Joe Goldberg In ‘You’ Season 4, Explained: Is Joe’s Effort To Make Amends Merely A Charade?

If a sociopath serial killer like Joe Goldberg is in the vicinity and the killings have already started, how could “You” even think about placing the blame elsewhere? In the first installment of “You” season 4, the plot went somewhat like this, ultimately giving us a sense of satisfaction that Joe Goldberg, our very well-known recurring obsessive killer, had finally atoned for his crimes and had turned into a decent man. But as Part 2 arrived, it dashed our optimism that he would turn over a new leaf. Just as Jonathan Moore, aka Joe Goldberg with a beard, appeared to be on the verge of tying up his story with a happy ending, his indestructible murderous urge returned, and “You” season 4 finished on the ominous note that no other power on earth, save for death, could stop Joseph Goldberg from being a murderous psychopath. Let us look deeper into his character to see if he truly desires to be good. Or was his apparent modesty nothing more than a ruse?


Part 1 opens with Joe’s maddening love and passion for Marienne; nevertheless, it turns out that Joe is actually hooked on Rhys Montrose, a contender for mayor of London, whose book Joe finds to have remarkable connections to the events of his own life. Joe was quite concerned about the parallels between them—their tragic backgrounds, persistent poverty, and volatile single mother. Therefore, it was easy for Rhys Montrose to take over Joe’s mind without even knowing it. Since we all know Joe’s obsession can only end in death, Marienne wasn’t freed either; he actually preferred to let her die gradually. At first, when Marienne was locked up in a cage, Joe provided her with food, water, and medication. Yet, all of a sudden, when Kate Galvin, a stunning and alluring neighbor caught his eye, Joe forgot about it all. In his effort to become a hero in Kate’s eyes, he forgets his villainous act, which he committed against Marienne by holding her hostage.

Whether Joe had truly desired to be good or whether it had all been a denial episode is now entirely conjecture. Yet, there are some factors responsible for him having a split in his personality. His incessant yearning for love comes first. Joe was a hopeless romantic, for whom falling in love meant never letting go—a highly psychopathic quality. Joe, however, never encountered true love in his entire life. Everyone, from Beck to Love Quinn, either cheated on him or became terrified of him, which is very natural given Joe’s antagonistic attributes. Even Marienne, who wanted to run away from Joe to protect herself, deeply injured Joe’s sentiments and drove him to take aggressive action in response.


After witnessing a very troubled relationship between his parents, Joe always dreamed of a relationship where he would get unconditional love without the presence of any sense of fear. Years of yearning for that kind of affection culminated when he met Kate Galvin, who loved him regardless of his past. As a result, Kate Galvin might be the only factor motivating him to behave like a hero. It’s plausible to suppose that as soon as Kate attracted his eye, he set out to get rid of her boyfriend, Malcolm in an effort to win her over.  Following Malcolm, Joe started killing one after another from his circle, who, in any instance, posed a threat to his life. But regardless of his propensity for murder, he had guilt entrenched in him. A sense of remorse for being unable to resist the temptation to kill someone, yet this guilt was accompanied by a fear of being seen by the law. His conflicting personalities then assumed two different guises: one was Jonathan Moore, who had buried his past as Joe Goldberg and would now do whatever it took to become a genuine and decent person, and another was Rhys Montrose, on whom he would place all the blame for his own actions. His personality started to resemble Rhys as a result of being obsessed with his story.

In order to relieve himself of guilt and be able to defend his actions by justifying them to himself, he committed all of the crimes under the pretense of Rhys Montrose. Joe’s mind was merely playing an escape game with him during this whole ordeal. However, as Joe’s denial finally gave way to the realization that Rhys Montrose had actually never met him and had been slain by him without any fault of his own, he began accepting who he truly was and what heinous crimes he committed. His growing madness drove him to confront every woman he had murdered in his nightmare, where he repeatedly came to the conclusion that there was no other way out other than killing himself in order to stop his inner conflicts. But it didn’t appear that Joe Goldberg’s cruel game would quickly result in his demise.


Before ending his own life, he would still have to finish countless other lives. And among them, we predict that Kate might become a victim exactly like Love Quinn did. When Kate moves her hands toward Joe in an effort to let him be as vile as he wants to be, we see the bearded Jonathan Moore eventually turn back to the clean-shaven Joe Goldberg, who has no fear or guilt in his heart anymore, just as we saw him from the beginning. With the limitless resources and authority of Kate’s father, he once again attained invincibility. He has already overstepped his boundaries to flex his newly obtained power and destroy Nadia’s life. Hence, we can draw the conclusion that Joe Goldberg’s attempts to improve his moral character have been entirely undermined by his desire for power.

The conclusion made it clear that he had never actually developed empathy for others; everything was merely a front. All he wanted was a chance like the one Kate had provided for him. With this chance, he will merely carry out even worse crimes and easily get away with them. Therefore, brace yourself for Joe Goldberg, who will undoubtedly become a powerful entity, to return in “You” season 5 with even more horrifying acts.


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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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