‘You’ switches it up in its fourth season

The course of the show’s latest season reminds fans why they should not root for serial killers


Courtesy of IMDb

Joe Goldberg is pictured in a trailer for Season 4.

Sophie Guymon, Staff Writer

Season 4 of “You” starts off unsurprisingly — Joe Goldberg obsessively stalks the latest object of his affection who, having seen the real him, no longer feels the same way. However, once this storyline is — seemingly — resolved, “You” departs from its typical formula. 

While the previous three seasons of “You” revolved around Goldberg’s stalker tendencies, this season, he is the one being stalked. Instead of attempting to cover up his latest kills, he is trying to catch a killer. In an Agatha Christie-esque whodunnit storyline, Goldberg joins a circle of the British elite and methodically goes through a list of suspects until he finally lands on the real killer … or so it seems. 

One of Goldberg’s primary character flaws — apart from his penchant for murdering and stalking — is his lack of self-awareness. He is deeply judgmental of everyone around him but excuses his own worst behaviors. Rather than seeing himself as the murderer and stalker that he is, he sees himself as a white knight and noble savior for each of the women with whom he is obsessed. 

Every time a relationship inevitability goes south, Goldberg isn’t the one to blame, the woman is. That’s another reason this season is a breath of fresh air — Goldberg finally seems to recognize that he isn’t good for the women with whom he’s obsessed and manages to refrain from entering a relationship with the latest object of his affections — Kate Galvin. 

In exploring Goldberg’s burgeoning relationship with Galvin and attempts to escape his past wrongdoings, this season features cameos from fan favorites and ex-girlfriends, Guinevere Beck and Love Quinn who are, of course, merely hallucinations as both women died at Goldberg’s hands. 

As has been true in previous seasons, while Goldberg may be able to escape his past in the eyes of the law, he can only pretend to be someone he is not for so long. One of the most hotly debated questions among fans of the show is whether Goldberg is a redeemable character or a narcissistic psychopath. In any other show, he would be a villain, but because “You” is narrated from his point of view, fans often forget that he is not someone for whom we should be rooting. 

This season, Goldberg loses his grip on reality as he himself finally grapples with this question, seemingly culminating in a self-awareness that we have not seen from him before. The question of the last few episodes is this: will this awareness result in Goldberg giving in to his dark side and emerging as a cold-blooded, soulless killer, or will it result in him finally making an effort to repair his wrongs and end his cycle of murdering and stalking?

One way to interpret “You” is as a commentary on society and the fact that attractive, charismatic white men can seemingly get away with anything. Time after time, Goldberg has evaded the law — not just because of his talents for destroying evidence, hiding bodies and diverting blame but because of his numerous privileges and ability to attract rich, powerful friends. Despite condemning everything to do with wealth, Goldberg always finds himself entrenched in and dependent on these connections that have repeatedly given him a clean slate and a chance for self-improvement — a privilege that many are not afforded. This season, his circle is richer than ever before. In the past, he relied on big-city influencers and affluent suburbanites to get him out of trouble with the law — this season his friends are heirs and estate owners who come from countless generations of wealth. 

This season comes with twists, turns and resolutions that some fans may have seen coming — especially given the month-long wait between episodes that gave viewers plenty of time to theorize and pick apart every conceivable clue and easter egg — but they were well-executed nonetheless. While some viewers may not have enjoyed the big twist of the season  (my roommate texted me while watching the final episodes that she was mad the fan theory I told her about was right) it serves as a stark reminder of who Goldberg is and that his murders cannot be rationalized. However you choose to interpret “You,” it is undeniably entertaining. If you like suspense, mystery and British accents, this latest season is worth a watch.