The finale of You season 4 unveils the series’ most shocking twist yet. Here is how Joe’s story ends (for now).
Well, that was certainly a ride. The second half of You Season 4 packed in more fiery twists than a hot yoga sesh. Perhaps I’m naive, but I didn’t see any of this coming. If you had “Joe becomes Succession-level rich and turns to the dark side” on your You bingo card, then congrats! For everyone else who might be scratching their heads a bit at what in the world they just watched, let’s all close our curtains, check our local basements for a book cage, and unpack this absolutely bonkers narrative rollercoaster.
How Great is Greg Kinnear?
It’s just always an absolute joy and pleasure to see the charismatic Greg Kinnear in anything, anywhere, all at once, so when he made his appearance as the mysterious and powerful Tom Lockwood in the back half of the season, I was excited to see what he might do. It was incredibly fun to watch Kinnear go toe-to-toe with Penn Badgley’s Joe and also flex his smarmy muscles as an emotionally abusive villian in Kate’s life. Joe often encounters characters who try to strip the autonomy of others in his orbit, and the juxtaposition between a cool and collected Tom and the violent and impulsive Joe makes for great TV.
What Happened with Rhys Montrose?
It’s to the show’s credit that I didn’t really guess that Rhys was actually Joe for the first half of the season, but I did have some questions. For example, why did Rhys say he had to intervene to save Joe when Joe had already disarmed Roald during his attempt at playing the most dangerous game in the woods of Hampshire House? Also, as I asked in my Part 1 “Ending Explained” piece: Why on earth would a man who plans to run for mayor of London go on a murderous spree? Now we have answers.
In a Tyler Durden-esque reveal, we find out that the Rhys Montrose we know has been Joe the entire time. (Cue exaggerated gasp here.) Sure, we saw the real Rhys once at Simon’s funeral, but that was it. Otherwise, everything we saw Rhys do, including all of the conversations he had with Joe, were all just in Joe’s head.
It turns out that Phoebe’s stalker wasn’t the only one with erotomania. Joe also has an obsession with Rhys. Because there’s “always a box,” Nadia is able to discover Joe’s secret stash hidden in his apartment. It includes an overly dog-eared and pored over copy of Rhys’s book. It’s truly chilling when Nadia cracks open the cover to show that Joe, believing that Rhys was sending him secret messages, blacked out all of the words on the title page except for “hi Joe.” However, Rhys didn’t even know who Joe was. That is, he didn’t know who Joe was until Joe killed him.
After burying the real Rhys, Joe fully realizes that he has a problem. He can’t shake the imaginary Rhys that he’s created in his fractured mind. Rhys serves to personify the more nihilistic voice inside Joe’s head, the impulsive and violent voice that Joe could never really bring himself to reckon with. Joe has always thought of himself as a good man, and he never truly wants to dwell on the past, choosing instead to bury himself in books and stumble into relationships with ultra-wealthy friend groups. (This is the exact plot of seasons 1 – 4, don’t fight me.) But Joe’s suppressed emotions were always there, just waiting to bubble up into something even more sinister and pathological than his already-problematic lifestyle.
In an attempt to end the cycle of death, Joe attempts to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge. But, in the end, the show seems to suggest that the fall only killed the “good” portion of Joe, leaving the violent impulses behind. In a creeptastic conclusion, we see Joe wander away to admire his reflection during an interview alongside the newly untouchable Kate — and, instead of Joe’s face, we see Rhys is in the glass, smiling back.
Is Marianne Alive or Dead?
She’s dead, she’s not dead. I flip flopped a billion times, y’all. My various notes on Marianne’s fate read: “Marianne killed herself? Nah.” “Marianne did kill herself. Oof.” “Ooo Marianne isn’t dead! All hail beta blockers!”
