Home » ‘You’ Season 4 Part 2 Review – Joe’s Gripping Journey to Redemption

‘You’ Season 4 Part 2 Review – Joe’s Gripping Journey to Redemption

by Diego Peralta
Penn Badgley stars as the demented Joe Goldberg in YOU Season 4 Part 2 now streaming on Netflix.

Spoilers for You Season 4 follow!

Following the mixed bag that was the first half of You Season 4, Penn Badgley gives what could be his very best performance as Joe Goldberg yet in the second half of the season. After the chaotic ending of You Season 4 Part 1, wherein Rhys Montrose (Ed Speleers) was revealed to be the Eat the Rich killer rampaging across London, Joe is left alone to face his demons. Meanwhile, Marienne (Tati Gabrielle) is left in more danger than she could ever know. Unlike previous seasons, or even the first part of this one, You Season 4 Part 2 holds back on the protagonist’s inner monologues, replaced with people Joe used to know manifesting in his own mind. This unexpected change is more than welcome, given how the previous half’s extensive narration hurt the pace of this Netflix series. 

The personification of Joe’s past and present constantly haunting him at every turn allows the character’s mind to be thoroughly explored in You Season 4 Part 2, bringing him face-to-face with his worst fears. As the story progresses, it’s rather devastating to learn that his nightmares are mostly reflections of himself, brutally showing how Joe hates who he is and the terrible actions he’s done over the course of the entire series. With a protagonist questioning his every step, the audience has to ponder if Joe can actually begin a new chapter of his life, or if he will inevitably go back to his violent tendencies and fall into his self-destructive cycle all over again. Regardless of what one expects that outcome to look like, it’s fascinating to watch Badgley dive into this more wildly insecure and erratic side of Joe. 

Charlotte Ritchie as Kate Galvin and Penn Badgley as Joe Goldberg come face to face at a beautiful London dinner party surrounded by flowers in YOU Season 4 Part 2 now streaming on Netflix.
Charlotte Ritchie & Penn Badgley in ‘You’ Season 4 Part 2 courtesy of Netflix

But his own erratic behavior is not the only problem Joe has to deal with during You Season 4 Part 2, as Kate Galvin (Charlotte Ritchie) is worried about her friend Lady Phoebe (Tilly Keeper), who might be entangling herself in a relationship that is not beneficial for her future. For once, Joe actually cares about the people around him, and not in the way he cared about Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti), where violence eventually found its way into the relationship. If Joe really wants to become a new person, he needs to stop telling himself that he is simply a serial killer. He must fight tooth and nail for the chance to live his life in a way where he can leave his sins behind. In fact, the whole premise of this season is to get the answer to that question.

The new characters’ relationships with Joe work particularly well in these next 5 episodes. There is a subplot following one of Joe’s students, as she notices something is off about the mentor she knows as professor Jonathan Moore. The tension created in rooting for Nadia (Amy Leigh-Hickman) to succeed but at the same time wanting her to stay safe from Joe is thrilling. She has no idea about the situation she’s getting herself into by tracing the clues left behind by the vicious killer. Another brilliant person unknowingly falls into Goldberg’s net of bloodshed, giving the season a larger sense of tragedy as Joe is trying his best to move on. Leigh-Hickman is wonderful at conveying Nadia’s sense of wonder and terror as she gets to better know the most dangerous man she’s ever encountered.

Victoria Pedretti stars as the ghost of Love Quinn who comes back to haunt Joe Goldberg in YOU Season 4 Part 2 now streaming on Netflix.
Victoria Pedretti in ‘You’ Season 4 Part 2 courtesy of Netflix

Creator and showrunner Sera Gamble and producer Greg Berlanti previously mentioned that setting You Season 4 in London would give Joe a chance to shine due to the character’s ability to quickly adapt when thrown into a new environment. This finally comes to light in the second half of the season as Joe quickly pivots into a completely different mindset from the one he found himself in when he first moved to Europe. The new cast – including Stephen Hagan as Malcolm, Ben Wiggins as Roald, and Lukas Gage as Adam – also help breathe exciting life into a show that was in dire need of it after the conclusion of the third season. All of the supporting characters here serve an evident purpose in Joe’s journey, which is commendable on Sera Gamble maintaining control of the genre-bending Netflix original.

Netflix’s strategy for splitting new seasons of their staple originals into two parts did wonders for Stranger Things and Ozark, however, it might not have been the best plan for You. The first part of these new episodes is mostly composed of exposition and convoluted setups. While You Season 4 Part 2 is full of all the action, drama, and vital energy fans had been waiting for, its counterpart could be seen as full of baggage in retrospect. It’s not a question of if but when the streamer decides to give this adaptation of author Caroline Kepnes‘ popular book series another go, and it would be best for the entire next season to drop all at once, or for it to be more smoothly structured to be split into two parts.

With a stronger narrative drive present than in the first half of the season, and Penn Badgley’s best work as Joe Goldberg yet, You Season 4 Part 2 delivers a powerfully introspective drama, where the killer who first appeared on screen in 2018 believably tries to move on from his past mistakes and start fresh. It was about time Joe confronted his fears and demons head-on, utilizing all of his deceptive skills to come to terms with who he is. Fans of the Netflix thriller series can expect to see everything there is to love about You during this new batch of episodes, which were fortunately released only a month after the last time viewers got to see Joe.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

You Season 4 Part 2 premieres on Netflix March 9!

Follow writer Diego Peralta on Twitter: @Dieg0_Peralta

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