“Killing Eve” Series Finale Recap: Goodbye, Lovers

Hello, losers! Welcome to the LAST RECAP OF KILLING EVE EVER!!!!!!! That’s right, this is the Killing Eve series finale recap, and I’m your host Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya. There is a lot to talk about! If you were waiting for episode 407 to air on television, you can now go back to that recap from earlier in the week (and all other recaps in the archives). I think you can probably anticipate me writing about this show again in a more zoomed-out + wide-angle fashion that looks back on the series as a whole, but I stopped myself from doing TOO much of that here for the sake of length! Obviously, as with any series finale, there will be some discussion of the road that got us here, but I’m going to try to stick to writing specifically about “Hello, Losers” as best as I can. And unlike my typical recaps, I’m going to move pretty linearly, because I think this particular episode calls for that. For the record, I know that a lot of my opinions below will be things people disagree with! I welcome that! I think most series finales are divisive, and I truly want to make space for any and all feelings, reactions, and emotions in the comments of this recap. I welcome differences of opinion! For example, one of my very best friends had a very different reaction to the finale, and that’s okay! I respect it, and I also think she’s bloody brilliant, so you should read her review!

Alright, let’s get into it!


Since the pair aired as a two-part finale on television (even though that wasn’t the rollout online), “Hello, Losers” opens with the same few seconds that “Making Dead Things Look Nice” ends with.

Eve arrives on Gunn’s island at the exact same time as Villanelle and Gunn’s lovers’ spat. Gunn, really giving Uhaul Lesbians some murdery representation, does not want Villanelle to leave her island. When Gunn sees Eve, she runs her down, tackles her, and says: “You can’t have her. She’s mine.”

Thanks to her training with Yusef, Eve holds her own against Gunn. She chokes her with her thighs and digs her fingers into Gunn’s eye sockets, scraping out her eyes. It’s a brutal beginning. Villanelle, delighted by Eve’s violence, watches from a distance.

“Were you watching that?” Eve asks after, exasperated. Of course she was. So much of their relationship is about watching and being watched.

“You steal phones from corpses now?” Villanelle asks when Eve jumps right into business and says she wants her to decode the message on Hélène’s phone. Again, she’s delighted. Eve has gone all the way to the dark side. It’s what Villanelle has always wanted, really.

“You know why I’m here,” Eve says. “You want this as much as I do.” Is she talking about the mission or something more? Villanelle lifts Eve’s bloodied hand for a closer look. I can’t be the only one who found this bloody hand moment incredibly hot!!!!!!!!!

Executive producer Sally Woodward Gentle has called the series finale “operatic,” and that’s definitely an appropriate description of this opening sequence: As Villanelle and Eve escape the island, the freshly blinded Gunn stumbles through the forest in pursuit of them, screaming “VILLANELLEEEEEEE.” A lover scorned and quite literally blinded by love chasing after a woman who has left her for someone else. Operatic indeed!!!! With some Biblical touches, too.

When Villanelle and Eve make it into the boat and away from eyeless Gunn, Villanelle waves. Eve throws up a middle finger. It’s the start of what unfolds as a sexy, silly little romp between the two for the bulk of the episode.

But Villanelle isn’t quite ready to let Eve back into her life. She told her she was done after Hélène. “I need you, Villanelle,” Eve says. “I came all this way to be with you.” Okay, yes, she is absolutely talking about more than the mission. There’s ambivalence in Eve’s words, but barely. It’s the closest she has come to being honest with Villanelle in a while. Eve spent so much of this season thinking she could compartmentalize Villanelle. She tried to literally compartmentalize her by putting her in jail. But the bridge between them never lifted, not really. Even though so many characters have warned Eve about continuing down this path, about indulging in the things that aren’t good for her, she keeps making this choice. She doesn’t look away from the violence, from the destruction. And so as viewers, we’re not allowed to look away either.

“You’re angry, I’m angry. You’re hurt. I am hurt. That’s life,” Eve says. Villanelle responds by picking her up and spinning her around in a circle. It’s a strange mix of cute and dangerous, which is fitting for these two. It looks like it could just be a playful couple thing, but it’s also Villanelle reminding Eve she’s in control. A nice straight couple hiking in the distance interprets it as the former.

In London, Carolyn is met by smug Hugo, who brings her to an MI6 safehouse to find out what she knows and what she’s up to given that she has betrayed just about everyone lately and has probably lost her last shred of credibility at MI6. He manhandles some crockery (okay every single Carolyn line this season is a winner) while putting on a very bad show of intimidation. Carolyn asks him to unplug all listening devices, and after he claims he has, she starts revealing the honeypot scheme the Russians used against him, and he frantically rips a wire off his chest and runs away to contend with the Russian agent he’s unknowingly dating. Oh, Hugo! I do love how useless and gullible and inept the men in power tend to be on this show.

Villanelle wears a fisherman sweater and holds a mug while looking at a straight couple skeptically in the Killing Eve series finale

this is also how i look at straight people

Meanwhile in a bothy (a little cottage in Scotland — I did indeed Google it like the show cheekily instructed), Villanelle and Eve are playacting at being a real couple alongside the incredibly cringe straight couple that scooped them up on the trail. It doesn’t take much for them to pretend. After all, they both have talked about each other and thought about each other as partners, as exes. They slide into this role easily. As if it were the truth. Because on a certain level, it is.

The straights ask how they met, and Eve and Villanelle choose the truth. “Oh she stalked me, drove my husband away, left me with nothing,” Eve says. “She stalked ME. She put me in prison. She tongued my boss,” Villanelle chimes in. They play it off as a joke, and it is indeed funny (Villanelle’s priorities here being Eve “cheating” on her with Hélène = incredible) but it’s also real. This is a relationship whose origins were mutual stalking. Villanelle and Eve have always been both cats and mouses. Codependence courses through their relationship.

The straight couple met, because she gave him a kidney. A part of her is inside of him. Villanelle and Eve have something similar going on — but i n a more metaphorical sense.

“I think I might kill them,” Villanelle says while tending the fire. “I think I might help you,” Eve replies.

The woman offers to do a tarot reading for them. COULD THIS BOTHY GETAWAY GET ANY GAYER????? Villanelle jumps at the opportunity to have her soul read, and the woman pulls cards for her past, present, and future. For the past, she pulls the Tower, which according to the woman “speaks of chaos and destruction in your past.” Eve laughs at this. She knows all about Villanelle’s chaos and destruction. For the present, she pulls the Lovers, but it’s upside-down, signaling the opposite of unity. For her future, she pulls the Sun, which the woman coos at, calling it magnificent and holy.

It’s a continuation of the exalted and divine path Villanelle has been on this season, which I wouldn’t call a redemption arc by any means. She’s still killing in cold blood. She’s still manipulative and dangerous. But she has been attempting to be good, often as a way to get Eve’s attention early in the season, and Villanelle’s ego and narcissism make it so that she sees these attempts — even when they fail! — as angelic and pure. She literally sees herself as Jesus.

“Don’t shove the Sun, Eve,” Villanelle says when Eve pushes her out of the way to have her own cards read. She only wants the last one, the future. And when she pulls it, it’s Death. The camera circles in on it while haunting vocals pipe in.

Villanelle doesn’t think Eve should take it too seriously: “It’s just cards, Eve. There’s no such thing as fate.” But Eve wants to know that if there’s no fate, what’s this then, this gravitational pull between them. But I have to side with Villanelle here. Perhaps fate initially brought the two together, but both of them keep choosing this path, this bridge back to each other. I think Eve strongly wants to believe that everything has been fated, has been by chance. Because then it absolves her somewhat of all her most wicked choices.

“One of her organs is inside of him, and they still can’t piss in front of each other,” Villanelle says.

And then, in a development that seems ripped straight from a fanfic (and I mean that in the best way possible), Villanelle and Eve have to share a single sleeping bag, an even more extreme version of the Only One Bed trope!!!!!!!! Here they are, entwined, fitting into one another. The image of them pressed together evokes the season one finale, when they laid in a bed together and Villanelle thought they were going to hookup but instead got stabbed in the stomach.

There is no stabbing this time. There is nothing that punctures the moment. There’s just Villanelle lifting Eve’s shirt and thumbing the scar on her back, a scar Villanelle gave her. So, yes, there’s tenderness here, but it’s laced with tacit violence, too. In any other context, this would look like someone just touching her lover tenderly. But it’s difficult not to think about where that scar came from, to not immediately see the image of Villanelle shooting Eve in the back amid Roman ruins. This series finale contains zero actual flashbacks, but there are several moments like this that function like unspoken, unseen flashbacks, certain images and details in conversation with the characters’ pasts.

“What are you doing?” Eve asks. She turns to her, and they look at each other. Before anything more can happen, Villanelle suggests that they steal the straight people’s stupid camper van.

We jump to that camper van cutting around winding Scotland roads. And again, it feels a little like we’ve dipped into fanfiction, or into Villanelle and Eve’s fantasies. We’re getting the buddy road trip of their/our dreams. Eve finds a bag of Revels and they both mimic and mock the straight couple from before, Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer getting to play around with their comedic skillsets. They jam out to “Don’t You Want Me.” And they very much seem like they want each other. The Twelve, the mission, it all fades away for these moments.

After outmaneuvering Hugo, Carolyn meets Pam on a bench. Pam delivers the message that she killed Konstantin with a pizza cutter and then delivers Konstantin’s message, too, that he always loved Carolyn. Unsurprisingly, Carolyn takes it all with a stoic, impossible to read face. Before Pam can walk away, she says wait.

Our roadtripping murder wives stop at a small roadside diner to charge Hélène’s phone, and they split a plate of curly fries that Eve loads up with mustard, prompting Villanelle to call her a psychopath. They tease each other. There’s no real need to playact at partnership the way they did at the bothy. This is real.

