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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Tallulah Shark tries to place a bet
Tallulah Shark tries to place a bet
Photo: Laura Radford/BBC America
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After a season spent poking at the seams of an international cabal of evildoers, it somehow seems inevitable that Killing Eve wrapped up its season with the same group of four people in a room together that we’ve known since the start of the show. Thanks to a late-breaking reveal around the circumstances of Kenny’s death, everyone finds themselves gathered in the home of Paul the traitor, parsing through the details of just what happened that day.

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It’s a little bit underwhelming, in terms of a grand finale. Instead of some big reveal about the actions of the Twelve, we get the same bureaucrat that we always knew was a traitor. The grounds haven’t exactly shifted beneath anyone’s feet, since Carolyn is already carefully cleaning up her own mess. Konstantin and Villanelle are both on the outs with the Twelve, but they’ve been moving in that direction all season. The only big change is that Konstantin actually leaves this time, and Villanelle seems to have quit her job in fiery fashion.

Two gals being pals
Two gals being pals
Photo: Laura Radford, BBC America
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And Eve? Well, it’s hard to say where this all leaves her. A giant season-long mystery gets resolved because Bear belatedly remembers that he had a camera in the office the whole time. What was the point of any of the investigating? All the fuss over Kenny’s phone, and the shaky alliances between the Bitter Pill employees and Eve and Carolyn, and the negotiations at MI:6 over his death seem a bit pointless now. Why did Bear only now remember that he could see who was in the office that day? It’s such an odd crux to hang the whole resolution of this mystery on. And thanks to how little time we’ve spent with Eve over the course of the season, it’s hard to tell what result she was expecting. She chides Carolyn immediately for killing a useful source, but how much more information were they going to get out of Paul? She already knows who tried to kill Niko, and at this point, everyone seems to know who Hélène is. The show itself seems to be shrugging off the investigation of the Twelve, with Carolyn wearily saying there’s no point in trying to take it down.

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The big resolution, instead, seems to be the tipping point in Eve and Villanelle’s relationship. There have been signs all season that Villanelle was developing something approaching a conscience, but the finale may have had her displaying her first moment of genuine empathy: encouraging Eve to leave because she knows she’s bad for her. There have been a series of slightly heavy-handed scenes of authority figures telling Villanelle she’s only good for one thing, all of which are fuel for the moment where she asks Eve if she’s a monster, who replies that everyone is a monster somehow. I mean, sure. Sometimes we all have bad days. Villanelle has killed many, many people. It’s hard to tell if the show is trying to have it both ways here, or if Eve is. Villanelle is both a monstrous person who’s murdered people for money whose presence sparks Eve’s own worst instincts, and a victim of a shitty upbringing who is now interested in redeeming herself. These aren’t necessarily contradictory concepts, but Eve’s apparent interest in forgiving at least some of her behavior feels strange—she’s never seemed had an interest in redeeming Villanelle before. If anything, her earlier obsession with her seemed like it had a lot to do with her jealousy of someone living her life as violently and hedonistically as possible, and what someone is like if she actually enjoys killing. What’s the basis of their connection if Eve now likes a nice (well, nice-ish) version of Villanelle?

It’s a concept the show plays coy with, ending the season for once not with Eve and Villanelle trying to kill each other, but instead facing off on a bridge, stuck between the recognition that they’re bad for each other, but unable to quite let go. Eve doesn’t have a whole lot holding her to her old life. As she herself admits, she can’t quite envision what her future should be. And Villanelle, despite her decision not to follow Konstantin out of the Twelve, is now in big trouble, having killed the messenger who’d come to bring her in.

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This felt like a transitional season in a lot of ways, the stretch in between the initial version of what Eve and Villanelle are to each other and whatever they’re becoming next. They’ve both more or less spurned the organizations that built them up, and given the choice, they both pick each other over their mentors. The show has already been renewed for a new season, so that updated version of their relationship will be on full display, assuming anything is ever allowed to start filming again. Can two people whose connection has been toxic to them both ever truly be good for each other?


Stray observations

  • “Eve, I’m at your work. Everyone here is really strange.” This would actually be true at any media outlet.
  • The implication that Eve has envisioned a future where she and Villanelle grow old together is so odd to me. That has never seemed like what Eve’s fantasy of Villanelle is.
  • The camera stayed on Villanelle’s face for long stretches of Carolyn’s confrontation with Konstantin, in a way that made me wonder whether the suggestion was that she was rejecting Konstantin, or discovering that her new kink is watching someone else threaten to murder someone.
  • Still not totally clear on what the point was of dramatically revealing that Carolyn had a secret daughter, and then doing nothing to advance the relationship or have the daughter play a role in the plot. There’s a vague “Konstantin was spying on them” angle, but it’s unclear what he even got out of that. I thought at first that Carolyn would say she wanted Geraldine to leave in order to protect her, but she doesn’t.
  • Some parallelism with the premiere here, as Villanelle starts and ends the season dancing with a woman. The first version was glamorous and false; the second version is slightly dingy, but more true.
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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Lisa is a writer and editor based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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