The antipacated fourth season of Netflix’s hit series You returned to the streaming platform on Thursday, February 9, and for the first time since the show became a Netflix Original series (You initially debuted on Lifetime in 2018) the season is split into two parts. You season 4 part 2 will be released on March 9.
Based on the You book series by Caroline Kepnes, Penn Badgley stars in the series as protagonist Joe Goldberg, a man who thinks his devious, stalking tendencies are deeply rooted in love and concern but really highlight his twisted and toxic viewpoints on love and intimacy. In previous seasons Joe has gone under different aliases evading suspicion and carefully manipulating his circumstances to hide his criminal activity, but in season 4 Joe has some deep competition for being the worst person ever as he embarks on a new life in a new city trying to leave his past behind.
New Alias. New Location.
Season 3 ended in a blazing storm of catastrophe when Joe killed his wife, fan favorite Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti), gave up his son Henry to a loving couple, faked his own death by setting his home on fire, and traveled to Paris in search of his latest obsession Marienne (Tati Gabrielle). Upon finding Marienne and seeing how repelled she was of him, Joe convinces himself he can change, lets Marienne go, and devotes himself to becoming a better person, but a twist of fate puts Joe on a different path.
Joe has been followed by a man name Elliot Tannenberg (Adam James) hired by Love’s father Ray to kill Joe, but instead offers him a deal: for his silence Elliot wants the money Joe drained from Love’s account in exchange for a new identity: Jonathan Moore. He also insists Joe kills Marienne to ensure his new life has a complete clean slate. Joe doesn’t follow through with the last part. Settling into a simple life in London, Joe now works as a literature professor at Darcy College shaping young minds with one student in particular, Nadia (Amy-Leigh Hickman), gravitating towards him.
This is a different pace for You. The start of previous seasons usually sets up quickly who Joe’s new obsession will be as they slowly figure out who he really is, but this time around Joe tries hard to stay away from drama until he finds himself framed and placed right in the middle of it; about 30 minutes into the first episode, a dead body shows up. London does provide a beautiful backdrop to tell this next installment in the You franchise though with stunning locations.
Jonathan Moore’s New Mates
For the sake of keeping things clear, although Jonathan Moore is Joe’s new alias, let’s keep referring to him as Joe. Malcolm (Stephen Hagan) is one of many new characters we meet. He’s a rambunctious fellow professor at the college and happens to live close to Joe. In fact, Joe can see directly into Malcolm’s home whom he shares with his girlfriend Kate (Charlotte Ritchie), an often cold, but business savvy director of an art gallery who Joe becomes to fancy. Malcolm insists Joe comes out with them and invites him to the exclusive social club Sundry House owned by nepotism baby Adam (Lukas Gage). In fact, all the new characters introduced are elite thoroughbreds with little to no respect for anyone without money or status.
Lady Phoebe (Tilly Keeper) is a bubbly socialite and girlfriend to Adam. Rhys (Ed Speleers) is an author with political ambitions to run for mayor of London. Sophie (Niccy Lin) is a big social media influencer, and her brother Simon (Aidan Cheng) is an artist. Gemma (Eve Austin), easily the worst of the bunch, is an entitled socialite with no filter often spewing hateful rhetoric. Roald (Ben Wiggins) also comes from a wealthy family and has unrequited feelings for Kate. Connie (Dario Coates) is another one of the super-rich friends and Blessing (Ozioma Whenu) is a Nigerian princess with ties to the tech industry.
We’re seeing these characters through the lens of Joe and since these are people Joe would hate, so do we as the viewing audience. Hardly any of the characters have redeeming qualities and are seen as bratty and entitled, but I think that’s the point. This is a group of tight-knit frenemies who would quickly discard each other when they are no longer useful to their status or forget them with no remorse once killed. The only character that had a slight appeal for me was Lady Phoebe. She had more of the funnier moments in the first part of the season and appears to have a genuine love for Adam and values her friendship with Kate. She notices the problematic nature of her friend group, but rarely speaks aboutit, which is an issue, but I can see her character growing a better sense of reality in further episodes.
