You season 4 has come back for redemption

Photo by: Brenden Cowan


The second and final part of Netflix’s You season four has come out and has given my poor review of part one a run for its money. While my review of the first half of the season – released in early February – was highly critical of the new season’s plot and seeming riding-out of past show fame, the second half has challenged this perspective.

Don’t get me wrong, the first half of the season was still lacklustre, but the second half has made re-visiting my review worthwhile. This part of the season continues on the path of the high academia esthetic, with Joe’s relationship with his neighbour-turned-lover Kate Galvin intensifying and certain secrets about Kate’s past coming to life. In the first half of the season, Joe believes that socialite politician Rhys Montrose is running around the city killing people and pinning it on Joe, but it later turns out that it is actually Joe – living in his own delusional world – who is doing the murdering. 

Certain loose ends from the first half are also remedied, like the elusive following of Joe’s past love Marienne, where it turns out that he didn’t actually let her live her life, but rather abducted her like he did in all of the other seasons. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a season of You without Joe inevitably escaping responsibility for his crimes. 

The first point of criticism I had with the initial part of the season was that the producers used over-the-top gore and other tactics like sex scenes to keep viewers interested and distracted from the shortcomings in the plot. This seems to simmer down in this part of the season, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that it becomes boring. Instead, there is enough intrigue and uniqueness in this half so the over-reliance on shock factor wasn’t needed. 

Another point of criticism that I had was with the characters being boring and unrelatable. This half of the season does a great job at dealing with this. I had mentioned in my last review that the one saving character – Kate Galvin – had been disappointing in that her struggles were shallow and unrelatable to a general audience. This remains true, but is no longer frustrating as Kate becomes a hateable character and the producers leaned into this hate-ability. Instead of Kate being the one saving (and failing) character, the plot turns to student Nadia Farran who swoops in to act as a perfect protagonist. Nadia is funny, intelligent, relatable and “normal” in comparison to the other characters. She ultimately comes in to save the day and puts pressure on Joe like never before. 

On my prior note about sensationalizing violence against women, the second part of the season fails to accomplish anything different. My previous critique was that the media tends to sensationalize violence – like stalking, abuse and murder – within popular TV shows and movies, with You being another example. This part of the season, female characters like Nadia challenge the male antagonist, but ultimately, Joe ends up continuing to perpetuate violence against women, and it still isn’t a good form of entertainment. 

While the over-reliance on shocking scenes and poor character development are ultimately reversed in the second half of the season, the baseline of my prior critique remains: You should have been cancelled last season, especially in the context of the over-highlighting of violence against women in mainstream media. 

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