SPOILER ALERT: This story accommodates spoilers from Season 4 of “You,” now streaming on Netflix.
“You” can go dwelling once more: On the conclusion of Season 4 of the Netflix thriller, Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) is again in New York Metropolis, alongside his billionaire girlfriend Kate (Charlotte Ritchie) — sitting on high of the world.
He practically died by suicide earlier within the episode, in some warped try at redemption. However by the finale’s ending, Joe, who’s has killed his means by means of London (in his pretend id of Professor Jonathan Moore), has emerged exultant. He’s fused together with his murderous aspect, and seemingly happier than he’s ever been on “You.”
“I assumed it was the one means it might go,” mentioned Badgley throughout an interview for the Feb. 15 cowl of Selection about the place Joe finally ends up. “I assumed it was good.”
Sera Gamble — the “You” showrunner, who created the sequence with Greg Berlanti (based mostly on a guide by Caroline Kepnes) — instructed Selection that any justice coming for Joe Goldberg must wait. “Sadly, whereas all of us might want to see this man punished, what really tends to occur with males like that is that they don’t essentially — karma doesn’t show itself clearly, so far as I can see,” she mentioned of how the writers noticed the ending of Season 4. “We have been joking about it as his triumphant homecoming, the place he finally would have the ability to come again and reclaim his title — reclaim his title, reclaim his household, that means, his son that he left behind. And likewise have the ability to transfer by means of the circles in New York that he might barely even observe from afar earlier, as a result of he was fairly poor once we met him.”
Sure, Joe has emerged not solely unscathed after reaching his lowest level, however victorious. Having set about attempting to begin a brand new life as Jonathan in Season 4, as a professor at a London college, he quickly came upon that there was a serial killer in his midst. By the top of Episode 5 of “You,” the place Netflix divided the season in two, Joe thought that the killer was Rhys Montrose (Ed Speleers), an excellent author and upstart politician. Rhys, in Joe’s completely unreliable model of occasions, was setting him up because the Eat the Wealthy killer who was murdering members of the higher class social set that Joe had infiltrated.
However Joe, in fact, is the serial killer. How might or not it’s in any other case? He’s the issue; it’s him. Within the present’s seventh episode twist, we be taught that Joe barely even is aware of the true Rhys, and he’s imagined him as his enemy: Joe’s “you,” the particular person he addresses his narrative to within the template of the sequence, is, in truth, himself. (He discovers this reality after he murders a very harmless Rhys.)
4 seasons into “You,” Joe’s “you” is him. “I feel it’s the one means it might go,” Badgley mentioned.
Gamble mentioned the writers have been constructing as much as Joe’s character splitting. “Joe goes crazier each season. And should you should you hint again, he’s at all times been delusional in his ideas,” she mentioned. He’s hallucinated earlier than, she identified, when “he noticed one other model of himself” in Season 3.
“We’ve been quietly constructing to the twist within the second half of the season for the reason that starting of Season 1 — we’ve at all times had this in our pocket as one thing we needed to do: simply make him go full loopy,” Gamble mentioned.
Badgley was thrilled, although, that he wasn’t taking part in his darker half. Appearing in opposition to Speleers as Joe’s split-off Mr. Hyde meant “we get to see the enjoyable of it not actually being me taking part in me,” he mentioned.
For Badgley, after three and a half seasons of delivering most of his traces in Joe’s voiceover, which he data in a sales space alone, having a scene accomplice like Speleers’ Rhys was utterly novel. “Nobody experiences how little Joe speaks as a lot as I do,” he mentioned. “Nobody is conscious, really, of how little he speaks aside from me — as a result of I’ve to go and by no means communicate!”
“It’s true,” Gamble mentioned. “There are a lot of days when he reveals up and he has no precise dialogue. Someone is studying the voiceover, and Penn is shifting his eyeline.”
Over a breakfast interview in Brooklyn, Badgley was amused when he remembered a dialog he’d with Ritchie at a celebration for the present, when she requested him how his day on set had gone. He replied, “‘Oh, it was good, as a result of I lastly received to shoot a standard scene,’” Badgley recalled. “I spotted that scene was waking up and deciding I needed to kill myself, and communicate to my split-personality determine within the kitchen. After I mentioned that, I laughed like, ‘Oh, that’s a standard scene.’”
By the finale, Joe has realized what he’s achieved — that’s, he’s killed a bunch of individuals, kidnapped his Season 3 love Marienne (Tati Gabrielle) and put her in a cage within the basement of a condemned constructing. He decides he wants to finish his life. However actually, he desires to kill Rhys, whom he feels tormented by.
“Sure, Joe is suicidal; technically what he’s doing is attempting to kill Rhys,” Badgley mentioned. “What he’s attempting to do is to kill a killer.”
