“You” Season 4 Vol. 1 Goes Full British Murder Mystery [Review]

Our favorite completely toxic sociopathic role model that we definitely shouldn’t be idolizing is back on Netflix!  Following a pretty climactic and life changing Season 3 finale, Joe is back in a new city, new country, and with a new name.  And while he strives to create a new life, he can’t help but be swept up in absurd and dangerous situations…

You 4
Joe probably would have preferred if the whole season was just about him teaching.

Professor Jonathan Moore
We picked up Joe Goldberg some time after the events of Season 3.  And while his wife Love remains dead, and his son remains in the custody of someone else, he genuinely seems to be trying to turn over a new leaf.

Now living in London, he teaches Literature as Professor Jonathan Moore, and tries to keep a quiet life, deliberately avoiding temptations of the past.  Via flashback, we see that there were still minor loose ends in the form of Marienne (whom he still loved), as well as the hired mercenary by the Quinn family to track him down.  But he’s able to tie them up with relative ease.

You 2
We last saw him in Paris, but he doesn’t spend too much time there, before moving on to London.

Much to our pleasant surprise, Season 4 resists the urge to simply rehash what we had already seen before.  It would have been all too easy to just have Joe meet another woman, fawn over her, stalk her, and have her discover who he really was.  Arguably the first two seasons are just same basic premise, with the 3rd being a direct “sequel” to the 2nd.

Season 4 on the other hand, smartly takes a character like Joe Goldberg, and drops him into another genre entirely: an Agatha Christie-inspired murder mystery.  After all he’s been through, he understandably tries to run away from the plot, but the plot seems to find him, whether he wants it to or not.

Which in a way, makes his character all the more interesting and relatable.  We’ve seen his flaws, we’ve seen him struggle, and again it would have been all too easy to just replicate the premise of what came before.  But placing him in this position (as well as giving him a “villain”) demonstrates a long-running character arc and growth for him that didn’t always seem possible.

Eat the Rich
While trying to fly under the radar, Joe manages to unwittingly join a circle of friends made up of wealthy British elites.  Among them is his neighbor Kate, whom he initially considers fawning over and stalking, but his self-control successfully holds him back.

You 3
They sort of wind up falling for each other anyway though…

However, when people in their friend group start dying one by one, Joe can’t escape reentering a world of murders and disposing of dead bodies.  Especially when the “Eat the Rich Killer” (as the press calls them) starts calling out Joe specifically via a series of secret text messages as if we’re watching “A” from Pretty Little Liars.

In addition to helping to further Joe’s character arc by pushing him closer to antihero territory, this plot point and setting feel perfect for him.  While Joe may not be wealthy (although an argument could be made given his spacious Brooklyn apartment on a bookstore clerk salary), very much fits in with this group of narcissistic socialites.  All of them have a carefully crafted persona that’s meant to conceal the real them. It’s why some of them are able to figure out that he’s not entirely on the level; because they recognize the signs of someone pretending to be something they’re not.

You 1
Joe even jokes that he feels like he’s in Downton Abbey.

It’s a genuinely well-written and thrilling mystery that ends on something of a cliffhanger, setting up the next 5 episodes for a confrontation we haven’t really seen the likes of before.  Joe has certainly dealt with people who were worse than him in terms of ethics or sociopathy, but now he’s taking on a serial killer that knows and even admires him.  Sure it seems a bit borrowed from Season 3 of Dexter, but it’s done in a different enough and creative way here.

Meta Metaphor (Minor Spoilers)
The whole time that the Eat the Rich Killer is messaging Joe, they seem to be trying to awaken the killer in him as well.  It’s as if the killer represents who Joe used to be, or at least the person he had to become in certain situations.  We would all probably agree that back in Season 1, Beck didn’t deserve to die.  But when he killed his wife Love, she had forced him into a life or death situation where he had to choose him or her.

This new killer admires and idolizes Joe’s past actions without really understanding the context or why he did them, so in a strange way, the Eat the Rich Killer is very much a metaphor for the audience ourselves, and our collective perverse obsession with this series.  Fans jokingly admit how toxic this show can be and that we’re missing the point by looking up to Joe, and the Eat the Rich Killer feels like the embodiment of that entire sentiment.

They want Joe to be like he always was and revert back to his old ways, much like a toxic fandom would clamor for their favorite TV show to give them more of the same to satisfy them, without ever innovating or challenging.  The oncoming conflict in Season 4 Volume 2 is much more than a clash between two killers, it’s the epic showdown of everything Joe (and the series) used to be, and everything he (and the series) has the potential to be!

What did you think of these five episodes of You?  What do you think will happen in the next 5 episodes that air on March 9th?  Let us know in the comments!

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