You Season 4 Part 2 Ending Explained: How It Sets Up A Potential Season 5
It's time to take down Joe.
Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) has done some pretty terrible things over the course of the show’s first three seasons. He’s killed many people, locked others up, and has just been a menace to society. However, Joe takes things up to a new level of awfulness in You Season 4 Part 2. Little misunderstood Joe, the reluctant serial killer is no more. And the You Season 4 Part 2 ending shows that he’s just going to get worse from here on out.
You Season 4 Part 1 left us with many unanswered questions, but Part 2 answered many of them and worked toward a new journey. The main thing the You Season 4 Part 2 ending does is set Joe up for his next darker chapter. Netflix hasn’t renewed You yet. However, I believe that the team behind it uses the You Season 4 ending as a way to establish one big final battle for Joe and against him.
Let us discuss.
How Joe Embraces His Darkside And Disconnects From The Audience
Penn Badgley has always spoken out against people liking Joe, especially women. He sees the monster in Joe and deeply understands the flaws of his character. However, Joe has always appealed to the viewer because, despite his many horrific crimes, you understand the character a bit. He’s a monster but a likable and even relatable one. In a Hollywood Reporter interview, Penn Badgley spoke about why Joe appeals to so many people.
Some people are drawn to Joe because they see themselves in him. Most people want to love and to be loved. And many want to change and become a better version of themselves in whatever way fits their beliefs and values. You Season 4 Part 2 breaks the notion that Joe is -- well, just like the average Joe -- trying to be better. He's not.
I think You Season 4 basically confirms that Joe doesn’t really want to be good and a better version of himself. He just wants someone to accept his flaws and tell him that it’s alright to be terrible. He got that with Love (Victoria Pedretti) but it wasn’t good enough. He’s also getting that with Kate (Charlotte Ritchie) and it likely won’t be good enough. However, the difference between when Joe was with Love and when he’s with Kate is that the acceptance he needed was from himself.
That’s what the whole split personality thing is all about. Joe couldn’t accept his darkness but he does now. He still sees himself as a sort of anti-hero. Joe can’t be complete if he denies the biggest part of his identity. Joe has accepted himself but in doing so, he likely alienated the viewers.
You can only root for the villain so much before you realize that he’s the problem. He is not relatable and needs to be brought down.
The Importance Of Marienne’s Survival
Joe has killed, tortured, and hurt a lot of people, especially women. However, what he does to Marienne (Tati Gabrielle) may be one of the worst things that he’s ever done. For many reasons, but especially because he stole a mother from their child. One could argue that he does the same thing with Love and his own child, but we all know that Henry may be better off without his two murderous parents. The same cannot be said about Marienne’s daughter.
Additionally, seeing things from Marienne’s perspective shows the turmoil that Joe has inflicted on all his victims. Seeing Marienne starve and break shatters any misconceptions that Joe is a good guy. There is no nobility to his actions, especially not here. Marienne’s survival is another great You twist, but it also represents a voice for Joe’s victims. It represents, in a more meaningful sense, the survival of an abuse victim.
Marienne has become the sole survivor of Joe’s love interests — besides Kate of course. Though it's unclear what the future holds for this character, should the series continue, I believe this makes her one of the most powerful figures going forward.
Nadia’s Situation May Be Joe’s Biggest Mistake
In an interview with TV Guide, You showrunner Sera Gamble spoke about Joe viewing himself framing one of the new You characters Nadia (Amy Leigh-Hickman) as an act of kindness. Instead of killing her, he allows her to live and even get the chance to experience life and write.
Almost every season, Joe has acted as a mentor to someone younger, and he sees Nadia in the same way. He seems to think he’s doing the right thing for both of them by not killing her, so he doesn’t have that guilt or have to change how he sees himself. Throughout the series, Joe has left way too many survivors. Luckily for him, most of them have not fully dug up all his skeletons.
However, Nadia may be the smartest victim he has left alive. She may also be one of the ones he has wronged the most. He has not only killed someone she cared about, but he has stolen her life. Nadia also knows something that Joe doesn’t know: Marienne is alive. Nadia is capable of bringing down his new empire. She could and likely will come back to haunt him. We'll have to wait and see...
How The Ending Sets Up A Potential You Final Season
I believe that everything that has happened in You Season 4 is setting up a final chapter for You Season 5. In an Indiewire interview, Penn Badgley talked about wanting the potential next season to be the last. Badgley is under contract for six seasons. Additionally, Sera Gamble has said that it’s not firmly set as Season 5 being the last, but the way things unfold in Season 4 gives the show a great way to end things with Season 5.
In a Rotten Tomatoes interview, Sera Gamble points out that Joe is no longer anonymous and will now be in crowds with the uber-wealthy. Like Tom Lockwood (Greg Kinnear), they may look into his past. Additionally, in the same TV Guide interview, Gamble points out that we don’t know exactly what Joe tells Kate. She may only know some of his history. She sees herself in him and wants them to save each other. However, he still wears a mask around her. So what happens when she fully sees who he is? She could easily join the team to take down Joe. Kate also has the resources and power to do it.
Joe has returned to New York. He also now, once again, owns a bookshop — maybe even the same bookshop from Season 1. He also looks closer to how he looked at the start of the series. It feels like the show is going back to the beginning, but with a different kind of Joe, to orchestrate his demise. Joe has left so many victims alive over the course of four seasons. Nadia is one of them, and Marienne is kind of a secret weapon because he doesn’t know that she’s alive.
I think You will once again bring back the ghosts of Joe’s past, but this time in the form of those he left alive (including hopefully Ellie (Jenna Ortega). I believe Marienne and Nadia will reunite and set a plan in motion to take Joe down. It may involve bringing his other living victims together.
In a TV Insider interview, Tati Gabrielle talked about Joe being locked up, maybe in his own glass prison, as the ultimate punishment for him. I agree because if the show was going to let Joe die, they would have when he tried to drown himself. The true way to punish him is to inflict the same torture that he gave to his victims. The box is the solution.
Whatever way You decides to end Joe’s story, the You Season 4 Part 2 ending feels like it does a lot to lead us toward that direction in a potential Season 5. Joe has completely embraced his darkness, he has smart and capable victims who deserve justice still alive, and now he’s this rich terrible dude that you want to see fall. The material is there for a killer final season, plus we still have plenty of questions that need answers in You Season 5.
We’ll be waiting to see if You gets renewed or joins Netflix’s growing list of cancelled TV shows.
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Spent most of my life in various parts of Illinois, including attending college in Evanston. I have been a life long lover of pop culture, especially television, turned that passion into writing about all things entertainment related. When I'm not writing about pop culture, I can be found channeling Gordon Ramsay by kicking people out the kitchen.