Back in the van, Eve deduces that The Twelve’s meeting spot is at the pub MI6 employees frequented. She mentions a memory of Bill there. “You murdered him on a dance floor in Berlin,” Eve says casually. “Of course, I remember Bill,” Villanelle says. “So do I,” Eve says. Another one of those implied flashbacks. Another one of those reminders that Villanelle and Eve’s relationship is, to say the very fucking least, complicated. As easy as it is to root for these two because of their chemistry and the potency of their desire for one another, there are these little reminders that we probably shouldn’t be rooting for them. That their relationship has been defined at every turn by violence, manipulation, and murder. The show doesn’t let us forget, and it shouldn’t.

Carolyn and Pam sit on a dock, and Carolyn shares some more of the life advice she has been doling out all season. The first is just a personal anecdote that she looks exceptional in linen (again, Carolyn’s lines this season have been exquisite). The second is this: “Emotions, or feelings as people like to call them these days, are at best an inconvenience and at worst a total scourge on one’s freedoms. Guilt and shame especially. Don’t let them take hold.”

It’s incredibly cynical, but Carolyn has always been incredibly cynical. The show has been, too. No character who clings to hope usually makes it out of this show alive. Konstantin was hopeful for a way out of The Twelve, and then he died.

Carolyn slides into the water, and Pam joins her. They float. It looks serene, but it’s another soft moment with an uglier underside: “Don’t open your mouth,” Carolyn says. “I’ve just seen a dead fox.”

We smash cut from Carolyn and Pam in the dead-fox-dirtied water to Villanelle and Eve pissing in some bushes. They’re squatting directly next to each other, practically pissing on each other! They’re at the opposite end of closeness and intimacy from the straight couple from before, and Villanelle’s words reverberate. Villanelle and Eve don’t need to share an organ to feel this bound to each other.

After they finish and pull their pants back up, they walk back to the camper. Villanelle kisses Eve on the cheek. It’s a little awkward, a lot adorable. It’s a stark contrast to when Gunn kissed Villanelle on the head last episode. Eve pauses. She reaches for Villanelle’s hand and pulls her in for a kiss. They pull apart, look at each other, and kiss some more (this is a personal favorite when it comes to kiss blocking—I love the kiss, pull away, kiss again pattern).

Villanelle kisses Eve on the cheek while walking on the road.

a! cheek! kiss!

It’s not their first kiss technically, but it’s their first kiss like this. As they walk back to the camper, they don’t! stop! kissing!!!!!! A walking kiss!!!!! Perhaps some of my favorite blocking for a kiss in television history?!?!?! Here they are, literally moving forward, together. Even when they get back to the van, it isn’t enough. Villanelle runs around to Eve’s side of the van, and we don’t see them, but we do hear Eve’s youthful giggle.

That’s what I love about this explicit consummation of their seasons-long sexual tension. Instead of being messy, fraught, violent, it’s just sort of easy, cute, and youthful! It’s like teen love. It’s a little unexpected and yet feels perfectly right. In a way, their relationship has always unfolded in reverse. They acted like jealous exes before they ever really, truly met. They’ve had the kinds of arguments and breakups that couples usually have after being with each other for a while. And now, at the end, it’s their beginning. Their honeymoon phase.

When they arrive at the pub, Carolyn and Pam are already there, waiting for the same thing. Carolyn and Villanelle reminisce on Havana (and literally POUND IT), and Eve asks for a moment alone with Carolyn, so Pam and Villanelle go play darts in the other room, Pam telling Villanelle that Konstantin is dead.

Eve thanks Carolyn for plucking her out of that office job, for changing her life. It’s a thank you and also a little bit of a fuck you (known as a “thuck you” for any of you Bravo Dykes out there)

Carolyn has some life advice for Eve, too:

One of the great unspoken truths of life, Eve, is that people behave exactly as you expect them to. Take you for example. You’re about to embark on some mad end game when in fact you know deep down you’re just a woman who likes an inappropriately timed croissant on a hungover Sunday morning.

Carolyn says she had come here with different plans. “But now I’m going to behave exactly as you’d expected me to…and do something different,” she says. It sounds like a warning. It sounds like an omen. But Eve doesn’t read too much into it. She’s too fixated on the mission again. And she receives on Hélène’s phone a change of location. Carolyn says she can have this one, and Eve says it has always been hers. Hubris is often a dangerous thing on this show.

Carolyn and Pam sit on a bench again. This time, Carolyn laments the sheer existence of iced coffee before jumping into business. Pam asks who she’s loyal to, and Carolyn says loyalty is a dubious virtue…except when it’s to her. She offers Pam a job, but Pam chooses to walk away.

The Twelve apparently has decided to meet on a boat on which a gay wedding is also happening. You know what I always say: A gay wedding is the perfect cover for a secret evil organization staffwide meeting!

Villanelle and Eve kiss while walking along the road.

sorry i am still thinking about the walking kiss

Eve and Villanelle make their way onto the boat, and they don’t even need a cover story, because Eve is mistaken for the wedding officiant. Villanelle pulls her in for a kiss before she’s whisked away. “Distract them,” she says.

And then Eve has to improvise a wedding ceremony between two handsome gay men. Here’s what she says:

“Relationships are a lot of work. They require effort, and you will have tough times. Sometimes, you will feel like you’re losing your way, and sometimes you’ll feel like you’re losing each other. But beauty in your relationship will be found in the ways you reunite.”

Villanelle and Eve have been in a continuous cycle of breaking apart and reuniting. Every time they do reunite, there’s something a little different. So much of their relationship has hinged not on reality but on possibility. Yes, their attraction to one another is real. But it’s also fantasy. This isn’t your straightforward love story. It’s an epic. And it’s a violent one. Eve’s wedding speech resonates, because yes, relationships entail tough times and work. And that has been true for her and Villanelle, heightened to its extreme. Because tough times for these two usually means death and destruction. Villanelle and Eve are real people, but they’re also an assassin and a spy. There are parallels to draw between their dynamic and more “normal” relationships, but there are marked differences, too. The confusing lines and boundaries are what make the show so compelling.

Villanelle barges into The Twelve’s meeting weaponless and kills everyone, whose faces we never seen. Instead, the camera stays on Villanelle as she wrecks havoc, the action very stylized and bloody and spliced together with shots of Eve dancing on the dance floor. It’s goofy and odd, and I always enjoy that side of Killing Eve’s varied tones.

It’s a little too easy, of course. Villanelle doesn’t really have a plan or any weapons and yet slays a bunch of men no problem. She has the element of surprise working for her, I guess. But I also think there’s almost a bit of magic realism at play here, which isn’t entirely out of the question given the whole Drag Jesus of it all from earlier in the season. Villanelle has long felt invincible, and this season, she feels holy. She is The Sun. Frankly, I don’t ultimately mind this neat and tidy wrap up of The Twelve, because I prefer simplicity to when the show has gotten too lost in the weeds of The Twelve. And the montage split between the killings and the dancing works for me!

Let me just go ahead and say this upfront: I didn’t hate this ending. I do think it’s imperfect and that it could have been executed slightly better in a couple ways that I am about to get into. But I did not hate it. It felt like a natural, if sudden, conclusion to this season, this series, this relationship arc.

I do think it could have benefitted from one more beat. From just slightly more dynamics.

Here’s how it goes down: After slaying The Twelve, Villanelle finds Eve on the dance floor. They make eye contact, Villanelle walks away, and Eve follows. They go out to the front of the ship, and Villanelle tells her she did it. In the distance, the London Bridge where they once extracted themselves from each other only to contract right back into place is raised, severed. Villanelle and Eve embrace, and then Villanelle is shot in the back, her blood staining Eve’s front.

Villanelle tells Eve to jump, and so they both do. They plunge into the water. But it’s too late. Villanelle has already been shot multiple times, and then she’s shot more underwater. Swirls of blood form what look like wings behind her. Eve tries to swim for her, reaches for her in an obvious homage to The Creation Of Adam, and loses her.

In the distance, Carolyn looms. She raises a walkie-talkie to say “jolly good.” She ordered the hit in a play to get her job and power back at MI6.

Eve swims to the water’s surface and screams. A title card reading THE END fades in. The bridge is still in the distance, on the precipice of reconnecting itself.

It’s a bleak, relentlessly nihilist even, and abrupt ending. I don’t have a problem with the hopelessness of it all, because hope has never really been a part of this show’s foundation to me. In fact, the show is so much about the absence of hope and people’s inability to meaningfully change. In previous seasons, we’ve seen Villanelle head down different paths, like returning to her birth family. But it always ends the same way: with murder. We’ve seen Eve try different paths, too, but they’ve been just a way for Eve to repress what she really wants. Hélène and Konstantin have warned all season that there’s no way to really break free from The Twelve, and that ends up being true for them. The only way out was for them to die.

I do think the ending would have greatly benefitted from one more beat though.

It took me a while to parse this out, but I think Carolyn really represents The State. All season, characters have been talking about “the game,” “the rules.” Despite the fact that Carolyn loves to betray people and organizations at every turn, she most consistently plays by The Rules. And she most consistently treats life as a game to be won. Again, her decision to kill Villanelle is all just so she can get her damn job back. She doesn’t see people as people but rather as political pawns, much like The State. She doesn’t offer Pam a job because she cares about her; she offers Pam a job because she thinks that’s her way back into MI6. And when it doesn’t work out, Villanelle’s death is her power play.

It might feel pointless, but I think the pointlessness IS the point.

Villanelle has eliminated all of The Twelve, but does that even matter? Carolyn warned two episodes ago that killing one just begets another. And even killing them all could have the same outcome. After all, what about all the people below them? Will they merely disband? Probably not! Someone will fill the power vacuum. But even beyond that, part of the implication of this ending, of The Twelve being annihilated but the violence still continuing, is that MI6, the CIA, and any damn “sanctioned” organization are just as much of a threat and just as chaotically violent as The Twelve. All along, the lines between The Twelve and MI6 have been nonexistent. Carolyn is a perfect embodiment of that (which really reiterates my theory that she overall symbolizes The State). This sudden and pointless violence drills down into the idea that the call has always been coming from inside the house.

