Warning: Contains SPOILERS for You season 4 part 2!After several twists in the Eat the Rich Killer plot, does Joe Goldberg die in You season 4 part 2? The fourth season of Netflix’s show put Penn Badgley’s character in a very different situation, as he was investigating the identity of a killer instead of constantly covering up his tracks after murdering people. While You season 4 part 1 made it appear as though Rhys Montrose was the Eat the Rich Killer and responsible for manipulating Joe, part 2 delivered major revelations on this front that made Joe Goldberg’s fate unclear as the finale unfolded.
Speculation about Joe dying in You season 4 part 2 came after the first five episodes, as Rhys was positioned as a tactical genius who was always two steps ahead of Joe, so the idea that he could eventually kill the show’s lead was conceivable. However, You season 4’s ending revealed the truth, that Joe Goldberg was the Eat the Rich Killer, making the Rhys featured on the show a figment of his imagination and personification of his dark side. This took a toll on Joe as he contemplated killing himself, and the truth about if Joe died in You season 4 is a bit more complicated than expected.
Joe Goldberg Doesn’t Technically Die In You Season 4
Joe Goldberg does not die in You season 4 in a physical sense. After learning that he was the Eat the Rich Killer, had secretly kidnapped Marienne, and believing that she was another one of his love interests to die, Joe begins to consider making changes seriously. This includes ending the cycle that he is routinely part of, leading him to think that suicide is the only way to keep Kate and others safe. The result is Joe and his hallucination of Rhys walking to a bridge, Joe tossing over the manifestation of his serial killer urges, and then jumping off the bridge himself.
Joe is found by local police officers who patrol the area for jumpers, and while he momentarily dies, he is revived. At first, Joe is in disbelief that he is still alive, but he is also thankful as he had a change of heart while drowning. He wanted to swim and save himself so he could be with Kate again. Once he awakes in the hospital, Joe tells Kate the truth about his past as they vow to make each other good and start a new life together. So instead of Joe dying in You season 4, he is reborn with a new outlook on life and perspective on himself.
Joe Embracing Being A Killer Shows He Let A Part Of Himself Die
Although Joe does not die in You season 4, he does let a part of himself die by embracing his true nature as a killer. The entirety of You has portrayed Joe Goldberg as a man willing to kill to protect the ones he loves or to help get what he wants. The rationalization of Joe’s killings was abandoned for You season 4, as he wanted to prove that he was more than just a love-obsessed killer. It is why the show has repeatedly framed him as being haunted by the people he’s killed, which continued as Guinevere Beck and Love Quinn return in You season 4 cameos.
Instead of attempting to keep fooling himself, Joe kills the “good” part of himself that wanted to block out his killing tendencies by the end of part 2. This transformation does not fully take place until after Joe nearly drowns, as throwing the hallucinated Rhys into the water was a final attempt to get rid of that part of his personality. However, Joe seeing Rhys’ reflection in the window in You season 4’s ending shows that the killer side of him has fully returned and the other part of himself died instead.
Joe Leaves Jonathan Moore Behind In You Season 4
Joe Goldberg goes a step further to disassociate his life from what came before by leaving the Jonathan Moore identity behind. Joe has used various fake names throughout the course of You, but Jonathan Moore was the version of him that he created to try and leave the killing behind. This is when he was supposed to be at his best about not murdering anyone, even though trying to leave that part of himself behind is what created the Rhys hallucinations as he became the Eat the Rich Killer. Joe’s decision to reclaim his original identity shows that he’s left Jonathan Moore behind for good after You season 4.
Now that Jonathan Moore is no more, Joe Goldberg’s killer self will once again be the focal point of You season 5. There is no more confusion on his end about who he wants to be. Joe is free to kill now that he has even more resources at his disposal to cover his tracks. His decision to kill Eddie and frame Nadia for the murder in the finale perfectly shows the newfound power he thinks he has. That means that not only did Joe not die in You season 4, but he could even more bloodthirsty in season 5.
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