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You's Penn Badgley Sees No Redemption For Joe (But Real Fans Knew That All Along)

Contains spoilers for "You," Season 4, Episode 10 — The Death of Jonathan Moore"

Joe Goldberg isn't exactly an easy guy to root for, but in the first part of "You" Season 4, it seems like maybe he's turned a corner. As the second part of the season makes clear, though, he definitely hasn't — and that's not exactly a huge surprise.

Joe's quest to become a better person, as it turns out, is all a red herring; Rhys Montrose (Ed Speelers), the writer he thinks is the "Eat the Rich" killer, is just a figment of Joe's imagination. (Rhys exists, but he wasn't murdering anyone, and Joe also killed him — the Rhys that Joe sees is simply a manifestation of his murderous side.) Not only that, he kidnapped Marianne (Tati Gabrielle), the woman he swore he'd let go of for good. Penn Badgley, who's tasked with playing Joe, knew his character wouldn't get any redemption, as he told Vanity Fair.

"He's not on an arc of redemption," the actor said. "This seems to be a question on people's minds, but I don't think that is what anyone who's making this is interested in exploring. That suggests a number of things, [and] it's not what we're here to do."

Penn Badgley thinks Joe is worse than ever before

Badgley and fans both got hit with the realization that, thanks to the second half of Season 4, Joe hasn't changed at all. "He's worse than ever," Badgley admits. "The first half of this season feels as though it's headed somewhere different, but then when it lands... When I finished the script [for episode 7] it was very unsettling and disturbing, but also kind of gratifying. Now it really touches back down into the reality that this show's always been exploring."

Not only is Joe worse than ever, he also ends the season with more power and access than ever before. After grappling with the fact that he murdered a whole mess of people and has been hallucinating an entire human being, he tries to take his own life, only to get rescued by the wealthy Kate (Charlotte Ritchie). Weirdly okay with the fact that he's, you know, a serial killer, Kate just agrees to protect him and take care of them both, and he leaves London... but not without pinning all the murders on one of his completely innocent students and killing the kid in the process. What a good guy, right?

Where can Joe go from here?

When the season comes to a close, Joe's back where the entire series began — New York City, though he's in a very different place. Now rich and privileged thanks to Kate and reclaiming his image by pretending he "escaped" the wife he actually murdered, Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti), Joe owns a bookstore, runs foundations with Kate, and has seemingly unlimited access to anyone and everyone if he feels like killing again.

If fans know Joe, they knew he could never be redeemed, and that's kind of his whole point. Joe's entire deal is that he manages to excuse the fact that he's a murderer several times over by telling himself that he's taking out people who deserve to die, like Marianne's abusive boyfriend, any one of Kate's horrible rich friends, and so on and so forth. Joe views his murders as some sort of public service, and if fans were confused by his heel-turn at the beginning of Season 4, they likely weren't too surprised to realize that it wasn't Rhys, but Joe all along.