Review by Camden Ferrell
When You premiered on Lifetime in 2018, I don’t think anyone expected it to become the hit phenomenon it is today. Since then, we’ve followed Joe Goldberg on his deadly and obsessive path to find love, and it has riveted audiences with its endless twists. Season 4 of You is its weakest yet by a slim margin, but that doesn’t mean its not full of blood, steamy passion, and genuinely shocking moments.
Joe is no longer in Madre Linda. That life has been left behind, and he is now in Europe with a new name and new occupation. However, a new start doesn’t mean a relaxing life. He quickly finds himself involved with a group of obscenely wealthy socialites in London, but things take a deadly and mysterious turn very quickly. Following Joe has been a crazy journey thus far, but the show has to evolve to avoid becoming repetitive, so this premise is a decent change of pace for the series.
The biggest concern coming into this season is if the show would suffer due to one specific character not being with us anymore. This particular character, who I’m not naming to avoid spoilers to potential new viewers, was the highlight of the past two seasons, but this new season doesn’t suffer greatly in their absence. While it is hard saying goodbye to that character, their omission opened the door to a lot of interesting possibilities that the season explores occasionally.
Penn Badgley delivers another beguiling and sinister turn as Joe Goldberg. He’s as good as ever in this season, and he hasn’t lost any of his charm or calamity, and he definitely shines even where this season falls short. The new cast is decent for better or worse. I wasn’t sold on Charlotte Ritchie at first, but she definitely grew on me a lot by the end of the season. Lukas Gage also has a sizeable role that is hit or miss but has a chaotic energy that meshes well with the show’s style.
The main pitfall of this season is that it takes a gamble on a new type of story, and it works but not nearly as well as the past few seasons. More concerned with mystery than thrills and romance, this new season shakes things up for better or worse. It may not have viewers on the edge of their seats, and it might not satisfy their appetites for carnal passion, but it still is quite enjoyable and hard to turn off. The show has never been prestige television, but among all the changes, they still remember that entertaining their viewer comes first.
Even though the show is still quite bingeable (even more so than some television shows that I actually like better), it can feel a little slow at times. All episodes clock in under an hour, but it feels like the show wastes time occasionally. The pacing could be better throughout the season, and it feels like its climax is definitely rushed in some regards, but it manages to compensate for that with some excitement that made this guilty pleasure show so popular in the first place.
Dividing the season into two parts works really well, and the one month break will leave viewers with questions for sure. And even for viewers with the skills of an accomplished sleuth, the second half of the season has plenty of tricks up its sleeve that you will not see coming. Like most shows, there are a handful of moments that could have been executed better or changed for better effect, but this is the season we have, and it’s still far from unenjoyable.
You season 4 is different for better or worse. Despite being its weakest season, you never really long for previous seasons, because these new episodes still have a lot to enjoy throughout. The cast may not live up to the high bar set by previous characters, but Badgley looks as good as ever as he tries to navigate his new life in as bloodless a way as possible. Even though I’m against binging television, I found these 10 episodes to go down pretty smoothly.
The first 5 episodes of You season 4 are on Netflix February 9 with the final 5 episodes coming out on March 9. All 10 episodes are reviewed.