You season 4 part 2 on Netflix review: too ridiculous for its own good
Contains spoilers for You season four part one
When the first instalment of You season four dropped last month, I gave it a generous four stars and raved about how blissful it can be to hate-watch something, criticising it as you go.
But after watching You’s second instalment, I’m pulling on the handbrake and making a sharp u-turn (no pun intended). This show is no longer awfully good - it is just plain awful.
You season four part two picks up after the murderous, hopeless romantic Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) discovers exactly who has been stalking him: You’s take on a hot young Jeremy Corbyn, the working-class mayoral candidate Rhys Montrose (played by Downton alum Ed Speelers). Remember how he and Joe bonded over their traumatic childhoods? Turns out, Montrose is more twisted than Joe could ever hope to be.
You really leans into this dynamic over the course of the second half of the season. Joe spends much of his time on screen grappling with “the darkness within”, but this time the show takes it in such a literal direction that it becomes genuinely laughable.
It is certainly You’s most ambitious season yet, but the show is at its best when it’s following some overly sincere bookworm weirdo around a city as he obsesses over women and reluctantly kills people in the name of love. Instead of that, we get a huge plot twist in episode seven that drives the rest of the season – but also curses it – and some absolutely bonkers scriptwriting thrown in too.
All of the background characters established in part one take a back seat, except for Montrose and love interest Kate (played by Charlotte Ritchie), whose chemistry with Badgley is no more believable in the latter half of the season.
A little time is dedicated to Lady Phoebe (Tilly Keeper), but almost everyone is discarded, which is a shame as they prevented the first half of the season from becoming too Joe-centric and provided a very necessary breath of fresh air.
Needless to say, Badgley is front and centre in part two, and while he’s as convincing as ever, it also feels as though he is asleep at the wheel. He mainly appears opposite Kate, Montrose and - bet you didn’t see this coming - Greg Kinnear, who plays Tom Lockwood, Kate’s inexplicitly American and vastly wealthy father. Lockwood is supposed to be a threatening Rupert Murdoch type but the writing is just too bad and Kinnear is just too cuddly (seriously, who cast him?!) to pull it off.
There are a few saving graces. What little time Phoebe gets on screen is a welcome distraction; indeed, in some moments she actually has more chemistry with Badgley than Ritchie does. The glass box makes a reappearance, as do a few of Joe’s former flames – though not in the way you’d want them to.
And, finally, the series closes with some very on-the-nose soundtracking in the form of Taylor Swift’s Anti Hero, which provides a little bit of light relief after five solid hours of twists and turns so increasingly unbelievable they make Freaky Friday look like a documentary.
Joe Goldberg will return for a fifth season, and god knows where he’ll pop up this time. But if Netflix sees sense they’ll make sure this is his final outing, because You has officially become too ridiculous for its own good.
You Season 4, Part 2 is now out on Netflix