Villanelle’s death doesn’t render her the bad guy, doesn’t punish her for her own acts of violence. Rather, the ending reiterates that EVERYONE involved is a morally corrupt character, that the violence is often a transparent and transactional means to an end, that the good guys will never win because it’s not so much that there are good and bad guys but rather that the institutions are the true source of evil, and when people subscribe to those institutions (or are conditioned by them), they become their soldiers. Eve was never going to find personal meaning in this mission, because this mission began at MI6. It was poisoned from the outset.

All season, the storytelling and imagery has laid the stonework for a big, tragic ending. Ancient mythology has been invoked. Religious mythology has been invoked. Again, I’m thinking of that “operatic” quote, and indeed, the opera/theater house owned by Hélène is one of the most memorable set pieces of the season. But I think where the writers miss their mark here is in just how one-note the ending feels. Tragedy doesn’t have to be so loud to still hit hard.

Eve dances at a wedding reception.

The thing about big tragic opera endings though is that there usually are still some dynamics. It’s not all BANG BANG BANG. It’s possible to be dramatic and convey finality and still be layered and thoughtful. That’s where the ending doesn’t work for me. It’s not the overall details of Villanelle dying, of Eve left alone that bother me but rather the specific way it’s executed. It needs another beat, even if that were as simple as Eve emerging from the water and walking away. I want that one glimpse of her moving through life without Villanelle.

I understand why people are upset about Villanelle’s death so closely following the joy and release of Villanelle and Eve explicitly getting together, but I personally think it fits the show’s overall narrative and overall tone. I also think it minimizes the entirety of Villanelle and Eve’s arc. Like, yes, they don’t have their big cinematic kiss until this episode, but that doesn’t mean that everything that has come before it hasn’t been intensely emotional, erotic, and even at times romantic. I’m a Villaneve Truther in the sense that I really do think they’ve been on-and-off dating for four whole seasons. I didn’t need a big kiss to make it real (though I am very grateful for the walking kiss and will probably watch it a thousand times!). Some of my favorite writing about the Bury Your Gays trope is in this advice letter answer by Drew. Context matters. And all of the context of Killing Eve maintains that violence, death, and devastation are baked into this story.

I understand wanting a more ambiguous ending, too. But for all the ambiguity and ambivalence in Killing Eve’s characters, their relationships, and the interpersonal drama on the show, the plotting has always been pretty clear-cut. Death, after all, is a pretty big part of this show. And death tends to be final. Again, I feel like all season has been laying the groundwork for a very final finale. Epics tend to have lachrymose endings, and I really do think of Killing Eve as an epic, especially given the themes and motifs of this final season.

I don’t hate the ending, but I do think it could have been done better. I’ve always liked when this show gets messy, because these characters are M E S S Y. But there’s something sloppy about the last few minutes in a way that doesn’t entirely land. That said, the entire episode leading up to those last few minutes does play to the series and to the ensemble’s strengths. Villanelle and Eve get to, for a moment, act out what it would look like if they had normal lives and were a normal couple. It’s a lovely, satisfying fantasy. But it’s just that: fantasy. Softness and romance subtly infected with danger. Their fraught past just beneath the surface, like a scar. They’re like each other’s wounds and salves all at once. This IS this show’s version of romance. And the final few minutes don’t undermine that for me, but I do think a little more care in the details and pacing could have gone a long way.

Goodbye, Killing Eve! Just like I’m sure Eve will never stop thinking about Villanelle, I’ll never stop thinking about you.


SORRY BABY x

  • Again, I genuinely do welcome dissenting opinions! And if you’re angry about the ending, by all means, be angry! Just also please no personal attacks.
  • I did a rewatch of the entire series heading into this last season, but now I want to do another rewatch. I’m not ready for it to be over!!!!!
  • While Carolyn’s arc gets off to a slow start at the top of this season, Fiona Shaw deserves awards for her work in the second half of the season.
  • I know I included like way too many quotes, but I really loved the dialogue in this episode. One exchange that didn’t make it in that I loved:

    Villanelle: You’re a lot today.
    Eve: I’m a lot every day.

  • Seriously though, I highly recommend that Drew piece on Bury Your Gays, so I am linking it AGAIN.

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Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is the managing editor of Autostraddle and a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Miami. She is the assistant managing editor of TriQuarterly, and her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Joyland, Catapult, The Offing, and more. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

Kayla has written 394 articles for us.

133 Comments

  1. I was so disappointed by yet another fridging!! I totally get context matters and I agree – but IMO killing eve was nowhere near the show it was in season 1 near the end and was kind of a mess. The context wasn’t worth opening the fridge!

    When this show came out, it was so groundbreaking because of how it used the female/queer gaze. Like, it is kind of world-ending and dangerous and insane to come out, just like becoming obsessed with a trained assassin! (An exaggeration? Sure, but I stand by it!) To end it on this note, in this cultural context (especially now!), is so depressing.

  2. 1.The walking and kissing and giggling and then getting curly fries was the cutest, sweetest, best thing ever. Agreed.
    2.I’m calling for a moratorium on using the Death card in Tarot in TV or movies from this moment forward. I am so tired of this trope and also of highly inaccurate tarot readings on TV / in movies in general? Writers could literally could go look up what the cards mean and then write the actual meanings into the script. I don’t get why they don’t!

  3. I really didn’t like the ending and I agree with Caroline Framke’s Variety review: https://variety.com/2022/tv/reviews/killing-eve-finale-review-villanelle-dies-1235226751/

    I’m not mad that they killed Villanelle. I actually would have been disappointed and confused if the show had a happy ending. It always seemed obvious to me that the show would have to end in tragedy and that both/either Villanelle and/or Eve would have to be killed. Rather, I’m mad that the ending was rushed and mediocre. No twist, nothing unexpected.

    • i loved caroline’s review even though we had slightly different takes/reactions. she’s a good friend, which is why I linked her review at the top of my recap. and we also had great conversations all week about the finale! and ultimately, we DO agree on a lot of things about the episode. i think a big part where we differ is that i did not mind the predictability of the ending and the lack of a “twist” but she wasn’t a fan of that. i honestly love when critics have different opinions on the same piece of art!

  4. I really liked this recap and it’s really made me feel a little better about things after being initially like…inordinately upset? Sometimes reading other people’s well-reasoned opinions really help me come around.

    Thanks too for linking the article re: BYG. A lot of my frustrations on the discourse around this finale is really well summed up in that. I’m really in the same boat that this doesn’t feel the same as previous BYG situations because they really have been involved with each other all 4 seasons in a way that I would’ve still been fairly satisfied if they had never had that (perfect) on-screen kiss.

    I agree with you that I didn’t hate the ending – it felt tonally accurate for the rest of the series (although I also really understand why people are upset). My main complaint is that it really deserved more than 2 minutes at the very end of the ep. It was so jarring and a really difficult way to come to terms with sending off an iconic character.

  5. The first 39 minutes of this episode were so so so good. Funny, witty, murdery, dark, Carolyn, Villanelle and Eve, Killing Eve at it’s best.

    The ending, was missing a beat, as you said. I would actually have preferred if they both had died, or if they would have gone the book route and made Vilanelle fake her death….

    (in my mind I just imagine this, as I find it weird how a trained MI6 sniper is not hitting the head and Villanelle’s black sports bra could easily have been a bulletproof vest, plus this “I owe you a dare” comment of Carolyn in the pub was weird.)

    But what i feel most disappointed about is all that wasted screentime of the first 3 episodes. It could just have been used better, there were so many unnecessary scenes. I mean they managed to make DRAG JESUS Villanelle boring and annoying…

    • I agree, drag Jesus Villanelle was so boring and annoying! Completely tonally wrong for this show and it took me right out of the story. And yeah the amount of time they wasted this season is infuriating. If they had brought V and E together at the beginning of the season, rather than the very last episode, the death might have worked. I will never understand why they crammed everything good into the last episode and then killed V off in the last minute.

        • i actually really liked the focus on carolyn this season and also the addition of Pam. yes, Villenelle/Eve are the driving force of the series, but I’ve always been fascinated by the side characters, who are usually very flawed, complex, specific, and messy. it adds a lot of texture to the show

          • I always really liked Caroyln too and I liked the Pam and Konstantin scenes aswell. It was also bittersweet that Pam got the ending we hoped maybe Villanelle would get. With random side characters I more meant the ones in the first episodes Villanelle was staying with. Thought this could have been handled better/faster, wasted a lot of screentime.

    • I lined this episode.i like the ending, I agree thT it’s just missing that beat . I understand viewers being upset at a character dying and I think alot of the dissonance comes from the fact that viewers got attached to the VillanEve of it all.And while there is a love story as a major part of this show its never been in a traditional way. These two have always been violent chaotic ,manipulative, dangerous. The expectation to have this particular pairing run off into the sunset is unrealistic to the overall plot of this show. I loved the whole honeymoon fantasy of it all, even then the mood of it is just slightly off kilter .

      Carolyn is one of my favourite characters ever. Fiona Shaw does an amazing job in this role.She is truly loyal to herself , a master at the game, she read the rules and never forgot them.

    • I totally agree. Truly awful. I kept waiting for it to get better because Season 1 was a masterpiece but each season was worse than the last. I feel like this season in particular was unnecessarily confusing and bad. Villanelle as Jesus? Why? Multiple side characters and Carolyn’s background? Why?

      And then they finally reach The Twelve and Eve is just on the dance floor?

