Thank the stars above that Netflix decided to only have a one-month gap in between half-seasons. You Season 4 Part 2 is the show at peak greatness. Delivering twist after twist may be like second nature at this point, but the grandness of the shocking turn taken only two episodes into this welcome return-to-form left my jaw on the floor. Anchoring it all is another masterful performance from Penn Badgley; at this point, he must know Joe Goldberg like the back of his hand. I would say that judging by the trajectory of the series, ending in a fifth-season blaze of glory could certainly help to close You out on a memorable, satiating high.

Picking up directly after that absolutely wicked cliffhanger, would-be mayor Rhys (Ed Speleers) has been revealed as the Eat the Rich killer, but Joe (Badgley) aka Jonathan is the only one aware of his true identity. Referring to her as the “one person worth saving in all the chaos,” Joe’s infatuation with Kate (Charlotte Ritchie) has continued to blossom. Can he truly be a changed man, a hero to the masses? The media certainly sees him as such, especially in the wake of the fire that broke out at Hempsie House. He cannot seriously let Rhys get away with this, but how does one get a man alone in such a potentially high seat of power?

Like every season of You, we find Joe on a power play, always thinking he has the upper hand before the rug is pulled out from underneath him. This is a technique executed to great success in award-winning shows Ozark, Breaking Bad, and Dexter, and judging by the quality of this season, You may be destined to join their ranks. It is hilarious to me that what started off as a Lifetime original has become this fully-realized, re-shaping itself into one of my all-time favorite dramas. As Joe tries to outsmart Rhys, one would assume this latter chunk of season four episodes would play out as a simple game of cat-and-mouse between the two. Without spoiling anything major, I was very much highly incorrect to assume this was how season four would run its course.

Surprisingly, Marienne (Tati Gabrielle) plays a major role in this second chunk of the season, as does Joe’s snoopy, too-smart-for-her-own-good student, Nadia (Amy-Leigh Hickman). Marienne in particular impressed me; we saw some of her personality emerge in You’s third season, and get much more of her now. Both women deliver strong performances, but it is Charlotte Ritchie as Kate that won me over. It took awhile for me to warm to her presence— Kate is no Love Quinn or Guinevere Beck. Kate has more in common with Joe than one would would initially surmise, as she too is desperate to escape her past. Kate’s awful father (Greg Kinnear) comes to town in another annoying bid for her attention. Described as a “near-Illuminati-level billionaire,” he becomes a potential new target for Joe and Rhy’s dangerous endgame.

The last of couple episodes this season recontextualize everything we knew about Joe and his situation, calling into question a number of sanity-breaking obstacles and fascinating character denouements. A mysterious woman photographs Joe and lusts after Phoebe (Tilly Keeper). Phoebe, on the verge of a mental break, throws herself headfirst into a potentially toxic relationship with Adam (Lukas Gage), who seems to have learned nothing. Cameos from familiar faces and a surprising amount of self-reflection bring You full circle in a previously unforeseen manner. As madness swirls around Joe and Kate, there is one constant in that they have each other to see it through. This season concludes with a surprising new journey ahead, one which again promises new horizons for our favorite psychotic serial murderer. Until next time, You delivers one powerful sucker-punch of dramatic highs that leaves a killer lasting impression.

Murder-mystery greatness is in store when You Season 4 Part 2 slices its way onto Netflix on Thursday, March 9th.

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