In the fourth season of the Netflix series “You,” Joe Goldberg found himself entangled in a whodunit, and he was forced to read all the books on the genre (though he considered it the lowest form of literature) to get an idea of who the killer might be. Joe had recently moved to London, and though he wanted to keep a low profile, he became a part of the most elitist and snobbish group of people in town.
Joe had noticed all the neo-fascists present in the most exclusive club in Soho, and he had come to the realization that a huge gap existed in society, and no matter what he did or how much he tried, he couldn’t be half as rich as his new clan. Inequality was always deeply rooted in society, but Joe came face to face with it when he met the aristocrats like Roald, Lady Phoebe, Gemma, Connie, Simon, Adam and others. These people, who were showing off their flamboyant lifestyles and partying like there was no tomorrow, could afford to be apathetic in life, and they were loaded with so much family money that they could easily discard the facts that didn’t align with their beliefs. They were hollow from within, and there was no substance to any of them. Some showed the potential of not being so stereotypical, but then they felt like the odd one out and to blend in, they jumped right into the pool where trivial and inconsequential matters were given so much significance like they were the biggest decisions of one’s life.
Joe felt exhausted in a couple of minutes, and he didn’t find even a single person with whom he could have a normal conversation until he met an obscure man, who was an outsider even after being on the inside, and he observed everybody just like Joe did. This man was Rhys Montrose, who had written a memoir called “A Good Man in a Cruel World” and shared quite a lot of similarities with Joe. Rhys had a difficult childhood and was raised by a single mother, but unlike Joe, a twist in his life changed everything. Rhys came to know that he was the son of the Duke of Kingston-Upon-Hull, and from there on, he wrote his success story and made sure that he made something out of the newly acquired privilege.
Rhys’ life had the most perfect arc anyone could ask for: he had witnessed poverty, which ensured that when he became privileged, he would not take it for granted, as the others in the group did. Earning one’s livelihood and accomplishing materialistic goals is the biggest struggle in the life of a majority of people, but once you remove that from the equation, it becomes a whole new ballgame. People who are born into aristocracy do not understand what it means to be on the other side, which is why they, more often than not, waste their resources and their lives. Rhys had seen the best and worst of both worlds; he could relate to Joe as much as he could empathize with the elites.
Rhys always said that the thing about suddenly acquiring that kind of money when one had none at one point in time was that they never really felt that they were so rich that they could do anything in this world. It made his insight about others very accurate, and his observations covered a wider spectrum as compared to Joe’s because he had been on both sides. In their first conversation, Joe told him that he loved his memoir and didn’t find it sordid in any way. Even Rhys was intrigued by Joe’s persona, and something told him that they would strike a chord in the future. Rhys liked the way Joe thought, and he could relate to the ideologies of the mysterious professor who had all of a sudden popped out of nowhere. There was an air of mystery around Joe, who was hiding his real identity, and that’s what intrigued Rhys even more. He started reading between the lines and researching Joe’s past because clearly, the made-up story of how Jonathan Moore came to London was not at all convincing for him. The moment Rhys saw Joe, he knew that he had lived a truly hellish life and that he was damaged in all sorts of ways imaginable. Joe felt this strange connection with him, which is why he didn’t lie to him or pretend to be someone he wasn’t.
When Joe woke up after the Sundry House party, he found the dead body of Malcolm lying on his dining table. At first, Joe thought that he might have murdered him, as he was too intoxicated to remember anything, but then slowly, he started realizing that somebody else was behind it. When Joe was drunk at the party, somebody took his phone and installed a high-security chatting app called Evanesce. Joe started receiving messages from an anonymous person who had murdered Malcolm and left the body at Joe’s place to see how he dealt with the situation after that. Following that, Simon died on the day of his exhibition, and the media branded the murderer as the “Eat the Rich Killer,” and people learned that both acts were committed by the same person. Joe started snooping around, and he got to know that Malcolm and Simon had secrets that they hadn’t told anybody. Malcolm maintained a diary, through which Joe got to know that his fellow professor knew about the flings that Adam Pratt used to have and the controversial nature of the acts that he liked performing with his partners. Malcolm also knew that Simon never lifted a brush and instead, used the paintings made by his assistants for his exhibitions.
