Viewers have been anticipating the full release of the fourth season of “You” since Netflix left the series on a cliffhanger in 2021. However, fans were disappointed in more than one way when Netflix released only the first half of season four. Even though the story continues with Joe Goldberg and a stream of murders, it might leave a sour taste in your mouth if you expected the story to pick up exactly where it left off.
Season four part one seems to separate itself from the rest of the show, only involving the previous seasons to tie up loose ends or give minor excuses for Joe, played by Penn Badgley. Even though season three ended with Joe in France looking for Marienne Bellamy, played by Tati Gabrielle, the season actually starts in London. As the first half of the season progressed, the differences were very clear between this season and the previous ones. There were no apparent hallucinatory figures or memories, no obsessive continuous romances and almost no kidnapping or killings done by Joe. These aspects were what built the foundation for the show, using them to show the mind of a stalking, obsessive character doing his actions “for love.”
Instead of “You” being about extremely obsessive and stalkerish romances, it changes into a murder mystery with the main character also having the mindset of a killer. Even though the perspective on this season is creative, with a killer blackmailing another killer, it might not be what viewers want. By putting the main character in the position of being a victim of blackmail, it forces the audience to feel sympathy for Joe, who no one wants to have sympathy for.
Joe changes his obsession from those who he was pursuing in previous seasons to “obsessing” over the person blackmailing him. However, this season almost changed Joe’s obsessiveness to make it more normalized. Instead of being obsessed with this person who is finding out his past, he is more paranoid and panicked. It even gets to a point where Joe is following Kate Galvin, played by Charlotte Ritchie, because he is worried she might be killed next. Goldberg’s actions are more humanized this season, despite him having killed more than 10 people throughout the series.
Even with its evident flaws, the show still manages to show levels of obsessiveness and the main character wanting to prove himself. Even though more of the obsessiveness seemed to be on the blackmailer’s end, which turned out to be Rhys Montrose, the self-made rich guy running for Mayor of London, it flips the perspective for the usual stalker/killer storyline. This season also continues the idea of Joe thinking that he is better than how his actions portray him. For example, when Marienne was begging for her life because she knew Joe would kill her, he let her go because he wanted to prove her wrong. Joe’s mentality of wanting to be better than what others thought of him is persistent throughout the entire show, and helps to show him as deranged and not accountable for his actions, which is entertaining to watch.
This season, Netflix made their secondary characters rich, with the “romantic” partner for Joe being Kate. Joe’s portrayal and perception of Kate were interesting to watch, especially with Kate being cold and untrusting of him. It was refreshing to watch when he was surrounded by some people, such as Phoebe and Malcolm, who seemed charmed with him throughout their encounters.
Overall, even though this season changed a good amount about the story, it didn’t have anything special. Many viewers who finished season four part one will probably be picking up the second part on March 9, but it may be more out of boredom or wanting closure than needing to find out what happens next.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars