YOU: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON
Starring: Penn Badgley, Tati Gabrielle, Lukas Gage, Charlotte Ritchie, Tilly Keeper, Amy-Leigh Hickman, Ed Speleers, Brad Alexander, Niccy Lin, Aidan Cheng, Stephen Hagan, Ben Wiggins, Eve Austin, Ozioma Whenu, Dario Coates, Sean Pertwee, Alison Pargeter, and Adam James
Creators: Sera Gamble and Greg Berlanti
After a relatively subpar Season Three, You has returned to flip the script, making stalker Joe (Penn Badgley) the stalkee in a binge-worthy whodunnit. In making that switch, You plays with genre tropes while also delivering a commentary on today’s trendiest topic: toxic wealth. Admittedly, satirizing the rich is becoming played out, but it works here because it isn’t the story’s primary focus. Mostly, this is a story about Joe and whether he can be redeemed, but when those two angles are joined together, they create a terrific Part One that is Knives Out meets Dexter. I can’t wait for Part Two to drop next month.
After the strong and refreshing redirect that was Part One, Part Two fumbles away the season before it can reach the goal line. There is a late twist that is admittedly unexpected, but it’s so clumsily and confusingly executed that it ruins the momentum of the final three episodes. All the interest, intrigue, and tension dissipate because of this shark-jumping moment. That said, the season ends on a note that makes for an interesting direction in Season Five, but only time will tell if they can capitalize on it or if the show has run its course.
Oh, how the tables have turned on Joe (Penn Badgley), who is now getting a taste of his own medicine in the first part of Season Four, which is an Agatha Christie-style whodunnit with a dash of social satire. It’s a different approach than what we’re traditionally used to with this series, but it’s actually quite clever and bloody fun. So far, it’s got me contemplating if creepy Joe can actually be redeemed, but we’ll have to wait for Part Two to find out. Either way, in the end, it’s always been about you, Penn Badgley, and you deliver a killer performance once again.
This season of You feels tonally different from the others. The first half of the series is structured like a whodunnit, and it was a promising bloody start that I quite enjoyed. However, the second half takes a totally different approach, prattling on to add more nuance but ultimately fumbling the ball. The last few episodes just feel rushed because they are tying up loose ends in a lazily sloppy way, and while the end of the season positions Season Five to go to an intriguing place, I wonder if it's the overall right decision to take the story in that direction.