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You's Showrunner Says Constructing The Season 4 Twist Was A Challenge (Did It Pay Off?)

Contains spoilers for "You" Season 4 Part 2

One month after "You" Season 4 Part 1 seemed to tell a tale of redemption for Penn Badgley's "nice guy" murderer Joe Goldberg, viewers probably weren't that surprised to find out he wasn't becoming a better guy after all. As showrunner Sera Gamble told Entertainment Weekly, though, the heel turn that Joe was merely hallucinating a version of Rhys Montrose (Ed Speelers) that represents the murderous part of his brain was a huge risk... and even while writing it, she was nervous about making it work.

"We knew it was gonna end up being Joe, which made figuring out the whodunnit [about the Eat the Rich Killer] 100 percent harder," Gamble said. "There [were] a lot of flow charts happening and keeping track of who is where when to make sure your motive and opportunity line up. Along the way, I heard from maybe one or two people who worked on the show who weren't writers who were just like, 'You know, it's pretty satisfying, that whodunnit. Are you sure you wanna do this bats*** crazy thing to your season that's gonna completely overshadow it on every level?"

Gamble's gamble paid off in some ways...

In many ways, the show really pulled off this twist with aplomb. As you can see if you carefully watch the first part of Season 4, people are rarely around whenever Joe talks to the false Rhys he's created in his head, which a casual viewer might not totally notice until the twist comes to light. Plus, it does the job of making clear that, no matter how high and mighty Joe might be as the season kicks off, he can never really fully change — he's a murderer, and he'll never be able to reform himself with so many bodies behind him.

Asked about the decision to have Joe "fully break," Gamble explained why it needed to happen during this season. "It's not really a show about how somebody does what Joe does and gets caught," Gamble explained. "It's more about how we've been watching movies where people more or less do what Joe does for the most part, and they're on the poster for the romantic comedy. He's unhinged when you meet him, but he gets more so as you follow him through the story." Joe has definitely gotten more and more deranged as the series has continued, and he'll also definitely only get worse from here on out.

...And didn't pay off in other ways

All that said, there are times where Joe is, for example, in the middle of the street "talking to Rhys," and nobody seems to notice that he's talking to thin air. (That, or no random London passers-by want to deal with him.) There's also an aspect where, if you think about it, this takes some of the onus off of Joe, and it's also weird for this split-personality thing to happen so late in his murdering game. Joe's been killing for a while now. Where was this "Rhys" part of his brain before, and why did it only manifest now? Is it something in the foggy London air?

In any case, "You" is a show that reliably takes big swings, and this season is no exception. Season 5 will see Joe back in New York and with more money and influence than ever thanks to his girlfriend and willing accomplice Kate (Charlotte Ritchie), so fans can probably expect even more big risks ahead — and whether or not they pay off entirely, they'll still be fascinating to watch.