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Every Season of You, Ranked from Worst to Best

Ranking All Seasons of You from Worst to Best
Image Source: IMDb

Every Season of You, Ranked from Worst to Best

The end of our story remains unwritten.

You has kept people on the edge of their seats throughout its run, leaving viewers obsessed with seeing how far Joe Goldberg can go when it comes to his romantic obsessions. Even after four seasons and some admittedly worn out tropes being recycled, we keep watching to see where its problematic yet engaging characters will end up. All good things must come to an end though, and with Season 4 wrapping up the series, we decided to attempt to rank every season of You from worst to best.

4. Season 2

Ranking All Seasons of You from Worst to Best
Image Source: IMDb

Season 2 of You is undoubtedly the worst in the series.

This isn’t because it’s awful, but because it’s the most forgettable. Joe is forced to move to Los Angeles, leaving New York behind to create a new identity that allows him to escape his past. From here, he meets new people ranging from his neighbors Delilah, Ellie, and Forty to the aspiring chef Love.

With the original season becoming such a hit, Netflix might have thought that they only needed to slightly tweak the formula. They could have the same protagonist, but would put him in a different city with a different girl. This wouldn’t alter the basic premise too much, and would still lead to the same great reception.

Sadly, this wouldn’t work out how they were hoping. When you strip Joe from New York, something does feel odd, new, and exciting. But then, when you explore the same tropes in similar ways, it just becomes repetitive and predictable.

Even Joe’s new obsession Love, while an epic new addition to the cast, doesn’t truly come into her own until season 3. All we see initially is Love’s weird dynamic with her twin brother Forty, and Joe trying to avoid repeating the same actions regarding his romantic relationships. Plus, the whole plot with Candace from season 1 being alive was just unnecessary.

It’s the weakest part of an otherwise great show, and will definitely serve as a hurdle for any newcomers.

Related: ‘You’ Season 4 Part 2 Is a Complete Betrayal That Wants Us To Feel Bad for Rich People on The Mary Sue

3. Season 4

Ranking All Seasons of You from Worst to Best
Image Source: IMDb

While not bad, You season 4 feels, at times, like a different show. Part of this is due to the Netflix trend of releasing each season in two parts and leaving most of the interesting aspects for part two, but there are less systemic issues.

In the first half of season 4, Joe fakes his own death and flees to Europe to track Marienne and ends up becoming an English teacher in London. He then befriends a group of privileged socialites which helps to keep the show’s satirical tone. While Joe doesn’t fall into his tropes immediately, as he simply looks out from his window, he invites problems in and finds himself in the middle of a murder mystery; the kind of attention he is trying to escape from.

Season 4 works because it isn’t as heavily carried by plot twists, instead allowing Penn Badgley to keep it afloat with his charisma. We’re in turn left to decide if the plot twists are actually good, which isn’t the easiest task because what counts as good in the universe of You is something else entirely when compared to other shows. The fact that Joe is playing cat-and-mouse with himself is quite genius, but makes the season hard to rewatch knowing that the one who did it was, yet again, Joe.

2. Season 1

Ranking All Seasons of You from Worst to Best
Image Source: Netflix

The first season, as the OG, deserves recognition, and just because it didn’t earn first place on the list doesn’t mean it wasn’t great.

When it premiered, it brought something new to the table and was a major success. It was the season that introduced us to our multifaceted and troubled protagonist, who at the time was the manager of a bookstore in New York. It took on the grand mission of creating a very specific tone and environment to convince the spectators to keep watching and see how far Joe would go.

While this season is more about the story and setup rather than about the characters, it still allows for a witty narrative with Joe as the narrator. Moreover, it’s quite fun to see Joe making some mistakes as he hasn’t perfected his craft, and no other season could replicate the New York intellectual scene which seems to be the perfect fit for such a pretentious protagonist.

Plus, this is the most realistic season because it’s understandable why Beck and Joe fall for each other. Ample time is given to explain how and why the couple get together, fall apart, and ultimately come up against each other in a way that ties every aspect of the story together. Guinevere Beck will forever be remembered as the first victim of Joe’s sociopathic obsession, and his cage in the basement will always be iconic.

However, season 1 fails the most regarding its rewatch potential because it relies too much on the surprise factor. Once you see where the story goes and how it gets there, it’s never as exciting to see play out as it was that first time. This makes it less of a high point fans can look forward to when returning to the show and more of a necessary obstacle. That, and Beck’s friends are quite irritating compared to the more likeable characters introduced in later seasons.

1. Season 3

Ranking All Seasons of You from Worst to Best
Image Source: IMDb

After its second season felt so bland, You needed to reinvent itself to survive. Luckily, it did that and then some.

Joe and Love’s relationship survives a season of struggles, allowing for their dynamic to be further fleshed out and built upon. Season 3 sees them get married and move to Madre Linda, a fictitious Californian suburb, to raise their newborn child.

The change in surroundings and building of a family couldn’t contain Joe’s nature, but Love was there to help him not to fall into the same tropes. And, of course, with his lovely partner showcasing her abilities to kill, there was a sort of foil for the show’s protagonist to contend with. As Joe sees he has found his match in dark obsessions and compulsions, he begins to lose interest in Love and even ends up killing her in a tragic way.

It was a breath of fresh air to see someone on the same level as Joe, and to see both of them trying to overcome their nature unsuccessfully. Likewise, this was a season that whole-heartedly focused on the characters, even introducing more additions to the cast which, at times, felt chaotic in what they brought to the show and how they impacted the plot. Yet, with more people in Joe’s life, his actions became harder to conceal and that much more engaging to watch play out.

It was a culmination of what You could be, and remains a high point that serves as the prime example of the show’s strengths.

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