The Newest Season of YOU: More Crime, Less Romance?

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*Warning Spoilers*


The fourth season of You is a two-part season that leaves you questioning once again how truly sane Joe Goldberg is or how much he wants you to think he is. This season is no different where it will leave you creating theories all throughout the first part and then seeing exactly who Joe is at the end of the second part. 


The series is made famous for Joe Goldberg, played by the infamous Penn Badgley, and how easily one like Joe despite their actions are easily romanticized because of the actor who is playing such a psychological character. Joe Goldberg plain and simple is a textbook stalker and murderer who justifies taking one’s life in the name of love. What audiences should be taking away from this is the dangers of a person like Joe which is seen in this season when the crime is ramped up instead of romance like the previous seasons had more of. Giving the viewers a “who done it” timeline focusing more on the crime aspect of the show and less of the romance to get away from that romanticization. Meaning less intimate scenes that had nothing to do with any character development or the plot for that matter. Even actor Penn requested to specifically have less of those scenes and focus more on the crime solving aspect of the show, never hiding how much he doesn’t like his character Joe and that we should Joe as he is. Joe is just not another attractive privileged white man whom we see have a traumatic childhood to humanize him in some way yet continues to commit murder people for his own end game, but one who can get away with his crimes because he is an attractive privileged white man to begin with. 


You see, once again, Joe is trying to convince the audience that his actions are justified in the name of love, but this time he wants to change for the better. Deceiving the audience into thinking he can somehow be saved when it boils down to the type of person he is, he’s a murderer. The season focuses on Joe trying to get away and make up for his past actions by uncovering who is blackmailing him and later finding out he was blackmailing himself, but his past self or ruthless first season, Joe is trying to show him no matter how much he thinks he has changed, he will never change. This is shown through Joe’s subconscious creating a personality out of someone he thought he could be by that personality doing all of the hard traumatic tasks of killing people while Joe does not remember a thing. The entire time Joe is telling himself that he is a murderer and there is nothing he can do to change that, and the more he tries to be a good person and help people, the more damage he ends up doing. 


Finally, accepting the person he is instead of running himself, the pattern of murdering and cover-ups continue, except Joe is back in the place where he vowed never to go back again, NYC. His current girlfriend and her connections allowed them to erase any evidence pointing to Joe from any criminal activity relating to Joe, where they both accepted who they are as people and worked to be better. Joe has different ideas. In the final scene, you see Joe looking out over central park, but in the reflection you see his subconscious smiling and Joe talking about how now he will be able to complete him in the city where he started everything. Joe believes because of his new love and her connections he will now be able to kill freely and not worry about the consequences, confirming Joe is, in fact, a murderer and will never change any matter how he tries to justify it, murder is murder.