YOU Season 4 Review: Joe Goldberg Keeps Getting Worse and the Netflix Series Keeps Getting Better

Back in 2018, Netflix added the Lifetime Original Series YOU, starring Penn Badgley (Gossip Girl), to their streaming service and it was a big hit with fans. Lifetime would go on to cancel the series after green-lighting a second season, leading Netflix to bring on the second season of YOU to their platform, and the rest is history. YOU is based on the book series by Caroline Kepnes that follows the story of a bookstore manager, Joe Goldberg, who easily falls in love with women and would do anything for them, even if that means committing murder. If you've been keeping up with the series, then you know how crazy things have gotten after three homicidal seasons. Netflix is getting ready to release the highly anticipated fourth season of the hit series, which they will split into two parts, and I believe that this season might be the breath of fresh air that the series needed.

Season 4 starts out a little bit slow and will leave you feeling like you're watching the first three seasons, but some of the characters have a British accent this time. But if you hold the fort and follow along the journey that Gamble and the writers' room have set out for you, then you might find yourself quite satisfied with the latest installment. Joe Goldberg moves to London after killing his wife Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti), faking his death, and chasing his mistress Marienne (Tati Gabrielle) and her daughter to Paris, France. Joe has supposedly let Marienne go, changed his identity to Jonathan Moore, and became a university professor. His life seems pretty normal until he gets framed for the murder of another professor by a killer they're labeling the "Eat The Rich Killer." This leads Joe, or should I say Jonathan, into finding out who the killer is and saving his name. Oh, and of course, with a new setting means that there are new characters for Joe to love and/or murder, and their performances are some of the things that are a plus.

YOU Season 4 does a few things a bit differently than previous seasons, but it does some of the same things as they've done before. Once again, the series will change its setting from the beautiful suburbs of Madde Linda and see Joe Goldberg go across the pond to both France and the United Kingdom. Sera Gamble stays on as showrunner and executive producer of the new season, in which she strays away from the rut that series like these sometimes find themselves in and somehow gives the series a breath of fresh air. The way Gamble slowly unravels the story as Joe attempts to find the Eat The Rich killer is equally brilliant and shocking. While watching the first few episodes, you will feel like you're watching more of the same, but if you stick around until the end, you will discover a fresh take on the self-proclaimed protagonist. YOU Season 4 finds a way to blend all the things people loved about the first three seasons and then still gets in your head to shock you.  

Badgley returns as the lovable but murderous sociopath Joe Goldberg, and as always, he's the highlight of the season. The actor is at home as Joe, and it shows throughout every moment he's on screen, but it's when he's given some new material to work with that he shines. During the fourth season, we meet a lot of detestable characters like Kate (Charlotte Ritchie), Malcolm (Stephan Hagan), Lady Phoebe (Tilly Keeper), Blessing (Ozioma Whenu), Simon (Aidan Cheng), Sophie (Niccy Lin), Adam (Lukas Gage), and Rhys (Ed Speelers). All of the new additions have something to hate about them and the actors playing them definitely play the roles well. But, it's Badgley and Gabrielle who give the best performances this season. With its fresh story that digs into some new ground, YOU Season 4 is definitely a must-watch.

If you're a fan of the first few seasons of YOU, then I think that you're going to like what they're doing in the fourth season. If you weren't a fan of one or two of the previous seasons, then I'd say give it a chance because it just might be pleasantly surprising. Joe Goldberg is still a character you hate to love, and Badgley delivers another psychotic performance that could be a series-best. Netflix made the right decision of splitting the season into two halves because when Part I ends, you're going to be dying for the second half. The season ends in a very interesting way, which I believe could lead into a very good fifth season. YOU Season 4 was a breath of fresh air and I loved every second of it.

Rating: 4 out of 5

YOU Season 4 Part 1 will begin streaming exclusively on Netflix today, while Part 2 will make its debut next month on March 9th.