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Netflix's You Season 4 Part 1 Ending Explained

Netflix's "You" is back for a pulse-pounding Season 4, and this time, the show takes Joe (Penn Badgley) and the viewer way outside their comfort zones. Joe has relocated to jolly old England in search of both a fresh start and his love interest Marienne Bellamy (Tati Gabrielle). However, Joe — operating under the guise of Professor Jonathan Moore — soon finds himself roped into yet another social circle rife with conflict and insecure rich people. As time goes on, the dead bodies of members of this wealthy social circle begin to pile up. Soon, Joe finds himself in the crosshairs of a stalker. He must solve the mystery of this mass death and reclaim his peaceful European getaway, all while avoiding detection from those around him. 

Packed to the brim with twists, turns, steamy drama, and plenty of bloodshed, the first half of "You" Season 4 is yet another winning slate of episodes for the successful series. The mid-season finale sets things up for an exhilarating second half, which leaves many viewers breathless with anticipation — and, perhaps, a little confused. Plenty of fans might find themselves with lingering questions regarding these episodes' shocking events, or need certain details clarified. Not to worry — we're here to help. Pour an ice-cold drink and make sure you're not being stalked, because we're here to explain the ending of Netflix's "You" Season 4, Part 1.

Joe changes his identity, job, and location

To understand the first half of "You" Season 4, you first need to understand why Joe Goldberg is once again operating under another name. To accomplish this, let's take a moment to rewind. In the last few episodes of Season 3, Joe finally manages to exit his marriage to the crazed Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti) in one of the scariest moments of "You" so far. After successfully killing her with a fatal dose of aconite, Joe not only fakes his own death, he even finds a way to give up his son Henry in the process. In our last glimpse of Joe in Season 3, he's sitting down for an espresso in what you might initially assume is New York City, pondering Marienne's whereabouts. However, when Joe leaves the café, the camera pulls out to reveal that he's actually in Paris, France. As Joe has now left bodies on both the east and west coasts of the United States, it's honestly kind of amazing he didn't flee the country sooner.

When the story picks up in Season 4, things are a bit different. Joe has relocated once again, this time opting to settle in England. This isn't the only change, either. Joe has grown out his hair and beard, and is no longer operating as Joe Goldberg or Will Bettelheim. Now he's known as Professor Jonathan Moore, and is working as a last-minute English professor at a well-respected British university. This turns out to be only the first of many changes that set Season 4 apart from preceding seasons of "You." Plot, tone, and subject matter are all in flux, and absolutely anything can happen.

What happens to Marienne?

While trapped in Madre Linda with Love Quinn during Season 3 of "You," Joe finds respite in working at the local library. It's here, among the stacks and patrons, that he meets Marienne, a charming and opinionated librarian. To no fan's surprise, Joe quickly becomes fixated on her. Despite some genuine sparks igniting between them, Joe and Marienne's romance ultimately comes crashing down in grand fashion, as it so often does for Joe.

When we jump to Season 4, we soon learn that Joe's European vacation isn't a whim or an accident — Marienne has relocated to this continent as well. Joe, we learn, has traveled to England because this is where he's tracked Marienne's rising art career to. He's able to locate Marienne touring the streets of London, but things quickly go awry: Upon seeing him, Marienne immediately flees. Joe gives swift chase and manages to corner her inside a stairwell. Marienne tells him that she knows what he's done, and can never see him as anything other than a vicious murderer.

This electric moment coincides with Joe being confronted by an opportunistic fixer named Eliot (Adam James), who's been sent by Love's father. He offers Joe a unique opportunity: In exchange for a payout and Marienne's death (which would tie off any loose ends), Eliot will help Joe set up a new identity and proceed to leave him alone. The last we see of Marienne, Joe is watching her board a train back to Paris. He's stolen her locket as proof of her "death."

Why are they all out in the countryside?

The climax of the first half of "You" Season 4 is set into motion when Joe heads to the countryside with Lady Phoebe's (Tilly Keeper) wealthy posse. The remaining episodes largely take place in this lavish and storied mansion, and the lush woods that surround it. The mansion itself is a wonderful venue for the carnage that makes "You" famous: Its opulent rooms, winding hallways, and dramatic balconies pretty much beg for bloodshed.

