Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for You Season 4, Part 2.
You Season 4 accomplished something the Netflix series has never done before: a new take on an old premise. For three seasons, we’ve followed Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) as the central protagonist who narrates the story. We’ve watched him up and leave a place more than once after stalking (and almost always, killing) his victims, only to start over in a new city but with a different woman. Each of these concepts came into play this season — but with the much different approach of Joe being the one hunted.
Season 4 does, however, include a new woman in a new city for Joe (or as he disguises himself as, Professor Jonathan Moore) to obsess over. As the woman who conveniently lives in the flat across the street so that Joe can continue to watch from the window, Kate (Charlotte Ritchie) grows to become the new person of interest for our lead. Not to Ritchie’s fault, but Joe and Kate’s connection just never materializes in the way that we saw play out with Beck (Elizabeth Lail) and Love (Victoria Pedretti). Even Joe’s flings with characters like Delilah (Carmela Zumbado) and of course, Marienne (Tati Gabrielle), had a much more engaging aspect to them than that with Kate. When Season 4 Part 2’s dream sequence spent just a few short minutes bringing back both Beck and Love, their cameos highlighted just how removed the audience was feeling in any attachment to Joe and Kate’s love story.
Beck and Love’s Cameos in ‘You’ Season 4 Are Brief, But Powerful
The aforementioned cameos by Beck and Love towards the end of Season 4 were some of the brightest moments in a satisfying back half of the story. Joe goes on a dazed and confused journey in Episode 9, navigating the demons in his head starting with the return of one of his victims from this season, Gemma (Eve Austin). Once her appearance is through, the trip down memory lane takes us back to Season 1 with Beck appearing. It may just be a minute, but Lail delivers everything that made Beck so appealing. From her charm to the way she can easily get inside Joe’s head to the biting “Oh, I’m sorry. Did I hurt your feelings?”, she reminded viewers how connected these two once were and why she was the perfect person to introduce Joe alongside.
If Beck’s return sparked all of this, then Love’s did that multiplied by five. There was always something about the character that Pedretti so effortlessly demonstrated. We know she’s one of the few, if only, people who put genuine fear into Joe. She played the ideal contrast to his lead and exemplified that in the three-minute scene-stealing moment. Her look of disapproval the moment she says, “Hi, Joe,” is cold. It’s exactly why Joe became weary of her when she was alive. She was his equal in a way no one else was. In a fitting return, Love is the one in this hallucination who breaks Joe. Instead of handing him the key to free Marienne as he had hoped, Love is seen giving him a gun to symbolize that there’s only one way out. As she explains, “Somebody does need to die for this to end.” It’s the first time we ever see Joe reach this point, a self-reflection where he finally realizes he’s the problem (shout out to the eventual Taylor Swift “Anti-Hero” song overlay in the next episode). Beck and Love’s two appearances may have been far too short, but they moved the story along and served to remind us why these former love interests were so memorable.
Kate Lacks the Emotional Connection with Joe in Season 4 of ‘You’
When it comes to Kate, there just always seemed to be a disconnection with her character from the start of Season 4. By design, she came across as distant. She was, after all, in a relationship with Malcolm (Stephen Hagan) before he was murdered by Rhys (Ed Speleers) — or should we say, Joe. So, it’s understandable if she was callous considering all she had been through. When she finally came around to Joe, and then eventually pursued a romantic relationship with him, it just never felt as emotional as that of Beck, and even though she was presented as a strong figure, she also didn’t give off the same vibes of Love as Joe’s one true match.
Yet, in an optimistic sense, there may be a whole new layer or two peeled back if Season 5 of You gets the green light. As we see in the You Season 4 Part 2 finale, she and Joe return to New York City and are in a powerful position, which puts Joe in a spot where we’ve never seen him before. If this is how the story unfolds, it seems inevitable that we’ll learn a lot more about Kate in the future and how she conducts herself now that her father is no longer in the picture (thanks to Joe). Until then, though, Kate’s debut in Season 4 never gave us a real connection with the lead as it was intended. There’s time to change this, but we’ll have to wait for a future season to reach that point, something that never needed to happen with the instant chemistry seen with Joe, Beck, and Love.
All four seasons of You are now streaming on Netflix.