YOU Season 4 kicked off in Part 1 by switching up the series’s genre. Sure, it was still thrilling and there was a killer in the mix, but Joe (Penn Badgley) was no longer the menacing shadow stalking women unaware of the impending violence coming their way. He was fighting the rich and working to catch the Eat the Rich Killer looking to blame him for it all. But YOU Season 4 Part 2 changes it all back, and Joe returns to his villainous, selfish self with a twist.
In Part 1, Joe is succeeding in his new life. He’s a professor, he’s part of a rich friend group, and he fits in even with his quirks. But when his “friends” start showing up dead and a killer frames him, Joe’s obsession turned from love to a detective-style whodunnit. Part 1 finished with Joe finding the killer and confronting him, putting himself at risk. He’s falling in love with a new woman, Kate (Charlotte Ritchie), and it’s in a healthy way. She respects him, he respects her, and they both have skeletons rattling in their closets. Unlike the unhinged romance he had with Love previously, this one seems normal. But YOU Season 4 Part 2 shatters everything that came in Part 1. It shows the events in a different light and breaks down this carefully-crafted Joe, or rather Jonathan Moore, and shows that he is exactly who he has always been–and in many ways, worse.
That said, YOU Season 4 Part 2 is nearly impossible to talk about from a spoiler-free perspective. From the start, each episode breaks off a different lie that Joe has constructed and shows why any buy-in you had for him was ill-placed. In reality, my issues with Part 1 are remedied in Part 2, even if the series does attempt to show Joe pulling himself over coals in his guilt. At the same time, the audience has to constantly question the reliability of the narration. Does Joe know the truth about what he’s done? Is it Joe’s perspective? Does the narration we’re given include all the actual facts?
Until the final episode, YOU Season 4 Part 2 is treading murky water to great effect, and with every layer we dive into, it all gets darker. The uncertainty is thrilling and it makes every conversation important to pay attention to. Small things begin to build tension and as it all collapses, the quirky thriller about finding the Eat the Rich Killer and reveling in the comeuppance of their victims falls away. Instead, everything turns unnerving and violent, and it all feels like a different season of television all together. The disconnect between Part 1 and Part 2 is awkward at first, but it’s also refreshing.
That said, YOU Season 4 Part 2 should have been released with Part 1. Because when it’s watched in tandem, the two parts elevate each other and pull the audience in only to drop them flat on their face. While Part 1 is the building up of a new facade, YOU Season 4 Part 2 is about utterly and completely shattering everything built in the sample of episodes before. And man, it’s deeply effective.
As the end of a series, YOU Season 4 twists the knife. It makes Joe irredeemable like he always was but does so in a way that shakes the audience. It’s clear that the series is asserting that Joe has never been the ideal, he’s never been someone to love, and in every single way, he is not worthy of love. He twists joy and romance and breaks the women in his sights no matter what his twisted mind thinks. Joe is evil, and by the end of Part 2, there is no question about it.
YOU Season 4 Part 2 is streaming now exclusively on Netflix.
YOU Season 4 Part 2
- Rating - 8/108/10
As the end of a series, YOU Season 4 twists the knife. It makes Joe unredeemable like he always was but does so in a way that shakes the audience…He twists joy and romance and breaks the women in his sights no matter what his twisted mind things. Joe is evil, and by the end of Part 2, there is no question about it.
Kate Sánchez is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of But Why Tho? A Geek Community. There, she coordinates film, television, anime, and manga coverage. Kate is also a freelance journalist writing features on video games, anime, and film. Her focus as a critic is championing animation and international films and television series for inclusion in awards cycles.