You is back with another thrilling season of romance, drama, and of course, murders.
The popular psychological thriller Netflix series follows Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley), a bookstore manager who soon becomes a serial killer after falling in love and developing an extreme obsession with his crush. With the recent premiere of You: Season 4 Part 1, I am here to give my own personal take on the newest season.
WARNING: Spoilers for the past three seasons and the first episode will be discussed in this article.
Whodunit, the hunter or hunted?
If I’m being honest, I couldn’t see how You could top itself after how stellar season 3 was. Victoria Pedretti’s portrayal of Love Quinn, Joe’s ex-wife was as likeable as she was insane. Even as she continued to commit murder after murder, you couldn’t help but sympathise with her as a character—all she wanted was for someone to love her for who she was as a person.
With Love now dead, it was hard to see how the series could progress without returning back to the same formula which made season 1 so popular to begin with. Yet I’m glad to say that I was pleasantly wrong.
Joe Goldberg now goes by the name of Jonathan Moore, a literature professor at a university in London. Similar to seasons before, the first episode takes time to flesh out the new setting and introduce the audience to the characters within these places. It very much is a repetition of the previous seasons, with Joe resisting his attraction to a new girl that catches his eye while he adapts to the new environment and alias he adopts for himself…and whoops, he accidentally murders someone again.
Yet after Joe disposes of the dead body he finds himself with (does anyone ever get used to the gory scenes? I know I can’t), he learns that he wasn’t actually the murderer. Instead, someone was trying to frame him for the murder that they committed deliberately. Even worse, they seem to know more and more about the past that Joe so desperately wishes to run away from.
The stalker is now being stalked.
The last time we saw Joe in season 3, he was in Paris trying to find Marienne Bellamy (Tati Gabrielle), a librarian and former love interest of Joe (you know, before she realised that he was a mass murderer).
Fortunately, not too much time was spent on their brief reunion. Though I’m fine with Marienne as a standalone character, the dynamic between her and Joe was nothing we’ve never seen before — we saw it with Beck, and we saw it with Candace. I don’t think we need to have an episode dedicated to Joe trying to yet again convince another girl that he’s not a murderer after killing their boyfriends or husbands.
I don’t believe it’s the last we’ll see of her, but it’s refreshing that while the first three seasons heavily revolved around Joe’s newest love interest, Season 4 Part 1 spends more time building up tension on finding out who the real killer is.
The New Cast
Lady Phoebe (Tilly Keeper) is by far my favourite character this season. Bubbly, kind, and naive, she readily accepts Joe into their group and takes him under her wing. Her relationship with boyfriend Adam Pratt (Lukas Gage) couldn’t help but remind me of season 3’s Sherry and Cary (I wonder if they’re still doing their Ted Talks?). Both couples are self-absorbed and shallow, but also lovely and unexpectedly sweet to one another.
Kate Galvin (Charlotte Ritchie), Joe’s new love interest and Lady Phoebe’s best friend, also brings a refreshing change to the story. Cynical and cautious by nature, her wariness and suspicion towards Joe add tension to an already thrilling story. Her contrasting personality to her group of privileged friends also helps bring a dose of reality to a season dripping with money and jewels.
Other characters include Nadia Farran (Amy-Leigh Hickman), Rhys Montrose (Ed Speleers), Blessing Bosede (Ozioma Whenu), and Roald Walker-Burton (Ben Wiggins). Not much spotlight has been brought to these characters (with the exception of Roald), but hopefully, we’ll learn more about them in the second part of the series.
Hello, Gossip Girl reboot?
As an avid fan of Gossip Girl, I couldn’t help but draw similarities in how lavish settings and tone-deaf rich characters are featured in both series.
But unlike Gossip Girl, which exists in an alternative reality where teenagers have ridiculously successful careers before reaching the age of 21 and new characters keep popping in to claim to be a long-lost parent or sibling, You shows a more sinister side of the rich — one which mocks and humiliates those of lower social standing just because they can.
This isn’t the first media to comment on class conflict. In fact, “Eat the rich” commentary has made its way into recent films and TV series such as Knives Out, its sequel Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Squid Game, Parasite, and The Menu. “Nepo babies” (or nepotism babies) have also recently faced backlash on social media for their unfair advantage of being a child of someone wealthy and powerful. As the class divide continues to grow between the rich and the poor, You: Season 4 Part 1 adds further to this commentary by showing the ignorance and spoiled nature of the offspring from old money families. Add in a ‘Eat the Rich’ killer on the loose and a pretentious egoistic main character who believes he’s above everyone else, we get irony that teeters to a point of dark comedy.
Plus, with its cast of tone-deaf rich characters, lavish settings, and a classic case of whodunit, fans of the Knives Out series can expect to love the new mystery element You: Season 4 Part 1 brings to the table. Yet while the Knives Out series focuses solely on one murder occurring in a certain mansion, You expands this narrative by showcasing the public’s response to the murders, as they cheer and root for the ‘Eat the Rich’ killer.
With Part 2 of Season 4 set to be released in a week, I hope to see more exploration of how the series tackles this critique on social class.
MY FINAL REVIEW: 5/5 stars
You has everything that makes the first three seasons so entertaining and more. From witty dialogue to ever-increasing stakes and plot twists, writers of You know exactly what will keep audiences clutching to the edge of their seats, eyes bleary as they continue to click ‘next episode’.
Needless to say, I’ll be one of many who eagerly wait for You: Season 4 Part 2 to be released on March 9, hungry for more