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'You' Season 4, Part 2 ending, explained: Unpacking that stunning twist

Forget who you thought was the "Eat the Rich" killer, and forget what you thought was real.
Penn Badgley as Joe Goldberg
Penn Badgley as Joe Goldberg in Episode 407 of "You." Netflix
/ Source: TODAY

Warning: This post contains spoilers for Season Four of “You.”

The final few episodes of “You” Season Four revealed some big twists — and it turns out they were hidden in the show’s unexpected format this season.

When Netflix announced in September 2022 that the fourth season of “You” would be broken up into two parts, deviating from its usual release format, fans were intrigued. But, after Part One dropped on Feb. 9, some viewers wondered why the show had two halves and voiced their confusion on social media

Penn Badgley as Joe Goldberg
Joe Goldberg is back! Pictured: Penn Badgley in "You."Netflix

With the release of the remaining episodes of Season Four on March 9, fans now know that the new season’s two parts were really a metaphor for Joe’s secret split personality all along. 

Before we break down the surprising plot twists that lead up to the finale, let’s recap what happened in Part One, and how the "Eat the Rich" killer was hiding in plain sight.

Who was the ‘Eat the Rich’ killer? 

Ed Speleers as Rhys
Ed Speleers as Rhys in "You." Or, should we say, Joe.Netflix

In Season Four, the menacing Joe Goldberg, played by Penn Badgley, gets a new life.

After faking his own death and fleeing California, Joe relocated to London and started teaching as a university professor under the alias Jonathan Moore. 

Viewers learned in flashbacks that Joe originally tried to track down Marienne (Tati Gabrielle), his Season Three obsession, in both Paris and London after leaving the country.

But when he finally confronted Marienne, who is living in Paris, he sensed how much she feared him. He decided to reinvent himself to prove he was not the dangerous monster Marienne knew him to be.

Tati Gabrielle
Tati Gabrielle as Marienne in Season Four of "You."Netflix

While living in London, Joe fell in with a circle of rich, elite socialites. After a drug-fueled night out with them, Joe wakes up to find himself in familiar territory: a dead body is in his apartment, the first of many.

Malcolm, a fellow professor who lived in the flat across from him, is stabbed and splayed across Joe’s kitchen table — and Joe has no idea how he got there.

Still, it wasn’t until Simon Soo, an aspiring artist who was also a member of Joe’s London clique, was murdered that the concept of a mass serial killer took off.

Eventually, the media dubs the perpetrator of the ongoing murders the “Eat the Rich” killer, for his list of high-net-worth victims.

In the final minutes of Part One, we learn revealed that Rhys Montrose (Ed Speleers), a memoirist running for the Mayor of London, was the real killer.

Episode Five ended with Joe determined to expose Rhys for his crimes, which leads us to the revelations from Part Two…

Joe learns his secret connection to Rhys

When Part Two opens, Joe is still trying to connect Rhys with the murders and, in doing so, clear his own name.

Rhys, however, has the upper hand: He shares that he has kidnapped Marienne. Joe must kill Kate’s father Tom (Greg Kinnear), a corrupt businessman, to find out where Marienne is being kept. 

Ed Speleers as Rhys, Penn Badgley as Joe Goldberg
Which one is Joe? Which one is Rhys? Pictured: Ed Speelers and Penn Badgley.Netflix

And so, off Joe goes.

Joe gets Tom alone, but the billionaire admits he knows Joe’s real identity. Tom blackmails Joe and demands he kill Rhys. So, Joe travels to Rhys’ home in the countryside and knocks on his door.

Rhys claims he has never seen Joe before, but Joe bypasses his protestations, knocking him out and shackling him to a chair.

Rhys repeatedly claims he does not know who Joe is, sending the murderer into a fit of rage. Joe kills Rhys, but then he sees him reappear in an imaginary form.

Joe slowly realizes that the Rhys he has been talking to throughout Season Four has been a figment of his imagination. 

That means Joe is Rhys. He is the killer.

Nadia discovers what really happened to Marienne

As Joe grapples with his mind playing tricks on him, his student Nadia (Amy-Leigh Hickman) grows more suspicious of her American professor.

Suspecting he is linked to the Eat the Rich killings, she breaks into his apartment. She finds a clue that leads her to an abandoned underground passage.

Deep below the surface, the college student finds Marienne being held captive in Joe’s famous glass box (which somehow was taken across the Atlantic and through airport security). The two plan her escape. 

Penn Badgley, Amy Leigh Hickman
Joe Goldberg pretending to be professor Jonathan Moore with his student Nadia Farran, played by Amy-Leigh Hickman.Netflix

This is what happened to Marienne

Episode Eight is told through Marienne’s perspective, with flashbacks showing exactly how Joe captured her and put her in his ever-present cage.

As Part One showed, Joe did track Marienne down in London. However, instead of simply stealing her necklace and letting her go, he drugged and kidnapped her.

While holding Marienne hostage, Joe became obsessed with the real Rhys and the redemption story he penned in his memoir.

The episode confirms Joe never met or befriended the real Rhys. Joe only learned about repeatedly listening to Rhys’ audiobook. 