      And since when does Carolyn say something to Eve and Eve’s just like ‘oh okay girl’ and just goes about her day? They went on the boat with no protection, no weapons, and clearly no sense.

      I just hope the rumors about Carolyn having a spin off series are a lie because I cannot imagine anything more boring.

  6. Thank you, I have a similar opinion of the finale, I didn’t hate it but I did think they could have done a few things differently. “But I also think there’s almost a bit of magic realism at play here”- this is an interesting take of the one scene that bothered me, I prefer your interpretation because otherwise that scene doesn’t make sense. How incredible was their kiss? It exceeded my expectations and it hard to process the rest of the episode because I was still thinking about the kiss.

  7. Kayla, you mentioned Gentle’s interview, but have you read what Laura Neal had to say about Eve’s scream being a scream of rebirth and that she thought she would go on to have an amazing life after that? Cause I was right there with you about this finale (ie not perfect, but fitting), then I read Laura Neal’s words and it pushed me off the edge. It’s so offensive and frankly homophobic and I felt tricked for ever giving the show the benefit of doubt and a “pass” when it came to explicit questions of representations because it seemed to be beyond that. But it isn’t.

  8. I liked the finale. Killing Eve to me is like a less polished Shakespearian tragedy. The show has been highlighting this inevitability subtly and not so subtly via dialogue, character actions, and music lyrics from the beginning. Latching on to this idea of it ending happily was unrealistic because like you said Kayla, it’s MESSY. Life is MESSY. And Eve and Villanelle are the messiest of all.

    Was the show perfect? No. There were plot holes that went unplugged. There were some errors in character development. I really didn’t like that they didn’t touch on what happened on the bridge at the end of season 3 that put them in the space they were in at the beginning of season 4. BUT the path was laid from the very beginning with the show’s very title. Death would come for Eve, which form it took was the question and the answer was Villanelle. The bloody angel’s wings in the water and the halo-like light shining above Villanelle’s head could be interpreted as Villanelle receiving redemption of sorts which might be true but I took it as symbolic Eve being robbed of her sun…the killing of Eve.

    A few really nice nuggets of my own:

    – Villanelle’s growth in the latter half of this season is interesting. She went from trying her hardest to win Eve’s acceptance and attention to turning her back on her and in doing so she dared Eve to be everything that they both knew her to be and for Eve to come to her on her own.

    – Eve and Villanelle never apologize to each other at least not verbally. Villanelle in that childlike way we all love picks Eve up and swings her around as if to say she forgave her for her betrayal. Kayla, I know you saw that differently and what you say makes sense but can’t we both be right? Villanelle caressing the scar from the bullet wound she caused was her way of asking for forgiveness. A missed opportunity for me was Eve caressing the knife wound she caused but her gesture ends up being that kiss. There is a pause just after the first kiss where Villanelle searches Eve’s face. Eve’s face relaxes and there is the tiniest smile to say “yes I want this and I’m sorry for pushing you away”. Villanelle smiles as if to acknowledge it and they continue kissing. I like that very much.

    – When they are in the sleeping bag, there is a moment when Eve turns over and the camera only shows only one of each of their eyes as if they are 2 parts of a whole. It’s like they were bonding at that moment to create something of their own much like what Eve said during the wedding.

    – The change in the music. Until this last episode, all the music surrounding their encounters whether they were in the same scene or not was fraught and melancholic. Like you said Kayla their relationship happened in reverse so, in this honeymoon phase of an episode, it was light and fun.

    Thank you so much Kayla for your thoughtful recaps. Much of what you’ve written mirrors my own thoughts and I’ve felt truly seen. I really liked this show overall. I liked the nuance. I liked the pacing and most importantly I loved Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer as Eve and Villanelle. I will sorely miss this show.

    • I was devastated by the ending, but it was the series finale, which was devastating to me anyway.

      The kiss was amazing. It will be my new go-to romantic kiss to watch.

      I would have loved if there had been more time spent on Villanelle and Eve’s trip to London…that was pretty amazing.

      I always figured one or both would die. I mean, Villanelle has killed a lot of people. Even Eve has done some terrible things.

      Most of all, though, I regret ever feeling any sympathy for Caroline. She is the most immoral character on the show and I didn’t see the last betrayal coming.

      • I do no retract my statement that I liked the finale but I should add the caveat that I tempered my expectations substantially. The thing is with all the delays, shutdowns, reshoots, and rewrites due to shutdowns and delays because of COVID all of the shows I like have suffered significantly. Be it unevenness of storytelling, plot holes you could sink the sun into, or character arcs that make no sense. The one thing I’ve kept telling myself is that if the acting is still good then I will give it grace. I wasn’t surprised by anything that happened in the finale but I didn’t expect to be and maybe that’s what has saved me from feeling the furor that a lot of people are expressing. Jodie, Sandra, and Fiona did fantastic work with what they were given and I’m happy with that.

        I second your sentiments about Carolyn but I will say that I haven’t liked her as a character since she manipulated everyone back in season 2.

    • I actually liked the finale too. I thought it was fitting. There was never a happily forever after in their cards because well, one of them is a psychopath. Let’s not forget that we all love Villanelle but she did end up killing her first great love and another ex girlfriend in the first two seasons. That said I wish there had been a a bit more time for audience to to enjoy them together before death and violence hit them again and this time separated them for good. At the end of one season, the one that ends in Rome, before Villanelle shoots Eve, she actually imagines what forever would be like: her making pasta for dinner for both of them after a hard day of work. In a way, I wish I had seen that day and gotten a taste of what they would that would be like for both of them. I’m sad it ended that way but in a strange, devastating way, I feel some peace in that it was someone else that killed one of them, and not that one of them killed the other. Villanelle reached some degree of redemption, not in Jesus, but in killing the 12 and saving Eve by throwing her in the water. And Eve got to end her obsession with Villanelle, the 12 and not be murdered by the woman she loved, desired and feared.

  9. I love everything you wrote about the ending and I also love this part you wrote about the middle —> “In a way, their relationship has always unfolded in reverse. They acted like jealous exes before they ever really, truly met. They’ve had the kinds of arguments and breakups that couples usually have after being with each other for a while. And now, at the end, it’s their beginning. Their honeymoon phase.”

    Villanelle killing The Twelve quickly and out-of-sight was bizarre. I honestly wondered if my screener copy was missing some clips. (like when the handmaids tale screener hadn’t added the explosion special effects yet and i was like “why are they all running out of that building like that???”) But, at the same time, I don’t care about The Twelve and I never did! So I can only care a little bit. It felt half-baked and anti-climactic. It felt like they needed to keep the budget tight that day, or that they’d already hit their limit of actors allowed on set.

    re: the action

    I was so convinced that these two would never actually make out that I was simply delighted that they did — and that it was cute and light instead of dark and intense, as I’d expected it would be if it ever happened.

    re: #buryyourgays discourse around this show in general

    I do feel like the list i’d made of dead lesbian/bi characters and the overall LGBT Fans Deserve Better movement did change things. not entirely, but a lot! It feels like the deaths of LGBTQ characters are usually handled differently now than they were, it’s not as frequent or careless or — actually I’d have to write an entire thesis instead of a comment to explain what i mean by that. But I will say quickly that I think many of those deaths were caused by unconscious bias, so simply raising consciousness helped.

    I think Villanelle is a great example of when it’s ok to kill a lesbian character, actually. It is an “Everyone Dies” show (similar to American Horror Story, for example). She’s in the business of murder, she’s a psychopath, and her death was saved for the series’ last episode so it doesn’t rob us of her ongoing narrative.

    Vilanelle herself has killed or been responsible for the deaths of many lgbt characters. I love her character so much. But it seems weird to like her despite her killing so many lgbt people and then be upset that she herself was also killed. (ETA: I myself am amongst those who liked her despite all that, which is why I feel like I can’t be outraged that she herself was also killed.)

    The trope of death happening post-relationship-consummation also can’t be analyzed in isolation — it doesn’t only happen to queer characters, but the frustration specific to its queer manifestations was often rooted in a homophobic show’s ongoing refusal to show same-sex physical affection unless they planned to immediately kill the characters. In this way it served to punish characters for being gay and also to reassure to the audience that the homosexual business was over, no worries! We have the painful history of the Hays Code as well as shows in the 80s and 90s killing LGBT characters in response to homophobic backlash, especially when homophobes had louder microphones than actual queer people.

    I think what’s frustrating to me here is how long the show played with their sexual tension while refusing to consummate it —  so if this was *not* the series finale, I’d be really mad.But when they kissed in this episode we knew it would be the last time no matter who died, or if nobody did. So I ended up just glad they got it in before the end. And I think we learned this season from the murder at the campsite that we can never really trust that Villanelle will ever stop her own violence.

    I also agree with everything Kayla wrote about it needing another beat!! I don’t think the last 8 minuets were particularly well done, I just don’t feel queer-specific outrage about it.

    • “It seems weird to like her despite killing so many lgbt people and then be upset that she herself was also killed.”

      But isn’t this the whole show? She’s an antihero. It is weird to like her, but it’s weird to like all sorts of fictional characters. Eve not only likes her but actively pursues her. The weirdness is baked in. And yes some of the people she killed were queer, but with the exception of Nadia, she didn’t know that IIRC. She was generally asked to kill people in power, which made her more relatable. (And honestly, I thought the arrest after killing the priest and May was supposed to be about drawing a line between killing innocents and her other kills on Eve’s part, but the writing subsequently played that like it had nothing to do with Eve’s motivation for bringing in SWAT.). Every major character on this show has killed someone.

      I went in fully prepared for Villanelle to die because it does make sense. But as seemingly everyone says, there is a beat missing. How does a character both deserve to die and be happy? There’s an emotional tension there that the show basically skipped over in order to make a more symbolic point. How are you going to switch the narrative at the last moment from an emotional one to a symbolic one? I’m upset that they killed Villanelle-as-a-character in how they used her in her last moments, in addition to a person on the show. And only that, that the way she was killed wasn’t from an errant member of the Twelve, but as a form of state-sanctioned violence. The show was at its best when it questioned that kind of thing, not in dropping the hammer and restoring its rightfulness.

