Joe Goldberg Reveals His True Sinister Side in You Season 4: Vol. 2


Amelia Knust

You’s second volume of Season 4 turned out much darker and more sinister than the first, leaving fans restless to know what will happen to Joe Goldberg. Read below for a breakdown of the new episodes’ good, bad, and ugly moments.


With Vol. 1 of You: Season 4 ending on a cliffhanger revealing that Rhys Montrose is the “Eat The Rich” killer, Vol. 2 completely switches the gears on this revelation. It is soon uncovered that Joe Goldberg is the real killer and that the Rhys Montrose he had been conspiring with for some time was just a figment of his imagination, explaining the shocking similarities between the two characters. Joe did end up killing the authentic Rhys, but he had never met him the way he thought he had. Even after Rhys’s death, the version of Rhys inside Joe’s head continued to influence his decisions throughout the episodes. Joe’s split personality had been manifesting since his murder of Love Quinn. We learn that he had discovered Rhys shortly after the act and had been morbidly obsessing over his life, as he saw himself in the “rags-to-riches” politician. So with this information, almost all of Vol. 1 becomes a classic case of the infamous “unreliable narrator” trope, and we get the inevitable confirmation that Joe Goldberg never changes, no matter how much he thinks he does. After we learn about Joe’s split personality, it’s also revealed that he had been keeping Marienne in his infamous cage, where she is not only isolated from the real world but from her daughter too. Nadia, Joe’s (or “Professor Moore’s”) student at the university he teaches, soon discovers who Joe really is and plans to not only free Marienne but kill him too. Marienne ends up narrowly escaping the cage with Nadia’s help. Still, once Joe learns of this, he kills Nadia’s tentative boyfriend, Eddie, frames him for the murder of Rhys Montrose, and then frames Nadia for the murder of Eddie—pure evil. The entire season ends with the deaths of Malcolm, Simon, Vic, Gemma, Rhys, Hugo, Tom, and Eddie, all at the hands of Joe. In terms of Joe’s messed up love life, he finally reveals his true identity to Kate, who puts it past him for some reason, and they move back to New York together. Joe becomes a quiet hero to the press as the resurgence of his real name constitutes that he survived the Love Quinn incident in Madre Linda, contrary to the public’s original beliefs. 

The Good

While it can be argued that this season was too long, drawn-out, and straight-out unnecessary, there were some moments made the fourth season worth watching. First, Episode 8 finally brings some self-awareness to the series, with the entire episode being in Marienne’s point of view, the first time the show had ever taken that sort of creative direction. With Marienne’s honest perspective, the audience is finally able to see Joe for the monster he is, without the addition of his witty inner monologues. We can also see the awkwardness of Joe’s character, with his deafening silence (prompted by the constant flow of thoughts in his mind we are used to hearing) being extremely noticeable when Marienne was questioning him. Next, Episode 9 truly shined through the guest appearances of Elizabeth Lail (Guinevere Beck) and Victoria Pedretti (Love Quinn), who stole their scene in one of the season’s best moments. In the scene, Joe is having a psychotic break and starts having hallucinations about the past women he had dated, with callbacks to each season and an incredibly entertaining monologue from Love, who asks him, “What is love, Joe? Lowercase. Tell me, and I’ll give you the key,” referencing the locked cage with Marienne inside. When he fails to respond to her liking, he returns to reality only to realize that he’s hopeless. As limited as their roles were in the episode, it felt highly refreshing to see hints of the old season sprinkled in the mess that was Season 4. Finally, we see a satisfying ending for Lady Phoebe, who had too much turmoil for her good-natured character. In this volume, we have to see Adam repeatedly using her for her money, and it gets to the point where she has to admit herself into a psychiatric hospital after the night of her impromptu wedding. However, the season finale reveals that she leaves London in return for a humble life in Thailand as an elementary school teacher. 

The Bad

In You’s arguably worst season, I found many moments extremely hard to watch, not for the grotesque nature, but from the sheer bore of it all. Since so many new supporting characters were being introduced, it was hard to feel any attachment towards any of them, and many of the extra plotlines just fell flat. The only reason people are watching this show is to see the delusional actions of Joe Goldberg, not the sub-par drama of British socialites. One of the most dreadful plotlines was Kate’s constant daddy issues with her evil-capitalist-Jeff-Bezos-prototype father. It was redundant, basically pointless, and once again ended with Joe killing him, which seems to be the apparent solution to every single issue. This season confirmed that Netflix truly did ruin the show, and this was a final attempt to generate hype through the split volumes and new storylines. The changes destroyed the simplicity of what the show used to be and showed that there was no need for this show to go on longer than three seasons, at most. After a brief rewatch of Season 2 prior to my watch of Season 4: Vol. 2, it hurts to see a show with so much potential be ruined so quickly. In a perfect world, You would’ve ended with Joe and Love killing each other in season in a messed-up Romeo-and-Juliet-esque ending. However, we got whatever Season 4 was, and it can only be hoped that Season 5 will be the final installment to the show.

The Ugly

The most disturbing aspect of the volume by far was the wretched dive into Joe’s murderous mind and his pattern of having no remorse for his victims. The past three seasons have romanticized Joe’s actions to an extent, in which the audience would be sad at what happens but secretly (and maybe not even consciously) rooting for Joe at the end of the day. However, it’s clear that the writers now want the audience to see Joe as a cold-blooded villain. Through his hypothetical conversations with Rhys, who lives inside his head as the constant reminder of his evil side, we can see Joe trying to separate himself from his actions. Still, by the end of the season, we can see that the separation has failed to work. In the final scene of the season, we can see Joe in New York, staring off into the distance with a sinister smile, but his reflection is none other than Rhys Montrose, showing that the evil side will always live within him. Through his stalking, murdering, and framing this season, Volume 2 clearly indicates that Joe’s actions are not at all for the right reasons. At this point, it’s purely criminal behavior instead of his overprotective nature directing his decisions. These revelations only add to the plea to end the show sooner than later. There’s genuinely nothing appealing about a psychopathic killer getting away with ruining the lives of half the characters on the show, no matter how captivating he might be with his internal thoughts. As Joe Goldberg emerges as the sole villain of the show by the end of Vol. 2, the audience can only pray that he will finally be getting payback for his actions next season. Actor Penn Badgley even said, “Joe needs to get what’s coming to him.”

To everyone still hanging onto You, I can confirm that Vol. 2 was much better than Vol. 1, but at the cost of watching some of the best characters get traumatized from Joe’s actions. Overall, Season 4 was a massive disappointment through its lackluster plotlines and reinvention of what the show once was. On behalf of all the tired You-watchers, Netflix, please end this show with Joe getting the ultimate revenge for all the horrible things he’s done, and it’s also never too late to bring Love Quinn back from the dead.