Four seasons into chasing each other around Europe, Eve and Villanelle have journeyed to some intense emotional extremes—they’ve hated each other, gotten used to each other, helped each other, and of course, nearly killed each other repeatedly. It’s a lot for any two people to endure, and the show doesn’t try to suggest that the relative peace of their final conversation on the bridge in Season 3 would have resolved any of their conflicts. Instead, where they begin Season 4 has them behaving sort of like exes who can’t quite seem to let each other go.
Of the two, Eve has made more progress. She’s energized, having a fun romance, and as hot on the trail of the Twelve as ever. She’s also learned absolutely nothing about risk taking, as demonstrated by her unarmed, solo stalking of someone she thinks is being recruited to be an assassin, and as such is lucky that she ends the scene bruised but not dead.
That would-be assassin may not achieve her dreams, though, considering she both fails to stop Eve and immediately reveals that she’s meeting with Hélène, the French-looking power player among the Twelve that Eve has been pursuing.
It’s a sharp contrast from Villanelle, who is still in the trying-to-get-your-ex-back stage of their breakup. She’s hanging out morosely at a church, bonding with yet another pretty young woman, and completely failing to convince the priest that she’s in earnest in her efforts to get baptized. It’s an exercise in contrasts between the two of them—Villanelle may be seeking goodness, but she can never quite fool everyone that she’s a normal person. While Eve, for all of her attraction to the darker side of humanity, is perfectly capable of blending in with the normal world, forming new relationships, and experiencing the joys and frustrations of an ambitious career. The parallel stories serve as an important reminder that no matter how much Eve may be tempted by the dark side, or have some unsavory passions in common with Villanelle, she’s still capable of being human beneath it all, whereas Villanelle has always had something profoundly wrong with her.
The episode goes a little too heavily on this angle about Villanelle. She spends a significant number of her scenes in this episode framed by angel wings, and while on some level it’s part of her staging of her own redemption arc, it’s so heavy-handed as to get tedious as the episode goes on. Likewise, the random cat murder in the episode seems like shock for shock value, rather than a sign of her darker nature coming through, as her assault of May seems to be later. There is a certain humor to her disappointed hopes when Eve doesn’t show up for her absolute sham of a baptism, though: One thing Eve has never been on this show is an attentive or devoted partner, particularly when she’s on the hunt of some new obsession. It’s one of her most consistent characteristics.
Meanwhile, Carolyn remains just as determined as Eve to get to the bottom of what’s going on, but her consistent withholding of information from Eve means that the two of them aren’t actually working together. Rather, they seem to be on occasionally intersecting paths towards the same destination, albeit one Carolyn is going to get to via spy shenanigans, versus getting punched below an underpass like Eve.
This show has always worked best as an exploration of the dynamic between Eve and Villanelle, but as the seasons have gone on, that relationship has often taken a backseat to other, more ambitious storytelling. It looks, for now, like the big focus of the final season is going to be on taking down the Twelve, which is somewhat unfortunate—faceless power brokers simply don’t have the visceral appeal of those two trying constantly to get the better of each other. After a pandemic-lengthened absence, let’s hope they still get in a few good battles before the show signs off for good.
- It’s a little weird to come back to this show after so long away! It both feels like itself, and like an imitation of itself. A line like “You shot me in my hand!” followed by “Oh, get over it” is both profoundly this show and a little bit like someone trying to mimic this show.
- Similarly on the nose is a lizard crawling up the wall next to a campaign poster of Konstantin, but I still got a kick out of it. Subtlety has never been Killing Eve’s thing.
- Is there anyone on TV with a better laugh than Kim Bodnia?
- That opening scene definitely wants you to suspect that the mystery figure isn’t really Villanelle, and everything from the height to the physicality is off. She doesn’t move like Villanelle, and it’s a testament to Sandra Oh’s skill as an actor that when the big reveal happens, the way the motorcyclist has been moving is instantly recognizable as Eve. I don’t know how Oh walks in real life, but that was some distinctly Eve stomping.
- Is it just me, or does this show sometimes make Eve aggressively heterosexual? The scenes where she’s intimate with men stand out since she’s been in this prolonged psychosexual but physically unrealized relationship with a woman.
- I was worried that first scene would be our only Pam moment, but I’m glad she seems to be sticking around. She’s played by Anjana Vasan, who stars in the truly wonderful Peacock show We Are Lady Parts.
- Since this is the first episode of the final season, should we make any guesses as to whether the title comes true? Konstantin’s parting words to Eve about whether or not she’ll make it out of this alive are a threat in the moment, but it was hard not to think of the title of the show when he said it.