In the aftermath of the murders, Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) starts the second half of You season four searching for his own stalker, Rhys Montrose (Ed Speleers), adapting his past stalking skills for the greater good, or so he believes. As Rhys pursues his grand ambitions, Joe is torn between his dark side and his good intentions while Kate is trying to assert her independence. The second part of You, season four, introduces more characters such as Thomas Lockwood (Greg Kinnear) and Niko Leandros (Ben Starr) into Joe’s twisted world.
The second part of You Season Four unfortunately pales in comparison to the first part of the season. Instead of using his talents to find the Eat the Rich Killer, Joe now finds himself in a precarious position. Now that Rhys has been unmasked as the Eat the Rich Killer, Joe must decide if he is to do his stalker’s bidding or risk his wrath – at least that is his trajectory until the series loses its direction. Unfortunately, as Rhys’s motives and crimes have been revealed, the season’s main villain and motive – the first part’s arc – are lost. Instead of focusing on the fascination Rhys has with Joe, the writers have tried to shove Kate’s (played by Charlotte Ritchie) and Joe’s romantic relationship to the forefront as the focus, despite Kate despising Joe for most of the season, and this pairing feels quite forced due to their lack of any sort of chemistry and general fondness for each other for the majority of the season. Compared to past love interests (such as Love), they hated each other towards the end, but still had chemistry. Joe and Kate lack that fundamental spark that makes them interesting and compels you to root for them.
One of the few things that You, Season Four, Part Two does right is Nadia (played by Amy-Leigh Hickman). She is one of the very few characters in this season that has any agency and consistent plot line, that evidently has been hinted at and has grown since the season’s inception. Hickman is compelling as the smart, empathetic character that should have been the season’s draw. In every way, Nadia is the type of woman Joe usually goes for. She is smart, compassionate and what he could deem as his equal. Kate is cold and distant – although that could be owed to the repetitive monotone delivery that Ritchie repeatedly delivers – and has spent most of the season despising Joe/Jonathan only for it to suddenly shift to talks of the future and the appearance of her father, Thomas Lockwood. Unfortunately, after rewatching the fourth season in its entirety, it’s still unclear as to why Joe is drawn to Kate in the same way he has been to his past romances.
As the second part of Season Four concludes, one of the main problems is that there was already a large group of characters. From Lady Phoebe (Tilly Kepper), Roald (Ben Wiggins), Adam (Lukas Gage), Sophie (Niccy Lin) and Blessing (Oziomo Whenu), the only two that have storylines that carry on into the final part of this season are Lady Phoebe and Adam, but most of the new characters this season have their arcs wrapped up in an episode or two. What should have been the big kill of the season, the character that meets their untimely end woefully falls flat in its payoff. A lot of the characters are rushed, or stagnated – sadly, the writers could not find an appropriate and meaningful in-between.
Rhys Montrose, the favourite candidate for the Mayor of London, is an interesting and complex character, played wonderfully by Speleers, but that does not continue to be the case into the second part of the fourth season. There was a subtlety in Speleers’ portrayal – but whether it be the direction or an acting choice, Rhys becomes a caricature of the interesting character we were introduced to during the first part of the season. He is an exaggerated villain, from the way he over-does his London accent to his general demeanour, reducing the big villain of this season to an almost unwatchable parody. Without heading into spoiler territory, the dynamic pairing of Joe and Rhys fizzles out quickly, and almost becomes a struggle to watch.
Overall, the first part of You, Season Four is the stronger of the two parts. After watching the series in its entirety, it is baffling as to why Netflix had chosen to split this season in two, as the second part fails to live up to what I would classify as the best season of the entire series. Season Four had an interesting concept in turning the tables on Joe, but revealing Rhys so early on damaged the potential mystery and intrigue of the season.
The writers clearly wanted Joe to develop into a saviour, but by making him a victim of the very crime he perfected, he falls flat overall. Joe lacks any deep connection to any of the new characters introduced in Season Four, bringing into question his motives for helping people he would normally despise. There is nothing final about You Season Four, Part Two, and although the writers have anticipated and left room for one more season, there is only so much of Joe stalking a random woman that the audience can take.
The MVC (Most Valuable Character) for the entire fourth season of You would have to go with Nadia. She is intelligent and resourceful, and unlike most of the new cast of characters, she has more depth than the majority of them put together. Hickman’s potential is not utilized as much as it should have been as her scenes were the most gratifying to watch.