Netflix’s You Season Four – Part 1 | Stalker Thriller Comes Full Circle
“Love chooses us. The only thing we can control is what we do, how far we can go.”
When the series You initially dropped on Netflix in 2018, it was met with understandable acclaim. The story of a stalker in this modern, social media world raised a lot of questions about privacy, humanity, and how manipulative the use of technology can be. With two further seasons, the writing and general cleverness of the original series simply kept flowing. Now we get a fourth season split into two parts, and it is perhaps the best of the outings since the first series aired.
Many felt a dragging element, certainly in the second series, whereas the third took a different direction. Nevertheless, each series twisted, entertained and enthralled as we continued with the adventures of anti-hero Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley). One of the clever elements that has kept the show’s longevity intact is the constant change of location and characters. While season one introduced us to Joe in New York, working in a his prized bookstore, season two took us to the sunnier backdrop of Los Angeles and new ‘obsessions’. Season three found Joe living the idyllic suburban life, in the sleepy Madre Linda. Though this time as a husband and father, his wife Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti) turned out to be more psychotic and obsessive than our anti-hero. That led to an explosive end, a faking of his own death and a relocation to Europe.
In Season four, Joe is now the bearded, shaggy-haired Professor Jonathan Moore. How he got from the Paris streets to London and his new post is explained quickly and in flashbacks. This new location is quite the playground, and his last love Marienne Bellamy (Tati Gabrielle) does enter and exit the equation early on. But due to his work post, his path crosses with fellow literature Professor Malcolm Harding (Stephen Hagan), who not only sets Joe up in a rather expensive, South Kensington apartment, he introduces him and invites him into his circle of shallow socialites. At this point it is worth mentioning that Joe’s voiceover in this season is exceptionally sharp, wonderfully illustrating his inner disgust at his new-found group.
For all of the new scenery and characters to get your head around, this season has pace and moves quickly. Furthermore, from the first episode it becomes quite gruesome, graphic and the body count is higher than before. As the season rolls it takes on the clever guise of a ‘whodunnit.’ Better put, it becomes an Agatha Christie feature done by the makers of the Saw movies. This is in part down to a shift in narrative, as Joe Goldberg becomes the prey to a hunter/murderer hellbent on pinning the gruesome deaths of annoying socialites on him. This fresh approach certainly ups the ante and keeps things very interesting. Beneath the surface is a further narrative of class struggles, a working class view of the upper class world, and that is fuel for Joe to throw a match on.
This new murderer taunts Joe, and soon gets public attention as the ‘eat the rich’ killer. Your empathy is not really stirred as the lives of these overgrown spoilt brats are taken. The entertainment of watching our protagonist try to solve the mystery, whilst trying not to fall for the alluring and icy Kate Galvin (Charlotte Ritchie) is exceptional viewing. The acting is decent throughout, in particular the manic Lady Phoebe (Tilly Keeper- Eastenders) and the old-school hard edge of cockney Sean Pertwee (Dog Soldiers) as Vic. Altogether the first part of season four has demonstrated how a series can continue and even improve momentum. What lies ahead for Joe Goldberg may be the most satisfying series ending in the franchise.
You Season 4 is currently streaming on Netflix.