Midway through Part 2, we find out that Joe’s alternate personality was very busy imprisoning the poor, innocent Marianne and trapping her in Joe’s trademark glass cage of deathly emotion in the bowels of an abandoned building. Other questions here include: how on earth did Joe afford that cage on a teacher’s salary? How did no one notice him setting it up? Surely someone would have seen him as he built an entire room built out of reinforced plexiglass? Oh, wait, maybe he was just wearing the baseball cap that makes him invisible. That must be it.
Thanks to some quick thinking by both Nadia and Marianne, Marienne is alive and well at the conclusion of You Season 4. Nadia didn’t show up in time for the two women to attempt to murder Joe — and, honestly, this was probably a bad plan anyway — so Marianne took some beta blockers that Nadia had brought her earlier. The beta blockers slowed down her heart enough so that Joe thought she was dead, and dropped her in a park so her body could be found. The last we see of her, she’s returned to her life in Paris with her daughter Juliette, but she still has a wary eye on Joe Goldberg.
Is Love Alive or Dead?
Dead. Sorry, folks. Even though fans were hopeful that the indomitable Love Quinn might rise from the ashes and exact vengeance on Joe, she did not.
However, we did get a very fun exchange with a ghost version of Love as she chastises Joe and tells him that someone needs to die in order for the madness to end. While Love wasn’t completely innocent herself, she also appears in a sequence with Beck, who has been relentlessly haunting Joe since he killed her at the end of Season 1. Here’s hoping that Love will continue to pop up throughout the remainder of You, however long that might be.
Is Nadia / Phoebe / Kate Alive or Dead?
The fact that we have to worry about the fate of SO MANY women in this show is very telling. However, I am pleased to report that all of these women make it out of the season alive. Phoebe is freed when Tom Lockwood sends his goons to kill her selfish playboy husband Adam, and then she finds her bliss by becoming a teacher in a third world country. I’m truly happy for her.
Nadia, on the other hand, is alive but not well. In the last few beats of the season, we see the now purely evil version of Joe frame Nadia’s boyfriend for all the killings and then frame Nadia for the murder of her boyfriend. Yikes. Nadia is too savvy to tell anyone about what she knows, so her status at the end of the season is pretty bleak. Wrongly incarcerated, Nadia knows the truth, but there’s no way for her to tell it. Perhaps Marienne will come to her aid in future seasons?
Last but not least, Kate is also alive. But for how long? After her father died (ahem, was killed by Joe), she inherited his thriving company and his dazzling fortune. She has chosen to keep Joe by her side and has even paid good money to bring him back from the dead. At the conclusion of the season, we see Kate and Joe give an interview about Joe’s “escape” from Madre Linda. It’s full of more spin than a washing machine. (Side note: Obviously I don’t want Joe Goldberg to regain custody of his young son, but now that everyone presumably believes that he was just a good man caught up in some bad shizz, why isn’t anyone questioning why he’s not going back for Henry? Will he go back?)
Thanks to Kate, Joe now has access to nearly unlimited money and power. And, oh yeah, he’s gone to the dark side. So while Kate is alive at the end of Season 4, she might not have very long to live.
Will There Be a You Season 5?
Joe is full-on evil now. He’s actually kind of terrifying. If we once cheered for him at all, there’s none of that anymore. The only reason to root for his escape is to root for more You.
Given that You is incredibly popular on Netflix, and that Season 4 leaves us on such a bonkers cliffhanger, it seems like a no-brainer for the streaming service to pick up a fifth season. Creator Sera Gamble has hinted that she and co-creator Greg Berlanti know where they want Joe to end up at the conclusion of the series, and it stands to reason that Netflix will give them the runway to get there. But will there be a reckoning? There are several people out there who know what he’s truly capable of — Ellie from Season 2, Sherry and Cary from Season 3, and now Nadia and Marianne — and they might just come back to haunt him. Perhaps Season 5 will finally see Joe face the justice he so deserves.
All 10 episodes of You season 4 are available to stream on Netflix now.
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