Review of Part 1 of Season 4 of “You”
Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) has been capturing and dismembering hearts since 2018. After traveling from coast to coast in search of love and a happy life, he’s now journeyed to England to avoid suspicion and start anew.
*Spoilers for seasons 1-3 below*
After the devastating season 3 finale in which Joe had to kill his wife Love (Victoria Pedretti) in order to avoid being offed himself, and leaving his son in the custody of one of his coworkers, Joe set his sights on Paris in order to reunite with the current object of his affection Marienne (Tati Gabrielle).
Many fans were disappointed that the rest of season 4 wouldn’t take place in Paris due to according to the New York Times, “language and logistics” reasons, but that isn’t stopping Joe’s European holiday as he’s traded in for another new identity-Jonahthan Moore, a literary professor at a prestigious school in London.
It appears that in this season, Joe has met his match as our favorite obsessive serial killer is now the victim of stalking himself. After being roped into a group of London elites that all start mysteriously dying-Joe must immerse himself in the world of whodunits to keep his past from unraveling.
“You” is a show with many tropes and this season still sticks to most of them, Joe watching a woman engage in intimate acts through a window, Joe being involved in a group of unideal friends that he must conceal his identity from, the problematic couple that Joe vows never to replicate and so on.
This season however finds Joe almost as an actual protagonist as he goes full Sherlock-even sporting fluffier curls reminiscent of Benedict Cumberbatch. On a quest to find the eat the rich killer, Joe must delve into unfamiliar territory-actually being the good guy.
Some fans are disappointed that the show’s usual antics have switched now having Joe being the hunted rather than actively hunting, but a change can be good, especially considering the amount of damage Joe has done and how he’s managed to still avoid the attention of authorities.
Many-probably still mourning Love as we all are-have stated that Joe’s new love interest Kate Galvin (Charlotte Ritchie) didn’t share nearly as much chemistry with Joe as others have. Maybe because for a while, Kate is onto Joe’s antics, cold and untrusting which largely has to do with her own tragic past.
The season is engaging and filled with twists and turns as usual but really fumbles in the new friend group Joe must infiltrate to stay undetected. Including Lady Phoebe (Tilly Keeper), her materialistic boyfriend Adam Pratt (Lukas Gage), Kate’s childhood friend Roald (Ben Wiggins), and many more spoiled, vile, apathetic characters.
Every time this group is on screen with the exception of Phoebe whose bubbly, naive nature is just the product of a great performance by Keeper, it’s an automatic eye roll as these characters take the cake for the worst friend group Joe has ever had to be acquainted with.
And that’s the point. As Joe’s student Nadia (Amy-Leigh Hickman) proclaims, the formula to whodunnits is fun and it hides a social commentary under the mystery. Joe’s had to engage with the wealthy before but never on this level and never has he been exposed to this level of cruel mistreatment of all other beings just because they don’t share the same status.
Still, even though these characters serve their place in the story, the result is audiences taking delight in their destruction which in itself is another commentary on the eat the rich mentality gen z has adopted as the tolerance of capitalism and its exploitative nature is dwindling among young activists today.
Part 1 of season 4 didn’t end on much of a cliffhanger as by the end of the season we’ve identified our killer and are starting to learn more about their motives. The trailer for part two recently dropped with a surprise cameo that’s riled up fans and certainly inspired more theories about where the series is going.
One thing is for sure, the change in “You”’s general direction isn’t for everyone but the show remains compelling despite its flaws and it’s easy to see why it’s one of Netflix’s most popular dramas. Here’s to hoping that even more of Joe’s awful new “friends” die in the second half.