Photo: BBC America

When Killing Eve was first announced as Phoebe Waller Bridge’s Fleabag follow-up, it seemed like an odd match. Fleabag was so deeply humane, so profound, and so darkly funny. What was a writer like that doing with a show about a government worker hunting down a cosmopolitan assassin?

The answer, apparently, was making a show every bit as humane and funny as Fleabag. And this first season finale is almost shockingly so. In fact, much of it revolves around mining humor out of a psychopath babysitting a child. Sure, there’s a chance Villanelle will kill Irina, but it never seems particularly strong. Mostly, after 7 episodes of watching her wipe out anyone who causes her trouble, we’re fairly certain that she’s not going to kill this one.

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Because if she did, the central romance of the show is dead in the water. In part, this very funny, very long sequence of Konstantin’s bratty kid mouthing off to Villanelle, while Villanelle never really seems to consider harming her, functions as a way of making the conversation she and Eve have about spending time together sound almost viable.

Instead, it’s roughly five minutes of screaming “KISS! KISS! KISS!” at the TV, followed by the world’s most awkward murder attempt. Does Eve stab Villanelle because of Bill? Or because she kind of wanted to stab someone? It’s not entirely clear, which is part of the pleasure of what Sandra Oh is doing as Eve. In the brief time that we’ve known her, she’s become such a specific portrait of a woman so deeply bored by her life that she wants to burn it all down.

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That last long scene of her and Villanelle is so fascinating and unpredictable, for the way it tiptoes right up to the brink of these lovers choosing to be together, only to leap backwards, only to have Eve immediately regret what she’s done. When she says she’s never done this before, does she mean killing someone, or being with a woman? For Villanelle, her interest in Eve is absolutely sexual. But the connection seems much more complicated for Eve, as evidenced by the way the two of them describe thinking about each other. Eve wants to be Villanelle, or kill her, or study her, or maybe have sex with her. Her fascination has so much to do with what Villanelle’s life is like, and it’s not even clear if she knows what she wants from Villanelle. Whereas Villanelle is certain of exactly what she wants from Eve.

It’s weird to be concerned about Villanelle’s feelings, but in the shifting moral ground of the Killing Eve universe, it’s hard not to see her as the wronged party here. She didn’t even kill Anna! She was probably going to, but that’s besides the point. Her world may not have morals in the way that most of ours do, but it’s fairly orderly, all the same. Only now Eve has surprised her, by flipping her life upside down. And she’s clearly very shaken by what happened with Konstantin, who obviously isn’t dead, come on. Carolyn is a liar. Her dog probably isn’t even named Martin Martens.

But whatever Carolyn does have going on is getting saved for Season 2. There is so much evidence of how shady she is, and yet she just waltzes by the various concerns Eve and Kenny have. Only Carolyn would have the force of will to prevent her employee and her son from asking any questions about her obvious sexual relationship with a Russian operative. As Kenny points out, everyone is very scared of her.

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And so we close out Season 1 with our two leads very much at odds. Villanelle is seriously wounded, in both a physical sense and an emotional one, and Eve has sacrificed everything in her pursuit of Villanelle. And the very last moment of the episode suggests she’s even more desperate to continue down that path.


Stray observations

  • “AHHH WHAT WILL MAKE YOU STOP SHOUTING?” “Food.” Irina gets hangry like the rest of us.
  • “God, it makes me rage how efficient things are when you’re a dick to people.”
  • “Why is he in here?” “Business.” “Oh, so he sells hairdryers now, does he?”
  • The general acknowledgement of how annoying Irina was by all parties was pretty funny. Also, everything about how Villanelle interacts with both Konstantin and Irina was so interesting. I wonder if we’ll learn, as Eve wants to, what happened to her own family.
  • Maybe Konstantin should stop storing his gun in the glove compartment.
  • “Oh god, you are one of those profound kids. I am not sad, I have a happy face.”
  • OK, has that woman ever seen a horse? There are many good jokes on this show, but somehow that woman describing “an ’orse” by growling and making claws was my favorite joke because I am sophisticated. At first I was like, come on, Eve, she’s clearly saying “horse,” but now I have no idea what animal she meant.
  • Wild speculation moment: Is Konstantin Kenny’s father?

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