‘You’ Season 4: Joe Goldberg’s Similarities With Sherlock Holmes And Edgar Allan’s ‘Man Of The Crowds,’ Explained

In the short story “Man of the Crowds” by Edgar Allan Poe, the tired and irritated narrator describes the mysterious old man as a “man of the crowds” who dislikes solitude. Our minds are left reeling by the story’s ambiguous ending, which invites us to speculate about the old man’s motivations. It remains to be known whether he was looking for a crowd to get rid of his seclusion or if he was trying to hide among the people to hide his past. By comparing the story to Joe Goldberg’s persona, we might conclude that Joe served as both the storyteller and that mysterious old guy. Despite being an intriguing character for the viewers, Joe Goldberg was a complete mess from season 1 to season 3 of “You,” and his crimes perfectly portrayed his sociopathic attitude. He was a victim of his obsessive and compulsive tendencies, which drove him to go to any length to satisfy his desires. 

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In “You” season 3, after futile attempts at reconciliation with his wife, he was forced to kill her in order to give himself and his child a new life. As a result, no matter how much Joe pretended to be done with blood and death, death itself never left him. Season 4 of “You” begins with a ray of hope for Joe as we see him relishing his newly started life in London and being close to art and literature, both of which have always piqued his interest. But the darkness looms over his shoulder. Regardless of how much Joe hides in crowds, his dark and haunting past follows him, just as the narrator in Poe’s story does.

Spoilers Ahead

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Similarities Between Joe Goldberg And Neil Fisk: An Obsessive Lover

The beginning of “You” season 4 shows a literary parallel between Joe and Ted Chiang’s protagonist Neil Fisk in “Hell is the Absence of God.” Both Neil and Joe were devoid of the love they desired. In “You,” we find Joe going through a similar experience as Neil, who in the novel was determined to get to paradise after the loss of his wife. Similarly, Joe was devoted to Marienne and searched all across London for her, but was Joe really a lover like Neil Fisk? Or perhaps Marienne was just his latest obsession. He had killed every person he had ever loved, starting with Beck and continuing with Candace and even Love Quinn. 

All of this adds up to paint a picture of Joe as being less than an ideal partner. But, after running into Marriene in London, we see Joe had taken the redemption seriously. He had the option of killing Marienne because she was the only person aware of his true identity, but he chose not to. It’s debatable whether he loved Marienne or not, but this time he valued his own promises to himself. Later, he comes to understand what true love is. Even though he was deeply in love with Kate, he decided not to let his mess interfere with her life, showing that he had managed to overcome his compulsion. It will be interesting to see if Kate and Joe cross paths again in season 4’s second half.

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Similarities Between Joe Goldberg And Sherlock Holmes: A Criminal With A Genius Mind

In past seasons, Joe Goldberg was revealed to be a calculating individual who might be a deeply flawed character, but he was a perfectionist. From tricking someone into falling into his trap to murdering someone and covering it up, he had always done his job with complete sincerity. Unexpectedly, Joe Goldberg taking on the persona of Sherlock Holmes throughout the series is a new surprise for fans. In Arthur Conan Doyle’s books, Sherlock Holmes had a serious addiction and a preoccupation with criminals. To better understand the criminal mind, he spent most of his time dressing up and visiting several criminal alleys. 

We observe that Joe Goldberg, a murderer-turned-detective, used an identical method to locate the murderer. But why was Joe Goldberg so driven to identify the killer? Was it only an obligation? Or did it give him a thrill? We can see that Joe has been obsessed with Kate and Malcolm’s personal and professional lives, ensuring that the practice of stalking has never truly left his life. He has been keeping his eyes trained on their window. However, since the mysterious text from the murderer shook him out after Malcolm’s death, his stalking ability came in handy. He meticulously carried out the inquiry, almost like an experienced detective, proving that Joe Goldberg wasn’t just a hopeless romantic serial killer but also a genius.

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Will Joe Ever Be Able To Redeem Himself?

It’s difficult to say whether Joe Goldberg’s troubled past will ever leave him, given the number of murders he has committed in his life. We witness his return without killing Marienne, which is commendable, but we later see him kill Phoebe’s guard Vic, who was an innocent civilian. Thus, he could only atone for his crimes if he had the fortitude to come forward and turn himself in for his crimes; otherwise, his desire to start over would only result in more deaths.


Why Is Joe Goldberg An Intriguing Character In Fiction?

Why is Joe Goldberg, a murderer, such a well-liked character? The key reason is that despite being psychopathic, this character has traits that people can relate to. Yes, even against our will, we may frequently relate to Joe. We can empathize with Joe because of his introversion and difficult upbringing. Again, Joe’s ongoing attempts to improve himself encourage us to stay interested and see the story through to its very conclusion to find out if Joe Goldberg can ever change. Joe’s constant voiceover provides a bigger picture of his mind, giving us a clear idea of what he is about to do, and therefore Joe appears to be nothing more than a regular character at times. And this is Joe’s method of brainwashing spectators, which he employs directly through the TV screen. So, can someone like Joe Goldberg be pardoned? Obviously not. 

Joe Goldberg is not portrayed as having any morality, and he is not a person who should be admired. Joe Goldberg could be the demon inside our heads that we are aware of but prefer to avoid. The main reason the audience is drawn to this character is that they are practically sick of the ideal protagonist and want to see Joe Goldberg’s troubled persona emerge from the shadows to the light. Joe Goldberg’s seemingly endless account of murders that successfully spanned three seasons has taken an interesting turn in the first half of season 4. It is commendable, and we anticipate learning more in the second half in order to see a fair conclusion to this story.


See more: ‘You’ Season 4: Socialites: Malcolm, Phoebe, Adam, Sophie Soo, Kate Galvin, Roald And Rhys Monstrose, Explained


Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda hails from a medical background, yet her journey is to cross the boundaries of medicine and survive in the cinematic world. The surrealistic beauty of cinema and art has attracted her from a very young age. She loves to write poems, songs, and stories, but her dream is to write films someday. She has also worked as a painter, but nothing attracts her more than cinema. Through her writings, she wants to explore the world of cinema more and more and take her readers on the same ride.

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