Although the second part of season 4 starts off slow, a shocking and unexpected twist midway does a great job at startling viewers into attention, but fails to keep the momentum going.
Last Updated: 05.35 PM, Mar 09, 2023
After Rhys reveals himself to be the ‘Eat the Rich’ killer, and Joe narrowly escapes becoming his next victim, the serial killer forces himself back into Joe’s life yet again. After announcing his bid to run for mayor, Rhys decides to use Joe to do his dirty work for him. Realising the magnitude of the hold Rhys has on him, Joe is faced with a few tough choices. Further complicating his life is his decision to stay away from Kate, despite the two sharing a mutual attraction to each other. Will Joe be able to realise his twisted fantasy of becoming a ‘good person’ or will he fall back to old patterns.
By now, seasoned viewers of You will have become well aware that no season is complete without a shocking twist or two. But as the seasons go by, the twists in the story seem to become progressively more dramatic, implausible and outrageous, which seems to have hit its zenith in season 4 part 2.
Viewers have come to expect the unexpected from Penn Badgley’s show, and while the second part of season four is definitely an improvement over the bland, safe and held back whodunnit route the first part took, the second part is much more messier than its predecessors, and not in a good way. The show stopped playing it safe, at the risk of becoming much more dramatic and outrageous, since season two when Joe met his match in Love. After Love’s exit, the writers seemed to have abandoned all attempts to try and bring any sort of novelty into the story in season four’s first part, bringing in Rhys as Joe’s very own stalker/serial killer and revamping the entire show as a whodunnit.
Now the second part changes routes yet again, and now Joe finds himself in a face off with Rhys, who the former delusionally believes is much worse than he ever was. Joe’s deranged rationalisations of his own humanity and righteousness still make for the best part of the show still, as he finds himself bent out of shape masking his instinct for self preservation as something he is forced to do for the greater good.
While Rhys took on the hues of a one dimensional villain in the first part, part 2 definitely sees him in much more of an intriguing role. Granted, his motivations still are as shallow as they were, his thrilling way of trying to best Joe, which he does, and being one step ahead of the protagonist in every way, makes for some of the more engaging bits of the new instalment. As far as characterisation is considered, Tom Lockwood, Kate’s estranged, ruthless billionaire father, is by far the best addition of season 4, and brilliantly essayed by Greg Kinnear.
While the way Rhys and Tom seem to walk circles around Joe is entertaining, it quickly becomes tiresome, until the halfway mark, when viewers are treated to one of the most shocking twists in the whole show, reminiscent of a classic tale in English literature.
But even despite the shocking twist, the writing fails to capitalise on it in a way that could have made the story’s progression much more riveting than it ended up being. Apart from the huge twist, another thing Part 2 did right was definitely Marianne’s re-introduction, and the fate of her character. But sadly, Joe did not get the same complexity and nuance in his story as Marianne did, and his tale ends up becoming more and more laughable as the episodes progress, which is not something you’d want in a psychological thriller.
As far as the rest of the characters are concerned Kate still remains one of the weakest links in the entire show, and her chemistry with Joe remains as dull as ever. In fact Phoebe and Adam seem to have a much more interesting, though still toxic, dynamic over the show’s lead couple. Nadia turning detective too seems to be too lazily done, and much of the show’s storytelling reeks of lazy and sensationalised writing.
You season 4 part 2 is an improvement over its predecessor, but still fails to make best use of the show’s massive potential. The shocking twist aside, much of the latest instalment’s writing comes across as ‘gimmicky’, with the writing being lazy and sensational, and losing a lot of the nuance the show started with. Penn Badgley’s impeccable performance still remains the saving grace of the show.