Within the logic of “You,” and within the twisted thoughts of Joe Goldberg, this rationale is smart to him. “He’s arising with a logical answer to save lots of individuals,” Badgley mentioned. “That is the factor: He nonetheless really desires to save lots of these individuals!”
As Joe stands on a bridge over the Thames speaking to Rhys, he seems to have confronted the fact that all the things Joe does, it doesn’t matter what his intentions, results in dying. “Each time, I attempt: I make it excellent, it’s by no means sufficient,” Joe says in anguish, earlier than he pushes “Rhys” off, after which jumps himself. (He survives, in fact, and wakes up in a hospital with Kate at his bedside.)
“I feel it does sort of really feel like a redemption arc to the viewer,” Badgley mentioned.
Badgley directed the present’s ninth episode, which neatly units up the occasions of the finale: Joe desires to free Marienne however doesn’t know the way, his scholar Nadia (Amy-Leigh Hickman) has found Marienne within the basement, and is onto him — and Joe is actually sick of Rhys badgering him. By the finale’s conclusion, Joe has framed — and killed, in fact — Nadia’s pal Edward (Brad Alexander), setting him as much as take the autumn for the Eat the Wealthy killer. He’s additionally framed Nadia for Eddie’s dying. Joe calmly explains to her that this manner, she will get to outlive, although she’ll go to jail, and within the present’s remaining moments, Joe says in voiceover that Nadia didn’t communicate in her personal protection at her trial.
Will Nadia come get Joe’s ass in a presumed fifth and remaining season of “You”? “She’s nice,” Badgley mentioned, whereas additionally claiming he doesn’t know what would possibly occur. “She’s essentially the most believable.”
“You” is a darkish satire, and a layered character examine a couple of promising younger man so broken by childhood abuse and neglect that his conscience has turn into utterly gnarled. Which makes it fertile floor, apparently, for not only one, however two Taylor Swift references within the remaining two episodes — one among which is an Easter egg.
Within the episode Badgley directed, when Joe has discovered that his Rhys aspect kidnapped Marienne — reasonably than let her return to Paris, as Joe thought he had — and he figures out the place he’s stashed her, he can’t get the code to work on the cage. “One, two, one, three, eight, 9” he intones a number of occasions, changing into frantic. The importance of these explicit numbers? “The code to the cage is Taylor Swift’s birthday,” Badgley mentioned with amusing.
However Joe isn’t a Swiftie, it doesn’t matter what the cage’s code is — and it doesn’t matter what Netflix’s Twitter account claims.
“I feel, sadly, he would despise her,” Badgley mentioned. “As a result of she’s profitable and blond, possibly? I don’t know, however I feel he would.”
“You’s” second Taylor Swift second is onscreen and apparent within the finale. After Joe has resolved issues in London, and seemingly confessed all to Kate, “Anti-Hero” performs over the wrap-up montage about what occurs to the characters — which then leads us to Joe’s return to New York Metropolis, the place his previous misdeeds (aka many murders) have been cleaned and erased, as funded by Kate.
“Anti-Hero,” in fact, is critical in Badgley’s world because the track that he used for his first TikTok, wherein he performs two variations of himself. (Maybe a nod to Joe’s cut up character in Season 4.) Badgley filmed that TikTok — which went viral, and was endorsed by Swift herself with an “OMG!!!!🤩” within the feedback — in late October, the week her album “Midnights” got here out.
Did he suppose they used the track, with its Joe-appropriate title, due to his video? Badgley wasn’t positive, he mentioned, however he thought so: “I’m virtually sure that they did it due to that,” he mentioned. “It’s an ideal nod.”
Gamble confirmed Badgley’s guess. “It occurred to me whereas I used to be watching the music video that we must always attempt ‘Anti-Hero’ for the large montage,” she mentioned. “In fact, I additionally instantly remembered Penn’s first TikTok — arduous to withstand the little meta wink, and admittedly the truth that Taylor had commented on the TikTok made me hopeful that we had a shot at licensing the track although it was model new.”
Netflix hasn’t but renewed “You” for a fifth season, however the present has continued to do nicely for the streamer. Its publicly out there statistics for its worldwide Top 10 lists present that the primary half of Season 4 reached the Prime 10s in 90 international locations, and it was in Netflix’s World Prime 10 for 3 weeks. Upon its March 9 launch, the second half of “You” Season 4 instantly shot to No. 1 in the US.
The fourth season of “You” — with its preliminary whodunnit framework — was totally different in tone from the earlier three seasons. However Badgley mentioned he feels good about the way it ends. “They at all times handle to stay the touchdown,” he mentioned. “The triple axel of each season finale could be very arduous.”
And Gamble is hopeful about bringing Joe Goldberg’s story to completion in a homecoming. “We might like to do the return to New York,” she mentioned.