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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FIU chapter.

By now, you’ve likely binged all four seasons of You. If you haven’t, you’re likely tired of everyone talking about it. The psychological thriller follows Joe Goldberg, a man with erotomania who uses his savior complex to prey upon a woman he becomes infatuated with. He becomes so obsessed with this woman that he’s willing to do anything for her—including killing those that are somehow connected to her. He kills someone in every season and every time, he tries to justify it in some way. And since we are in the serial killer’s mind when watching the show, viewers’ moral judgement may be skewed, leading us believe he is well-intentioned. Even though it’s clear early on the kind of person Joe Goldberg is, I believe season four was really key in defining his overall character.


At the end of season three, Joe Goldberg fakes his death and moves to Paris to find Marianne, ready to tell her that she truly is the one for him. Through a series of flashbacks early in season four, it’s revealed that he does find her, and while she—understandably—makes a run for it, Joe catches up to her as she tries to hide in a deserted building. As he tries to justify his actions (you know, like the time he killed her ex-husband), he realizes how afraid she is of him and shockingly, lets her go.

This scene surprised me due to Joe’s history of capturing and killing women when they see him for who he truly is. After setting Marianne free, he changes his name to Jonathan Moore and chooses to live a quiet life in London working as a literature professor. Even though Goldberg/Moore tries to escape trouble, he eventually starts associating with his colleague Malcolm and his circle of some the country’s wealthiest and most spoiled individuals (these people make Joe seem pleasant, so you do the math!). One day, Joe wakes up to find Malcolm stabbed stabbed on his table. After Joe does what he does best and disposes of the body, he starts getting anonymous texts that claim to be from the murderer.

What’s so interesting about this season is that we see a shift in power dynamics. From season one to season three, Joe always has the upper hand and is in control. We see the usual predator becoming the pawn of “Eat The Rich Killer.” It was odd and hypocritical of Joe to want to be self-righteous and seek the “Eat The Rich Killer” to prevent future murders. I was underwhelmed when Rhys Montrose, one of Joe’s friends, was revealed to be the murderer: I thought it would have been more interesting if it had been someone from Joe’s past seeking vengeance.


I don’t know if splitting up the season was intentional due to the plot twist at the end, but I thought it was a good choice. This part begins with rising tension between Joe and Rhys. As Joe tries to get a confession out of him, Rhys reports that he has Marianne in captivity. After he eventually tracks down his location and tortures him to death, another version of Rhys enters from the shadows, alive and well. I was confused but one of Joe’s students, Nadia, notices something odd about her professor and eventually finds Marianne in Joe’s cage. It’s then revealed that Joe was actually in a state of psychosis, and he was the one that captured Marianne, and he was the “Eat the Rich Killer.” Rhys was just a figment of his psychosis and he has never met him in real life.

As we transition to Marianne’s perspective, it shows how sinister Joe Goldberg truly is: from the kidnapping at the train station to being tied up to her being thrown into the cage. Seeing this unveil under the perspective of one of Joe’s victims illustrates how psychopathic he is, as we are finally not in his mind and cannot hear his excuses. As Joe breaks out of his psychosis and realizes what he has done, he finds a plan to leave town. He opens the cage to release Marianne and give her a drink with peanut oil, but she goes into anaphylactic shock, hallucinating and seeing Joe’s past lovers and victims. This scene is integral because it shows Marianne seeing his thought process during the killings—even if we know his reasons don’t justify his actions.

Joe never loved these women; once he sees them for who they truly are, realizing they don’t meet the fantasy he created in his head, they end up dead. Throughout the seasons, it has been proven that even though we have seen Joe Goldberg do these “grand gestures” for the women he is infatuated with, it still does not mean it should be romanticized. He is the type of person one should stay away from.

When Joe breaks out of his psychosis, he finds Marianne lying on the floor. He leaves her lying on a bench, and it is revealed that Nadia and Marianne have an elaborate plan to outsmart him into thinking that Marianne has died. I was relieved to find out that Marianne got a good ending and was able to reunite with her daughter. And since Nadia still wants Joe to be held accountable for his crimes, she goes to his apartment to gather evidence to finally put the serial killer behind bars. Joe finds out and in response, kills her boyfriend while he waited for her. When the police arrive, Joe frames Nadia, and the latter ends up in prison.

Throughout the season, Joe tries to push Rhys away and hold onto his heroic complex, but at the end, it is illustrated that he uses Rhys to his advantage and accepts himself for who he truly is: a sociopath that can get away with anything. Since the Netflix series has been renewed for a fifth and final season, I hope that Joe Goldberg will finally be held accountable for his actions.

Hello! My name is Christine Santiago; my pronouns are she, her, and hers. My major is Political Science/Pre-Law.