You: Candace Deserved Better

The third season of Netflix’s serial killer drama You premieres later this week, and from the look of the trailer, this new season promises plenty of blood as Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) and his partner Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti) balance their new family life with the occasional lapse into murder and mayhem. You is a dark and soap opera-esque exploration into the mind of the twisted Joe, whose murderous fixations have tragic results for the women he becomes obsessed with. Season 1 ends with Joe murdering protagonist Beck, while Season 2 devoted some of its run-time to Candace, an old flame of Joe’s he thought he killed.

Played by Ambyr Childs, Candace appears in a few flashbacks in Season 1 before becoming a prominent player in the second season as she confronts Joe and enacts a plan of vengeance against against hime. Unfortunately, as is the case with many characters in this show (Beck, Delilah), things don’t end well for Candace, and Joe’s girlfriend Love shockingly dispatches her in Season 2, revealing her bloodthirsty personality to Joe. It’s a shame because I found myself rooting for Candace to find justice for herself, Beck, and all the poor souls entangled in Joe’s web of death and misery.

NOTE: MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD.

You: Who is Candace?

Ambyr Childs as Candace Stone in You Season 1.

Candace Stone is an aspiring musician who mostly appears in flashbacks and hallucinations throughout the first season. She and Joe begin a relationship, with Joe becoming increasingly fixated on her, while she looks at Joe as simply a good time. When a record exec offers to sign her to a label, Candace jumps at the opportunity to meet him, but she quickly realizes his ulterior motive for her and decides to sleep with him to secure the contract.

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Joe is furious after stalking Candace and confronting the exec, shoving him off a building to his death. Later in an argument Joe, Candace reveals she never truly loved him, and he needed to get over her. It’s clear Joe is hyper-fixated on Candace and their relationship, and he doesn’t take kindly to her rejection of him.

Determined to change her mind, Joe kidnaps her, ties her up, and drives her into the woods. Terrified, Candace tries to escape but doesn’t get far before Joe catches her and bashes her head on a rock. Believing her dead, he buries her in a shallow grave, but Candace regains consciousness and pulls herself out of the grave. She goes to the police, though they won’t do anything without proof, and thanks to some really bad advice from a cop, she goes into hiding to plot her revenge.

Candace reemerges in the Season 1 finale to confront Joe and promises to unleash fury for his crimes against her. Joe is so rattled by Candace’s return from the grave, he goes into hiding in Los Angeles at the start of Season 2, where he befriends the Quinn family and sets his obsessive sights on on the elder Quinn daughter, Love.

Candace eventually tracks him down, and using the alias Amy Adam Candace begins dating Forty Quinn, Love’s brother, and tries to keep tabs on Joe. After her cover is blown, Candace pretends to leave town but confronts Joe at his storage locker, where he keeps his infamous glass cage which he uses to imprison his victims. Candace locks him in the cell, and rather than going to the police, she contacts Love and tells her to come to the storage locker to see evidence of Joe’s misdeeds for herself.

Unfortunately for Candace, Love reveals her murderous nature when she fatally stabs Candace in the neck. You has often veered into soap opera territory before with ludicrous storylines, so it’s no surprise Candace didn’t go to the police after they scorned her the first time she reached out for help. Candace took matters into her own hands, but her momentary victory of gaining the upper hand against Joe blinded her to Love’s true intentions, and the result is tragic for the young woman.

Why Candace Deserved Better

Candace comes face to face with Joe in You Season 2.

Candance represents victims dismissed by the authority figures who are supposed to protect them from people like Joe. She’s suffered immensely because of the cruelty and violence Joe inflicted on her, and her fury and drive to right those wrongs sets her on the warpath against him. The series could’ve positioned Candace as an adversary to Joe and Love, who frequently pops up to interfere with the couple’s plans. I have no doubt Joe will soon suffer the consequences of his gruesome deeds, and I wish Candace was alive to see justice carried out.

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Candace’s vendetta was cut short, and it’s a shame because she was someone audiences could rally behind, a true protagonist who was flawed in some ways and totally relatable in others. She was ignored by the people around her, left for dead, fought her way through terrible trauma, and confronted her abuser.

In the end, Candace survived longer than most characters who find themselves in Joe’s crosshairs throughout the series. In an interview with Bustle, Candace’s actress Ambry Childs stated she was proud to play the character and wasn’t too surprised that she bit the dust, as the show is a serial killer drama focused on the murderous hijinks of Joe.

“Candace did good,” Childs said. “She survived all the way until the ninth episode, so I have to give her props. She really fought the fight. We’ve all gone through things in life and I’ve gone through some serious sh*t in my life. I would like to think to myself that I’m a survivor, so that’s where I feel like I found a common ground between Candace and I. You can knock her down a thousand times but she’s still going to get back up and fight.”

RIP Candace. You’ll be missed in Season 3.

Final Thoughts and Musings

Candace confronts Joe at a diner.

Why do I always become attached to characters who die? Why? Whhhhyyyyy?

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I’ve seen fans call Candace a b*tch for cheating on Joe, but I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised because these same fans idolize and romanticize Joe—who don’t forget is a SERIAL KILLER. The fault lays entirely with him. I think some fan response to Candace is indicative of how our society responds to women coming forward after being abused. All the blame falls on the women, not the men who perpetrate these crimes against them. The focus falls on things like what the woman was wearing and if she rejected the poor loser who was just trying to find love. I think the series could’ve authentically explored this, but at the end of the day, it is a show about Joe, and Candace was merely a supporting character in his story. Still, she deserved better.

In the book the show is based on, Joe drowns Candace at the beach. Her arc for the second season of You was entirely invented for the series. 

Who knows, maybe Joe will see Candace in hallucinations. Hopefully she’ll continue to haunt Joe and Love from the grave. I can’t wait until the show gives Joe and Love what’s coming to them.

Are you looking forward to You Season 3? Let me know in the comments and check out my website for all things horror and pop culture. Stay nerdy!

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