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How Netflix’s You Needs To Change For Season 4, According To Penn Badgley

Joe Goldberg in You Season 3. Screenshot.
(Image credit: Netflix)

Spoiler alert! This story contains major spoilers for Season 3 of the Netflix drama You. Proceed with caution if you haven’t finished streaming the latest season.

The murderous drama You returned to Netflix for Season 3, with serial killer Joe back to his old tricks of stalking, manipulating, gas-lighting and killing. This season, however, he wasn’t alone. Joe’s journey with new — and equally kill-happy — wife Love in Season 3 forced the character to confront his demons, address his issues and focus on his family, for better or for worse, in a way that actor Penn Badgley thinks should change his character going forward.

Netflix announced the renewal of You for Season 4 just as the third season dropped on the streaming service. So while binge-watchers still saw Joe walk away in the end after killing and framing Love in similar fashion to Guinevere Beck in Season 1, Love was entangled with Joe so deeply, knowing his secrets and understanding his motives like no one else ever had. Penn Badgley acknowledged the effect Love’s death would have had on Joe, and he told EW that in future seasons of You, that change is going to have to be addressed.

To me, it marks a really significant close to the chapters we've known of Joe. I do think that there's got to be some really significant, fundamental shifts in the way the whole device of Joe is going to keep working. Because now we've seen him go through so, so much. In terms of the show and its tone, maybe there's a pre-Love and post-Love, because I don't know how much can be repeated.

Can we all agree "The Whole Device of Joe" should be the name of a You tribute band? But I digress.

Unlike many of the series’ murders, Love’s demise — set to the somber tune of Taylor Swift’s “Exile” — felt like more than just another of Joe’s obsessions falling prey. Maybe it was the way Victoria Pedretti portrayed Love as Joe’s equal rather than his victim, but Season 3 made me forget that Love hadn’t been Joe’s partner in crime all along. Her death just hit different.

So what might we expect from Joe Goldberg — or “Nick,” perhaps, as Joe faked his death — when You returns for Season 4? If the creative team follows the same general mold of the previous seasons, Joe could try to track down Marienne, which he was doing in Paris at Season 3’s end. Regardless of if he finds her or not, history would suggest he’ll still end up finding a new woman to obsess over, 'til death do they part.

But the way that Season 3 addressed more of Joe’s past — his mother, a possible stepbrother, abandonment issues — may have been an indication of a turning point for Joe. Couples therapy with Love began the process of forcing him to recognize some of his patterns, and viewers saw a dramatic decrease in the amount of killing Joe was willing to do.

It’ll likely be a while before we get any specifics on Season 4, but in the meantime, you can revisit all three seasons of You on Netflix. You might also want to check out our list of best shows to binge watch on Netflix, as well as some upcoming Netflix TV premiere dates.

Heidi Venable

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.