February 21, 2024

Editor’s Note: The following article contains spoilers for Part 1 You Season 4.


you, Netflix’s twisted and provocative show about a serial killer and his love interest, recently came out with Part 1 of its fourth season, which perhaps should be its last, if the show wants to maintain its integrity. In his first three seasons, you He followed Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley), whose compulsion to pursue and seduce women tends to worsen when he ends up dying for not living up to his impossible standards and his never-ending hunger for intimacy. The first seasons are tied together by several lines of the same plot formula, and in the fourth season (at least the first part that was just released) things move in completely new directions. The question going forward is what show is — Is it a serialized piece of thrilling crime fiction intended primarily for entertainment, or does it ultimately mean something deeper? If there is you It ends with season 4, so it could tip the hat for what has been good social commentary so far.

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Joe’s Arc in the first three seasons of “You”.

Season 1, which saw him chase Joe Beck (Elizabeth Lail), featured a story of an obsession over texting and social media that played a major role in the early days. you. The story was a whimsical one with lots of chases and kidnappings, but underneath it all, it told a story of how the digital world has eroded privacy and complicated modern life. It wasn’t a heavy story, but it asked how to stay safe in a world where everything was so open, and there were lots of kills and the tension increased as it went on. The story as a whole has turned a critical eye on romance and how easily some cases turn into obsession.

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Victoria Pedretti love and Penn Badgley in season 2 of Joe
Image via Netflix

Seasons 2 and 3 you Joe tied the knot with new partner Love (Victoria Pedretti). He equated Joe’s sociopathy with his killer instinct, which was already well-revealed when he laid it on her, much to his chagrin. you it was fun toying with the idea of ​​what would happen with two killers accidentally meeting, and at first not really knowing what they were getting into. It was a twist on the formula and proved that he could take Joe by surprise, and gave him some character development as he struggled with what to do about Love. Love was a good mirror for Joe, who wondered what would happen if someone he lusted after was as dark as he was. Joe’s disdain for her as soon as she learns of his dark instincts would be humorous if it weren’t so ironically sad. As Love said before he died at the end of Season 3, they could have been perfect for each other.

you showrunner Sera Gamble In an interview with Collider, she said that she was drawn to writing in general because of how it could help people relate. That is the core of why you it’s about Joe thinks he knows these women, and he idolizes them and puts them on a pedestal with a false idea of ​​who they are. And they think they know him too, because he constantly puts on disguises and lies. Dating is about connections and Joe, despite his twisted sensibilities, seems to really want to connect. When they or their relationships don’t match his fantasy ideals in his mind, he gives in to dark and terrible impulses to kill or kidnap these women. season 3 you, which saw Joe and Love married and with a child, continued fleshing out the dynamic – breaking up with Love made Joe realize that he’s just a bottomless void, a being of endless desire that will never be satisfied. But Joe gets the best of him and kills him too.

‘Zuk’ breaks its pattern with season 4

Kate and Joe look longingly into each other's eyes in a scene from You season 4.
Image via Netflix

you Season 4 sees Joe in London and mingles with a group of elite type aristocrats, Joe is now being chased by a mysterious outside force called “Eat the Rich Killer”, who is killing several rich people, sending cryptic messages – it’s all very baroque. , full of mystery. It feels like a different kind of show because, for the first time, Joe is just as confused as the rest of us. season 4 you, at least in this first segment, feels the most different from everything else. The setting is the most different it’s been in seasons yet, and Joe’s past life is almost entirely discarded in favor of something new. She drops the connections from the previous seasons pretty quickly in episode 1 – leaving her season 3 obsession with Marienne (Tati Gabrielle) unharmed, even refusing to die when an evil thug tries to blackmail him.

Joe seems to be trying to evolve, and the following four episodes see him take his biggest steps yet toward that goal. He tries to hold back when women make advances on him. In those scenes, his inner dialogue is a touch regretful, much more uncertain than before. When the man attacks him, a bodyguard kills himself in defense, and is still chasing him. But this time she’s following socialite Kate Galvin (Charlotte Ritchie), to protect against the inventions of the new unknown killer. But most of all, he actually, surprisingly, seems to be trying to change. This, of course, does not erase one of the unforgivable crimes of harassing and murdering innocent women, but it does show it. you trying to move in a new direction. The story seems to be joining the pool of anti-wealth stories that have become popular in recent years, among others. Triangle Triangle, White Lotus, Glass Onion and many others. This, along with the whodunit plotline, make this season you into something completely different from the old parts, and Joe’s attempts to try to help people could be a non-sequitur from the old seasons or the beginning of a new and final character for him.

“You It’s the kind of story the creators want to tell

Ed Speleers as Rhyse Montrose and Penn Badgley as Joe Goldberg in Season 4
Image via Netflix

What a story ahead you is Joe can spend several more seasons, always in a new location, killing random assailants and getting caught up in stalking new attractive women every year. They wouldn’t have to develop more characters if they didn’t want to. you It has reasonable thrills and black charm and appeal, although the creators could have stretched it out for many more seasons to be enjoyable enough. The question is what would be the essence of it. The whole thing might carry over from its stellar early seasons – the macabre nature of the show’s early seasons couldn’t last forever. Following a character as toxic as Joe probably couldn’t last more than a few seasons without overwhelming or tiring the viewer, and it would be hard to keep upping the ante. It seems like so far youThe current incarnation is Joe trying to become a vigilante, a kinder character who is trying to change and get rid of worse criminals.

Modern TV shows are different from some of the past years. Older shows could comfortably run for a dozen or more seasons, changing little except for a few new characters and some old ones leaving. They were comfort food and served as a specific way for people to put their feet up and relax. A lot of shows these days have finite endings, and arcs that build up over time into something definitive and culminate. This has its merits: unlike shows that reset each season or episode and pick up on simple jokes, modern long-form television can really explore the form and do something different than older shows or movies. The longer form of the story may allow for more emotionally resonant material and developed characters.

Given what Gamble and Badgley have said about the show and their dedication to saying something with the material, it would be prudent to end it. you strong this season or another soon. Season 5 is rumored to be the finale, although nothing has been officially announced yet. A similar show youwhoever wanted to tell an evolving story should come out as strong as possible with a cohesive statement.

you Season 4: Part 1 is live on Netflix. Part 2 will be available to stream on March 9th.

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