Netflix’s famed stalker, Joe Goldberg is back in Season 4 Part 1 of You, but trouble never leaves him, even when he’s across the pond.
You has been one of the most iconic Netflix series of the last few years. Who knew that a serial killer/stalker would be such a fascinating character to watch? In Season 4 Part 1, we find Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) in London looking for a fresh start after all of the violence and tragedy that he caused throughout the last season. He has gotten a new identity, goes by the name of Jonathan, and teaches literature at a local college. Right when Joe is feeling settled and is enjoying his life in the shadows, a coworker named Malcolm (Stephen Hagan) befriends him. Despite his best efforts to have a more low-key life, he gets wrapped up in Malcolm’s friend group, filled with some of London’s wealthiest socialites.
As with every season of You so far, there has been an element of mystery driving the plot. By the end of the first episode of Season 4, we discover that Jonathan is entangled in a murder mystery, and instead of our protagonist doing the stalking and killing, someone else is. As someone whose favorite genre is a thriller, and whose favorite sub-genre is murder mysteries, this was right up my alley. Since we have been with this character for numerous seasons, we have seen the limitations of his emotional state, and how he reacts to many critical situations. Placing Joe at the center of this murder mystery gives us a plethora of new situations for him to navigate, making this one of the most thrilling seasons yet.
Even though we have a new location and a fresh cast of characters to interact with, You Season 4 Part 1 still utilizes some of the same storytelling methods, which have grown tiresome as we have spent more time with the Netflix series. Jonathan’s inner monologue is just as present as always, which is part of what makes this series so interesting to watch. Getting to know the inner thoughts of a stalker/serial killer was the initial draw for You, but as the seasons progress, it feels as if some of his inner monologues are getting repetitive. Yes, sometimes Joe is placed in similar situations from his past, and seeing the character make similar decisions can make part of Season 4 a tedious watch.
As you watch Season 4, there is also a feeling that something is missing from the overall narrative. The absence of Love (Victoria Pedretti), due to the events of the last season, is definitely felt throughout Part 1. Love was such an interesting character and a proper match to Joe’s more unethical tendencies. Even with the introduction of 5+ characters within Part 1, no one can match Love in terms of commanding your attention when they are on screen. Since we were with Love for two seasons, I found myself constantly looking for the “next Love,” or someone to fill the hole that she left at the end of season three, but that never came.
Even with these flaws, You Season 4 Part 1 still makes for a great deal of fun. Something that I have always loved about this series is how, as the different seasons progressed, the writing has gotten increasingly self-aware, adding in little jokes here and there. Almost every single one of these jokes worked on me, adding another layer of entertainment value to the show. Since the main ensemble besides Joe are rich London socialites, there is plenty of material for some satire. Even though we have seen endless media making fun of the rich and entitled, most of these slight instances of satire were used with enough subtlety to make it seem organic.
The majority of Season 4 Part 1 feels like a setup for Part 2, as we are still getting used to the new location and ensemble, but You still manages to keep it entertaining enough to keep your attention. Since there is so much tension in Part 1, the ending plot twist is satisfying enough that watching everything unfold is loads of fun but makes you extremely eager to watch the rest of Season 4. I, for one, cannot wait to see how the endlessly insane events of Joe’s life will turn out this time.
Season 4 Part 1 of You is now available to watch on Netflix. Read our review of Part 2.