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In its fourth and final season, Killing Eve doesn't know what it wants from its own story

  • The announcement that Season 4 would be the final season for the once-acclaimed and award-winning BBC America series was bittersweet because there isn't another show like it on TV right now. "Yet, at this point, it’s equally hard not to watch this show and think its end is something of a mercy," says Lacy Baugher Milas. "Because no matter how enjoyable Killing Eve may be—and Season 4 has all the signs of being visually stunning (these clothes!) and generally entertaining (the black humor!) as its predecessors—it still doesn’t seem to know what it wants from its own story. Or how to define the relationship at its center. And four seasons in, it has become an increasingly insurmountable problem. While there’s a lot to love about Killing Eve’s snazzy formula, with its snappy one-liners and wide array of complicated female characters, one of its most annoying aspects is its almost pathological need to reset itself at the beginning of each season, a move likely due to its annual change in showrunners behind the scenes. And while I’m as excited as anyone to see a series giving women a chance to run a show and hone their technical craft (Emerald Fennell got a Best Director nomination for Promising Young Woman after her turn at the helm in Season 2 after all!) the frequent changes often mean the show has little to no consistency in tone or identity from season to season."


    • Killing Eve's final season premiere is a bland beginning of the end: "It’s indisputable how much both women have changed since they met, yet it’s frustrating how little has progressed in their two-year absence from TV," says Ben Travers. "Recent developments — Eve’s alleged disinterest in Villanelle and Villanelle’s quest to be a better person for Eve — come across as poorly justified and transparent filler, respectively. Little clarity is provided for Eve’s resentment; little conviction is given to Villanelle’s wayward attempt at reconciliation. Killing Eve Season 4, from lead writer Laura Neal ... seems more focused on delivering a predetermined ending than finding anything fresh to say in the lead-up, which makes the early episodes frustrating at best, an utter waste at worst."
    • Season 4 stars off on a disappointing, boring note: "I want to tell you that my favorite queer spy thriller-comedy has returned in top form for its final season," says Nandini Balial. "I want to tell you that the writing—by turns sensual, absurd, hilarious—snaps, crackles, and pops. I want to tell you that Villanelle’s wit and chosen weapons are just as sharp and intriguing as that poison vial hairpin from season one. I want to tell you the hypnotic work of Unloved, the band created specifically to score Killing Eve, is just as alluring and deadly as it’s always been. I want to tell you that the stylish wardrobe continues to provide visual flair to a series predicated on the juxtaposition of beauty and bloodshed. I want to tell you that Killing Eve is just as saucy, sexy, funny, and cutthroat as it was. I want to, but I can't (and not only because of the many embargoed plot details and only three episodes being available for press)."
    • After three seasons, even the twists can only feel so fresh: The final season's "dichotomy, between embracing one’s true nature versus trying to evolve into something else, feels like one faced by the show itself," says Angie Han. "That Killing Eve is in its home stretch should give it some leeway to go for broke — to push its comedy or drama or aesthetic delights to new extremes, to deliver on the pulsing desire that’s been at its heart this whole time, to finally articulate what it wants to say about what Villanelle and Eve bring out in each other or the world around them. Instead, when Eve and Villanelle come face to face, it’s so they can bicker about how little the other has changed, and so we can marvel at how crackling they are together still. Certainly, the show’s earned a victory lap. If the second and third seasons couldn’t quite match the dizzying heights of the first, they were still joys to consume — feminine fever dreams splattered with gore, laced with acid humor and simmering with irresistible sexual tension. It’s hard to fault Killing Eve for wanting to relish once more in tried-and-true formulas before killing itself off for good."
    • Killing Eve keeps suffering from changing showrunners each season: "The main fault of Season 4 is the same as Seasons 2 and 3 – the ever-shifting showrunner," says Lillian Brown. "The show changes hands each season, from Phoebe Waller-Bridge to Emerald Fennell to Suzanne Heathcote to Laura Neal. No one has been quite able to replicate the pitch-perfect fever dream that was Waller-Bridge’s first season. But beyond that, there’s a lack of congruence in each subsequent season. By the time each new lead writer seems to get a handle on the show, their eight episodes are up and it’s onto someone new, restarting the whole process and leading to inevitable floundering in the first few episodes. It’s a sort of two steps forward, one step back on a show that already doesn’t have time to spare (when it wraps in April, it will have aired a total of 32 episodes over five years). Early Season 4 ignores some of the emotional progress made in its predecessor and there’s no indication in the first few episodes as to why Eve and Villanelle are once again at odds with each other, or what happened to the tenderness displayed on the bridge."
    • Ranking Villanelle and Eve's best moments
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    • Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer reflect on the "bittersweet" final day of filming: "What was really surreal for me on the last day was that the last shot I did was the last shot for Villanelle of the whole season. It was a really weird mirror that was happening," says Comer. "That was like, 'Wow, OK," it was all very real. The wonderful thing about that day was Sandra and I, we were together, so we got to experience that together, which was really special... It was bittersweet. It was intense. It was a lot. It was overwhelming, for sure." Oh adds: "Jodie and I were lucky enough to do the last shot of the show together. And it's too much of a spoiler to say where we were and the setting, but it was very technically challenging. I was really happy that we were both together. I think we were both happy that we were together. It's not slow, what we do. It's very fast and there's a lot of moving parts that's moving around a lot so it's not a slow, relaxing thing. You have to get out."
    • Oh and Comer on why this was the right time to end Killing Eve: "It is, because this is what’s happening," says Oh. "A lot of people describe this as a 'cat and mouse,' and I understand that within the first season. But I’ve got to tell you, if you’re going to continue describing it like that you haven’t watched the show. That’s too easy. For me, the show is really exploring the female psyche and how these two female characters need one another. Doing that digging within the context of a certain type of thriller, it was the right time to end." Comer adds: "It’s the trickiest thing to execute, you know? Trying to move the characters forward in a way that feels truthful but also keeping all those pieces that people love so much. Their relationship means something so personal to each person who watches it."
    • Oh and Comer on how fans will react to the series finale: "I think everyone's gonna have their opinion because everyone is so invested in it, and that you can't argue," says Comer. "I think when I look at the work that we did, when shooting this, I feel incredibly proud of what everybody did, and how everyone came together to do that." Oh adds: "I think that the satisfaction is in the making of it, and then that actually we did create this — we did create this dynamic between these two characters, and we created these two characters that have not been seen before. That, I think, has been supremely satisfying."

    TOPICS: Killing Eve, BBC America, Jodie Comer, Laura Neal, Sandra Oh