Netflix’s “You”: Failed refresh

Sophie Borislow and Olivia Warren

Part one of “You,” season four, was released on Netflix on Feb. 9. The prior two seasons had amassed almost 925.2 million hours of views combined, and part two will be released next month. 

Fans of the show have long awaited its new release, as season three was released back in 2021. The last we knew, Joe Goldberg, played by Penn Badgley, had moved to London in search of Marianne following the supposed death of his ex-wife, Love. 

So much could have been done with this new season, but so far, it has felt like a cheesier version of “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.” Of course, it is refreshing to witness an entirely new setting, plot and group of characters. Under the name Jonathan Moore, Joe works as an American literature professor and forms a friendship with his sweet, yet strong-minded, student, Nadia.

Shivani Bondada

Joe finds himself associated with a group of rich elitists who have, for the most part, a very different view of reality than the common citizen. This group includes socialites, nepo-babies, a politician and a corrupt artist. It seems that only art gallery director, Kate, and emerging politician, Rhys, have a moral understanding of the disparity between the rich and everyone else. 

The show quickly plunges into an Agatha Christie-esque “whodunit,” with Joe now being the supposed ‘victim,’ as a stalker targets him. After two of his new acquaintances are found dead and all evidence points to Joe as the killer, theories arise as to who this so-called “eat-the-rich” murderer is. 

The unknown individual communicates with Joe via text, which takes away from the drama and suspense. The dark-academia London setting could have called for more antiquated forms of blackmail. This cat-and-mouse game positions Joe as the victim; although in previous seasons, many viewers may already root for Joe — our murderous and morally complicated protagonist — these episodes seem to give us no choice. 

It is no question that this group is absurdly rich and, therefore, out of touch with common folk. But, the show presents this group as snobs with no shame or subtlety. Characters such as Blessing and Gemma are grossly removed from reality; it seems almost too curated. 

There is no doubt that part one was entertaining, and there was no shortage of action. Badgley does a great job of looking disheveled running around London. “You” echoes a common theme of some Netflix original series being an entertaining watch but not a cinematic masterpiece of any sort. 

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