Heading to a chillingly isolated (if incredibly comfortable) place as a terrifying murder spree unfolds might not seem like the smartest choice. Haven't these people ever seen a horror movie before? However, "You" justifies this decision by making it abundantly clear that Phoebe and her friends simply aren't that smart. This change of scenery is also welcome because it presents Joe, still masquerading as Jonathan Moore, with an opportunity to properly sniff out his mysterious stalker. The remote mansion also ratchets up the tension for our leading man, as it surrounds him on all sides with people who are all some degree of suspicious. Much like the rest of Season 4, Part 1, this situation takes Joe far outside the comfort zone in which he's able to maintain control. As is par for the course when it comes to "You," things soon devolve into anarchy, resulting in a whole lot of death and some very intense revelations.

Kate's strange behavior and mysterious family

One of "You" Season 4's standout new characters is Kate Galvin (Charlotte Ritchie), a gallery manager who lives next door to Joe. She's so close, in fact, that he can see her from his window. We're introduced to Kate through her affiliation with Malcolm (Stephen Hagan), a boozing and obnoxious literary professor and colleague to Joe. Following Malcolm's mysterious death — and subsequent placement on Joe's kitchen table — Kate becomes increasingly interesting to Joe. He even begins following her, though it's mostly to protect her from the mysterious person who's sending him messages via an ephemeral app.

Kate is initially put off by Joe, which is, as longtime "You" viewers know, not an unreasonable reaction. In fact, she's outright cold towards him. However, as the events of the first few episodes of Season 4 unfold, Kate's defenses begin to lower. Before long, she's warming up to our favorite globetrotting murderer. This leads to yet another rehashing of Joe's most successful pastime: Becoming romantically involved with a woman who is, in her own way, almost as damaged as he is.

Throughout the first half of Season 4, it's made clear that Kate is an outlier, even among her wealthy friends. This is made especially evident through her odd exchanges with Roald (Ben Wiggins). It's eventually revealed (in seriously harsh fashion over dinner) that Kate's wealth largely comes from her corrupt father Tom Lockwood, of whom she's extremely fearful. She goes on to explain that she doesn't want to be part of his shady dealings, or want him involved in her life.

Joe and Kate's bizarre romance

A sizable chunk of "You" Season 4, Part 1 is dedicated to the burgeoning relationship between Joe and Kate. Despite her initially cold feelings towards him, Kate begins to soften and even confide in Joe. Things escalate until the couple engages in sexual activity in a closed-off park, and eventually the mansion. Kate and Joe fully acknowledge — much like the viewer — that this is far from a good idea, considering Joe's track record with women. With many of his previous love interests dead, either by his hand or as a result of his actions, Kate is clearly at risk.

However, despite this macabre fact, the two damaged souls bond over their respectively messed-up childhoods, which continue to affect them as adults. This might be a bizarre and dark sort of comfort to take in another person, but Kate and Joe simply can't deny its power. Things soon become complicated, however, when Kate finds Gemma (Eve Austin) dead from a slit throat. This implicates her in the murders. Events build up to a fiery climax in which Kate helps save Joe and Roald by dragging them out of the mansion's dungeon. Following this near-death experience, Joe ends things with Kate — the risks are simply too great. This causes her to walk off in frustration.

Why Roald tries to kill Joe

As the mansion-centered portion of "You" Season 4 heats up, Joe finds a prominent suspect in Roald, one of Phoebe's many aristocratic friends. The more time we spend around Roald, the more he comes into focus — and the picture isn't pretty. Roald is a vain, shallow, and delusional poster child for the corrupt rich, who sees those without wealth as entirely and inherently beneath him. Simply put, he is loathsome.

As we've seen in the past with characters like Forty Quinn (James Scully) or Sherry Conrad (Shalita Grant), Joe tends to end up at odds with extremely vapid people. This means that animosity develops between Joe and Roald very quickly. Before long, it becomes violent. Following an awkward hunting jaunt, Joe investigates Roald's room, where he finds a camera loaded with very invasive pictures of Kate. Later on, Joe attempts to investigate further. But he's discovered by an angry Roald, who proceeds to push Joe out the window to the grounds below.

This violent act doesn't slow anything down. Before long, Joe is held at gunpoint by Roald, who claims that Joe is the Eat The Rich Killer who's been picking them off. After Joe knocks Phoebe's boyfriend Adam (Lukas Gage) out cold, Roald gives Joe a head start before he begins to hunt him down through the woods. Clearly, these two won't be vacationing with each other again anytime soon.

Lady Phoebe and Adam's complicated relationship

As with the citizens of Madre Linda in "You" Season 3, Season 4 offers viewers a significant glimpse into the inner workings of the rich and successful. Specifically, we get a high-definition look at just how fickle, cruel, and outright ridiculous the obscenely wealthy can be — with a heavy emphasis on the ridiculous part. A key example of this arrives when Joe begins investigating Malcolm's delusional and toxic gaggle of enormously wealthy friends.

