YOU star Penn Badgley discusses the upcoming season 4 of the Netflix thriller, explaining how it will be different to what viewers have seen before.
Warning! This article contains spoilers for YOU, season 3
Penn Badgley explains how YOU season 4 will be different. In YOU season 3, which recently premiered on Netflix, the romantic thriller took a big swing. The series picks up as Joe (Badgley) and Love (Victoria Pedretti) relocate from Los Angeles to Madre Linda in Northern California. Now married and raising their son Henry, the couple is surrounded by tech entrepreneurs, bloggers, and biohackers. And, although Joe is committed to being a husband and father, he’s afraid of Love’s deadly recklessness. He also takes a liking to his neighbor, Natalie (Michaela McManus).
YOU season 3 unfolds in a distinctly bad way for both Natalie and Love. Although most of the biohackers and bloggers emerge from their encounters with Joe and Love with their lives intact and even miraculously improved in some cases, Natalie isn’t so lucky. She’s murdered by Love at the end of episode 1 . By the finale, Love suffers the same fate at the hands of her husband. The couple tries to kill each other, with Joe surviving the encounter. He gives Henry away to a trustworthy couple, then proceeds to stage a murder-suicide and frame his wife for his death. In the last scene of the YOU season 3 finale, however, Joe relocates to Paris and assumes a new identity.
In an interview with Collider, Badgley offered a hint about where the story might be headed in the already-renewed YOU season 4. The actor began by noting that that the show’s writers are really focused on the question of how the world reacts to a person like Joe. Badgley then went on to explain that if his character were to be killed by a woman, as many fans think will happen, Joe would almost find joy in becoming “a martyr for love.” He adds that all of this could make season 4 very different. Read Badgley’s full comments below:
“If he was tortured and killed by a woman, he would, in his mind, almost be vindicated. He’d be like, ‘I am the most persecuted man in all of history and I can be a martyr for love.’ That is kind of what he would think in his mind … I think [season 4] might be more about Joe’s relationship with himself. Because this isn’t really a show about a murderer, this is a show about … I think it’s taking the mistakes that we make in relationships to the extreme for the sake of a good story. Like, we really need to lay down our swords and stop being competitive in relationships, but that’s very hard to do.”
Badgley’s opinion on the series has shifted since its beginnings on Lifetime and its subsequent rise to popularity on Netflix. In interviews about the earlier seasons of YOU, both on late-night television and elsewhere, the actor had argued that the thriller was a reflection of how much a white man is allowed to get away with in society. However, it’s worth noting that in the most recent installment of YOU, and even prior to that, the writers have made an effort to move Joe away from the outright villain and murderer he was in season 1.
This could be a reflection of how a show that relied on tricking its audience into thinking Joe was a likable character couldn’t sustain itself in the long run. It remains to be seen how a completely new narrative will play out in practice, with fresh characters and a different setting. For those worried that YOU season 4 will fall into old patterns, particularly without Pedretti’s character there to serve as a contrast, Badgley’s comments should come as a relief. The actor appears to promise that the show will continue to reinvent itself and keep things exciting in the coming episodes.
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