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Killing Eve ends the season with both victory and defeat

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Early in the Killing Eve finale, Hugo jokingly calls Eve “Mrs. Robinson,” and it’s the exact sort of pat joke people have been making about The Graduate for years any time an older woman is involved with a younger man. But the reference turns out to be far more apt than he realizes.

It’s not just the romance with a younger person. There’s a huge stretch of this episode that demonstrates the exact same thing that the final moments of the movie do: Now that these two people have won each other…what next?

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Over the course of the episode, both Eve and Villanelle are given ample opportunity to abandon the other, but each of them make conscious choices to be together and to protect each other. And at last, freed of Konstantin and Carolyn, they have each other. Only being together is not actually what works for them. Neither of them is interested in the reality of the other person. Villanelle is picturing an entirely unlikely escape to Alaska where they can play house together, and Eve is slowly realizing that Villanelle’s infatuation with her is based on a person she doesn’t want to be. There have been a lot of comments about Eve and Villanelle being “the same,” but this is a fairly meaningless assessment. And the version of Eve that Villanelle wants—someone who’s scared, and who can be convinced to commit murder in front of her—isn’t who Eve has ever been.

The season has often struggled with maintaining tension when Eve and Villanelle are together, and it comes to a head once they escape Raymond and the hotel, and wander aimlessly through Roman ruins trying to figure out what to do. They could just be on vacation together, but it quickly becomes clear that this concept is only appealing to one of them.

In some ways, the show was always heading here. The romance at the heart of the show eventually was going to require that the two of them consider what the reality of being together would look like. But Eve, at least, doesn’t really want that. What she liked was the thrill of the chase, and the flattery of Villanelle’s attention, and the concept of a life lived without rules. She’s not interested in domestic bliss with Villanelle. That’s what was already boring her.

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It’s a complicated concept to portray dramatically, and some of the episodes this season have meandered, as Eve’s focus shifted from catching Villanelle to just trying to be around her. And it’s all led up to a remarkably similar conclusion to Season 1, with the two of them having a fraught conversation before one of them tries to kill the other. As with Season 1, it seems unlikely that one of them has died this time either, especially with the foreshadowing provided by Hugo, who plays dead when someone tries to assassinate him. In both cases, you’d think a trained assassin would be a better shot, but then again, Villanelle doesn’t really seem to like killing people with guns, so maybe she’s not good at it.

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Where Villanelle goes from here is a very open question. She made the choice to go freelance with Konstantin, only to have him immediately betray her and prove that she’s never going to matter enough to him. She has enough money, but it’s just been made very clear to her how much her own compulsions can be used against her. It’s one thing to be a paid assassin. It’s another thing entirely to have people use her sociopathy without her knowledge.

Eve is also somewhat at loose ends. She’s just made it very clear to Carolyn that she’s not interested in going back to work, and unlike poor Hugo, there’s not much chance of a cleanup team coming to get her. And if she’s not obsessed with Villanelle anymore, what’s she doing? Pursuing the Twelve? Fixing her broken marriage?

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The already announced Season 3 of Killing Eve will probably look very different than what we’ve seen so far, since both main characters have separated from their handlers, and there isn’t really a clear goal in place for either of them. Having both tried to kill each other once already, will this be the season where one of them finally succeeds?


Stray observations

  • Aaron never really worked for me as a central villain. It never seemed like Villanelle would be that tempted by what he had to offer, which meant there wasn’t much suspense to the scene where he asks her to kill Eve. I’m not sure there has ever been a less dramatic reveal that someone is a serial killer. Also, how bad is his security that Eve just waltzed into where they were having breakfast?
  • “I bet your kids are ugly.” “They are.”
  • “Eve, the shoulder?” “Well, I don’t know, do I?”
  • The happiest Villanelle has ever looked is watching Eve kill a man she hated.
  • Doesn’t Aaron’s technology exist regardless of whether or not he’s alive to sell it? Also does anyone care anymore that he had his father killed? What’s going to happen to the Ghost?
  • There’s another new showrunner in store for this show for next year. So it will be interesting to see if Suzanne Heathcote creates something that looks like Emerald Fennell’s vision for the show, Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s vision, or something else totally new.
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About the author

Lisa Weidenfeld

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Lisa is a writer and editor based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.