By: Amanda Guarragi
‘You’ Season 4 Part 1 Review
As the fourth season ends, many unexpected things happen that feel over the top for Joe’s (Penn Badgley) arc. They send Professor Jonathan Moore into a spiral in the second half of You season four. Suddenly, the characters we have gotten to know over this past season (apart from Kate) are being picked off individually to serve the rebirth of Joe Goldberg. Lady Phoebe (Tilly Keeper) and Adam Pratt (Lukas Gage) end up tying the knot, Joe takes a chance with Kate and meets her father, Tom Lockwood (Greg Kinnear), while Rhys Montrose (Ed Speelers) is pronounced dead at the hands of Jonathan Moore. It’s hard to tie up all these loose ends that Sera Gamble and Greg Berlanti created in the first place. Many things happened, and the story got lost in this second half.
This season focused on Joe trying to grow and leave his past behind him, but we learn in the eighth episode of this season that he never actually did that. We see Joe hallucinating, and his relationship with Rhys is only in his mind. Joe had always wanted to live comfortably and still do whatever he wanted. But life doesn’t work that way. He dug himself into a gigantic hole as Jonathan Moore that he couldn’t escape unless he got rid of Moore for good. His mind unravels when Rhys appears and taps into the dark side. Joe remembers that he kept Marianne (Tati Gabrielle) locked away for months because he took on the role of Jonathan Moore. He only remembers the good things and not the monstrous things he did. While kidnapping Marianne, he was listening to Rhys give his speeches about the upper class and wealth, which affected Joe in the first place.
Joe wanted to do something better with his time while mid-mission with Marianne. It seemed like he blocked out a part of his mind and forgot the dark side of himself for a very long time. This season explores how people don’t have to pretend to be something they’re not or even play up a different side of themselves to please others. It shows that to love someone (Kate), you need to feel whole and comfortable with yourself and hope that your significant other will accept you. In a way, Joe understood how to love and be loved by someone, but in a very dark and sadistic way that almost feels like a departure from who he is. The first half of this season made it seem that Joe was growing. He was learning how not to tap into his murderous side of him. But with one hard pivot, he’s somehow worse than before. On top of that, Kate’s past trauma with her father is now reflected in her relationship with Joe, which is even more twisted than Joe’s past relationships.
The fourth season of You was interesting at the start because they took Joe Goldberg out of his comfort zone. The stalker became the one being stalked. And that was what made it intriguing. What was done in the second half of this season completely removed that aspect. It was going in a strong direction as Joe grew into a different person, only for him to be brought down further into the darkness in the end. Joe has embraced the side of him that he kept repressed for so long. And the good part of him has become a facade for him to succeed in becoming a hitman for Kate in the future. The reason why this series worked is because of how different the premise was compared to other thrillers. Now it has turned into everything else in that genre. Sometimes series need to end on a high note. And nothing could ever compare to the events that happened in season three.