When you put three actors from three of my favorite shows ever, you better believe I’ll be watching. And with the tagline, “Not everyone wants to be followed,” one is lead to believe this is Gossip Girl x 100, which I am 100% okay with.
The series starts with a voice over by Joe (Penn Badgley) and I got major Gossip Girl vibes. Here Joe is, watching and recounting a girl’s every move right up until she approaches him. It’s creepy if you ask me, especially as he analyzes everything about her. You see, Joe’s a literary type. He’s a bookstore manager and seems to read people that he does books. When Joe and Beck (Elizabeth Lail) first interact, it’s oddly cute because they connect on the fact that people suck. Let’s face it…people are disappointing. But as a viewer, the moment is ruined when Joe starts having pervy thoughts.
As Beck smiles and turns to leave the bookstore, Joe can’t keep his thoughts at bay. He feels like he needs to protect her from the world at all costs, but mainly from getting her heart broken like he did. How does he start? He Googles her. People do it all the time. But we all know Joe may go a little too far. “And there you were, every account set to public. You want to be seen, heard…known. Of course, I obliged,” Joe says to himself as a matter of fact. As Joe finds himself outside of Beck’s home staring at her in her towel through the window, I realize he’s that character that reminds us all to put all of our social media on private.
Joe memorizes Beck’s schedule, and I’m wondering when he’s going to “accidentally” run into her and have another so-called cute meeting. He even shows up at the bar where her and her friends celebrate a birthday. He hates them because they’re rich, snobby brats, especially that Peach (Shay Mitchell) – Beck’s nothing like them. “Your social media is a liar. It says you’re a happy go-lucky dilettante. But underneath it all, you seem like the genuine article,” Joe has a way of words. But when he gets jealous of booty call Benji, the on/off boyfriend, it’s a bit alarming. Benji leaves Beck unsatisfied. Moral of the story? Beck needs curtains. Ultimately, Joe needs to stop masturbating to Beck masturbating through the window.
Now, Joe doesn’t seem to have many friends, just like “Lonely boy”. But he seems to take on a big brother role for one of his neighbors’ child, Paco. It’s almost as if he wants to mold Paco to grow up just like him. It’s almost endearing. But when he brings up chivalry, I’m not sure Joe really knows what that is considering how he’s been stalking Beck. I almost spit out my water at the fact that Paco’s alcoholic stepfather sees right through Joe, calling him a freak.
The little interaction with the stepfather triggers something in Joe. He takes the stalking one notch higher, reporting a gas leak and simply walking in like it’s nothing. While Beck meets with her Professor, Joe goes directly to Beck’s laptop to get more dirt. Much to Joe’s dismay, Beck comes home earlier than expected and finds himself hiding in the shower. Luckily, Beck’s friends have perfect timing.
Off to Greenpoint we go! Beck has finally decided to participate in open mic night and let’s just say it was a train wreck. Her friends showed up for support, but hate the fact that they’re even there (Peach is a far cry from Shay Mitchell’s PLL character). Even Joe felt so bad, he had to leave. But fate brings the two together in a strange way. As Joe waits for his train, Beck and the drunk mess that she is, shows up too. In a flash, Beck falls over into the train tracks and Joe finally stops lurking in the shadows and becomes her knight in shining armor. But something tells me, this is exactly what Joe wanted.
As Beck sobers up she realizes how familiar Joe is. “I don’t want to sound like a stalker, but I think I know you,” she says, while I internally scream, “he’s the stalker!” Joe hails for a taxi and the naive Beck offers that he gets in on the ride. As Joe listens to Beck talk, we all know he already knows everything about her. Joe makes a rookie mistake when he mentions her poetry, but is quick enough to generalize that every young writer in New York writes poetry. Smooth, Joe, smooth.
Joe finally asks for Beck’s number as he drops her off at her apartment into Benji’s arms. But apparently she lost her phone at the subway, so email is the best communication. That doesn’t make sense because we saw she grabbed her phone, but she wasn’t sober enough to realize that and sadly, Joe just got to it first. As he leaves, he comes to a conclusion: Benji is not worthy of Beck’s time and he’s on a mission to make sure no more time is wasted.
And now comes the end of the Pilot episode? Remember when I mentioned that Joe and Paco’s relationship is a bit endearing? I’m not sure this relationship should continue. As Joe cheers the young boy up and shows him how to mend a ruined book spine in the private downstairs dungeon of the bookstore, he seems to reveal his plan for Benji. Lure him downstairs and hit him over the head with the right force, just like the spine of a book. And he succeeds. If only Benji got his head out of his ass, he’d realize that Joe is the guy that dropped off his girlfriend the other day. Serves him right, I guess. Joe has his chance and takes it, by asking Beck out via email of course.
Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love with girl. Boy stalks girl. Boy saves girl from train. Boy kidnaps girl’s on/off boyfriend and hits him over the head. Boy scores a date with girl.
So far, I’m intrigued. What are your thoughts?
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