      I think the first super iconic moment of the show was Villanelle pretending to be a victim and Eve not buying it. It’s a funny and important note on both of them. But even in Season 1 the show began to add nuance to that, Anna, her upbringing, etc. Being dissatisfied with killing as early as the second episode of the whole show. And then 3 and 4 really doubled down in that direction. So sucks after all that for her to be reduced as a symbol for another character. Especially with Eve at that very moment seeing her less as a reflection of some darkness within her but a fellow (murderous) human.

      I don’t know if there is a specific trope in which queer people only exist for the development of others, but I’ve definitely experienced that in life so that’s why it kinda sucked.

      • Hmmm, I think the reason I emphasized that she has killed LGBT people is because if one opposes the “bury your gays” trope in general, then why are we lionizing someone who has contributed so many bodies to it and then lamenting her death? (and when it comes to counting “bury your gays” bodies, it has rarely been distinguished whether or not the murderer knew the victim was gay.)

        I am amongst those who liked her despite her killing so many LGBT people!! so many people, period! I love Villanelle so much, she’s one of my favorite queer characters of all time! I just don’t think her death really fits in as an example of Bury Your Gays.

        • (first of all, thanks for responding!)

          I see what you mean, but I also feel like “bury your gays” is about the writers choices, not the character’s. So if Villanelle kills someone gay, that doesn’t necessarily make me think oh, I can’t mourn her in the context of bury your gays now. I think the *structure* of it felt like that kind of moment bc they saved so much for the last episode despite the queer/kinky stuff that came before.

          I mean, you wrote the BYG list so I don’t want to be antagonistic, I’m just among the sad huddled masses! I think it also felt a bit like BYG bc on Eve’s end this was her first non-manipulative intimacy with a woman on the show, and then boom, dead.

          The showrunner interviews made me much more fired up about this than I would have been given their emphasis on normalcy, sidelining of their coupledom, etc.

    • Killing a character who happens to be queer does not constitute bury your gays trope. Setting up an entire show around a “will they won’t they” couple,waiting 4 years, right up to the last possible episode, finally letting them consummate that relationship, letting them reach their goal, then immediately killing one of them certainly does.

      You said “The trope of death happening post-relationship-consummation also can’t be analyzed in isolation” and it was “rooted in a homophobic show’s ongoing refusal to show same-sex physical affection unless they planned to immediately kill the characters.” Clarke from The 100 had sex with a woman before Lexa’s death and that woman was alive and well afterwards. And your point about Killing Eve is being an “Everyone Dies” show; one of the first explanations The 100 offered after the backlash was that the 100 is an Anyone Can Die show(not to mention Buffy was “Everyone Dies At Least Once”show) Do you think Lexa’s death wasn’t part of the trope?

      And then there’s Laura Neal’s post episode interviews where she lays the actual intent. I’m still too angry to talk about those interviews but I don’t think we can see Villanelle’s death anything other then the textbook example of bury your gays trope.

      • no, Lexa’s death was a textbook example of the Bury Your Gays trope, that’s why it set off the movement that I personally was a huge part of.

        i never said that every death on an “everyone dies” show is not an example of Bury Your Gays — I think sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t. There are multiple factors and elements that go into determining whether something fits into the trope or not, none can be viewed in isolation. i personally don’t factor in what a writer/showrunner says about the show as one of those elements because I think a work should stand on its own, but that’s a personal preference.

        • Just for clarification, I was referring to Hélène’s and Nadia’s deaths in my first sentence not Lexa’s. Never Lexa’s. Lexa’s and Tara’s deaths were part of the trope of course.

          I agree with you on “a work should stand on its own”. But in addition to everything I stated in my comment the work mirrors Tara’s and Lexa’s deaths and I can’t see it anything other than part of the trope. Then I turn to the writer/showrunner so they can change my opinion. I want them to change my opinion. Because it’s Killing Eve, a show with a supreme cast that I love with all my heart. But when that showrunner/writer confirms that their intentions were in fact sinister beyond belief… Well, it’s just so fucking sad.

    • Agree 100% with “ I think Villanelle is a great example of when it’s ok to kill a lesbian character, actually. It is an “Everyone Dies” show (similar to American Horror Story, for example). She’s in the business of murder, she’s a psychopath, and her death was saved for the series’ last episode so it doesn’t rob us of her ongoing narrative.

      Vilanelle herself has killed or been responsible for the deaths of many lgbt characters. I love her character so much. But it seems weird to like her despite her killing so many lgbt people and then be upset that she herself was also killed. (ETA: I myself am amongst those who liked her despite all that, which is why I feel like I can’t be outraged that she herself was also killed.)” This is spot on.

  10. On one hand, I don’t really count this as Bury Your Gays/Clexa/whatever. It’s pretty different plus its at the end of the series. So yes, Villanelle dies but it’s not really that subset but rather the ‘main character dies at the end’. I’m fine with that kind of character death. I’m also fine with tragedy in general.

    On the other hand, I would have been far happier if they died together and went out with a bang. Or if they kept the book ending where Villanelle faked her death, or if they had some ambiguity on if she did that or not. Changing the ending to her just straight out dying was annoying.

    • I agree with you, in the original meaning of the trope you can’t claim that Villanelle dies in any way because she’s gay.

      That’s what the trope requires and while there’s certainly a value to keeping a list of the (far too high) a number of deaths of lesbian and bisexual female characters, when it’s a main character in the final episode it does have a different context to some of the others.

      I haven’t quite sorted out what ending I would have liked the best in my head. I think when I heard “it’s going to be operatic” I expected far more of bloodbath. When I saw them happy together walking back to the camper van I was convinced they were both going to die. So in that sense it was a twist ending I suppose.

      But operatic endings are satisfying precisely because they’re not a twist. They build and build, and you either have true love wins, or death conquers all. (There are other outcomes, I’m aware, but Killing Eve was going to finish one of those ways.) Shot, but surviving, rescued by Eve would have been good… Both shot would have been good. But we got a bit of something in the middle. Oh well.

  11. “The only way out was for them to die.”

    I think this is where I get hung up, particularly with Laura Neal’s “rebirth” interview about “the amazing life” Eve will have now, because she’s supposed “washed” away the last four years. What does Eve have left? We see in 4×07 she’s lost everyone in her life, and she says she doesn’t want to move on. Then she finds happiness with Villanelle, and loses her too. Are we supposed to believe she’s going to go herd sheep or something? She just gouged someone’s eyes out, how is “normal” going to work for her now, when it didn’t work for her before?

    I’ve said since S2 that this show’s natural end is mutual destruction. I think that’s an important distinction to recognize when you think about how a lot of KE fans are reacting right now. Yes, there are some fans who wanted an unrealistic non-murderous happily ever after, but a lot of us wanted those Romeo + Juliet/Scorpion & Frog allusions to be followed through. Together in the death and blood and sin and crimes that they’re soaked in and would never be able to erase.

    I didn’t feel cheated because Villanelle died; I felt cheated because Eve lived.

        • super duper agree with this. I think especially in the context of queer content or subtext on shows that aren’t run by queer people. (a ton of gay culture is characters/works that thrive in a gay lens but weren’t necessarily originated in that way). and a show doesn’t necessarily play out exactly as one writer or showrunner says, it’s a hugely collaborative process and film vs. word are entirely different things. i mean you have sally woodward gentle saying s4 kills weren’t meant to be sexual or give into the male gaze. well i have bad news about that one sally, at least on the former point … (and also the writer of that Helene scene literally said it was sexual so??)

          but yeah imo, queer people’s opinions on queerness are valid, and so i would encourage people to hang onto that, especially in the context of this post-end media blitz. you don’t have to elevate a showrunner’s commentary over your own experience.

  12. I came into this episode preparing for one or both of them to die, and to argue that it wouldn’t be bury your gays. Killing Eve is a dark show with significant death, having characters die (main characters, side characters, straight, queer) is normal. But having watched the episode, sat with it for 36 hours, read others opinions, I absolutely think it is the Bury Your Gays.

    Why? In huge part due to Laura Neal’s comments in interviews yesterday and today. Your interpretation is not her motivation. A number of comments she has made feel laced with homophobia and not understanding the queerness and darkness of Eve in particular. She said that Eve does not take sexual pleasure from watching Villanelle/from pain, but I’ve rewatched V killing Helene and Sandra Oh’s face contradicts that there, and throughout the season. Her quotes about the S3 dance scene – she took it as how different they are. Her interviews remove the erotic and romantic nature of the relationship.

    What does this imply about V’s death and Eve’s fate? What does it mean to have Eve discover her sexuality and then have V die? Is it punishment? Laura’s interviews say she is able to go off and have an amazing life, that this is not her end, but a rebirth. That her scream was a scream of relief and rebirth.

    I see in LN’s interviews a rejection of Eve’s queerness. Of her oneness with V. That makes this problematic to me, not necessarily the traditional Bury Your Gays trope. LN’s quotes about rebirth for Eve and V’s exploration of Christianity are a red flag for me.

    Overall, I thought the season was messy, both in plotting and in writing. So much is left unresolved, and having V & Eve reunite ever so briefly to have that death, with its implications about sexuality and fate and queerness, stings.

    My thoughts are messy, but this is a variation of BYG to me. Kill them both, kill one of them without the symbolism, god damn it, let at least one queer character live. It’s not just about Kiling Eve being a dark show – of course it is. It’s the context of the death with Eve’s sexual awakening, with the symbolism, with the deaths of all the other queer women, and with LN’s comments (seriously, go read them, they are atrocious).

