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*Light spoiler warning for those who are not caught up with You, season four: part one.
What would you do for love? This is the question that Netflix’s hit psychological thriller You poses to its viewers as the show follows Joe, an obsessive young man with serial killer tendencies, as he justifies his questionable decision-making by convincing himself, “It’s all in the name of love.” The target of Joe’s newest obsession, Marienne Bellamy—played by the stunning Tati Gabrielle—beats the odds, and survives at the end of season three. Gabrielle reveals the inner-workings of Marienne’s mind, tells us who she really thinks belongs with Joe, and clues us in on what may be coming next for her character in season four.
Jalen Jones: It seems like Marienne may be just as skilled as Joe is when it comes to moving and starting over. But when she sees Joe again for the first time in London, it looks like she goes through a lot of different emotions. What do you think was going through her mind at that moment?
Tati Gabrielle: Wow, yeah, there’s a lot of emotions. Of course, almost a sense of reunion. Also a sense of “Oh my God, it’s you,” that’s quickly followed by, “Oh my God, it’s you, how are you here?” I think there’s fear in there. There’s a lot of questions and confusion—very much an internal battle of trying to decipher between what was real, and what was a lie. A lot of turmoil going on inside Marienne.
JJ: I loved how the last time we saw Marienne, she was telling Love that her “true love” was her tiny voice in her head that knew she deserved better. Do you think she’s found that voice when we see her in season four?
TG: I think by the end of season four, yeah. Or she’s getting closer to repairing that relationship, because, for Marienne, that’s what her goal always was. She knew that she ignored that voice for so long. As she said to Love, she was still trying to gain that back. By the end of season four, I definitely think that she has repaired that relationship with her inner self quite a bit. The fight that she had to go through to get to it was strenuous, but yeah, I think that’s just the biggest part of her journey this season in general. Laying those final demons to rest.
JJ: Very powerful. So actually, through that very journey, it seems that there are some parallels between her and Joe. What are some of the more significant parallels that you see?
TG: I mean, the main parallel that they have is of course, they both grew up in the system. They both have a sense of abandonment issues, or are feeling as though they are sort of walking through the world alone. Rightfully so, as children who went through the system. I think that the way both of them have chosen to not let—or, I guess not necessarily for Joe—but I was gonna say not let their experience define them or slow them down.
I do think that at times Joe does use his [past] as an excuse, and I think Marienne does not, so I don’t know if that’s actually true. So yeah, the only thing that I can really see is that they both grew up having to fend for themselves, and both have become very good at fending for themselves and handling what needs to be done in order to self preserve. Those are really the only parallels that I could see. I think that Joe has a heart in there, I just think it’s crowded by his crazy mind.
JJ: Somewhere deep down in there. Hopefully he can find it, just like Marienne is trying to! [laughs]
TG: [Laughs] Right, you know?
JJ: Actually, it felt like last season the two really bonded over their troubled pasts. But this season, it seems like they’re not on the same page. Do you think that Marienne still loves Joe, or at least still relates to him in some ways?
TG: I do think that Marienne still has love for Joe, and you know, that may be a controversial thing to say. But I do think that. I think that no longer does she empathize with him, though that she may sympathize a bit. She knows that from their troubled childhoods and kinship in their troubled childhoods. Marienne knows it for herself. She’s done the work to try to heal and grow, and not let her traumas be at the forefront anymore. I think she sees very much so that Joe has not done that! [laughs]
Yeah, but I think that it’s hard for Marienne. Just as a human, she has a great capacity for sympathy and empathy. I think that it’s hard for her to look at Joe and not be understanding, at least a little bit. I think that through the course of the show, she wants to be the one to save him by any means. But I do think that she can’t denounce him so easily, because she does have an understanding of how he got there.
JJ: I can tell she has a lot of empathy. Clearly, since she’s been through similar stuff, so that makes sense.
TG: Right? But by no means do I think that she’s letting him off or thinks that he’s innocent in any regard. You know, a murderer is a murderer, period. And a serial murderer at that? It just makes it all the worse. So yeah, by no means do I think that Marienne is in a forgiving space. Like, you know when people say, “I understand, but I don’t agree?” Yeah, those situations. “Okay, I can see how you got here, but by no means do I support or second it or at all.”
JJ: We actually don’t see much of Marienne for the latter half of part one, but we also don’t get much closer regarding Marienne and Joe’s relationship. What has Marienne been up to this whole time while Joe has been dealing with his new friend group?
TG: Well, I mean, I don’t want to spoil anything for part two! But Marienne has been on a…unexpected journey. [Laughs]. I will say that. An unexpected journey! One that I think led to some…really hard insights. Yeah.
JJ: Unexpected for her and for you?
TG: I guess technically not for me; very unexpected for her. I knew! I knew the journey that she was about to go on. But yeah, a very, very big twist for her.
JJ: Oh, so you saw it coming!
TG: Oh no, I was told it was coming. I had no [idea]. And there wasn’t necessarily, at the end of last season, a plan for season four yet. They had their things in the works, but they didn’t share anything. So I was very eager and curious after season three to know. I was like, “Okay, well, what’s gonna happen next? Where’s she gonna go from here?” So yeah, I was actually very excited once I learned her story of season four. It definitely puts her to the test a bit.
JJ: One last question: trying to forego any bias that you might have, who is Joe really best with: Beck, Love, Marienne, or our newcomer Kate?
TG: Wow. Um…I still think that Joe and Love are made for each other, in their own way. Just in the most terrible, toxic way. Because it’s like they do both understand within one another this crazy, psycho-like, impulse that they both share! So yeah, and I don’t think that any of the rest of his, you know, obsessions or love interests could have understood that or even remotely try to accept that about him. I would have to say Joe and Love as far as the match.
But who is best for Joe? I think that’s a toss up between Marienne and Kate. Yeah. Because I think that they both challenge him to confront himself in different ways. I think that that's what Joe needs.
JJ: Awesome! Well, we’re gonna have to wrap it up now, but thank you so much for sitting down with us. And real quick, from one Blasian to another, happy Black History Month!
TG: Ayyy, happy Black History Month! That’s what’s up!
Published on February 10, 2023
Words by Jalen Jones
Jalen Jones is a Black and Filipino writer, poet, director, and all around creative who came of age in Eagle Rock and the greater Los Angeles county. Over the years, he has hosted a children’s workout DVD series, directed an Emmy Award-winning public service announcement, and produced the NAACP Image Award nominated short film, The Power of Hope. Passionate about portraying the real, the unpinpointable, and the almost-unsayable, Jalen has published a wide array of poetry and creative work that lands on these very discoveries. More than anything, he hopes to build a house out of words that can make anyone and everyone feel like they belong. Find him on Instagram @jalen_g_jones and online at jalen-jones.com.