Television Review: Second half of new season of ‘You’ redeems itself

Taylor Moore
LV Life Editor

The second half of season four of Netflix’s hit series “You” was released on March 9. While the first half did not live up to my personal expectations, the second half went above and beyond for one simple reason; it finally showed us who the real monster of the show was. 

The series follows a stalker named Joe Goldberg as the protagonist and picks up right where the first half left off. Goldberg must take down this season’s villain, Rhys Montrose, a British author and London mayoral candidate who grew up in poverty but rose to success after learning he was the son of a duke. Montrose is also revealed to be the “Eat the Rich” Killer from the first half of the fourth season, which could seem confusing considering he is now one of the aristocrats he is so set on wiping out, but there is a reason for the confusion. 

The Goldberg versus Montrose plotline lasts for two episodes. In the meantime, the series takes time to establish side characters’ storylines further- Kate, this season’s love interest, struggles to come to terms with her billionaire father, Tom Lockwood, as he continues to push her back toward the family business, Lady Phoebe Borehall-Blaxworth gets a stalker of her own and is traumatized from the ordeal, which leads to her broke fiancé Adam taking full advantage of her fragile state. 

While it is nice to see other characters get the limelight besides Goldberg for a brief time, I also appreciate the writers taking time to add more depth to them to make them more relatable than the snobby rich brats Goldberg is forced to be around. I appreciated the side storylines, especially since those first two episodes serving as fillers direct us to the second half’s intention. 

Goldberg is no longer the protagonist. 

The eighth episode establishes that as the series takes a dark turn, but welcomes the audience back with not-so-open arms to Goldberg’s true nature. Remember, Goldberg is obsessive, clever, albeit charming, but he is also a murderer at heart. Part one displayed all of his key traits except the one he is most known for, but part two remedies that. 

Goldberg’s obsession went a lot further than we realized when it came to Montrose. As this is a spoiler-free review, I will say that Montrose was not at all who we thought he was, and Goldberg is to blame for that. The real villain is Goldberg, who once again goes to extreme measures to avoid seeing himself as the villain he really is. We have seen him deflect his true nature countless times in previous seasons, but never in such a drastic manner as in season four. 

Only this season will not let Goldberg deflect anymore. In episodes eight to ten, it shows Goldberg from a different perspective- from someone kidnapped and suffering in the infamous cage.

 We knew the cage was coming, we have seen it every season, so the only surprise was the someone in the cage. Through this character, we see Goldberg as he really is- a twisted, delusional, and impossible-to-escape predator. 

As an audience, we have a habit of defending Goldberg’s actions in the past because we only saw his perspective since he was the protagonist. Through his inner monologue, he had almost convinced us that there was a reason he was obsessive to the point where he would kill for the person he loved and that he stalked them for their own protection. As a viewer, one could feel sorry for Goldberg’s tragic upbringing. 

But the writers want the audience to finally see the harsh reality. This “average Joe” is someone that must be feared, caught and punished. He is a horrible person, and his actions are inexcusable. 

This could reflect our society when it comes to serial killers. We can be so quick to want to find the “why” or “how” they could commit such crimes and use those as reasons to justify the killer’s motive and actions. In reality, there is no justification for a person who could stalk, kidnap and murder in such a heinous way, then go back to leading a normal life like nothing happened. 

As a society, violence is highly romanticized. The show “You” draws in millions of viewers because it combines what we as a society gravitate towards- violence and sex. At the end of the day, we are watching a show about a serial killer who gets away with all of his crimes at the end of every season. However, we watch it because the killer is played by a conventionally attractive and charismatic actor, like all other adaptations about murderers. 

There is a pattern that follows Goldberg, a pattern that leads to bodies piling up. For three seasons, Goldberg blamed everyone but the real culprit. 

It is not easy for Goldberg to accept. We see the character truly struggle with his past crimes in the tenth episode. As hard as it is watching a character reach such a low point, it is also refreshing to know that Goldberg can experience regret for  all the pain he has caused. Not the kind that lets him believe he is the hero that can fix everything, but the kind that forces him to take a long, hard look in the mirror. 

The writers want the audience to see Goldberg as he truly is and leave no room for his defense. However, we are also left in a place where Goldberg now has access to infinite resources, either to remake himself as a person for the better or have more means to get away with more crime. I think we know which one he will favor. 

It will be interesting to see how the show’s writers work with this new development in future seasons, perhaps Goldberg will finally get what is coming to him. 

Taylor Moore can be reached at taylor.moore@laverne.edu

Taylor Moore is a senior broadcast journalism major and Campus Times editor-in-chief for Spring 2024. In her sixth semester on Campus Times, she has served as the LV Life editor and social media editor twice, as well as a staff writer. She’s also worked on the University’s television news broadcast Foothill Community News as an anchor and reporter, and was a on-air personality for the University’s radio station 107.9 LeoFM.

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