    Laika (Heather’s partner, can’t remember Laika’s username on twitter) had a great write up, far more eloquent than mine.

  13. I have much less of a problem with the actual ending than the showrunner’s narrative of Villanelle as some kind of manic pixie dream assassin who “taught” Eve something that she can now take into the rest of her life. When Eve has been presented fairly clearly as “straight except for Villanelle,” and Villanelle has been openly and primarily attracted to women, that feels like it’s reducing Villanelle to being some kind of Zooey Deschanel-esque queer discovery catalyst to spice up the mostly straight character’s life and now she can die because she served her purpose.

    Not only does that feel problematic to me – a queer woman existing to enliven a bored straight woman and then dying when she’s served her purpose – but I feel like it does such an injustice to Eve’s character and the darkness that Eve has sunk to. Eve, above all, has been the nihilist in this season, more so than Villanelle. It’s Eve’s fixation with the 12 that we followed here; Villanelle only embraced that cause at the end, and in part because of Eve. Eve was the driving narrative force to get on that boat and kill the 12, not Villanelle. Without Eve, Villanelle wouldn’t have even know there was a meeting on a boat.

    It would be different if Villanelle roped her into it, and Eve went along for the ride, and then Villanelle died, and Eve had to figure out how to move on. But how does Eve move on from herself? She’s the one consumed by vengeance, even if Villanelle is the knife. This is her revenge quest above all. How can you possibly bill her arc as revitalization to… go back to being normal? Like this was just a phase, rather than permanent moral decay?

    It also matters to me that we don’t know if Laura Neal is straight or not. Obviously, that’s not our business, but I think not knowing that means it’s hard to make a 1-to-1 parallel with that column about queer authors burying their gays. If she was openly queer, I might feel a little differently about her perspective on it. As it stands, though, it feels too much like a straight woman’s fantasy of a gay summertime fling.

  14. I’ll try to keep it brief… I just thought the ending was lame.

    The lightning speed of Vilanelle getting shot and then shot by ten more bullets just to, you know, make sure no one can stretch into the idea she’ll somehow survive, all the way up to Eve’s shriek and the abrupt title card announcing the end actually felt comical. Like a “haha gotcha” moment. And sure, Killing Eve showed death in a lighthearted fashion, but this scene was mixing lighthearted editing with severity. I was like “wait, what am I supposed to be feeling here?” And I’ve read in interviews with the showrunner that the intent was some sort of Vilanelle ascension and Eve’s rebirth into a new life.

    Whether Eve or Vilanelle deserve death or are bad people doesn’t really matter to me. This show never concerned itself with what was right and just. I have a personal bias towards Vilanelle and kind of would have liked for her to “get away with it”. Continue living, because it’s a very strange way to live. In between lacking empathy and trying to do good, sort of. I would love to see more characters like that, they’re psychologically interesting, and sure, this show was ending either way, but I just don’t feel her death added anything when you compare it to the option where she didn’t die.

    I’m also feeling confused with Eve’s supposed cleansing. She gauged a woman’s eyes out just 10 hours ago or something… She lethally shot people. Are we to understand she will go back to her croissants, but just a little changed – stronger, more assured? She was pretty strong, assured and loud from the first episode. She knew how to center her needs really well.

    I of course loved their trip. It was sweet how the show allowed them to be so cheesy, so coupley. That they gave it time. That they made it worth it, because that kiss was… wow. And yet it also rang true to the characters and their relationship.

    But overall, I’m just kind of…?

  15. I was already furious enough over the ending, but seeing some of the KE writers openly mock the fans who were angry just made me lose all respect for this finale and this season. The entire show is honestly tainted for me now, and I sure as hell won’t be touching any of the spinoffs, especially since Carolyn, my new most hated character, is the focus of the first one.

  16. I don’t consider the ending to be true Bury Your Gays, but I do consider it to be garbage, and that’s because Laura Neal didn’t understand the characters. I mean… “Eve has rediscovered life in that moment, and she’s amongst human beings, people like her, and she’s remembering what the world has to offer, what the normal world has to offer”? And, “Because for me, it felt really important that that scream be a scream of survival. It’s like, there’s a triumph in that scream. It’s like, ‘I survived. I’ve got new life. I’m going to go on, and I’m going to live, and I’m going to live well,’ rather than a scream of loss or grief or anger”? If that’s what they were going for, they failed the execution, and they failed the characters. Eve doesn’t want to be “normal.” That old Eve died ages ago. And current Eve couldn’t watch someone she loves die in front of her and scream in triumph. That’s insulting.

  17. yeah, I will be #thatbitch who just admits that I hated the ending for no good reason; I just did. Villanelle was perhaps my favorite tv character of all time, and seeing her brutally killed in two minutes was just too fucking much for me.

    I have some reasons, but I’ll be honest with myself for once and admit that no amount of disagreement will change my mind!! my mind is irrationally made up on the side of forever hating laura neal now because it was irrationally in love with Villanelle.

    my only other beef I’ll indulge mentioning here is that I genuinely don’t get the ‘Villanelle had to die; she’d killed too many people; it was her righteous come-uppance’ take. like, the episode opens with Eve GOUGING SOMEONE’S EYES OUT WITH HER BARE HANDS. everyone in this show is awful and morally tainted (as Kayla notes) – why does only Villanelle get punished in this way?? I think the ‘Carolyn is the state’ take is hot, but then it just makes me even madder. if everyone sucks, then why not punish Carolyn? why does the show need to formalize what we already know about the real world (being bad doesn’t pay, and neither does being good, hierarchical and embedded structures of power ruin all)? the show is fantastical, why not lean into the fantasy? why play by weird moral rules (that aren’t even applied consistently) at the very end? I don’t need to be reminded that the world sucks, my dudez.

    last beef here re: the ‘Villanelle got what was coming to her; she was a *psychopath* for gods sake!’ take — I really resent that the show bends over backwards to make the psychopath charming, endearing, growing, and then BAM – punishes you for daring to feel for her and love her and identify with her. it feels like such a weird moralizing thing. ‘oh, you liked this character? wanted her to live? well you’re the monster for falling for her, you doofus! now be sad at her death, as you deserve!’

    that’s my take!! I will not be taking rebuttals at this time.

    • I want to cosign this comment and join the #thatbitch club.

      Vilanelle is such a shockingly unique character – the show cultivated her unlikely humanity, it dared to let her be flawed in deep ways, but it also gave her space to thrive and to be celebrated. The show made some very bold decisions with her and didn’t backtrack or apologise for it. It was the show’s strength. Watching this character at moments felt like seeing people / humanity for the first time. There are no “characters like Vilanelle”, making the loss in the finale all the more worse and – unnecessary. She didn’t need some banal messaging tied to her about the consequences of a dangerous, immoral life. A discussion about morality in this context is so trite. “Murder = bad”? You don’t say. I thought we were having a more interesting discussion here.

      It’s a loss for the show, and its viewers, that the series finale forgot the capital they had in her. Vagueposting Christian symbolism into her death to make it stronger isn’t going to cut it – in fact, it accomplishes the opposite, as far as I’m concerned. The death did not match the character.

      Ahh.

    • I agree with this. Like when did Killing Eve suddenly decide to be moral. The show has been all about revelling in the murder and the clothes and the tension between Eve and Villanelle. All the bs about the twelve and all that was just set dressing for the story about Eve and Villanelle. It celebrated all the bad but then all of a sudden is like “killing people is bad guys” “there must be comeuppance for murder”. Like wtf, is this the same show in season 1 where Villanelle killed a dude, watched the light fade out of his eyes and the camera focused on her pleasure and not his fear? Like Killing Eve being morally absolutist is something I would have never expected. Yeah I expected Eve and Villanelle to sail off in the end not only because that’s what happened in the book but because a death would have been the more expected ending. This ending was not only cliche (one always dies) but tedious and joyless. Fuck this. Yes I’m very bitter.

    • oh, i didn’t read her death as punishment. i’ve seen that take expressed places, but i think i explicitly said in my recap that i don’t see it as punishment. i see a lot of the violence on this show as futile and random. i actually don’t think the show is really moralizing at all, but that’s just my opinion! (also lol #thatbitch made me laugh) thank you for commenting I was definitely being sincere about wanting to read/engage with dissenting opinions!

    • I really love your take on this because that’s exactly how I felt. From the first season PWB said she was trying to make Villanelle likeable. Her character is one of the most endearing I’ve ever seen. So killing her off in the last 2 minutes felt like punishment for identifying with the character.

      And I also believe that thinking Eve can now go on to have a normal life and enjoy normal people is majorly offensive to the character’s development and frankly journey to acceptance of her immorality.

  18. Kayla I want to thank you for this recap and your understanding of this show — I am in the camp who was deeply upset by this finale and didn’t think anything would ease the pain I’ve been feeling, but the way you’ve presented your argument here has given me a sense of groundedness and semblance of peace that I am truly grateful for. I don’t usually watch violent or gory shows like this one bc I am so easily disturbed by the imagery, so I watched this show primarily for Villaneve’s dynamic (closing my eyes whenever the threat of violence was near). I think that’s why I couldn’t sleep last night after watching that final scene — having to watch my favorite character get murdered in the arms of her love was far too much for me. The pain I felt for Eve and Villanelle was physical; it sat tightly in my chest til morning, returning in brief pangs throughout my workday. For V to be shot THAT many times in the BACK?? She was worthy of a more beautiful and dignified sendoff! My god! I knew one or both of them was going to have to die but not this way 😭😭😭 All I heard from Eve’s mouth in the aftermath was grief. I would’ve much preferred a follow-through of the Scorpion and the Frog table. I am so very happy we got to see their honeymoon though — I too am going to watch their kiss 1000x over!!! WALKING!!!! KISS!!!!! AAAAAA!!!