This flock of moneyed fools includes the beautiful ringleader Lady Phoebe and her American boyfriend Adam, a wealthy playboy with severe impulse control. As Joe furthers his investigation, he uncovers one of Adam's secrets: He has very strange sexual tastes. This is confirmed when Joe trails Adam and sees him engaging in a particular act with a club employee.

Later on in the first half of Season 4, Phoebe attempts to seduce Joe, much to his discomfort. He's able to gently talk her down and convince her that Adam does, in fact, love her — a blatant lie — and that their issues aren't even really about her. Phoebe confronts Adam and is even thoroughly gung-ho about embracing his bedroom quirks — but it soon becomes clear he isn't having it. It's a pretty hilarious, if somewhat off-putting, part of the season, which vividly adds to the show's deconstruction of the wealthy elite.

The killer is revealed to be Rhys

In a sea of pretentious and substance-addled airheads with way too much money to burn, Rhys Montrose (Ed Speleers) is one of the only people Joe can actually stand, and even connect with. His background as a former everyman who became a wealthy author makes him infinitely more grounded and approachable than his coddled peers. This makes the reveal of his obsession with Joe, as well as the fact that he's the Eat The Rich Killer, all the more shocking.

Following Joe's mad dash into the woods, he ends up in a fight with Roald, whom he's eventually able to disarm and defeat. However, following this victory, Joe is confronted by Rhys. Rhys picks up Roald's gun and refers to Joe by his actual name, rather than his academic alias. He proceeds to knock Joe unconscious, transport him and Roald to the dungeon that lies below the mansion, and chain both of them to the walls. During this climax, Rhys reveals that he is indeed the killer and the person who's been stalking Joe and sending him mysterious texts. He's all too happy to explain his motivations, making it clear how much he admires Joe's methods and ability to elude capture. His description of Roald — he calls him a "spoiled, violent little s***" — also makes it clear why Rhys targets the rich and powerful.

Why doesn't Rhys kill Joe?

The first half of Season 4 leaves behind a number of burning questions. Chief among them is one deceptively simple query: Why doesn't Rhys just kill Joe? Following his decision to spare Roald, Joe finds himself in another bind. Disappointed that Joe isn't the man he thought he was, Rhys lights the room ablaze, leaving Joe and Roald to die. However, he includes a catch: If Joe somehow survives, Rhys promises that they can pick up where they left off when they return to London. Joe and Roald manage to escape the blaze with the help of Kate, who pulls them out of the dungeon.

Upon arriving back in London, Joe sees Rhys on the local news, announcing his candidacy in London's mayoral election. This brings a new problem to Joe's door: He must stop Rhys before it's too late. That's one heck of a cliffhanger to leave fans with. However, one question still remains: Why does Rhys even give Joe the chance to escape, rather than simply shooting him dead? It could be that Rhys still admires Joe's intellect, and wants to see if he's capable of escaping such a tricky death trap. Rhys might also secretly harbor a morbid affection for Joe, which keeps him from being able to snuff him out of existence. Whatever the reason, his fascinating choice definitely sets up an interesting conflict for the next half of "You" Season 4.

Joe and Rhys are Holmes and Moriarty

The first half of "You" Season 4 does a lot to set itself apart from the previous three seasons, and it all starts with its main hook. This season decides to go old school in an Agatha Christie sort of way, with a murder-centric whodunit mystery at the center of its plot. But Christie isn't the only giant of British mystery that this season draws from. Joe takes on a very Sherlock Holmes-esque role in the story, combing through evidence and trying to pinpoint a clear motive. This is highlighted by Kate, who refers to Joe as "S****y Sherlock" after he accuses one of her friends. Things get even more blatant when the season introduces Rhys, who becomes the Moriarty to Joe's Holmes.

Throughout the first half of Season 4, Joe is stalked and teased by someone who seems quite knowledgeable about his past. Joe soon discerns that this person doesn't want to expose him — he wants to work with him as his partner in crime. Following the reveal that Rhys is the killer, it soon becomes very clear that he respects Joe for his murderous methods. Joe is disturbed by this, but opts to play along as a means of escape.

Disappointed by Joe's refusal to kill Roald, Rhys leaves them to burn alive — but he hopes Joe escapes, so they can resume their conversation at a later date. This means that Joe must now contend with someone who can match him, murderous move for murderous move. Those familiar with Sherlock Holmes will recognize this classic dynamic, which promises to grow even more exciting in the second half of Season 4.