Joe knew that the killer would be someone from the group of people who came to the Sundry House, though he kept Rhys off the list of suspects because he probably had a personal bias for him. How could he entertain the possibility that the only man he connected with at the party was a sociopath who murdered for fun? But Joe was wrong in thinking so, as Rhys was the “Eat the Rich killer,” and he had various reasons that gave him a motive for the murders. Rhys believed that redemption was possible if one faced the consequences of their actions head-on. He desperately wanted to figure out who Joe was in reality and what he was capable of.
Rhys had a perfect picture in his mind of how he wanted Joe to be. It is like how fans think that their favorite actors would be, and that illusion is broken as soon as they get to know them personally. But Joe was an innately intuitive man, and he knew that in order to bring the ‘Eat the Rich Killer’ out of hiding, he needed to give him what he wanted. Once Joe cracked his pattern, he started saying things over the chat that he knew would appease the killer. In the fifth episode of the series, “You,” Rhys finally exposes his real identity and comes in front of Joe. Rhys really despised rich people, and he had been killing them because it was part of a psychotic project that he was running.
Rhys was also finding it hard to ascertain behavioral patterns of Joe, and every time he thought that he knew the man, Joe did something contrary to his understanding. Rhys promised Joe that he would tell him everything, provided he killed Roald, who was chained to a wall, in the same secret chamber of the Hampsbridge House. Rhys wanted to put the blame for all the murders on Roald, and he very unabashedly told this to Joe as if there was nothing problematic with it. It seemed like Joe was Rhys’ inspiration, and he had learned a lot about how to conceal the truth and escape scrutiny by thoroughly going over his criminal history. Joe, on the other hand, was disappointed and mad at himself for getting played and becoming a puppet who had to now appease Rhys to come out of that dungeon alive. When Rhys came back, he found Joe struggling with the chains, and he realized that he had been faking it all along and that he was not exactly feeling what he was saying. Rhys told Joe that he was disappointed in him, as he believed that the latter was in serious denial about himself. According to Rhys, people like Roald and Malcolm had done enough to be killed in such a brutal manner. They were just scum for him who needed to be removed in order to tip the scales and make things a little bit fair.
While going, Rhys said something that made us realize the kind of man he was: he said that he would like to restart things with Joe if he managed to come out of the dungeon alive. That means he really hoped that Joe would become the person he had dreamed about. He was on this insane quest of killing the privileged and undeserving and, at the same time, finding a person who understood his sensibilities and was like his spirit animal. In a parallel world, if Joe had been exactly what Rhys had expected him to be, then the latter would have felt a sense of completion. There was an incessant urge inside him that wanted Joe to be by his side. He could have easily killed Joe, but what would have been the fun in that? He knew that it was a big risk to leave somebody alive who knew who Rhys really was, but he wanted to give him another chance. Rhys was not doing it for Joe, but he wanted to get satisfaction from knowing that Joe had embraced his inner animal and was ready to do what was needed.
In Part 2 of the fourth season of the series, “You,” we would probably see them come face to face once again, and it would be ascertained which path Joe decides to walk on, i.e., whether he joins forces with Rhys or his savior complex makes him his arch-nemesis. Rhys had publicly announced his candidacy for Mayor of London, which has spiced things up even more. Joe embraced the fact that he was in a love-hate relationship with Rhys, as there were times he despised him, and there were also times when he couldn’t help but marvel at his moves. Rhys went on air and said that the people were angry and tired of the widening rift between the rich and the poor and that their plight had been overlooked for a long time now. It felt like he was reading out his election manifesto, but still, it was potent enough to stir strong public sentiments. Joe couldn’t help but admire his ability to blend in with the wealthy while also becoming a true communist when the time came. In the upcoming episodes, we will get to know if Joe is able to stop Rhys or if the future mayor kills off the rich one by one.