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‘You’ Stars Penn Badgley, Victoria Pedretti Break Down Joe and Love’s Darkest Choice

Plus: How hard it was to do all that with a real-life baby around

(Warning: This post contains spoilers through the Season 3 finale of “You.”)

Well, it’s not as if it wasn’t obvious that Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) and Love Quinn’s (Victoria Pedretti) marriage wasn’t doomed from its violent start. But the Season 3 finale of “You” — which was just renewed for Season 4 by Netflix ahead of this season’s Friday premiere — proved that union really wasn’t meant to last, as a cat-and-mouse game between the two (literally) killer lovers ended with Joe murdering his wife with the same poison she had just used to paralyze him.

Lucky for Joe, but not for Love, he had been ready for the poisoning, realizing what plant she was growing in the garden of their suburban Madre Linda home and not only prepared a lethal dose for her, but also took adrenaline just before he assumed she was about to enact her plan to try to keep Joe trapped in their marriage and from running off with their baby boy Henry.

And then, to make sure he wasn’t held accountable for Love’s death, or any of the other deaths the two were responsible for through “You’s” third season, he cut off some of his toes, baked them in a pie, threw some evidence down by Love’s body and set their house on fire — after dropping Baby Henry off on the doorstep of some friends he knew will take the little guy in, of course.

Below, TheWrap discusses “You” Season 3 at length with stars Badgley and Pedretti, including the twisted game that led to Love’s demise at Joe’s hand and how hard it was to act out the dark things this married couple does with a real-life baby around.

TheWrap: This is the first season that Joe hasn’t been on his own in his murderous-kidnapping life, knowing now that Love has the same tendencies as him. What was it like for you both to be playing these open versions of the characters you didn’t get to in Season 2 — and adding a baby into that?

Victoria Pedretti: I think it was really fun to be able to– as much as Joe, I guess, kind of hates it, like, these two people are really seeing each other fully in a way that nobody ever really has. And the baby being there, I feel like, represents just a further bond that they’ve created together, which is really daunting. And so there’s a lot of pressure in that. And it’s fun to play with and explore.

Penn Badgley: I would say the same, in a way, for me playing Joe. As much as he is perpetually miserable, I’m not. And as an actor, like getting to put him in his perpetual misery in new situations where he’s challenged and discovers things about himself and the nature of relationships and can actually see another person, even if only for a fleeting moment, it’s just fun. It’s nice to sort of test the device of Joe against these other situations, and particularly having like a real equal partner. I mean, obviously, with Joe, that’s like a paradox or like a logical fallacy or something like that. But as an actor, like particularly those scenes in the second episode, where they’re going from therapy to flashbacks, that was like a play. I remember one scene we shot for just basically nine hours. It was lit all the same and it was just going in the basement with a dead body in the ground and a baby in the vestibule. To me, that was some of the best stuff in the series, I think, in a way.

How often did you have an actual baby on set with you those scenes, and what was that like?

PB: Very rarely, very rarely. But often enough that it’s hard. Acting with a baby, just practically, is hard because they’re not interested in what we doing. (laughs)

VP: I like that, though! They’re really honest.

PB: It’s refreshing, as a human, and then sometimes as an actor, it’s tough to get over the hurdle of the baby crying or the baby not crying or the baby just being present in a scene where you’re like, “Wow, you’re better actor than I am.”

At one point in the season, things turn a corner and it seems like Love and Joe — after going through couples therapy — are actually accepting each other and bonding. Did you think these two could have continued on like this, or was Joe always going to find a new “you,” which he did in Marienne after Love killed Natalie?

VP: I think that’s really what Love hopes, as well. And she kind of is even led to believe is happening.

PB: In Season 2, we both knew that Love was going to live and that there would be a baby. I think we both knew that. I just remember thinking, “Oh, they’ve given Joe the one person he could be with.” So I thought, maybe, that it would be this kind of Bonnie and Clyde vibe, which had its own appeal. But then, of course, that’s not what is possible with someone like Joe. So it’s fun to see glimpses of it. It’s fun to see glimpses of it. But then, of course, it can’t last.

What was it like filming those final scenes between Love and Joe, where you are alternating being paralyzed and paralyzing each other, and there are so many mind games being played before it all ends?

PB: It was very, very fast. We shot it so fast, it was hard to feel like we knew what we doing. I don’t speak for Victoria, but I feel like you’ve said that before right? The fast part.

VP: Mhm. Yeah.

PB: We both have to be acting in different ways, like paralyzed, and that’s always hard to watch. It was very technical, but it’s kind of what you do it for, that head to head. It was kind of like what I was saying about the second episode. When Joe and Love are allowed to just sort of go at each other, that’s some of the most fun stuff.

VP: Yeah, I think so. It felt really fast. And it was crazy because we’d worked so much of the season to get to that point and then for it to kind of really roll at the end.

PB: And I got to say, I want to toot Victoria’s horn — that is a very difficult thing to pull off, which she does exceptionally well. Like, to deliver a speech — some of which has been cut, I know it wasn’t because of her performance, probably time and tension in editing and all this stuff — to deliver a speech while you were dying, becoming paralyzed, I wouldn’t wish that on an enemy. And she was so committed and did such a phenomenal job to deliver last words. Like, think about that, delivering last words. I didn’t have to do that. And I just think, like, you know, if that lands and it’s emotionally resonant for audiences, that’s all credit to everybody involved. But I just think it’s a great performance.

VP: Thank you. It was definitely a high pressure situation.

Read more of TheWrap’s “You” Season 3 coverage here and here and check back later for our interview with co-creator Sera Gamble about her plans for “You” Season 4, which was picked up last week ahead of the third season’s Friday launch.