Given the quality of the episodes wedged between start and finish, this critic feels betrayed by their ultimate destination. Writer/show-runner Suzanne Heathcote pursued deeper character examinations, creating more layers to the stylish archetypes established and perfected by Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
Carolyn (Fiona Shaw) has been given extra shading, growing into a more enjoyable and heart-wrenching presence; Villanelle (Jodie Comer) received a veiled but intriguing backstory, travelling back to her family in Mother Russia.
But despite vivid and commendable performances from Shaw and Comer, salvaging the qualities that have remained in their characters, the finale confirms that these examinations contributed very little. The overarching plot, searching for the answer to who killed Kenny, kept stopping and starting. It's like Heathcote and the other screenwriters grew bored of it immediately. The answer, if it is an answer, isn’t worth all the faff taken to reach it – and its reveal is just as frustrating.
Some characters new to this season also feel short-changed, as if Heathcote initially had bigger plans for them. There’s some appeal in Carolyn’s MI6 boss Paul, and the question of whether he’s corrupt and working for the Russians or not, but that drained away quickly. Steve Pemberton, a master of dark comedy (Inside No. 9, The League of Gentlemen), wastes his talents in the role but offers a notable presence to a forgettable character.
Villanelle continues with the ambition to retire from killing, choosing a very different avenue. Although this provides a new direction for her, does anyone really want Villanelle to stop killing? If she's not killing, then what’s the point of her character? Much of her unpredictable violence has dissolved, chilling her remaining tension. Her fire has turned into water.
Thankfully, wherever the writers take her, she still maintains an undeniable level of style and coolness, even in the most mundane of settings.
And then there’s Eve… what happened there? She barely achieved anything this season (aside from seeing her ex punctured in the neck), only making a small dent in the plot. This is especially disappointing for a supposed protagonist, whose name is in the title. It makes you wonder how far Killing Eve will go after this, even in spite of its loyal fanbase.
There’s some hope that Laura Neal will pull the series out of the hole dug by Heathcote, because of the former’s hilarious debut in episode three. But her recent credits, including this finale, have been underwhelming in comparison. Is that all we can look forward to – another season that can’t scratch the surface of its former glory?
Killing Eve season 3 concludes on Monday 1 June at 6am on BBC iPlayer
|What||Killing Eve season 3 finale, spoiler-free review, BBC|
01 Jun 20 – 01 Jun 21, ON BBC iPLAYER