What Season 4 Brings to 'You,' by Rachel Foley
Updated: Apr 7
This article contains spoilers.
The trailers and teasers for season 4 of Netflix’s You promised a new city, a stalker for the stalker, and a whole new life for Joe Goldberg. While I’m still not quite sure why the season was divided into two halves, I eagerly awaited the second installment of the season, which came out March 9, and I finished in one day.
While there are parallels between this season and previous seasons, this season brings a whole new level of Joe into play. With this dissection of the season, comes a huge spoiler alert… Joe’s character is taken to the darkest place he has ever been and leans into it in a really messed up, yet interesting way. Which is exactly why you’ll keep reading. You secretly like to hear about all of this death and mystery; we all do. It’s a human thing, really. You could really be like everyone else and just scroll on TikTok. But you keep reading.
Netflix really seems to only know how to make the best or worst TV show you’ve ever seen in your life. You is one of the best shows I've watched on Netflix so far because of this character progression with Joe and the way the audience members find themselves cheering on a serial killer.
The first three seasons of You were incredible, making it one of my favorite shows of all time. While the plot can be seen as repetitive to some, that’s kind of the point. Joe finds himself falling back into addiction, only not to alcohol or smoking, but to murder as he continues to spiral in his psychotic break.
The point of view makes You different from other serial killer shows. Everything is from Joe’s perspective, and the audience members find themselves in the morally-questionable position of rooting for Joe in his murderous endeavors. They sympathize with Joe's patterns of vowing to get better, finding a new victim to stalk, becoming obsessed with them, and killing anyone who stands in his way.
Furthermore, the cast is always shifting around, but past seasons’ characters — dead or alive — will always come back to haunt Joe. These patterns carry over to the fourth season, but there are multiple key differences between this new season and the past three.
The new season brings not only a new city, but a new country entirely as Joe travels to London to escape the crimes he committed in Madre Linda last season. This new environment brings a whole new cast of characters and a new object of Joe’s attraction: Kate.
In part 1 of season 4, Joe discovers that someone is taking out his “friends” one by one, and after some investigation, he discovers it’s mayoral candidate and his friend Rhys Montrose.
In part 2, Joe murders Rhys, but as he is looking over Rhys's Body, another Rhys appears behind him. As it turns out, Joe actually was the one killing his friends, and he just doesn’t remember doing it. This was a great addition to Joe’s character, and I think the expansion of new characters provides a whole new look for You.
The writers toyed with the idea of Joe killing Delilah and not remembering in season 2, but he was dosed with LSD and he didn’t actually kill her; his now ex-wife, Love, did.
While I do love these new changes, I’m not a huge fan of the new characters. I just miss Love to be honest. Not to mention, Netflix really kicked up the graphic imagery for this season.
Joe's degeneration over time and his loss of grip on reality in season 4 foreshadow what's to come. With Joe now embracing his dark side, season 5 will likely have more bloodshed than ever before.
There are many instances where Joe stopped himself from killing someone (Delilah, for example) because he believed deep down that he was a good person. With his new development, these morals could be totally out the window.
While I would admit that I liked seasons 1–3 better than season 4, I love what the writers did with the twist and Joe’s character devolution. Plus, the soundtrack is super interesting with songs like Cardi B’s “I Like It” and Taylor Swift’s “Anti-Hero.”
Joe Goldberg really is the anti-hero. The ending left me wanting more (as always), and for season 5, I would really like to see a full villain era for Joe Goldberg.
The mind-bending twist, paired with Joe's acceptance of his dark side, makes the viewers question their own reality and everything they thought they knew about the show. The pattern of stalking, someone finding out Joe's true identity, caging, and killing has come to an abrupt stop, and I can't wait to see what will come next for Joe and You as a whole.