The Netflix series will see the long-awaited final chapter of Joe Goldberg’s story.
Netflix has gotten as much as it possibly can from the popular You series. After initially debuting on Lifetime before being picked up by the streaming giant after its first season, You has become a staple among the Top 10 charts with each new season. While there have been worries about how long its premise can possibly sustain, the journey from the eyes of Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgely) has been one that keeps bringing us back. With the fourth season in the rearview mirror, all eyes turned to the future of the show after the season finale hinted that this could be the last stand for Joe before reeling us back in over the final 20 minutes of the episode. Now, we’re faced with a full circle moment come Season 5, and one that should see the stakes higher than they ever have been after it was officially revealed that this would be the show’s final chapter.
There have been numerous hints that an eventual fifth season would mark the end of this series. Co-creators Sera Gamble and Greg Berlanti have each hinted at this in interviews. There has apparently been an end mapped out as the creators are well aware Joe has to be stopped. Even Badgley appears to be ready to move on from this role, which is understandable as the mental toll of getting into the mind of a crazed, stalking murderer could not have been easy. In a separate interview, Badgley noted that everyone who works on the show doesn’t want this series to “become tired.” Having carried out multiple seasons with a similar premise and toeing the same line, even with some alterations in the fourth installment, there is something to be said about not wanting to tarnish its legacy. With the self-awareness of You’s creative team, we should expect them to be able to stick the long-awaited landing.
It’s Good That ‘You’ Is Ending with a Fifth Season
The show has spent years following the harrowing and twisted life of its protagonist. As with any show that’s built on building up a following around such a dark and complicated character who, with no understating, is a very bad person, there has to be a conclusion sooner than later. The Caroline Kepnes-inspired series risked pushing the boundaries too far when it was announced there would be a fourth season after we saw Joe torch his suburban house with his wife’s dead body inside it. After all, how many times can this guy really get away with the trail of destruction he has left? The show always had a clever way of showing him covering his tracks or framing someone else to take the fall, but even then, there comes a point where this killer has to meet his demise eventually. The fourth season premiered in two separate parts, which ultimately served as a unique take on its tried-and-true premise. For the most part, it worked, and it also gave the season an extended shelf life as the first batch of episodes took on a whole new meaning following the events at the end.
There even was a self-aware moment from You this past season when Joe appeared to meet his maker. That entire episode set up that he would be jumping off a bridge to stop the evil from within himself. When we saw him jump, for a fleeting moment, it seemed as though he had finally met his end — but the series had other ideas and gave Joe a second life, setting him up to make his grand return to where it all started in New York City. As cheap of a fakeout as it may have been, the series at least showed us that it understands the story is much closer to the end than the beginning. Having Joe go back to where the chaos first ensued sets this show up for one final chapter, and that’s a good thing.
Joe Goldberg’s Story Has to End
After seeing what the show’s creative team was able to do with Season 4, there’s no reason to believe they won’t think of a creative way to give us another iteration of You but with a different flare. Now that we know this is the end of You and most likely for Joe, be it through death or the legal system finally catching him, the show has a chance once again to do something different. There are no questions of the series’ future as we had in Season 4, which made that bridge scene hit so much harder than it would have had we been privy to knowing another season was coming. With this story ending the next time around, the writers can tell this story in any way they see fit. Perhaps there’ll be a reflection-type story being told from a locked-up Joe (or from the afterlife). Maybe the show will wield the classic trope of showing us the ending at the beginning and then telling the story of how it got to that point. There are ultimately a handful of ways the creators can go with Season 5. This should allow You the opportunity to deliver a new-look season just as it did this past chapter.
There’s also plenty left to be explored with Charlotte Ritchie and her character, Kate. Will she be the love interest who gets the upper hand on him, or do her wealth and power give Joe a false sense of security which leads to his demise? The fifth season now has a whole new light on it with us knowing it will mark the end. As sad as it will be to see this engaging series come to a close, as everyone involved has stressed, it’ll be better if this can end on a high rather than overstretching itself. Announcing that Season 5 is the final chapter is the right move, but we now have a long wait to see how Joe’s brutal journey wraps up.
All four seasons of You are available to stream on Netflix.