‘You’ season 4 part 1 has turned everything on its head

Photo courtesy of Netflix

WARNING: Potential spoilers for season 4 ahead

The new season of the Netflix original series, “You,” follows protagonist Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) into his new life as “Jonathon Moore,” a literature professor at a University in London. 

After its release on Feb. 9, “You” season 4 part one was in Netflix’s Top 10 English TV List during the week of Feb. 6-12 in the number one spot with 92.07 million hours viewed.

“You,” the show that follows a charming serial killer whose idea of love goes beyond obsession, has really upped the stakes in this new season.

The location change gives the season a darker and more sophisticated feel. The differences in location also give Joe a new set of challenges right off the bat.

The audience is introduced to the new ensemble of characters that quickly become the focus of attention in the season, alongside an update on the aftermath from season 3’s ending.

Continuously cutting back-and-forth between scenes from a past event storyline and scenes from the present storyline, by the end of the first episode, the viewer is caught up with Joe and ready to move forward in the story.

Season 4 leans a little more into the gore, specifically in the aftermath of Malcolm’s (Stephan Hagan) death. Though the show has never shied away from gore, the scene of Joe chopping up his body felt purposefully graphic to indicate Joe’s skilled ability to dispose of bodies. 

The last three seasons of “You” have all been connected to one another through Joe’s love interests and his past affairs intertwining with each other. However, season 4 has disconnected itself from those past storylines for the most part. 

By doing this, the writers have given the show a refresh and have steered clear from being too repetitive in their typical story format.  

The usual main storyline follows Joe in his quest for love and the consequences that come with his obsessions. For season 4, the writers of the show have taken a completely different approach by making Joe the target of this harassment instead of Joe being the harasser.

The usual “You” that Joe associates with his love interest, is now associated with the mystery person who is taunting him. Since the audience only hears Joe’s thoughts, taking this approach allows the audience to solve the mystery with Joe and further connect to this character.

[Penn Badgley stars as Joe Goldberg in “You.”]
Photo courtesy of Netflix

Though all the past seasons have an ensemble of characters who are connected in some way, they aren’t all closely knit as this new ensemble is. 

Part one of season 4’s plot is driven by a “close” group of wealthy friends, and the story quickly turns into a whodunit mystery that the audience tries to solve alongside Joe. With this ensemble, “You” continues the theme of critiquing the rich and how they act in comparison to the less wealthy.

As Joe begins researching Whodunit stories, he is helped out by his student, Nadia (Amy-Leigh Hickman), who gives him some quick tips on usual tropes in the genre. In one of these statements, she stresses that nothing is a coincidence.

When the killer’s identity is revealed, it is both surprising and not at all shocking at the same time. It seemed that this person being the killer was too obvious to be true, causing the audience to look elsewhere for a more complex suspect.

The show’s pace has always been quick with solving conflicts and creating them one after the other. However, this season escalates even faster, wasting no time and diving into the action in the first episode. 

After observing Joe’s behavior with Malcom’s body, the killer takes interest in Joe and soon discovers his true identity, which they then use as blackmail against him. 

By the second episode, the killer makes Joe aware that they know the secrets of his past identity, inciting Joe to solve the case quicker. By the end of part one, the killer is revealed and with that it feels the show is about to take a full 180, especially in Joe’s goals. 

Unlike past seasons of “You,” where the whole season is released at once, season 4 is split into two parts with five episodes each. Part two is set to be released March 9 on Netflix, and there are a lot of loose ends to be tied up within the last five episodes. Though this could be due to scheduling conflicts for Jenna Ortega with the show “Wednesday,” there is no mention of Ellie Alves, her whereabouts or if Joe is still supporting her. 

There are also a few characters that have been highlighted but haven’t been connected to the main story just yet. For example, the camera pans to an older woman with a camera in two different scenes but hasn’t otherwise been brought up. 

This season has done a great job so far of making everyone look like a suspect. Even with the killer revealed, it feels like they aren’t the only one involved. Considering the pace, part two seems like it will be a wild ride.

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