You Season 4 - Part 1 review: Is Joe Goldberg's London jolly the beginning of the end?

The psychopath is back, but he may have met his match

You Season 4 Part 1 (Netflix)
You Season 4 Part 1 (Netflix)

What do you do when you meet your match? That's what Joe Goldberg has to contend with, in more ways than one, with the launch of Netflix's You season 4.

The series is one that has long passed its natural expiry date and yet, as Penn Badgley puts on that tell-tale baseball cap once again, it seems to pick up steam more so than ever before.

You is a series that knows what it is: slightly ridiculous melodrama. Yet it holds enough genuinely intriguing mystery, murder and mayhem to keep you wanting more anyway and enough self-awareness to not take itself too seriously.

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After miraculously surviving a murder attempt, cutting off his toe, and faking his own death in the depths of the California suburbs in season three, Joe (Badgley) is back on a mission to find his "You" in Europe.

You. (L to R) Charlotte Ritchie as Kate, Penn Badgley as Joe in episode 405 of You. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022
Charlotte Richie and Penn Badgley in You season 4 (Netflix)

The object of his desires, artist Marienne (Tati Gabrielle), has relocated to France in order to study her craft with her daughter after being tipped off to Joe's potentially deadly personality by his now very dead Love (Victoria Pedretti).

So what is she going to say when he finally tracks her down? Especially as she thinks he's dead too.

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This is the mystery that immediately catches our eye when we pick up with our favourite obsessive serial killer... mainly because Joe's not in France at the beginning of season four. He's in London, working as a literary professor under the name Jonathan Moore.

With a new identity and new surroundings of the uber rich and entitled elite, "Jonathan" is looking for a new life free of the restraints of his past. He even seems to be getting through to his students, proving popular in Royal Holloway's halls.

 Penn Badgley, Tilly Keeper and Lukas Gage in You (Netflix)
Penn Badgley, Tilly Keeper and Lukas Gage in You (Netflix)

But then a dead body turns up on his kitchen table and all hell breaks loose.

Soon, he finds himself in the crosshairs of a mystery assailant known only as the "Eat The Rich Killer". A serial murderer with a keen interest in Jonathan/Joe, and the secrets he keeps.

Around him is a collection of young, dumb and self-assured multi-millionaires/trust fund babies who are all too willing to splurge mummy and daddy's money in the name of a good time.

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Among them is Kate (Charlotte Ritchie) who doesn't take too kindly to her new neighbour but who entices Joe, party princess Lady Phoebe (EastEnders' Tilly Keeper) who is as beautiful as she is apparently vapid, and her boyfriend Adam (Lukas Gage) who spends so much time projecting an image of an entrepreneur, he doesn't stop to think about the actual businesses he runs.

You. (L to R) Ozioma Whenu as Blessing, Ben Wiggins as Roald, Dario Coates as Connie, Lukas Gage as Adam, Tilly Keeper as Lady Phoebe, Charlotte Ritchie as Kate and Niccy Lin as Sophie Soo in episode 403 of You. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022
The 'elite' of You season 4 (Netflix)

Roald (Ben Wiggins) doesn't take too kindly to an outsider getting in the mix of his friendship group, especially if they don't have money; Gemma (Eve Austin) is so ridiculously rude you wonder why her friends haven't offed her themselves; plus there's Simon (Aidan Cheng) and sister Sophie (Niccy Lin), who seem to lack any likable qualities but whose money has bought them friends and status.

But hey, at least Joe has his fellow lecturer Jonathan (Stephen Hagan) and mayoral candidate with a hard-knocks background Rhys (Ed Speleers) to talk to on a somewhat intellectual level. Sometimes.

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The friendship group of the season contains so many cariactures of the stuck-up English snob you have to find it hard not to laugh. Only Keeper and Gage provide some level of depth, while others are little more than surface-level toffs for scenery dressing.

And yet, there is something so delightful at watching them handle a serial killer in their midst in the way a self-involved and self-indulgent club would. Sure, you want to scream through the screen at times at their sheer stupidity, but that's the joy of You – you have to roll with these idiotic moves in order to fully embrace the world you're in.

Penn Badgley as Joe Goldberg, Ed Speleers as Rhys in You season 4 (Netflix)
Penn Badgley as Joe Goldberg, Ed Speleers as Rhys in You season 4 (Netflix)

Badgley, as always, steals the show as the calm and collected Joe, whose cutting commentary to the audience evades those in the scenes but let's viewers into the fact he knows he's surrounding by grade A douchebags.

Ritchie is another highlight, as the no-nonsense Kate who is under no illusions of her privilege and in fact has grown to resent them. As she grows closer to Joe, will Kate be the You he's been looking for?

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One thing part one does well is give Joe the opportunity to grow. He's a man who has done some horrific and irredeemable things, and yet he's a character we root for anyway. It seems season four is offering him a path for some level of redemption... as long as he keeps his head low.

And being involved in a group that has a serial killer in it (well... one besides him) is not the ideal for Joe.

Netflix has opted to split season four into two – with part one only offering five episodes of a 10-episode season. The reason why is yet to be seen, considering its binge model seems tailor-made for a show like You.

Tati Gabrielle as Marienne in You season 4 (Netflix)
Tati Gabrielle as Marienne in You season 4 (Netflix)

But then there's something great about the cliffhanger it leaves us on, and a direction for viewers to chew on while we wait a month for part two that's exciting. The internet will be set alight with fan theories, we're sure.

It does also suggest a beginning of the end for the story. You should've ended after season one as intended, but it's sheer popularity has kept this ship afloat. While Netflix haven't announced an end yet, it seems they at least have one in sight by the end of season four part one.

You does not intend or try to reinvent the wheel. It's sexy when it shouldn't be, hilarious in the face of dark subject matter, and overall just fun.

If you're looking for some deep and dark twisted story with a load of jump scares and surprises, then perhaps this isn't for you. But if you're up for the ride, you'll have a great time.

You season 4 part 1 is streaming on Netflix now, and part 2 drops on 9 March.