It has been more than three years since I reviewed the second season of You. A show that has become both a pop culture main stay and a huge hit for NETFLIX. Such a big hit, NETFLIX decided to split the fourth season into two parts in the hope of creating a longer buzz for its show.
A discussion is needed to be had on why splitting a season into two parts simply does not work, as by the time the second part is released all the momentum for the show seems to have been deflated. I almost did not press play on the second part.
Even though I reviewed the second season of You, I did not review the third. And that is because (as I have stated many times in other posts) I do not like to recycle the same content over and over again. And the third season for better or for worse was an exact repeat of the two seasons that preceded it.
The fourth season however, is fascinating. Anyone that has seen a season of You, knows how it is going to go. Joe finds the love of his life – his “you”, he stalks her, he kills for her, he convinces her he is such a great guy and then it all comes crashing down, and she is either just like him or mortified at the idea of what he is.
By the end of the third season, I feared that was what the fourth season would be. He would follow Marienne to Paris and it would all happen again. But, the show doesn’t do that, it does something much smarter, and something the creators should be applauded for. It makes Joe the “you” of the season, and it does so in a smart, intelligent way that still allows the same format of the show, but rejuvenates it so it is fresh.
As whilst Joe has still found his “you”, he can’t be with her until he clears up a mess he’s found himself in, a genuine mystery that is engaging and has more weight than just doing it for love. He finds himself in a new city, with new friends and in new circumstances as he’s in a high-society circle, and he finds himself being stalked.
All of these decisions are brilliant by the creators, as the fourth season manages to maintain what the fans love about the show but also rejuvenates and gives it a new lease of life. Introducing a blackmail/stalking aspect that delivers the mystery and is a nuisance Joe must clear before he can restart his restart. The season then manages to fold in these two different plot points – the blackmail and the love interest by delivering a big twist.
The first part of the season is very fresh and revitalizes the show, the second part inevitably has to go back to what it knows. Whether audiences will like the twist or not I am not sure, I for one have come to appreciate it, as the creators understood that Joe is the reason You is so successful, and having Joe be the “you” represented as Rhys Montrose is a masterstroke. As it removes the most obvious part of the past three seasons, the love interest, making that it’s own plot point.
By having Joe confront himself aided by Rhys, he can’t hide from who he is and how he deals with the injustice and cruelty of the world, and it allows the audience to see Joe grow as a character, not by him just saying it at the start of the season.
And, yes of course the show isn’t a masterpiece, it is still board lines in soap terrority, and its almost impossible to understand how Joe always manages to find these love interests, but, just like the last three seasons it keeps you hooked in.
Whilst season four did impress me, that was mainly because I wasn’t expecting it to. If this was the final season, my outlook on this season would be even more positive, because although I have praised the creators for the changes, the inevitable next season of the show looks to go back to how the second and the third season went.