Hello … you.
Welcome to another season of Netflix’s You.
When we left Joe Goldberg at the end of season 3, he had faked his own death alongside the death of his wife and the mother of his child, Love Goldberg-Quinn, after life in the suburbs did not work out for the love-sick serial killer. With his son Henry safely in the arms of his ex-library coworker Dante and his partner, Joe opts to pursue his latest love interest — Marienne.
It’s time for Joe to take a holiday across the pond.
This article contains spoilers for You season 4, episode 1 “Joe Takes a Holiday.”
We open with Joe recapping his extremely poor dating history. The very brief summary of events leads us to Paris, where we receive a brief glimpse of Joe — who has tracked Marienne and intends to convince her that he is worthy of her love.
We quickly cut to his new life in London, where he has taken on the identity of Jonathan Moore (sporting a new beard) and stepped into a new career as a literature professor. While Joe struggles to understand the lingo of his young, British students, they all seem to enjoy their charming professor, particularly Nadia.
Someone tell Nadia to stay away from that man. The beard and posh outfits might look enticing, but you want nothing to do with that. Nadia brings the book Good Man in a Cruel World by Rhys Montrose — another character yet to be introduced for the season — to his attention. Speaking about Rhys, she informs Joe that the population wishes for Rhys to run for Mayor of London. She hands him the copy of the book for him to read.
Ultimately, Joe is enjoying his time in London and his newfound career — regardless of the “douchebags” that he finds himself around, including fellow professor Malcolm. Malcolm wants to be friends with Joe, even helping him find an apartment in the city — but Joe has no interest in friendships.
“No love. No people. Just books.”
This is Joe’s new mantra for his life, which he immediately fails at by consistently peering out of his window across the way to Malcolm’s — keen on spying on Malcolm and his woman partner, Kate. Kate has very little online presence, which of course makes Joe curious. Though he insists he doesn’t want to get to know either of the couple, he can’t help himself from watching — particularly when Kate pleasures herself in front of the window (the ladies in the You-niverse really need to stop masturbating in front of windows).
Joe reveals that he spent a lot of time — weeks and months — traveling all over France to track down Marienne, searching at artist pop-ups until he finally recognized a painting for sale as one of hers. Using his usual charm, Joe secures Marienne’s email and is also informed that she is currently in London for an art fair.
Joe saves Kate from a mugging in the apartment parking lot, though he knows he shouldn’t get involved. When Kate starts to call the police to report the crime, Joe asks if she can leave him out of the report under the guise that his work visa is shaky. Joe resigns himself to stay away from both Kate and Malcolm — just as Malcolm knocks on his door to thank him for coming to Kate’s aid. Malcolm, after ranting about how rich people like him and his family built the country and get no thanks for it — insists that his pal “Jon Boy” join him for drinks.
Enter our full cast of new players. Adam Pratt’s Sundry House — reserved for the fortunate and privileged — is where Joe finds himself for the night. Of course, Joe did research on all of the new people he will meet before leaving his apartment.
He is first introduced to Lady Phoebe outside the club as cameras flash around her. I’ve only had Lady Phoebe for one episode but if anything happens to her I will be forced to tell my therapist about it. Once inside, Phoebe introduces Joe to Blessing — a Nigerian princess. Next, Malcolm steals him away to meet artist Simon Soo, who has no interest in being friends and is immediately chastised by his sister, Sophie Soo.
Joe really hates all of these people and introduces us to additional characters in passing — Roald, Gemma, and Connie. Hoping for a moment alone after Malcolm leaves him, Joe is quickly joined once again by Phoebe who introduces him to her other half, Adam — a fellow American.
While he drinks alone in a corner for over an hour, Joe mulls over his hatred for the elite, until he is joined by none other than the author mentioned at the beginning of the episode and potential mayoral candidate — Rhys Montrose. Rhys was raised incredibly poor by a single mother and later found out he was the son of a Duke, inherited loads of money and went to Oxford where this entire friend group was birthed. Sympathetic to a difficult upbringing, Joe actually thinks he may like Rhys. The pair bond about a distaste for the entitled wealthy.
Phoebe, Kate, and Gemma get Joe to drink a shot of absinthe and immediately begin interrogating him — why is he in London, is it because he killed someone … the normal stuff. Phoebe settles on his heart being broken. Joe sticks with the story that his heart has been broken after following his beloved to Paris, and Malcolm eats it up. The group continues to pump Joe full of absinthe and likely other substances all night.
After blacking out for much of the night and finding himself back home, Joe wakes to Malcolm’s dead body on his kitchen table, a kitchen knife in his chest, a pinky finger chopped off and missing, and his phone broken. Joe doesn’t hesitate and immediately does what he does best — he moves the body into a borrowed car, puts on his new black hat for the season, and sets off to take care of the body.
We see back to when Joe followed Marienne to the art fair in London, and it’s safe to say she was less than enthusiastic about seeing him. She fled, genuinely trying to get away from him. She is eventually corned by Joe, pulling a knife on the man for fear of her life. Joe knocks the knife from her hands and the pair argue — about her ex, Ryan, about everything that Joe has done. Marienne’s mind is made up that he is a murderer, though her words do nothing to him — he wants to prove to her he’s a good man.
Ultimately, Joe lets Marienne leave, trying to prove that he is a good man and the things Love told her about him are just not true.
Joe’s past catches up to him when a private investigator, Elliot, joins him at a café. Elliot was hired by Love’s father, Joe’s ex-father-in-law, not to take him back to the states … but to kill him. Tired of the violence himself though, Elliot instead gives Joe an opportunity: the fake identity of Jonathan Moore and to have a true fresh start — it will only cost him all of the money he stole from Love’s accounts, and killing Marienne. Joe fakes that he has killed Marienne and begins his new life.
In the present, Joe breaks into a sawmill to chop up Malcolm into more easily transportable pieces, later disposing of the body parts in the river. He returns to the club for a drink and bonds further with Rhys. The following day Kate invites him to a dinner party for Simon.
Before the episode closes, Joe receives a text on his phone from an app he did not download — Evanesce, which is used by the wealthy and private because it erases everything that is said. The texts from the mystery individual read:
“You surprised me.
Handling Malcolm like that…”
“Here I thought when I left him on your table, you’d go down for my sins”
“You’re not who I figured you for.”
“Who are you?”
Someone in the group killed Malcolm and planned to pin it on Joe. Let the game begin.
If you need to catch up on recaps for the season, you’ll be able to find them here. You season 4 part 1 is available to stream now on Netflix.