You Season 4 Part 2: More Entertaining Than Ever

You Season 4 Episode 2 Penn Badgley

The most impressive run of episodes for You since season 1 sees Penn Badgley performing his career best as Joe Goldberg faces his demons.

Nothing can prepare viewers for how You handles Joe Goldberg’s breakdown as the fourth season of the Netflix series comes to a close. Since the psychological thriller’s debut on Lifetime in 2018 (remember that? ), it has been building up to this point. Sera Gamble and Greg Berlanti, the show’s co-creators, have never romanticized Joe’s inner monologues or explained away the depraved acts he has done during the series, including but not limited to stalking, kidnapping, and killing many people. Happily, it remains the case in the final batch of episodes of this season, in which Joe is compelled to face his turbulent history.

These five brand-new episodes, which debuted on March 9, are incredibly entertaining and filled with thrilling surprises that play out beautifully. Nevertheless, they are also grounded in an emotional gravity that brings out a new brilliance in You. Joe is forced to consider the consequences of his terrible acts as he goes up against his most formidable foe. Despite a few pacing errors, particularly a protracted ending that sets up a second season, the program manages to make a significant storytelling turn. Unsurprisingly, Badgley himself is the key factor in the success. He gives a career-defining performance that is both grounded and terrifying, and he transforms these episodes into the show’s strongest period since season one. It’s a relief considering this season’s first few episodes were mediocre.

The first half of season four of You, which should never have been split into two seasons, premiered last month. Since then, it has changed into a mediocre but still entertaining whodunit. In the episodes, Joe moved to London and began working as a professor at a university while using the alias Jonathan Moore. Having been spurned by Marianne (Tati Gabrielle), he wanted to rebuild her trust by leading a murder-free life. After all, Joe had just killed his wife and abandoned his child, the latter of which was the only wise decision he had ever made. After mixing with the British elite, including his new love interest Kate Galvin (Charlotte Ritchie), he ended up the victim of an unidentified serial murderer who accused Joe of being responsible for the deaths of his wealthy friends. Someone was controlling Joe, taking advantage of his terrible past.

To explain Joe’s continued crime spree, You Needed a Narrative Shift and a Whole Lot of New Faces (Mostly Rich Assholes Who Don’t Care About the World Outside Their Bubble) in a Different Country. Along with changing the structure, you combined Knives Out and Pretty Little Liars to keep the show interesting. Nonetheless, for the most part, the first half served as a light introduction to the convoluted and startling voyage of part two. The real fun starts now.

Warning: This section contains spoilers. Part two begins with the identification of mayoral candidate Rhys Montrose (Ed Speleers) as both Joe’s stalker and the “Eat the Rich” killer. Montrose wants them to band together in the hopes that they can form a nimble, deadly squad. While Joe found his true love in Love (Victoria Pedretti), who was also insane and willing to kill, their union was toxic and deadly since pride and narcissism can be like that, but at least it was borne out of a warped sense of belonging. Rhys is far more evil and difficult, using his understanding of Joe’s abilities to up the stakes.

When Tom (Greg Kinnear), Kate’s wealthy and wise father, finally arrives in town, Joe’s situation gets worse. By episode eight, “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been,” skillfully directed by Rachel Leiterman, Joe has been embroiled in Tom and Rhys’ protracted, tumultuous feud. It’s the riskiest but most fruitful episode of the series since it shows Joe right as important revelations like what Marianne has been doing since she left London, what Rhys is preparing, and who else finds out about it are made. (Reader: This is a crazy episode.

Speleers doesn’t compare to Pedretti (who makes an appearance), but he works well with Badgley and brings out Rhys’ darker side. You focus a lot more on Nadia, Joe’s pupil, who makes a startling revelation about her professor early on in part two (Amy-Leigh Hickman). The remaining episodes of season four also provide greater insight into Lady Phoebe’s (Tilly Keeper) connection to Adam (Lukas Gage), allowing Keeper another chance to shine.

All these side stories are good, but the Joe Goldberg portion of You’s the fourth season is where the real action lies. The reason it succeeds is that Joe’s deteriorating mental state—as Rhys assumes the role of the devil on his shoulder—is the main subject. They have such a frantic dynamic that it keeps you on the edge of your seat. It’s a wonderful method to explore Joe’s traumatic past as well as the suffering he’s caused Beck, Candice, Ellie, Marienne, and everyone else in between. Towards the end of season four, there are more women on the list of those he harms. The question of whether Joe should be forgiven or whether he can make up for all of his faults is one that the show addresses once more. The final result further demonstrates that You’s creative team is fully aware of the powerful message they are conveying and has designed an equally powerful batch of episodes around that message.

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