After building his glass cage (which he previously constructed in each season of “You”), Joe tried to move Marienne into the soundproof box. Marienne still had fight in her. She developed a plan to feign being unconscious and attack Joe. He overpowered her, though, pushing her to the ground, breaking her arm and forcing her into the cage.

As Joe looked at the pain he has caused the woman he supposedly loves, he couldn't bear it. He slammed his head into the glass, signaling the moment the darkest parts of himself were separated into an imaginary version of Rhys. 

In the present day, Joe finally accepts that he hallucinated his entire relationship with Rhys, meaning he killed Malcolm, Simon and Gemma. He also remembers kidnapping Marienne, who he has not checked on or fed in weeks. He returns to the underground shelter and faces Marienne. 

Nadia helps Marienne escape

After narrowly avoiding Joe catching her near the cage, Nadia suggests to Marienne that they contact the police. But Marienne, knowing how many murders Joe has gotten away with in the past, is adamant that the police will not help. They initially come up with a plan to kill Joe. 

Tati Gabrielle
Marienne regrets the day she ever let Joe work in the library. Pictured: Tati Gabrielle.Netflix

Meanwhile, the fictional version of Rhys repeatedly tells Joe to kill Marienne. Joe is also worried about Tom exposing him for killing the real Rhys. Joe then has a trippy dream sequence in which he imagines previous victims Beck (Elizabeth Lail), Love (Victoria Pedretti) and Gemma calling him out on his violent and vicious behavior.

When he returns to reality and the cage, he finds Marienne, a recovering addict, lying on the ground next to a bottle of pills. He assumes she killed herself after he read text messages on her phone about her losing custody of her daughter, Juliette. He takes her body from the cage and leaves her on a park bench. 

Nadia, still considering how to get Joe arrested, reveals to her boyfriend Eddie (Brad Alexander) that she helped Marienne fake her death.

The two came up with a backup plan that involved Nadia sending the texts about Juliette to Marienne’s phone. The college student gave Marienne pills to slow her heartbeat. Nadia later found Marienne on the park bench and revived her. 

Marienne is later shown reuniting with her daughter in Paris, finally free from Joe’s obsession. Phew! 

Joe fully embraces his murderous side

Believing he is responsible for Marienne’s death, Joe plans to kill himself as an act of contrition. He decides to kill Kate’s father first as payback for constantly manipulating her and influencing her life path without her consent (a no no, in the Joe Goldberg code of ethics).

He murders Tom and then walks across a bridge. As he looks down at the water, an imaginary Rhys begs Joe not to end their life. Joe is convinced that killing himself is the only way to remove Rhys from his psyche, so he jumps. 

Joe awakens in a hospital with Kate sitting beside him. She reveals that her father left his entire empire to her. She also implies that she knows Joe is responsible for Rhys’ death.

With that, Joe comes clean and shares his real name with Kate (remember, the real Joe is supposedly dead). He then tells Kate that he has killed people. Her reaction suggests that she is sympathetic, not afraid. 

Charlotte Ritchie as Kate, Penn Badgley as Joe
Kate and Joe in "You." Has he finally met his match? Pictured: Charlotte Ritchie and Penn Badgley.Netflix

Nadia's mission to take down Joe is not successful

Now that Marienne is free, Nadia decides to return to Joe’s apartment to find evidence against him. While she searches, Eddie acts as her look-out and talks to her on the phone. Nadia grabs what she needs.

Her luck quickly runs out. As she leaves the apartment, she runs into Joe. He threatens her — and then, she notices Eddie’s lifeless body on the ground. 

Joe explains that he left a box of Rhys’ belongings in Nadia’s apartment, connecting her to his murder and the others. He also sent an anonymous tip to the police, which he says authorities will assume came from Eddie before she killed him, too.  

He leaves Nadia quivering on the street. Viewers learn in a voiceover that Nadia is in prison and has not tried to defend herself or claim innocence, likely fearing the retaliation that Marienne warned her about. 

Amy-Leigh Hickman
A fearful Nadia in Episode 403 of "You." Pictured: Amy-Leigh Hickman.Netflix

Bye bye, Jonathan Moore! Hello, Joe Goldberg!

In the final scene, Joe reclaims his identity and returns to his beloved New York, now with Kate by his side. He runs a bookstore; she runs her father's empire.

Joe and Kate, a veritable power couple, give an interview to New York Magazine. He lies about killing Love and running away to escape an abusive relationship. 

Joe now has custody of his son Henry and has Kate’s money and power to support his rehabilitated image.

More importantly, he has fully embraced his murderous side. Rhys is not in the background anymore: He is Rhys. Joe says killing is now “one of the many tools” he has to help him change the world. 

He applauds himself for being “honest” about who he is. Looking in the mirror, his reflection shows an image of Rhys, indicating that his villainous side has completely consumed him.

What’s next for Joe? 

Now that Joe has shed any remaining traces of his humanity, he will likely fully lean into being a killer.

The season finale did not reveal how many secrets Joe shared with Kate, leaving the door open for her to learn more about his past in future episodes ... and who knows if she'll like what she finds out.

Charlotte Ritchie as Kate, Penn Badgley as Joe Goldberg
Watch out, Kate!Netflix

Until Netflix makes an official renewal announcement, we’ll be busy wondering how long it will take for Joe to reconstruct his glass cage this time.