killing eve has never managed to recapture the excitement that surrounded its first season. With Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer as lead characters Eve and Villanelle, the cat and mouse chase that was once irresistible got surprisingly stale, surprisingly quickly. Despite two consistently strong performances, the show’s pizazz never quite returned after their erotically charged showdown at the end of season one. There are only so many times two “will they, won’t they” characters can push and pull before everyone gets tired.
Perhaps, then, it’s a good thing that the final outing starts with the promise of big change as Eve and Villanelle desperately try to move on with their lives without each other. Following an emotional goodbye on London Bridge at the end of season three, the enemies/would-be-lovers are busy embarking on their new paths. For Eve, it’s a job in private security, which she uses as a front for her real personal mission de ella: figuring out who’s in charge of the elusive global assassin agency The Twelve.
Less than four minutes into the first episode, the show’s trademark violence returns. Eve does out a surprise gunshot through the palm to assassin boss Konstantin (Kim Bodnia). “That’s for Kenny,” she tells him as he screams in pain, getting revenge for a colleague who was slain last season. Dressed head to toe in leather motorcycling gear, Eve is not the same downtrodden office worker we met years ago. Now freed of her stable job and safe marriage, she’s chasing her goal of taking down The Twelve with few cares holding her back.“You’re going to die, you know?” a bloodied Konstantin warns Eve. “Whatever this is, you won’t come out of it.” “Thank God,” she responds. She has nothing left to lose. Perhaps the show’s title will be fulfilled by the end.
Soon afterwards, we are reacquainted with Villanelle, whose fresh start has her singing like an angel in a church choir. The now-retired assassin has been living with a vicar and his daughter, who has become infatuated with the mysterious Russian. Villanelle even serves fish and loaves for dinner every night as she wants to have a “roadmap” for good behaviour. Though she may not actually believe in God, she believes she can truly turn her life around, declaring: “I have faith I’m not as s***ty inside as people think I am.” Her motivation for salvation becomes clearer when she attempts to reserve a pew for Eve ahead of her baptism of her. She wants her from her ex-something to see her as a new woman, but Eve doesn’t show up. Though the wide-eyed kookiness can become a touch grating after a while, Villanelle is always funny: “JUST DUNK ME!” she tells the vicar when she realizes Eve isn’t coming.
The introduction of new characters, such as deadpan embalmer Pam (Anjana Vasan) and Eve’s new colleague and “strictly sex” friend Yusuf (Robert Gilbert), tease new conflicts and alliances, with opportunities for high-intensity hijinks. And it gets thick: there’s a camping trip in episode two that doesn’t exactly end with toasting marshmallows over the fire. Still, there’s an element of excitement that’s not quite there. As Eve determinedly voyages across borders and around dangerous corners to uncover this secret gang, it’s hard to fully care whether she finds it.
The program is entertaining, and no viewer will regret spending an hour or two with it. But it’s hard not to expect and want something more from a project with this caliber of performers; it shouldn’t just be “fine”. Fans will surely be sad to see killing eve go, but it may be a good thing for the showrunners to wrap the show up now while they still have a chance to control where it goes. Even if that does mean killing Eve.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.