Halfway through part 2 of You season 4, the show reveals to the audience that Joe has been disassociating from his dark side, Rhys Montrose is just a figment of his imagination, and he is the actual Eat-the-Rich killer. After killing the real Montrose, Joe unravels his psyche and accepts his dark side one last time to take Kate’s father out of the equation.
Fearing Kate will meet the same fate as his other loves, Joe tries to kill his dark side and himself but survives. And in the final scene of season 4, we see him back in New York with Kate, Henry, and a bookstore, leaving behind Jonathan Moore’s identity and returning to Joe Goldberg.
But a surprising twist comes when we see Joe’s dark side, in the form of Rhys, still with him, and that he’s already used Kate’s resources to frame Nadia for Edward’s murder and set him as Rhys’ killer. Showrunner Sera Gamble encapsulates what Rhys’ position means in Joe’s mind in a Tudum interview. You can read her comment below:
In the writers’ room, we used to joke that one of these days, the ‘hello, you’ will be Joe saying hello to the real Joe. And one of these days, he’ll have to face himself literally. We wanted to go there with Joe, and we’ve spent the last couple of seasons making sure he becomes increasingly unhinged. We introduced the idea that his brain does fracture more and more.
When he has the fever in the previous season, he sees his inner monologue separate from himself, taunting him on the kitchen counter. In our back pocket, we were always like, ‘Eventually, this is going to be a fully formed personality that’s acting independently of Joe.’Showrunner Sera Gamble
But what does it mean when Joe can still see Rhys at the end of season 4? Well, this means Joe and Rhys have merged and that Joe no longer views himself as a good man in a cruel world. He has accepted his dark side and understands he can do nothing to rid himself of it, but he can use Kate’s unlimited wealth to cover up his tracks should any danger come their way.
Joe’s acceptance of his murderous side only means that he will grow far more dangerous and lethal in season 5 since he doesn’t need to hold back now. His cold demeanor when locking Nadia up for Edward’s murder makes it clear that Penn Badgley’s assumption that Joe will be more “unhinged” in the next season is spot on.
Netflix has confirmed that season 5 of You will be its final season, so it makes sense that the writers are upping the ante, making Joe more comfortable with his murderous side.
Will Joe Goldberg continue to live a life of blood and betrayal, or will justice finally be laid on the psychopathic stalker? Drop your theories in the comments below.
You is an American psychological thriller television series developed by Greg Berlanti and Sera Gamble. It is based on the bestselling novels of Caroline Kepnes.
The series follows a dangerously charming, intensely obsessive young man, Joe, as he takes extreme measures to insert himself into the lives of those he is transfixed by.
The show stars Penn Badgley in the leading role of Joe Goldberg. Additional cast members include Elizabeth Lail, Victoria Pedretti, STati Gabrielle, and Jenna Ortega, among many others.