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You - The Last Nice Guy in New York - Review: Frankenstein

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As we're gearing up for tonight's new episode, let's go back and talk about last week's ironically titled episode and the monster we explored during the hour. Perhaps monsters, plural. This episode deals with Joe and Beck's budding new relationship and juxtaposes it against the way Joe chooses to deal with Benji and other potential obstacles standing between him and a happy life with Beck.

In the light side of Joe's life, he and Beck get to have a nice morning date/walk that, out of context could be ripped straight from a rom-com. Later in the episode, Beck prepares to meet up with her adviser and, after speaking to her friends, seems ready to go along with the man's advances. She almost immediately changes her mind once she's there, but he does not. He makes a grab for her leg under the table at one point and she stands and makes it clear that she isn't here to play that game. He then drops his nice guy facade and jumps right in to some classic victim blaming before telling her that it would be best for everyone if she is no longer a part of the program. Distraught, she decides to call the nicest guy she knows: Joe. They have another wonderful time together and she even invites him to a party at her friend, Peach's house. Joe is not a big fan of Peach, but he can't exactly tell her that because, you know, he's never actually met her. At the party, he stumbles into a library room where he stumbles upon an old book, Ozma of Oz, which brings Joe back to the time his mentor (perhaps the show's Dr. Frankenstein?) locked him in book box Joe is currently holding Benji in. Peach shows up to knock him out of his flashback and it quickly becomes clear that she isn't buying his act, even going so far as to tell him how strange it is that he just happened to be at the same station Beck was when she fell off the platform. She should be careful. Joe and Beck then talk for a bit about what Beck wants in life and why she does certain things, with Joe suggesting she use her teeth to go after what she wants. She thanks him for being a friend, which shakes him a bit. As they go to leave the party, Joe is stopped by a girl who was friends with his ex-girlfriend, Candice. She wants to talk about the strange circumstances surrounding her sudden decision to leave without telling anyone, but all he really offers is a quick thought about how she left him for another man before Beck steps in and gets him out of this situation. He then heads home and runs into Paco, giving him a new book: Peach's copy of Ozma of Oz. He tells Paco the best place to hide the book is in a ceiling tile in the bathroom, and then turns in for the night. The next day, he is quickly released from the friend-zone when Beck shows up with a doughnut to thank him for his teeth advice. She has blackmailed her adviser so he'll allow her to stay in the program under a new adviser. She then kisses him, and they have a beautiful moment together, which quickly is forgotten when we see how the darker side of this week's story ends.

In the dark side of Joe's life, he tries to decide what to do with Benji. After a few conversations, Joe is positive that Benji is indeed the garbage person Joe assumed he was and is further convinced when he learns Benji's phone password is another girl's name. In a possible effort to give Benji a moment to be honest and earn his freedom, Joe eventually gives him three cups of soda and says since Benji's sodas are supposed to be the best, he should be able to figure out which of the cups is his soda. If he can, Joe says he can go free. Benji proclaims none of the cups are his because of how awful they taste, and Joe tells him it's the exact opposite; every cup had Benji's soda in it. Later, he attempts to convince Joe to let him go by pointing him to USB drive containing an incriminating video of Benji and some friends accidentally killing someone in a pool. It seems like the perfect solution. Benji goes free and Joe knows he'll never have to worry about Benji going to the police because Joe would show them the video. After getting the drive, he brings Benji a coffee and you think just maybe everything could be ok. Then, Joe starts talking about how dangerous he thinks Benji is for Beck and soon reveals that Benji's coffee was laced with peanut oil, killing Benji via allergic reaction to peanuts. He then takes Benji's phone and hides in a ceiling tile in his bathroom. He's officially a murderer now.

Book of the Week
If there was any doubt left regarding whether the show wants you to have conflicting feelings about Joe, they lay it out very plainly as Joe and Paco discuss the Mary Shelley classic, Frankenstein. Paco notes how he enjoys getting the creature's point of view because it makes you understand his actions and makes said actions seem, in Joe's words, "justified". Paco also points out how he doesn't want to like the creature because he's obviously bad, but at the same time, he's not all bad, and perhaps the creature's creator is the real bad character in the story. Joe replies by saying the author clearly wants to leave it up to the reader's interpretation. The show is very much trying to paint show as a human version of Frankenstein's monster. 

We now fully understand what Joe is capable of. Sure, we could have made the leap there in the first episode (or, like, taken a half step there), but now there's no wiggle room. Joe is absolutely capable of murder, as long as it's in the interest of, in his eyes, keeping Beck safe. Plenty of people want someone who'd be willing to kill or die for them, but this certainly isn't what those people have in mind. While the murder is quite upsetting, the most devastating part of the episode, at least to me, is when Joe yelled at Paco about entering the basement. That poor kid has plenty of things he has to deal with at home, and having somebody he considers a dear friend grab him and yell in his face is not something he needs. I'm glad they were able to make up later, solely for Paco's peace of mind. I'm interested to see just how easy it will continue to be for Joe to justify the bad things he's doing "for Beck" now that he's committed a murder. Normal, everyday, not-so-psycho Joe is most likely not a killer, as Benji observed aloud earlier, so love-struck, very-much-psycho Joe's murderous actions could have an effect on his overall psyche. Only time will tell how this will go, however, so we'll see how things progress in tonight's new episode.

Did you think he would kill Benji? How do you feel about the show's comparison to Frankenstein's monster? Can Joe get rid of the body without anyone finding out? Sound off in the comments below!

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