You Season 4 Episode 2 Recap: Portrait of the Artist

The second episode of Netflix’s ‘You’ Season 4 takes Joe Goldberg deeper into the circle of Malcolm’s friends, making him wonder who the real murderer is. His investigation leads him to uncover many things about Malcolm and everyone in his circle. Their secrets turn out to be much more complicated, further making things more difficult for Joe. By the end of this episode, our protagonist also ends up being more exposed and vulnerable, which is not a good sign for someone who worked so hard to let go of their past and tried to have a fresh start. Here’s what the events of this episode mean for Joe’s future. SPOILERS AHEAD

You Season 4 Episode 2 “Portrait of the Artist” Recap

In the previous episode, Malcolm was murdered and Joe received a text revealing that someone had tried to frame Joe for it. It doesn’t take him much to realize that the murderer is someone inside the friend circle. At first, he tries to comb through all of Agatha Christie’s novels to try and familiarise himself with all the tropes of a murder mystery, hoping that something would help him figure out this mystery. It is especially difficult for him because he is usually on the other side of the investigation.

A comment from Nadia makes him realize that he will have to exploit his talent for stalking and find out everything that he can about Malcolm’s friends, starting with Malcolm himself. Joe discovers that Malcolm had been keeping tabs on his friends. He was digging into their secrets, one of which Joe witnesses when he finds Adam entertaining his fetish with one of his employees. Malcolm had most probably been blackmailing his friends for money. He tries to come up with a way to get closer to his friends and an opportunity soon presents itself.

Joe is Invited to Simon’s Art Show

On the night that Joe got drunk, he said something to Phoebe, which made her want to be friends with him. Joe doesn’t remember what that was, but he is glad that through Phoebe, he has an entry point into the group and he can monitor them more closely. Phoebe invites him to Simon’s art show, which ends up with a revelation of its own.

Simon has created an image of a silent but genius artist. He is not open to making new friends and Joe experiences his rudeness firsthand. Simon wouldn’t have invited Joe to his art show, but he relents because of Phoebe. The show turns out to be a success, as expected from any of Simon’s exhibitions. In the end, however, a woman shows up, destroying one of Simon’s paintings and calling him a fraud.

With his presence of mind, Simon leads the audience to believe that the woman’s interruption is a part of the show. Luckily for him, they buy it, but this leaves Kate with the task of finding the woman and handling her. When he was entering the building, Joe noticed the woman which is why he remembers the name of the hotel whose card she had. He offers to help Kate find her because he suspects that she might have something to do with Malcolm’s death as well.

Kate and Joe track down the woman, who reveals that her name is Blue and she was one of Simon’s assistants. She called Simon a fraud because the paintings at the show were hers, not Simon’s. It turns out that Simon makes his assistants paint stuff and then claims their work as his own. To keep them in line, he gets them hooked on drugs, rendering them unable to speak in their defense. Even if some does so, no one will believe unknown artists who are drug addicts. Joe also discovers that Malcolm knew about Simon’s secret. He met with Blue and was planning to expose Simon before he was murdered.

Who Murdered Simon?

Considering that Simon’s entire life and career would have been destroyed if Malcolm exposed him, Joe believes that Simon had more than enough motivation to kill his friend. However, he is forced to leave Simon out of the suspect’s category when the artist is murdered after the show. All of this happens while Joe was asleep on the bench outside the art gallery, waiting for Simon to come outside so that he could confront him about Malcolm’s murder.

The next day, Joe is invited by Phoebe to a gathering of friends and each of them presents their opinions about Simon’s death. Almost all of them don’t seem to feel any particular loss, which makes Joe wonder what kind of people they are. He has a heart-to-heart with Rhys Montrose, who reveals his repulsion towards the way the group behaves. Joe believes that out of all of them, Rhys is the only one who responds to the situation more humanely. But he is also surprised by Kate.

Kate had been wary and closed off from Joe from their first meeting. She was often perceived as cold and distant, but when Joe finds her trying to help Blue, he realizes that she might not be so bad after all. Before Joe can process all that he has found out about Malcolm’s friends, he has another surprise waiting for him at home. It looks like the murderer sneaked into his apartment. They pinned the newspaper cuttings regarding the death and disappearance of everyone who had died around Joe Goldberg.

Joe receives a text from the murderer who reveals that they have figured out his identity. This means that they have an upper hand over him. They know who he is which means that they can expose him at any time. Joe, however, is nowhere close to figuring out the identity of the murderer which means that he is already on the losing side. With Simon’s death, the murderer seems intent on killing more people. This is bad news for Joe because he could become one of the victims, or have all the murders pinned on him.

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