’ve done that before with Candace but you know, there were questions you could ask about that,” says Gamble. “I feel like you literally watch every second of her dying, right on the screen.”

Pedretti added: “I’m pretty sure we had an understanding about how Love’s story was going to end before I even signed on to the show, so I’ve been prepared.”

Loved You? Read more about the Netflix thriller here:

What happens to Joe’s son Henry?

Realising that being the son of murderous parents would lead to Henry being placed in care and possibly having an awful childhood like he himself had, Joe leaves Henry in his baby carrier on Dante and Lansing’s doorstep, with a note asking them to take care of him. He promises Henry “this isn’t forever,” so there is always the chance he may be back to see his son in the future. He also doesn’t reveal the full contents of his letter to Henry, so there is certainly more to come about what his son will know about his dad at a later date.

In a voiceover, Joe reveals that Love’s mother Dottie later tries to get custody of Henry but it is awarded to Dante and Lansing, so Henry is safe.

What happens to Sherry and Cary, and Theo?

Earlier in the episode, Joe finds Theo is still alive (though badly wounded) at the bakery and drops him anonymously at the hospital where he is later reunited with his father.

Sherry and Cary Conrad, meanwhile, manage to escape their cage, having found one of the keys that Joe and Love had hidden inside. They turn their experience into a bestselling book – “Caged: A Radical Couple’s Therapy Technique” – and series of live talks.

Where is Joe now?

Before setting the fire, Joe writes an email, pretending to be Love, in which ‘she’ confesses to the murders, to locking Sherry and Cary in a cage, and killing Joe, too. He then fakes his own death by cutting off two toes – baking one in a pie (it seems Joe’s culinary skills are as good as Love’s) and putting the other in a box with mementoes of the other people killed in Madre Linda that he leaves by Love’s body as evidence of her crimes.

Although only his toes and not his body are found, Joe is assumed dead, so no one is searching for him. The final scene shows us that he is in Paris, the place Marienne once told him she wanted to live, so it is clear he is hoping to find her there.

Now using the name Nick, he walks away from a café in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower saying, “I will find you.”

Netflix has confirmed Joe will be back for You season 4 with a teaser trailer, but it is anyone’s guess whether he will be reunited with Marienne, or indeed, his son Henry, in the next season.

You seasons 1-3 are streaming on Netflix. If you want to watch something else check out our best movies on Netflix guide or best series on Netflix.  You can also order Caroline Kepnes’ You from Amazon.

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