    I am very grateful for the performances given by this stellar cast over the years — Jodie and Sandra have my heart forever for bringing such messy awful characters to life! I’ve so loved the music direction, the lush + cinematic visuals, and dark humor of this show so, so much and I refuse to let a clumsy ending take that away from me. Thank you again :)

    • Hi! I really appreciate this comment a lot! Seriously, I agonized over how people who were very upset about the finale might react to my difference of opinion. I think people are totally entitled to their opinions and emotions about this finale. And I think varied perspectives on art are important! Which is why I linked my friend Caroline’s review :) thank you for your kind words and for reading!

  19. i got the ending, like in the sense you’re describing here, but i do wonder if it’s socially responsible in 2022, in a time when it’s becoming acceptable to be homophobic in public very loudly again, to fridge your queer main character and have the other queer characters all suffer, with your straight characters surviving to see another day (and their alleged spin-offs). it’s accurate, but is it interesting? that’s the real question i was left with.

    i’ve really enjoyed your recaps, kayla. thank you for the time you put in and for sharing.

    • thank you for reading and for sharing your thoughts! seriously! i value it a lot. i think for me, i struggle to see this as an example of fridging because that usually applies to death used as a plot device to advance another character’s arc, and eve’s arc here is over. open to hearing thoughts from folks who do consider this fridging though!

  20. Finally someone who doesn’t want to cut Laura Neal’s head off and disembowel her!! I totally agree with your assessment of the final episode. I think many have lost sight of the overall theme of this show! Enjoy your writing tremendously!

  21. So cynical. So ugly.
    But, first: for the first 40 minutes, this is a very good episode. Two plotlines: Eve and Villanelle / Carolyn and Pam. Eve on the tree: I laughed loudly. The macabre of Gunn’s bleeding eyes. The songs. The pond in Hampstead and the dead fox. Cut. Peeing behind the bushes by the road. (For 26 seconds – I checked). Representation matters: peeing together as a bonding experience for women. Then, kisses: the moment of the ultimate happiness. They’re so vibrant together. Their bodies are so relaxed. They’re so playful and funny.
    Then, London. Villanelle: so happy to see Carolyn, her new, naughty stepmother. So happy that she didn’t kill her in Havana, that she didn’t complete Helene’s orders. Sorry, baby – indeed.
    The thing is, Killing Eve was always a very dialectical show. It was a show about how life is insufferable but also full of wonders. It was amoral but also deeply empathetic. It was cruel and tender a the same time. Its characters were a bunch of dangerous weirdos with intimacy issues, played by one of the greatest ensembles in TV history. And the show has been changing beautifully. Everything’s mutable in the world of Killing Eve, bodies and words and structures. It’s a show about loneliness that vibrates with the most extraordinary human connections. There are so many types of violence in this show and some of them conjoin with pleasure. Because of this dialectic quality, Villanelle and Konstantin have always felt very relatable to me as a person living in Central Europe, with their lack of trust and hopelessly romanticism at the same time. One day, she will be loved. One day, he will be a good father to his daughters. Well.
    I agree with Kayla, Carolyn is THE STATE. And that’s why it’s so cynical. And as I wrote a week ago, Villanelle and Carolyn’s paths and relationships with the organizations they serve mirror each other. But Villanelle is a pawn who rebels. Carolyn is the puppet master who wants her privileges back. I’m not sure if the ending fulfills the Bury Your Gays trope (up to this point, I would make an argument that the show is pretty immune to it), but I suspect that Laura Neal has never googled “homosexuality in British Intelligence”. What a shame. (I don’t know if I want to read the famous INTERVIEW. Maybe I shouldn’t).
    So, in the end, the establishment wins. In the mythical show about sex and fucked-up desires, the big powers win, which I find politically shady, to say at least. The scenography is spectacular: the Thames, weirdly clear (not brown and muddy), the Tower Bridge, the heart of the old empire. “Nothing ever changes” wins. It’s bitter and moralistic. It’s conservative hypocrisy. The ones who desperately wanted a change die. Villanelle’s arc is, in its heart, about trying to escape being used. And she dies, used by another woman she decided to trust. It’s a pattern, of course. Her mother. Anna. Carolyn. If the Heathcote season asked about how much violence one body can bear, the Neal season sinks this body in this endless violence. “See? She couldn’t change!”.
    The Fennell season also ended up on a very bitter note, the deconstruction of the genre so complete that most people don’t even remember that Villanelle, Eve, and Carolyn saved the world. But it was so vibrant! And it was about the paradoxes of Eve and Villanelle’s relationship – the part that seems never to interest Laura Neal.
    Anyway, thank you, Kayla, for creating this safe space in the last couple of weeks. It was a pleasure to read you every Monday and put my own thoughts in order here. <3

  22. I think this review is exactly right! And I’m so glad to read it after some of the hate online. I’m not unhappy with the ending; it’s just the last 8 minutes or so that could have been executed better. I loved absolutely everything up until then. I’m happy with how the ending was written but it just felt like we were robbed of an extra 15 minutes of padding to make us ok with what had to happen. We all know their relationship couldn’t have gone for the long haul, they’d eat each other alive. I just wish we’d got to see more of their last few moments and had some more details, dammit! But overall I think it made the most sense for Carolyn to pull the trigger so to speak. I hope we can all learn to live with and appreciate the ending, even if it wasn’t perfect, because it made the most sense this way. And anyone comparing it to Game of Thrones is just being outright ungrateful and blind to the incredible writing behind K.E. xxxxx

  23. As others have said, I appreciated this analysis for helping me process the finale. I’m still mad at Laura Neal for all the unresolved questions and her dumb “scream” explanation.

    I suck at symbolism and I read that there was apparently a lot of it in previous seasons (?) Has anyone found a satisfying way to tie the Jesus aspect from S4 to “The Twelve” (i.e., disciples)? I can’t do it, but I’m wondering if it’s more than a coincidence and I’m missing something.

    All in all, I think they both should have died. Unless maybe they could have gone with the ‘faked death’ scenario and adopted Irina.

  24. I loved your recaps and your insights, so first of all thank you Kayla!

    But NO, NOPE. I watched the finale 3 times now, maybe 3 and a half and I still can’t believe it. I read LN’s interviews and I’m even more pissed off.

    I’m with @alierose here, being pissed for the way they treated one of the best characters on television (and Jodie Comer’s work along with it). Villanelle deserved so much better than those 2 minutes. It was not glorious, not triumphant.
    It was a punch in the face, cruel, wicked, if felt like a betrayal and a tiny bit homophopic. They tossed 4 years of character’s development down the drain and FOR WHAT?

    Don’t get me wrong I loved this episode, all of it except those 2 rushed, unnecessary, final minutes.
    I would have preferred anything else: that they both died or that they both faked their death breaking the cycle of violence that hunted them for so long. Breaking the chain that Carolyn and K could not break. I didn’t want the happy ending into the sunset, I would have settled for a simple post credit scene, just a hint that they were ok and together.
    I can understand the choice of C being the puppet master, I might accept that now but we watched them for 4 seasons fighting against literally anybody, defying rules no-one dared before them, united (even when parted) as a force even more powerful than the institutions they were up against and there I was hoping they would go for a different trope: the pupils that surpass their masters, outsmarting them all.
    I feel like a fool. This show has always been dark, you’re right, but I always saw a bit of hope in Eve and Villanelle’s relationship. They way they had of finding each other, of choosing each other, of coming back to each other no matter what.
    They ripped it off in the most horrific way and left us like Eve…adrift.

    To quote Villanelle – the best character that ever lived: I’m grieving.

    • You’ve captured all of my inchoate reactions so perfectly. I’m not only angry about Villanelle’s death — I’m also worried about Eve. I’ve been wondering all day what she’s doing and hoping that she’s OK. 🙄

    • Haha thank you for reading, and I’m totally cool with you being like NO NOPE lol I do genuinely welcome differences of opinion on all of this! I think for me personally, I struggle to see Villanelle and Eve’s relationship as a source of hope because even though I squarely fall in the camp of people who absolutely roots for them and wants them to be together, I also don’t think their relationship is anywhere close to healthy. It’s codependent and often hinges on manipulation and control. It’s a super satisfying dynamic to watch play out, but it doesn’t exactly scream HOPE to me. But again, that’s just me!

      • Ahaha sorry for the strong NO, Nope lol it wasn’t for your review, it was out of disappointment – oh my I’m still livid ! Anyway I see your point on codependency, manipulation and control and yes it wasn’t the healthiest relationship but I believe throughout the series we’ve seen them making some progress, at least trying to work on it – and I’m going back to V character’s development here completely tossed away. Story wise they both moved on different yet mirroring arcs, Villanelle’s redemption and Eve’s discovery of her own darkness and it seemed that they would meet halfway.
        From the glimpses that we saw in the finale, and I’m so grateful that we did get to watch them together, domestic Villanelle and Eve could have worked because it seemed that they overcame their differences.
        But I mean, they didn’t get a real chance.

        I always liked your reference about epic, with our heroes being actually anti-heroes and as you said I was rooting for them, the both of them, hoping for a win.
        It ended up in a devastating tragic love story.

        Thanks again for your feedback Kayla and for offering a safe space!

  25. Time to go to confession:

    “Bless me father for I have sinned: I never watched Killing Eve”

    Now I really feel culturally stunted….sounds like some major binge watching in the future for me….better order a couple of cases of microwave popcorn….

  26. The ending is garbage. They foreshadowed events over 7 episodes and were like, nope, we’re not serious storytellers. What is foreshadowing again, oh you’re reading too much into it. We never meant THAT. Did I think they’d ride off into the sunset? No. V was going to die. Because in the minds of these show-runners, people that live in darkness can’t and don’t deserve happiness. Death was her end. Did they have to do it after V and Eve shagged? No. That’s what makes it garbage. It’s sloppy. It’s lazy. Had they brought them together sooner maybe it wouldn’t feel unearned.

