WARNING! This article contains SPOILERS for You season 4.Season 4 part 2 of You came to an epic conclusion which found Joe Goldberg evolving into his most dangerous self, but there still remains a sizable amount of residual evidence, particularly witnesses, that have the opportunity to implicate him in his crimes. You season 4 made audiences believe he finally met a true contender in exceeding his depravity, someone who was wicked enough that they could make Joe reconcile with the demons that lay within himself. When Joe realizes that a worse person doesn’t exist and that the “Eat The Rich” killer is him, he chooses to accept himself in all his perversion.
Now that Joe is the most inclined to act on his urges, and because he’s become safeguarded by the connections of his wealthy lover Kate, capturing him appears to be entirely more difficult. Naturally, Joe’s transformation prompted lingering questions in the You Netflix series, especially concerning the characters Joe left behind in residuary damage before escaping into his next life. According to You showrunner Sera Gamble, there are several people in Joe’s history that could return to bring him down, “Any character who’s not dead who knows anything about Joe, it’s fair game to exert justice. And any character who is dead, [Joe] has a really active imagination” (via People).
Ellie is perhaps the audience’s favorite possibility in terms of previous characters who may make a You season 5 return. Joe meets his neighbor Ellie, portrayed by actress Jenna Ortega, during his season 2 stint in Los Angeles, and although he forces his way into her life with the justification of protecting her, Ellie is left deeply distrusting of Joe. Fans were disappointed to hear Jenna Ortega’s You season 4 return was disrupted by her participation in the series Wednesday, and their disappointment was warranted, considering Ellie’s narrative was cut way too short.
Ellie is not completely gone from the show just yet, though. Joe mentions in You season 3 that he continues his obligation to Ellie by supporting her financially, but audiences are aware that what he believes to be help also clears his conscience about Ellie’s deceased sister, Delilah. Ellie has always been cognizant of Joe’s fishy behavior, and her apprehensiveness surrounding the circumstances of Delilah’s death could bring her back to confront Joe. The genuine impact he’s had on her life may have initiated Joe’s suppression of the scope of Ellie’s pain, but Joe is susceptible to Ellie, and substantially if their periodic communication is able to unveil his location.
Luca Padovan’s character Paco appears in You season 1 and is another young neighbor Joe develops an obsessive parental fixation on. Joe wants to protect Paco from his neglectful mother and her abusive boyfriend, which gives rise to the false sense of trust and security Paco finds in Joe. By the time Joe does the “virtuous” deed of murdering Paco’s abuser, it’s obvious that Joe has taken advantage of Paco’s instinct to keep his head down and avoid conflict. Paco remains one of You’s survivors with a fairly happy ending – which in this case is simply living – but his dynamic with Joe is also one of the most complicated.
Throughout season 1 of You, the young next door neighbor is seen crying out for help – he’s frequently hungry, often sits on the stairwell to steer clear of the nightmare at home, and he is starved enough of attention that he befriends the stranger next door. Paco’s innocence and abuse history make his friendship with Joe and subsequent blind eye to Joe’s transgressions woefully justifiable. It’s not hard to hope that Paco can grow to learn the brevity of his time living next to serial killer Joe Goldberg, but it is difficult to know he’d have to process a lot of trauma in order to face Joe once again.
7 Dr. Nicky
After the death of Peach Salinger, You season 1 introduces Dr. Nicky (John Stamos) as Guinevere Beck’s therapist and one of Joe’s earliest onscreen rivals. Although John Stamos’ character is currently in prison, framed by Joe as a result of having an affair with Beck, Dr. Nicky’s season 2 interaction with Love’s brother Forty could foreshadow his return in the future of You. Forty had been on to Joe before being murdered, and despite Dr. Nicky refusing to admit what he knows of Joe’s crimes and secrets, the surprise visit may have confirmed any suspicions of Joe for Dr. Nicky and could prompt him to revisit Beck’s slanderous novel for clues.
Sherry Conrad’s season 3 role as Madre Linda’s most pompous “Momfluencer” did not protect her from getting swept up in the lethal drama of Love and Joe. However, Sherry (Shalita Grant) capitalizes off of the harrowing kidnappings she and her husband endured, marketing the experience they had under Love and Joe as a form of couple’s therapy. Sherry could be too caught up in the resulting fame, and it may be why she hasn’t pursued justice for the You season 3 plot points that dictated her capture; but now that Joe is back in the media and modifying the Love narrative, Sherry could resurface with her own point of view.
Sherry’s husband Cary, portrayed by Travis Van Winkle, has witnessed Joe’s depravity first-hand, and it happens way before he and his wife are kidnapped and locked in Joe’s glass box. In the season 3, episode 5 hunting trip that is meant for Joe to unleash his deepest animal instinct, Joe shoves Cary off of a cliff causing Joe to believe he’s killed the Madre Linda husband. Cary recovers in that episode, praising Joe for his fearless masculinity, but the conclusion of You season 3 raises questions to how Cary feels about Joe upon the consideration of their comprehensive history and Joe’s new narrative as the hapless victim to Love Quinn.
Former obsession Marienne Bellamy (Tati Gabrielle) is an undeniable candidate in the long list of characters who may finally be able to defeat Joe. Aside from his current love interest, You’s season 4 Londoner Kate Galvin, Marienne is the only survivor of Joe’s romantic compulsions. Marienne knows, and declares to Nadia in season 4, part 2 that Joe needs to die in order for her and her daughter to live without fear or repercussions; and her successful escape from Joe conveniently sets up a potential You season 5 confrontation between the two.
Marienne has certain advantages in defeating Joe that many other victims or witnesses do not. While Joe has killed and captured dozens, Marienne is one of the few who has gotten to know Joe personally, or as close to personally as possible, and has seen the evolution of the Joe she met in the Madre Linda library to the Joe who has kidnaped her while completely dissociated. Because she survives and escapes Joe by tricking him into thinking she is dead, Marienne is rife with opportunity in Joe’s demise if she wants to take it.
It may seem as though Joe takes a liking to You’s season 4 character Nadia, but her fate proves that Joe has no qualms in taking down anyone who could expose him. Nadia is arguably Joe’s most dangerous contender, and her wit and intelligence makes her the quickest to connect the pseudonym Jonathan Moore to the killer Joe Goldberg. Ultimately, Joe is able to frame Nadia by the end of season 4 part 2, but there is a saving grace in that Marienne’s escape could help free Nadia – and they could take down Joe together.
Kate Galvin, who is played by actress Charlotte Ritchie, appears to be the lover that finally accepts Joe for the monster that he is. You season 4 suggests Joe confesses to being the murderer dubbed the “Eat The Rich” killer when Kate visits him in hospital – while she seems to take Joe in with open arms, the You series never disappoints in disguising who people really are. If Kate does indeed have incriminating information on Joe and plans to use it for good, her motive could stem from her own redemption story and the desire to become a better person than her dad.
It’s amazing that Love Quinn’s flame Theo (Dylan Arnold) was able to make it out alive in the You series, especially because he was witness to Sherry and Cary locked in Joe’s glass cage. Of You’s list of characters, Theo most represented some semblance of morality, and his survival may mark an inquisition into his former lover Love and the couple she locked in her bakery basement. It’s too early to guess who will bring Joe to his ultimate demise in You‘s future – but too many characters know too much about him, and it will be exhilarating for audiences to see just who gets to bring him down for good.
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