We’ve come to it at last: the end of the line for Killing Eve, after many stuttering stops. Sensible viewers got off years ago, and only the diehards and critics stayed behind. There were a few decent episodes after season two ended, but diminishing returns and desert-dry storylines plunged this once-respectable, female-led thriller into mediocrity. As a result, the finale is a fitting disappointment.
Much of people’s criticism is deservedly focused on the last five minutes when (SPOILER!) Villanelle is shot and killed. IndieWire wrote that the ending is basically the season one finale, but ‘remixed into incoherence’. Digital Spy scrutinised the series’ queer-baiting as well as the choice to conclude the relationship in trope-y tragedy. In this critic’s opinion: things were OK in this finale until they really, really weren’t.
Eve (Sandra Oh) and Villanelle (Jodie Comer) are reunited on Gunn’s Island, as the former is being hunted by the machete-wielding assassin Gunn (Marie-Sophie Ferdane). After Eve scratches her eyes out, Gunn turns into some kind of mythical, forest-dwelling monster screaming ‘Villanelle!’ as the odd couple escape by boat.
The objective is to find and eliminate The Twelve, but their journey through the Scottish countryside twists the series into a romcom. They’ve endured everything from breaking up to attempted murder, and now they’re spending a large chunk of time with each other – without interruptions from agencies or assassins.
They’re annoyed by a schmaltzy couple hiking in the wilderness – the kind of sickly sweet relationship that exists only to smile, kiss and say nice words. But after leaving these people behind and stealing their campervan, the time between Eve and Villanelle grows into a wholesome, halcyon period: of which viewers have been deprived for too long.
Scenes between Carolyn (Fiona Shaw) and, later, the assassin trainee Pam (Anjana Vasan) arrive to remind you of the overarching Twelve plot. Pam tells Carolyn of her killing Konstantin (Kim Bodnia), which the latter registers with excellently repressed hurt.
This is another curious pairing, one that inspires thoughts of future spin-offs. A Carolyn Martens prequel is in development, which makes sense considering the black-and-white flashbacks in episode five. But a show uniting her and Pam would be more interesting. Too bad writer Laura Neal might have closed that opportunity after Pam declines to participate in Carolyn’s plans.
Carolyn (Fiona Shaw) and Pam (Anjana Vasan). Photo: BBC
Now, the ending. Neal seems to suddenly remember that she needs to resolve the plot. Although The Twelve is an ostensibly mysterious organisation – unbeatable, ubiquitous – turns out you can find them on a wedding boat on the Thames.
Eve distracts the wedding guests by pretending to officiate, while Villanelle slaughters every Twelve member under a vivid blue light. You don’t see any of their faces, just the backs of their heads. So, that’s them done with. How convenient. Took four seasons to reach this point, but that’s apparently it.
And then we reach the unanimously irritating part: the Carolyn-ordered hit on Villanelle. What a surprise, and what a deflation. What is Neal trying to say with this dissatisfying death? The irony of a meticulous and violent assassin being clipped so easily? Neal has attempted to elaborate in her interview with Elle that it’s ‘the elevation of Villanelle to another realm.’ What desperate nonsense.
When THE END fades over Tower Bridge, that’s the finishing punch. There’s no gratifying reaction from Eve or Carolyn, no catching up with Pam (the best aspect of this season). It just… ends, like Neal and director Stella Conradi couldn’t cope anymore. Thankfully for them, and us, it’s all over now.
All 4 seasons of Killing Eve are available on BBC iPlayer.
|What||Killing Eve season 4 finale, BBC review (SPOILERS)|
11 Apr 22 – 11 May 23, ON BBC iPLAYER
23 Apr 22 – 23 Apr 23, ON BBC ONE
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