In the third season of “You,” we saw that after faking his death in Madre Linda, Joe had come to Paris in search of Marienne. He had done everything he could to control his impulses, but it had backfired, and he now had to do the one thing he had been dreading for quite some time. Whether he was a good man or not is debatable, but clearly, he was trying very hard not to fall into the trap or kill anybody. A normal person looks after his or her family by providing emotional support and making them financially secure, but Joe had his own unique way of expressing his love and showing his wife that he cared for her: he made sure that he disposed of the bodies of the victims in a manner that it wouldn’t lead the authorities to them.
Joe never wanted to kill Natalie or their innocent neighbor, Gil, and he could have easily told Love to handle her mess by herself, but instead, he jumped right in and made sure that his wife stayed out of jail. It might be distorted, but it was his uncanny way of showing that he was trying to mend their relationship and do things that he didn’t necessarily like. But then, Marienne happened, and the control started slipping from Joe’s hands. He tried to stay away, to ignore her, to not think about her, but once the obsession kicked in, nothing else made sense. Joe believed that he had the most impressive track record in the history of romantics and that he had his heart in the right place. Joe thought that Love never understood him, and deep down, he felt that Marienne would. He had a feeling that Marienne and he were meant for each other, and that is why he didn’t want to give up on the opportunity so easily. His addiction kicked in once again, and his obsession took over him completely and from thereon Joe was ready to do anything to be with Marienne, and so he told himself that it was the last time he was giving into his impulse s.
Joe traveled all over France for weeks but couldn’t find Marienne. He always felt her presence, and he knew that she was near, but he wasn’t able to find any evidence to lead his investigation in a particular direction. One day he came across a painting, which his intuition told him was made by Marienne. When he couldn’t find her there, he asked another woman present on the scene if she could give him any contact details about the painter. The woman gave him an email and also told him that the painter would take some time to get back to the country as she was in London to visit the Acanthus art fair.
Joe had gotten his first lead in several months, and he didn’t want to give it away. He came to London to start searching for her, and he got lucky. Marienne had changed: she had changed her hair, she had changed her personality, and most importantly, she had changed her perspective and approach to life. Marienne saw him from a distance, and she got happy on seeing a familiar face after such a long time. But then it struck her that if Joe was alive, then clearly it was not Love who had killed him but the other way around. Joe had intricately planned every detail, and he had made sure that everybody felt like Love had murdered him, and it all dawned on Marienne and made her extremely scared. She started running as if her life was in danger, and Joe, not understanding why she was behaving like that, started following her. Joe had genuinely thought that she would be elated to see him, but seeing her run away in fear deeply hurt him. It was the obvious response from anybody who knew the kind of things Joe had done, but for Joe, it all seemed erratic, as what he was feeling on the inside for Marienne was very different from how she perceived the entire situation.
Marienne did love him at one point, but now she only saw a predator in him. Marienne knew that Joe habitually murdered, and it was not a one-time thing for him. Joe was the kind of man who always seemed to guess what was going on inside the mind of another person, and his encounter with Marienne had made him realize that he had to prove to her that he was not the guy she perceived him to be. But fate had other plans, and his past caught up with him, giving him a legitimate opportunity to move on in life but at a certain cost that Joe was not ready to pay at that time.
Elliot Tannenberg was hired by Ray Quinn, Love’s father, to find and kill Joe, and he had reached London to do the needful. Joe, even after being so cautious about covering his tracks, had failed, but as is said, where there is a failure, there is also an opportunity to start afresh. Elliot was sick and tired of doing the same old job, and he wanted an out. He had created an exit strategy for himself, and he gave Joe the option to either agree to his terms and conditions or he would have no other choice but to kill him. Elliot’s offer was quite simple: he would leave Joe alive if he gave him all the money his wife, Love, had in that account of hers. Joe had never run after money because he never desired an ostentatious lifestyle, nor did he have any such expensive hobbies. His drug was people, and he liked observing them, stalking them, obsessing over the minute psychological details, so it was not very difficult for him to give Eliot what he wanted. But there was one more thing that he had asked Joe to do that made it very difficult for him to make a choice. He had asked Joe to find and kill Marienne because she was the only link that could connect him to his past. Joe agreed then but he knew that he was not going to let anybody lay a finger on his beloved Marienne. That’s when we came to know that Joe was a protector. He had always been one.
Joe followed Marienne to the railway station from where she was taking a train back to France. He went past her and snatched her locket without her knowing that it was him. He sent the picture to Elliot to prove to him that she had been killed, and then he did the one thing that was probably the most difficult thing anybody had made him do: he let Marienne go. So, Marienne is pretty much alive, but it would be interesting to see if her path crosses once again with a lovelorn Joe in Season 4, Part 2 of the series, “You.” Unrequited love hurts the most, and this was probably the first time Joe had truly become the “white knight” and made helping and protecting others the purpose of his life. There was a voice inside Joe that was telling him that he needed to change as a person if he wanted to win Marienne’s trust once again, and he was willing to walk on the road to redemption even if it is the most difficult thing to do.
Elliot had already created a fake identity and a believable backstory for Joe, and that’s how he landed in London. Joe became Jonathan Moore, and he joined as a professor at Darcy College and began a new chapter in his life. Joe taught a course called ‘American iconoclasts of the short story’, and he had made a promise to himself that he would stay low for at least a bit and not do anything unnecessary that would bring the spotlight on him. In the fourth season of “You,” we got proof of the fact that trouble followed him wherever he went, and once he found somebody intriguing enough, all hell broke loose. Joe had twisted fantasies and inclinations, but this time he was not looking to kill anyone; in fact, he was trying to do just the opposite.