‘You’ star Penn Badgley didn’t want to do any more intimate scenes

The Netflix hit You with Penn Badgley made his much-anticipated return for Season 4, Part 1 on Thursday, but one thing fans of the series may notice is that there’s a lot less intimacy in the five new episodes that have just been released.

This shift was intentional and Badgley revealed on his podcast, pod crushed, alongside Nava Kavelin and Sophie Ansari, that he asked the show’s creator, Sera Gamble, if he could do more intimacy scenes.

“One of the most important things is do I want to embark on a career path where I’m always just the romantic lead?” Badgle said.

“Fidelity in every relationship and especially in my marriage is important to me. … I’ve just gotten to a point where I don’t want to do that anymore. And before I did the show, of course, the question is do I have a career if I don’t?”

While pondering this before taking over the show, Badgley got to the point where he informed Gamble that his desire would be to eliminate his intimate scenes entirely.

“But I signed this contract, I signed up for this show,” Badgley said. “You can’t remove that aspect from the DNA of the concept, so how much less can you make of it, was my question to her, and she didn’t even bat an eyelid.”

“She was really glad that I was being honest, … she had a really positive reaction. She appreciated my directness and she appreciated that I was [being] reasonable and practical, and they came back with a phenomenal reduction.”

Penn Badgley as Joe Goldberg on episode 401 of You.  (netflix)

Penn Badgley as Joe Goldberg on episode 401 of You. (netflix)

What is You Season 4 Part 1 about?

Joe (Badgley) has taken on a new identity in London after Season 3, during which he was on the run after murdering his wife Love (Victoria Pedretti) and faking his own death. He is now Professor Jonathan Moore and teaches a course in American Iconoclasts of the Short Story.

“No love. No people. Just books,” Joe says offscreen, as a kind of mantra for his new life.

But of course, even if he tries to hide, Joe can’t help but be a stalker.

Across the alley from his apartment, Joe can see through his rear window straight into the home of his pompous colleague Malcolm and his kind friend Kate (Charlotte Ritchie).

“Not my circus, not my monkeys,” Joe tries to convince himself as his curiosity about who Kate is reaches its peak.

(L to R) Penn Badgley as Joe, Tilly Keeper as Lady Phoebe, Luke Gage as Adam in Episode 401 of You.  (netflix)

(L to R) Penn Badgley as Joe, Tilly Keeper as Lady Phoebe, Luke Gage as Adam in Episode 401 of You. (netflix)

Through Malcolm, Joe meets a selection of London celebrities, all of whom are unbearable, which makes Joe seem far from the worst person in the room, which is really scary.

They include Lady Phoebe (Tilly Keeper), Kate’s royal friend who has been the subject of British tabloids since she was 15. Phoebe is dating Adam (Lukas Gage), who opened the exclusive club Sundry House and is the son of a successful American magnate. Then there’s Gemma (Eve Austin), a friend who met this group in Oxford and is incredibly obnoxious. Blessing (Ozioma Whenu) is a Nigerian princess who works in engineering. Simon (Aidan Cheng) is the son of a billionaire and loves to play the role of “tormented artist”, while his sister Sophie became an influencer after realizing that becoming a lawyer was a lot easier than her plans.

Roald (Ben Wiggins) is the epitome of a European aristocrat and is particularly skeptical of Joe from the start. He’s kind of obsessed with Kate and has this kind of dark side.

Then there’s Rhys (Ed Speleers), the author of a famous memoir that chronicles his life from living with an unstable single mother in poverty to discovering he is a duke’s son. He also has his eye on a possible move into politics and when he meets Joe at Sundry House, Rhys is the first person Joe can actually have an intelligent conversation with.

(L to R) Penn Badgley as Joe Goldberg, Stephen Hagan as Malcolm in Episode 401 of You.  (netflix)

(L to R) Penn Badgley as Joe Goldberg, Stephen Hagan as Malcolm in Episode 401 of You. (netflix)

After a night of drinking and drugs at the Sundry House, Malcolm takes Joe home to his apartment. Joe wakes up the next morning to find Malcolm lying dead on his desk, with a knife in his chest.

This is just the first in a series of murders by the “Eat The Rich” killer, who not only kills members of Joe’s new circle of friends, but also sends anonymous messages to Joe. The news reveals that this mysterious person knows about Joe’s true identity, which leads our protagonist on a mysterious murder case to find out who this blackmailer is.

Tati Gabrielle as Marienne in episode 401 of You.  (netflix)

Tati Gabrielle as Marienne in episode 401 of You. (netflix)

What Happens to Marienne in You Season 4?

Joe may be hiding in London, but that’s not really what brought him to this European adventure. He originally went to Paris to find Marienne (Tati Gabrielle), but was informed by a local who was selling her art that Marienne was in London for an art fair.

So Joe was on the road again and managed to find Marienne who runs away as soon as she sees him and is afraid of this person who she now knows is a murderer.

Joe manages to corner her and she asks if there have been any other murders. Joe’s answer is just silence. She calls him a murderer and he claims she’s wrong about him, and he’s about to prove it to her just before saying “goodbye”.

After this confrontation, Joe meets a man, Elliot (Adam James), who was hired by Love’s father to kill him. But Elliot doesn’t want to hurt people anymore, so he presents Joe with an alternate identity, Jonathan Moore.

“Just go, be Jonathan,” says Elliot.

But Marienne knows Joe is alive, so Elliot instructs Joe that he must kill her lest she reveal where he is and tells him to meet her at the train station the next morning. Joe goes to the station, but instead of killing her, he steals her locket and takes a picture of it to send to Elliot as “proof”.

Penn Badgley as Joe Goldberg on episode 401 of You.  (netflix)

Penn Badgley as Joe Goldberg on episode 401 of You. (netflix)

What’s different about season 4 of You?

Review of season 4 of YouBadgley emphasized on his podcast that “for better or for worse,” each season of the show “ends spectacularly in a really intense way.”

“Every time I think how are they going to keep it convincing? How does it not get tired? I know they ask the same questions. and they always do,” he said.

A key aspect of this season of the show that sets it apart from its past is that we’ve gone from a thriller to a crime/mystery, which gives the series a different energy.

“The suspense device has to be used differently,” Badgley explained.

Yes, You is still dramatic and features all the creepy voice-overs of Joe thinking to himself, but it’s particularly enticing to see Joe evolving from stalker to the person being stalked while we wait to see how the mystery unfolds in Part 2 when it releases on March 9.


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