Old Habits Die Hard (Or Not at All)
The biggest change in You this season is the direction of the plot. As mentioned earlier Joe’s fixation on a woman is usually the focus of the story, but Joe, the notorious stalker, is now being stalked. Someone knows everything about his past and is enjoying watching Joe squirm trying to figure it out. They are also killing people in Joe’s new friend group with the intentions of framing him. Malcolm turns up dead on Joe’s dining room table after a night of drinking and drugs at Sundry House. A crime Joe isn’t sure he committed, he does what he does best; dismembers and discards the body to the tune of Cardi B’s “I Like It”– a fun nod to the Twitter friendship Cardi and Penn sparked in 2021. Simon is also murdered after his art show and Gemma is murdered while the gang is on holidayto avoid danger at Lady Phoebe’s family country house and is found in Kate’s room.
While evading his stalker and trying to clear his name, Joe kills Vic (Sean Pertwee), Adam’s driver and bodyguard, and later helps Kate hide Gemma’s body. Roald and some of the others are convinced Joe is the “eat the rich” killer, but it’s later revealed Rhys is behind it all; stalking Joe and killing the friends. How Joe thinks he kills for love, Rhys thinks he’s killing for order and to restore a society where elite entitled people won’t thrive. This is an interesting take to see another serial murderer attempt to justify their behavior, and the whodunit aspect of the show gave You a pleasant refresher.
As always Joe’s inner monologue is the true star of the series. Penn has such commanding cadence to his voice and Joe has such an intriguing way of dissecting things that when paired together makes TV gold. Although viewers have become accustomed to Joe’s killing and stalking ways, another season centered on Joe finding another object of affection would be redundant, so this aspect of Joe trying to put a stop to a version of himself has some promise to being a compelling second half to the season.
Burning Questions for Part 2
How did Rhys find out about Joe’s past?
Rhys is revealed as the person stalking Joe and fully aware of his shady past, but I was left questioning how. Joe is very particular in making sure things from his past don’t blend in with his new assumed identity and he usually kills or frames loose ends, so how did Rhys figure out who Joe really was? Does Rhys have a secret alliance with someone from Joe’s past determined to take him down? From the first episode we are to believe Joe doesn’t have any ties to Europe outside of going there to find Marienne and I doubt a “murder-suicide” in Madre Linda would make international news for Joe’s face to be globally recognized. So Rhys has to be working with someone Joe knows because why else would he be so intrigued with Joe in the first place? I hope this gets explored.
Have we’ve seen the last of Marienne?
One of the promotional posters for season 4 of You featured Tati Gabrielle as Marienne looking over her shoulder with a determined Joe peeking forward. The tagline read “the one who got away,” so while I didn’t think the entire season would revolve around Joe searching for Marienne, I thought we’d get more than 5 minutes of screen time from her character. With instructions to kill Marienne, Joe let her go back to Paris to be reunited with her daughter with intentions of no longer pursuing her, but that feels like a chapter that wasn’t closed properly. These must be more to Marienne in the last half of the season especially with her knowing he’s still alive after faking his death.
Has Love Quinn really returned?
This is my number one burning question because I’m such a fan of Victoria Pedretti and really enjoyed her bringing Love Quinn to life. In the teaser for what’s to come in the next half of the season, a glimpse of Love was shown sitting in a chair in what looks like one of Joe’s infamous glass cages, but how? It’s believed that Love did indeed die after Joe injected her with the very poison she was planning to kill him with and burned in the fire Joe set, but did she really? We didn’t see any aftermath of her body being recovered so maybe she could have faked her death as well in an elaborate plan to go after Joe and that could explain how Rhys knew so much about Joe’s past.
Unfortunately for Love fans, myself included, her appearance could be a hallucination. This wouldn’t be the first time Joe dreamed up an ex-lover he killed. He saw vivid glimpses of Beck (Elizabeth Lail) that even talked to him in season 2. Love also experienced a realistic encounter with her deceased brother Forty (James Scully) in season 3, so Love’s appearance in season 4 part 2 could just be a way to show Love fans some appreciation, but I’m secretly hoping the queen has returned to disturb Joe’s new start in a major way.
You season 4 part 1 is streaming now on Netflix and part 2 streams March 9.
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