You season 4 part 1 spoilers follow
The fourth season of Netflix’s twisty drama series You started off with an intriguing premise – what if Joe, everyone’s favourite lovelorn serial killer, was no longer the hunter and instead had become the hunted?
Having escaped Californian suburbia by faking his own death at the end of season three, Joe (Penn Badgley) went on to pursue his current obsession, Marianne (Tati Gabrielle), in Paris. That didn’t go so well, so by the time we catch up with him at the start of season four he has made some major life changes – he’s living in London and working as a university professor, sporting a beard and shaggy hairstyle, and going by the name Jonathan Moore.
And he’s trying to be good, too (which for Joe means trying not to stalk or kill anyone, as opposed to donating to charity or helping old ladies cross the street like regular people).
However, it seems that no matter how good Joe tries to be, death has a way of finding him, beginning with university colleague Malcolm (Stephen Hagan), whose dead body Joe discovers on his dining table in one of the most gruesome morning-after-the-night-before experiences you can imagine.
And from there, the bodies start piling up and Joe not only realises that he didn’t kill Malcolm (there had been some doubt, as a party the night before with Malcolm’s posh friends had involved a few glasses of absinthe), but that there is someone else out there killing people in Malcolm’s friendship group, and taunting Joe about it via instant messaging.
By the fifth episode, which marks the end of Part 1 of this season, Joe found himself at an English country estate with some of the potential suspects, including Kate (Charlotte Ritchie), Adam (Lukas Gage), Lady Phoebe (Tilly Keeper), Roald (Ben Wiggins) and Blessing (Ozioma Whenu). Kate may have called Joe “a shit Sherlock” in the past, but he’s determined that the luxury manor is the perfect place to uncover a murderer.
So does Joe work out who his serial-killer rival is? Do he and Kate finally admit they have strange feelings for each other? And what does it all mean for Part 2, coming on March 10?
Read on, crime fans, but only if you have already watched all five episodes of Part 1 as mysteries are about to be solved and motives revealed…
You season 4 part 1 ending explained
As anyone who has read an Agatha Christie mystery novel will tell you, the English countryside can be a deadly place. Having already decided that the annoying, Kate-obsessed Roald was the ‘Eat The Rich’ killer (the nickname the media has come up with), Joe was further convinced when Roald tossed him out of a first floor window during a murder mystery parlour game at Phoebe’s stately home.
Lying on the gravel, Joe then heard a scream and ran into the house, worried for Kate, only to charge into her room and discover her sitting on the floor, bloodied knife in hand, next to a very dead Gemma.
Kate denies she is the murderer, and Joe agrees to help her get rid of the body as long as she promises not to try and pin the death on him. Of course, neither of them suggest calling the police – Joe because, well, he has history (and literally knows where quite a few bodies are buried) and Kate because she doesn’t want the bodyguards at the house to be involved, because they work for her morally dubious father, and she has major daddy issues.
While Roald, Adam, Phoebe and the other privileged few are partying (aka snorting coke and being obnoxious) downstairs, Kate and Joe/Jonathan decide to move Gemma’s body somewhere less conspicuous: the game larder, where the staff prepare the animal carcasses from hunts.
After stashing Gemma’s body in an antique box at the foot of Kate’s bed ready for the move, they manage to quickly chuck the bloody rug she died on under the bed as Phoebe enters, desperate to talk about her floundering relationship with Adam (just to catch everyone up, he’s into mildly kinky sex acts with the servants and she doesn’t know).
When they finally get her to leave, Kate and Joe get back to the body disposal business and end up in the game larder with dead Gemma. “Why is this my pattern?” Joe’s inner voice narrates. “Fall for a woman, haul corpses together.” Well, at least he still has his sense of humour.
Kate – noting how skilled he is at the body-dumping side of things – confronts Joe, clearly believing he killed Gemma, and he counters that she could have killed Gemma herself, or that maybe she is being framed.
He tells her about waking up and discovering Malcolm’s corpse (he wisely glosses over the part where he then chopped Malcolm up and sprinkled bits of him around Greater London) and reveals that he has been receiving taunting messages from the real killer.
The two reluctantly agree to believe each other, and Joe ponders that if Kate is telling the truth, it’s Roald who is the serial murderer.
There’s not much time for him to think about it, however, as it’s around this point that things start to go very badly for just about everyone. Phoebe breaks up with Adam (which is not great for him as he was planning to marry her for her money), and poor Joe is off to the game larder again to retrieve Kate’s bracelet (note to self: once you finish dumping a body, make sure you have all your jewellery still on your person).
Kate, meanwhile, brings Phoebe up to speed on Gemma after Phoebe notices the expensive antique rug in Kate’s room is missing (and, since it’s now saturated in Gemma’s blood, we’re guessing it has been somewhat devalued, too).
And Roald – who really, really doesn’t like Joe – goes to the game larder with a rifle and spots Joe with Gemma’s corpse so concludes he has murdered her.
He brings Joe in front of the rest of the stoned gang to decide what justice they should rain down on him, and as they decide he should be sentenced to death, Joe manages to run out of the room and into the woods, with a gun-toting Roald in hot pursuit (“I’m going peasant hunting,” says Roald, just in case we didn’t already want him to trip up and blow his own face off).
“How did I get here, hunted in the countryside by a coked-up aristocrat?” Joe asks himself, before adding that it’s like “The Crown directed by Guy Ritchie.”
Luckily he manages to wrestle Roald to the ground and knock him out – but then someone new appears – it’s Rhys (Ed Speleers), memoir writer and wannabe mayor and, it turns out, the person who has been sending Joe those blackmail-style messages.
Rhys knocks Joe out, and when Joe comes to he discovers he is in a dank cellar, chained to the wall with an unconscious Roald nearby, and Rhys looming over them ready to explain everything. (You can’t have a villain without the big villain exposition speech, can you?)
His plan is to pin all the murders on a dead Roald and have Joe kill Roald for him. Rhys leaves Joe to carry out the killing, which is a little weird – where does he go? – and Joe sets about working out how to escape. But just as he struggles to pull the chains from the wall, Rhys is back and very disappointed that Roald is still alive.
He tells Joe that if he manages to free himself, he will see Joe back in London, and then tips over a gas lantern as he exits, setting off a fire for good measure.
Smoke alerts everyone to the fire, and they flee the mansion while Kate, armed with a handy antique axe (every stately home in England has a few of these lying about, apparently) finds Joe and Roald and helps them out of the cellar as the building burns.
We then jump to a week later, and Joe is back in London when Kate comes to his door. She invites him for a pint, but Joe turns her down, his inner monologue deciding she knows too much already and it would be dangerous to get involved (or maybe he just doesn't like English beer).
He muses that in a different life, he would do anything for her (when it comes to Joe, that usually means cutting up rivals and putting them in meat grinders), but now the only relationship he is in is with Rhys Montrose, serial killer and would-be Mayor of London.
As part one of You season four comes to an end, Joe watches Rhys on TV announcing his candidacy for mayor, and sets the stage for a battle between two serial killers in season four, part two by musing: “Rhys Montrose. I’m coming for you…”
You seasons 1-4 are available on Netflix now. Season four part two premieres on March 9.