Joe Goldberg’s Visions of Rhys in You Season 4, Explained

Spoilers below.

The second half of You season 4 is stuffed with shockers, including the proven fact that Rhys Montrose isn’t the Eat the Wealthy Killer, in any case. As an alternative, we discover that Joe Goldberg had been as much as his old tricks yet again—he just doesn’t realize it.

Despite running with a wealthy crowd, successful writer Rhys wasn’t born wealthy, which is something Joe can relate to. Nonetheless, that’s where the similarities end. Because it seems, the Rhys we’ve seen throughout the primary half of season 4 has, for essentially the most part, been a figment of Joe’s imagination. The actual Rhys has no idea who Joe is, having only met him in passing. But Joe has been hallucinating Rhys in his absence, and even worse, he’s assumed Rhys’ identity to perform some pretty heinous acts, comparable to kidnapping Marienne and locking her in a glass cage.

Within the finale, Joe decides to sever ties with the imaginary Rhys once and for all, throwing him into the River Thames. But what does the whole debacle say about Joe’s mental state? Does Joe have a selected medical condition causing him to separate into two people? Or is he simply coping with the trauma attributable to his former actions, comparable to Love’s death? spoke to showrunner Sera Gamble to search out out what’s really occurring.

Why did Joe start imagining Rhys?

Joe’s relationship with the imaginary Rhys is complex. Directly, he’s a confidante and accomplice, but he’s also a vessel for Joe’s dark side. By believing that he has turn into Rhys, Joe can separate himself from the crimes he’s committing, and exonerate himself of the guilt he might feel. As for why Joe essentially split into two people in season 4, Gamble tells, “We began talking about it a few seasons ago. In a certain way, we see the arc of the series as Joe getting a bit bit more unhinged as each season goes along. It’s a method that he’s accumulating consequences.”

Gamble also notes that Joe’s body has faced some violence throughout the series, all of which has only added to his current mental state. “He’s been hit in the pinnacle a few times,” she explains. “He’s spiked a high fever and hallucinated. He has a propensity to do that.” Actually, Joe’s duality goes all the best way back to season 1, with Gamble noting, “In the primary frames of the series within the pilot, his inner monologue is absolutely distinct. So we’ve all the time seen him as any individual who walks around arguing with himself, agreeing with himself rather a lot. So we knew this was something we were leading as much as.”

By season 4, Joe has survived a lot. Not only has he murdered his wife, Love, but he’s also presumed dead, having chopped off his toes to go away his DNA on the scene. Assuming a latest identity has got to be wearing on him. Plus, when he tracks down Marienne, she’s afraid of him and points out that he’s a murderer. Here, Joe’s identity seems to shatter, and he’s faced to confront his actions like never before.

“We desired to wait until it really felt like Joe was all the best way cooked and able to do that,” Gamble says of season 4’s Rhys storyline.


It’s unclear if Joe has a personality disorder.

Given his visions of Rhys, season 4 led You fans to wonder if Joe Goldberg has a personality disorder or if he resides with an undiagnosed mental health condition. In spite of everything, there have been moments throughout the season when he seemingly disassociated, and had no concept that he’d murdered more people. But based on Gamble, Joe’s condition is removed from clear-cut.

“It depends who you ask,” she explains. “For those who sit down with a psychiatrist, they may probably have a very strong opinion about [Joe’s mental state]. But I’m not a health care provider and the writers’ room isn’t filled with doctors.” The team behind You has researched a plethora of conditions, but relating to what’s occurring in Joe’s head, Gamble says, “We will not be writing a show to perfectly dramatize any particular syndrome. We’re inspired by those things. But to us, Joe is one among one, and we’re telling the story of his particular psyche.”

you l to r penn badgley as joe goldberg in episode 301 of you cr john p fleenornetflix © 2021


Joe’s disturbing actions, and the convenience with which he murders people, will naturally cause viewers to query what led him down this dark path, and whether he’s answerable for all the pieces he does. “There’s something heightened about telling any story on television,” Gamble says. “And I spent plenty of my profession personally writing about ghosts and demons and alternate universes where there’s one other one among you. So despite the fact that You is in some ways more grounded, the metaphors that run underneath stories like which might be very familiar to the writers.”

Delving deeper into Joe’s personality, Insider went to date as to ask several experts what diagnosis Joe Goldberg would receive. Kelly Scott, a therapist at Tribeca Therapy, told the publication that Joe exhibits symptoms of each antisocial personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder (presumably amongst other more sinister conditions).

As noted by Mayo Clinic, patients with antisocial personality disorder normally can’t distinguish between right and flawed, and haven’t any regard for other people’s feelings—which definitely seems like Joe. Additionally they may will be predisposed for lying, law-breaking, and lacking remorse.

Meanwhile, patients with narcissistic personality disorder have an inflated sense of self-worth, they usually search out individuals who will shower them with praise, per Mayo Clinic. Deep down, their actions may stem from deep insecurities, but their outward confidence often results in them treating others badly as a right.

Mayo Clinic also notes that dissociative disorders, comparable to Joe’s belief that Rhys is carrying out his crimes, present as a “disconnection and lack of continuity between thoughts, memories, surroundings, actions and identity.” Per the positioning, dissociative disorders “normally develop as a response to trauma and help keep difficult memories at bay,” which will surely be true for Joe, considering his traumatic past.

There may never be a definitive answer regarding which exact condition Joe Goldberg has, but season 4 has definitely shown that his mind is more complicated than we knew.

Headshot of Amy Mackelden

Amy Mackelden is a contract author, editor, and disability activist. Her bylines include Harper’s BAZAAR, Nicki Swift, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, ELLE, The Independent, Bustle, Healthline, and HelloGiggles. She co-edited The Emma Press Anthology of Illness, and previously spent all of her money on Kylie Cosmetics.

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