Killing Eve struggle with the now formulaic obsession between Eve and Villanelle


By Meghana Krishnamurthy, Third Year, Film and Television

Killing Eve started out on BBC with such a unique story to tell through a stylish medium, but as exciting as the show was, it began to lose its momentum when writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge handed over the reins to Emerald Fennel and consecutively to Suzanne Heathcote. As a result, the following two seasons tripped and stumbled throughout the sixteen-episode sprint to the finish line.

Try as they might, they just didn’t live up to the magic that the show originally brought to the already saturated drama market. Fennel and Heathcote just couldn’t nail that balance of intriguing narrative and convincing character development, despite their best efforts to retain the stylish murders, locations and Villanelle’s “trendy” clothes.

Courtesy of BBC AMERICA/Sid Gentle Films Ltd

Although, the new season written by Laura Neal, may be able to bring back the novelty that started it all. That is excepting Villanelle, of course. Apparently, she isn't a psychopath anymore but an individual suffering with an internal crisis of faith; all in the name of a character arc. Meanwhile, main characters and familiar faces appear to be getting on with their lives, or their motives in a way that doesn’t feel stymied by the wants and needs of the previous seasons.

Yes, Eve is still busy hunting down The Twelve, in a capacity that doesn’t render her a desk agent at MI6 anymore, but rather a confident field agent at a private security firm who isn’t pinned down by overbearing bosses, and wears that resilience that she graced viewers with for the first time since the opening season. She seems to have the weight of past relationships off her shoulders, with no mention of Nico, Hugo or Villanelle in a way that allows her to reminisce. And when the writing eventually forces the meeting of Eve and Villanelle, it becomes clear that their obsession isn’t mutual anymore, but rather stale and one sided.

Courtesy of AMC Networks

This may be leaps and bounds ahead of how season two or three started out, for instance; not relying on the introduction of new names and faces every five minutes, but using the show’s most valuable assets – its past characters. The major players have been reshuffled across the board, refreshingly so, but everything grinds to a halt when the spotlight is refocused on Villanelle. And in reference to a previous observation, any scene with her just makes the audience feel stupid. If their memory serves them right, the last time that Eve and Villanelle were on screen together, they struck up a deal that they would work towards letting go of each other and their obsessions. But clearly, the ending that was meant to be has been scrapped.

Courtesy of BBC America

What is mind boggling and disappointing about this new season’s opening is that the writers fall back on the safety net of rehashing Eve and Villanelle’s obsession with each other, which starts to become repetitive when the viewers realise that they don’t intend to commit to anything at all. There are sparks of genius in this episode, which does bring some excitement and anticipation to the episodes to come, but if the show keeps up the dynamic that is all too familiar, Killing Eve may not go out with a bang but with the low pop of Konstantin’s fake-birthday balloon.

Featured Image: AMC Networks, BBC AMERICA/Sid Gentle Films Ltd, Anika Molnar/BBCA

How did you find the fourth season premiere?