Skip to main content

Netflix’s You: Why Taylor Swift Was The Perfect Choice For Season 3's Ending, According To The Showrunner

Spoiler alert! This story contains spoilers for the end of Season 3 of the Netflix series You. Proceed with caution if you haven’t watched the whole season yet!

Season 3 of the hit Netflix series You, starring Penn Badgley and Victoria Pedretti, dropped murderous couple Joe and Love in the middle of the suburbs, forcing them to endure the trappings of domestic life as they tried to provide the best for their new baby, Henry. But marriage and a kid couldn’t fix the issues Joe and Love had, unsurprisingly. Let’s just say it didn’t take long for the walls to start tumbling down around the Quinn-Golbergs, and the couple’s undoing was perfectly complemented by the tune of Taylor Swift’s “Exile.”  

After multiple murders, schemes gone awry, and Joe and Love each trying to murder the other, Joe took the upper hand when — similarly to Season 1 — he saw the opportunity to frame Love for all of the damage they’d done in Madre Linda. And if you thought the lyrics, “I think I’ve seen this film before. And I didn’t like the ending,” were a spot-on way to open the scene revealing Love’s “confession,” it was no accident. You showrunner Sera Gamble knew that “Exile,” a single from Taylor Swift’s Folklore that features Bon Iver, was the right song for that moment, and she told EW what that track meant to her.

During the pandemic, when everything was just completely mad and we were all very much staying away from each other, my husband and I rented an RV because we needed to go up north, and the Folklore album had recently come out and the RV was incredibly loud, but we cranked it all the way up and listened to it. As we were driving through the smoke of all these forest fires in the middle of a pandemic, it was a real apocalypse bonding experience. When we were cutting the last episode of You, I talked to Season Kent, our music supervisor, and I was like, 'Do you think there's any chance we can get this on, because I feel like it's the perfect sad song for this part?’

The lyrics of the song seemed tailor-made (get it?) for that scene in You, with Taylor Swift and Bon Iver singing, “You’re not my homeland anymore, so what am I defending now?” as Joe dragged Love’s body across the floor of the house, preparing to burn it all down. 

The couple, with the help of therapy, had tried to take an “us against the world” approach by having each other’s backs. But old habits were harder to kill than the neighbors, as jealousy, a need for control, and wandering eyes made each see their spouse as a liability, not a teammate. 

Most of Season 3’s murders were committed impulsively as acts of passion, or out of necessity in tension-fueled scenes. The somber “Exile” playing as Joe set up Love’s murder emphasized the sorrow of the moment, differentiating it from the other lives lost, and Sera Gamble's idea to add that song for that scene was a great touch. And it's hardly the only time that Taylor Swift has perfectly accompanied a TV or film scene. 

All three seasons of You are currently streaming on Netflix. When you’ve finished that one, check out our 2021 Netflix TV schedule to find your next binge, as well as our 2021 Fall TV Schedule for upcoming premieres.

Heidi Venable

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.