You Season 4 Part 1 Review – Joe’s wild ride among London’s aristocracy

By Lori Meek
Published: February 9, 2023 (Last updated: February 17, 2024)
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You is one of those rare series where each season gets wilder than the one before. As long as you’re willing to suspend your disbelief and accept the show for what it is, you’re very likely to enjoy the insanity presented to you. 

We review the Netflix series You Season 4 Part 1, which does not contain spoilers.

The highly-anticipated fourth installment of the creepiest romantic thriller to ever hit our television screens is finally here. Based on a series of novels by Caroline Kepnes, You first premiered in 2018 on Lifetime before finding a permanent home on Netflix. Penn Badgley returns as everyone’s favorite good guy with a penchant for murder, Joe Goldberg, while Tati Gabrielle is back as Marriene, Joe’s obsession (read: love interest from season 3).

New cast members include Charlotte Ritchie, Amy-Leigh Hickman, Ed Speleers, and Tilly Keeper. Everywhere he goes, Joe has this terrible habit of leaving a trail of bodies behind, so this season finds him across the Atlantic as he’s trying to build a new life in England’s capital London. 

You Season 4 Part 1 Review and Plot Summary

Season 3 ended with Joe literally setting his whole life in flames after murdering his unstable wife, Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti), faking his death, and heading into Europe to find poor Marriene, who’s been hiding from him ever since.

The new season starts with Joe living in London under the alias Jonathan Moore and teaching literature at a local university. Despite his best attempts at staying out of trouble, Joe inadvertently gets involved in a series of murders targeting his new friends, all members of the rich and famous. Not only that but whoever is behind the murders has taken an interest in Joe and his true identity.

For the first time, our anti-hero gets to experience the joys of being watched by a deranged stalker and needs to figure out which member of the British aristocracy is killing his new group of spoiled friends – To Joe’s despair, he somehow landed in the middle of a whodunit, a genre he considers “the lowest form of literature.”

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You is one of those rare series where each season gets wilder than the one before. Joe has always been the type of self-righteous killer who keeps convincing himself he’s a decent guy. In the first part of season 4, it actually appears he’s a victim of circumstance. This time around, he is trying to do the right thing and genuinely appears plagued by forces beyond his control. He even makes a solid effort at staying away from Kate (Charlotte Ritchie), his new obsession (read: love interest). 

Due to the nature of the show, Joe gets a change of scenery each season. We first meet Joe as a bookshop owner in New York, he then moves to Los Angeles, in season three he tries finding married bliss in the suburbs of Madre Linda, and now Joe is in London mingling with the aristocracy.

It was an interesting choice, with the bonus of so-in-you-face-its-funny social commentary, yet the new group of characters comes across as more intriguing than annoying. While Love Quinn came from a wealthy family, it doesn’t come close to the level of rich and spoiled Joe encounters in this installment. Kate is a fiercely independent yet stoic gallery owner, unlike Joe’s other obsessions where he could sense their insecurities from afar, which gave him the in he needed.

READ: Will there be a You Season 5?

We also get to meet nasty rich people who think they’re above the peasants, like Gemma (Eve Austin), Roald (Ben Wiggins), and Nigerian Princess, Blessing (Ozioma Whenu), while on the other end of the spectrum, there’s the seemingly genuinely kind Lady Pheobe (played by Tilly Keeper) and the famed writer Rhys Montrose (Ed Speleers), whose rags to riches story impressed Joe and who becomes our hero’s only friend within the group. We also get a young person Joe feels compelled to protect in the form of his bright and overachieving student, Nadia (Amy-Leigh Hickman). It’s a well-rounded group of characters, and it’s really fun watching Joe interact with them. 

The episodes are fast-paced and packed with what can only be described as insanity. I didn’t have to wait too long for the killings to start, and none of the five installments could be described as fillers. Joe keeps saying he’s trying to lay low, but he gets very little breathing space before each twist and turns in the narrative. As we’ve already been accustomed to, each episode is heavy on Joe’s narration because, after all, we are watching the story unfold from his point of view. And while I’m usually not the biggest fan of voice-over narrations, with You it just works.  

Is You Season 4 Part 1 good?

Without giving too much away, You Season 4 Part 1 is a wild ride from the beginning to the end. Joe’s lack of self-awareness has always been a part of the show, but during these five episodes, we see the tables turned on him, and it’s quite amusing watching him cope with exactly what his previous victims had to endure.

On the other hand, Pen Badgley’s excellent portrayal makes it almost impossible for viewers not to root for the beloved psychopath. We’re in the middle of the fourth season, and I can’t imagine anyone else playing such a complex character. As long as you’re willing to suspend your disbelief and accept the show for what it is, you’re very likely to enjoy the insanity presented to you. 

What did you think of You Season 4 Part 1? Comment below.

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