Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer in 'Killing Eve'

The Final Season of Killing Eve Loses Focus With Little Time To Spare

Eve and Villanelle experience a role reversal with consequences for both of them.

Killing Eve has been a thrilling, uniquely original series since it premiered in 2018. The psychosexual cat and mouse game between meek MI6 agent Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) and stylish psychopath assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer) puts a subversive, feminist spin on the spy genre, anchored by the crackling chemistry between its two leads. And it’s this chemistry that has kept the series buoyant when side characters and tangled plotlines threaten to overwhelm the series.

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Each season the series is helmed by a different female showrunner (Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Emerald Fennell, Suzanne Heathcote), with Laura Neal (Sex Education) taking the reins for the final season. And while this design showcases talented writers, it also serves as a soft reset for the series. It can be frustrating and a bit disorienting for viewers, especially since its been nearly two years since Eve and Villanelle parted ways on that bridge in the season 3 finale.

While the press embargo forbids me from getting into any specific plot points or revelations, suffice it to say that Eve and Villanelle find themselves in somewhat of a role reversal. Eve has taken a job working in private security, where she enjoys a co-workers with benefits relationship with handsome colleague Yusuf (Robert Gilbert). Season 4 finds Eve empowered, stronger both physically and mentally and confident in her skills.

The same cannot be said for Villanelle, who is still in the midst of an identity crisis. After visiting her estranged family in season 3, Villanelle is at a crossroads: she no longer has a taste for killing, and wants to start fresh, seeking salvation in a new and unexpected form. But has she really changed, or is this all an act to worm her way back into Eve’s good graces?

Meanwhile, Carolyn (Fiona Shaw) has been demoted to a cultural attaché gig in Spain, far removed from her pursuit of The Twelve, the shadowy organization that has existed on the periphery of the series since its beginning. There’s a lot of plot to digest and multiple new characters who only serve to convolute the series. However, one standout new addition is new recruit Pam, played by Anja Vasan (We Are Lady Parts).

The first three episodes of the new season feel like the show is spinning its wheels, and there is precious little time to squander. The most compelling points of the season so far are the same as they always are: the interactions between Eve and Villanelle. But there’s been a shift in the power dynamics. Where Eve once feared Villanelle (with good reason), her confidence and feigned indifference to the assassin puts Villanelle on uneasy footing.

This season wrestles with the possibility of reinvention, and if that’s even feasible for someone like Villanelle. “I think reinvention is just another form of avoidance,” one character says to the assassin. The same could be said for the series itself. With only eight episodes in the series, it’s time to stop idling and hit the gas pedal. And new characters and errant plot threads only hinder what should be the driving force of the series, namely the Eve and Villanelle relationship. We’re in the endgame now: here’s hoping Killing Eve sticks the landing.

(Image: Anika Molnar/BBCA)

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Author
Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.