Pop culture critic Emma Ehle says Pt. I of “You”’s fourth season completely turns the tables on Joe Goldberg


Rating: 7/10

Hello … you. Back again for Netflix’s latest installment of the charming serial stalker that swept the nation? Of course you are.

After a shocking Season 3 finale that left audiences wondering what everyone's favorite psychopath was doing in the city of love, Season 4 has finally arrived, introducing us to the “new and improved” Joe Goldberg.

Premiering on Thursday, Feb. 9, Part I of “You”’s fourth season (2023) follows Joe as he attempts to hide under the identity of Jonathon Moore, a mild-mannered London professor who exists simply to teach, and to stay out of the way of his colleagues. However, after Joe — or Jonathon — falls in with a group of affluent English socialites, he finds himself facing an unexpected twist of fate in which he has gone from the stalker to the stalkee. 

That's right everyone — after 3 seasons of this guy in the same baseball cap and jacket racking up a body count so high we’ve lost count, Joe Goldberg is finally getting a dose of his own medicine. Sort of. 

While predictable in some aspects, and lacking the level of character development displayed in the other seasons, Season 4 Part I does a pretty good job at stretching out a show that could’ve easily plummeted after the first season. Rather than following the carefully curated “You formula” of Joe meeting a girl, stalking her and then killing several people in the name of love, this season places Joe in the center of his own cat and mouse game, following him as he attempts to unmask his stalker, the Eat The Rich Killer, while his “friends” drop like flies. 

Penn Badgley, known by many as “Gossip Girl’s” “Lonely Boy,” delivers another well done performance as Joe in Season 4, effectively portraying him as a character that you can’t help but root for — even when he’s dismembering a body, dumping one in a river or committing other violent crimes. Charlotte Ritchie, who acts opposite Badgley as Joe’s fiery love interest Kate, also delivers an impressive performance in her role, portraying Kate’s character development excellently and showing her transition from a cold, off putting mystery girl, to a brave, kind-hearted woman that Joe finds himself falling for — shocker, I know. 

Personally, I found the installment’s final two episodes, “Hampsie” and “The Fox and the Hound” to be Part I’s strongest points. Taking place in Lady Phoebe’s Country estate under the name of “Hampsie,” these episodes take the already existing Agatha Christie-esque, one-by-one murder feel of this season and turns it into a full-fledged locked-room mystery. While this concept is not taken in a particularly transformative or mind-blowing direction, it is absorbing and effective, creating the eerie “who’s going to be next” feeling that keeps lovers of this subgenre on the edge of their seats. 

After this fairly gripping ending and a Part II preview that — spoiler alert — flashes a glimpse of the supposedly dead Love Quinn, Season 4 Pt. I did what it needed to do to ensure audiences will tune back in for Part II. I do, however, fail to see “You” going beyond a fourth season though, as ultimately, Joe’s plot can only be taken in so many directions. 

Season 4 Part II of “You” premiers on Thursday, Mar. 9.

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