  27. Great recaps all season Kayla!!!

    I do agree with you that I don’t think killing Villanelle was actually a bad thing. I do however think there needed to be slightly More for the death to not just feel unnecessarily cruel. So much of the finale took place at a “distance” and I think it could have been handled better. Honestly I also think it would have made more sense for either both of them, or just Eve to die? The emotional payoff there would have been more interesting I think.

    That being said I think the Laura Neal interviews make this feel more like a Bury Your Gays trope for me than the show in and of itself did

    • Exactly! The ending of the episode itself make me shrug and say “ok”. I didn’t have any sort of emotional response because everything happened so quickly and then it was just…over. But the LN interview has made me FURIOUS. The disconnect between the writers and the audience is insane.

  28. I’ve been more offended by the mediocrity of everything after season 1 of this show than I ever will be at the killing of Villanelle. They really should have made it a one season limited series if it was going to be passed around to less talented showrunners.

    Villanelle IS a sociopathic assassin, perhaps her death would feel earned if 3/4 of this show wasn’t so terrible.

    What a shame, Oh and Comer have amazing chemistry, that was a hell of a kiss.

  29. Ok, so I don’t usually read the interviews like that, but I read THIS ONE and it is quite ridiculous, indeed! Especially the part where she speaks about Eve “remembering what the world has to offer, what the normal world has to offer”, and Villanelle “in the place where she feels happiest, which is blood-soaked, steeped in killing”. It’s like… writing off the whole story? First, the darkness in Eve, her power, her weird desires. I feel like since the first season, there was this whole discourse that makes her a weak, easily manipulated woman. But she’s the character with the most agency and free will in the entire show: she makes one wicked choice after another, stubbornly, and with every step, she has another option, something you cannot say about Villanelle (or Konstantin, or even Carolyn). Eve’s turned on, and then she gets bored, then she has another meltdown because someone (Villanelle) is babbling about something that trivial like eating a good dinner. (Eve can’t eat properly). Eve is hot and fascinating and wicked. “…his hair was dressed in long curls, which at a little distance looked like black candles (…). His eyes were of the blue of the forget-me-not, and of a profound melancholy, save when he was plunging his hook into you…”. Ok, it’s not about Eve, it’s about Captain Hook, but you know what I mean ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    And with Villanelle… it’s the same. But also, Jodie Comer’s performance in this sequence (and directing, lighting, costume…) is so contrary to Laura Neal’s words. Villanelle had various breakdowns in the course of the show, including the biggest one after killing her mother, and she’s been sick of killing for almost two seasons now. Even in the last part of the season here, when she’s killing Helene, then the Twelve, it’s not Villanelle from the seasons 1-2. She’s not into the spectacle anymore. She wants to get things done to be free and leave this shit behind. She’s happy on the road when she’s about to have sex with the woman she loves.
    I mean, the interviews are tricky! And we probably shouldn’t take that too seriously. But at least I picked up Peter Pan from the bookshelf, so —

  30. I just want to say thank you for putting into words what I’ve basically been feeling and couldn’t really figure out how to say. I said on Twitter yesterday that I never expected a real happy ending, but I’m also not entirely sure I expected this. But I didn’t hate it, I just felt some of it could have been done a bit better – and i wish we’d gotten just a little more time with E/V getting to be together. Thanks for a thoughtful recap!

  31. I just feel…nothing. Villanelle suddenly getting killed in the last two minutes of the show was so incredibly jarring and then BAM, The End. I didn’t know how to feel about it because there was no time?? I actually laughed when they played the title cards. Whether or not this ending was BYG, it was definitely not executed well. Nothing about the head writer’s intentions or interpretations of that scene came across. If you have to explain the ending of your show because people didn’t understand it, you’re not a good writer.

    Also: who the fuck killed Kenny? They made it such a Plot Point and in the end we never even found out. Was it Konstantin all along, like he said in the S3 finale? If so, why the hell did they drag it out all throughout S4? Such a waste of screen time. Nothing about The Twelve plotline made any sense, and Villanelle single-handedly taking them out like that was ludicrous. It’s like the writers were all burned out from COVID and just winged it. It’s even more embarrassing that they had actual source novels to draw from and they still ballsed it up.

    And don’t even get me started on how badly they messed up Carolyn’s character! They stripped her of her humanity so they could make her the Big Bad in the last 30 seconds. It’s beyond stupid and insulting.

    To sum up my feelings about the ending: it was boring, unoriginal, and made me feel absolutely nothing about the death of my favourite character. I will always treasure that kiss (it was a really good kiss!) and Jodie and Sandra’s chemistry, but the writing really let the final season down. Just…ugh. Let’s pretend the show ended with Villaneve on the bridge, unable to walk away from each other.

  32. See, I didn’t think they were sharing a sleeping bag. I thought they looked at each other, went nope, and killed the straight couple immediately so they could sleep in the actual bed instead of on the floor

  33. I am also grieving, and not just for Villanelle — I feel like we also lost Carolyn. WTF was that at the end???!!

    And I’ve been worried about Eve all day. I don’t know if she’s going to be OK.

  34. After reading the recap:

    “And now, at the end, it’s their beginning. Their honeymoon phase.” Beautifully said :’) And beautiful conclusion overall, Kayla. Like folks mentioned, reading this calms me. I find myself between “The Twelve never matters” and “The Twelve moves the plot for Eve and Villanelle,” because of how ambiguously the power above us can constantly move us. You word it perfectly with Carolyn representing The State. As grand as VillanEve were to us, they were very small in their universe.

    “They don’t have their big cinematic kiss until this episode, but that doesn’t mean that everything that has come before it hasn’t been intensely emotional, erotic, and even at times romantic.” That part.

    “Villanelle’s death doesn’t render her bad, doesn’t punish her for her own acts of violence. Rather, the ending reiterates that EVERYONE involved is a morally corrupt character.” I’m going to cling on to this rather than what I’m making out of LN’s interviews. Kayla, I’m glad you’ll continue to write about this show. Can’t believe it is now a show of the past, but I’m excited for the Killing Eve discourse to live on.

    Also, reading everyone’s essays and analysis has made this so much more comforting. What a ride with this fucking fandom. It was a beautiful journey with these two, and I won’t let that ending take away what was an epic queer love story. It will always be ours.

    Raw comment before reading the recap (with Laura Neal’s interview in mind):

    I was peeping at the comments all day today at work. I’ve reacted with every social media I could and was waiting for Kayla’s recap as my ultimate grief finale. One of the hardest parts about being a fan of this show is having to say, “Killing Eve is a great show. Actually, just season 1 with sprinkles of season 2.” The potential!!! That kills me. Killing Eve could’ve been one of greatest TV shows ever with queer mains, but here we are.

    Maybe I’m delusional, but what Killing Eve fan isn’t (sorry I’m throwing everyone under), but I don’t think people got too side-tracked with VillanEve. Both of them have always been the anchor to this show. Both of their arcs IS the plot! Not Carolyn. Not the Twelve. At least in PWB’s writing. And then we just had to hope that every writer afterwards understood the assignment. It’s just too bad.

    Yes, I expected death. Although I did hope for an ending similar to the book. I just wish it was better? It feels so lazy to kill Villanelle like that. Such a badass and iconic character! I’m weeping at her death, not because it happened, but because it was so badly written! And V rushing Eve off the boat was her protecting Eve? That was her character growth (according to LN)?! They let her down BAD!!! Eve’s ending was also insulting, but @Amy said it well enough. If LN really believed she screamed in triumph, she DID NOT understand Eve’s character and messed up her arc so bad. And everything leading up to the death was so rushed and underwhelming. I don’t think I’m the only person who watches Killing Eve partly as a fantasy show, right? When did we care about morals?! They stabbed and shot each other and I still ship them! That’s what made season 1’s play with morality so good. Whose moral is it? And does moral matter if we’re thinking about a psychopath all the time? At least finish the job and KILL EVE too! She needs redemption too if that’s where we’re going.

    *big sigh* I love Villanelle and Eve so much. Villanelle is also my favorite character of all time (although E and V works as one for me-so I love Eve just as much). I can’t disregard that my love for these two characters are conjoined with Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer’s acting. Every little facial expression, the way they walk/stand/sit, the voice changes and delivery of lines have been so specific to make these two characters alive. There will never be a Villanelle and Eve again, because it won’t be Jodie and Sandra. Truly grieving the end to their performances. Learning about THE INTERVIEWS, if my speculations are right, I give all the credits to Sandra and Jodie for playing VillanEve as lovers (at least in the last 2 seasons). I said it earlier before, Sandra and Jodie’s acting is the subtext for VillanEve. We had to watch them to know what Eve and Villanelle think and feel about each other for TWO fucking seasons. They played the VillanEve that Phoebe Waller Bridge wrote. I hate to keep bringing up PWB, but she was the only writer who understood Eve’s arc, which greatly impacted V and VillanEve’s arc. But what do I know. Maybe they all didn’t want it.

    And that kiss! That kiss will live rent free. From the pissing together representation to cheek kiss to Eve’s soft smile and initiating the fucking hand hold to the walk! That’s where Killing Eve ended for me. It was perfect. It was beyond my expectations. All the tensions from 4 fucking seasons, finally resting. It was yet another fleeting moment, but they were gentle, they were vulnerable, they were so fucking cute, and they were happy. The music, the scenery, the cinematography all feel so nostalgic and personal. More like we’re looking back at them. As if VillanEve were supposed to loop in that scene forever. At least on my Instagram it is.

    I will continue to rewatch this show, but GAH I hate that I will sob at the first scene instead of feeling the thrill. Actually, I will sob for many rewatches. Everytime I see Villanelle’s face, it’ll be more gentle. But at least I can rewatch knowing they have a canon’d kiss. UGH this fucking show!

  35. Such a great article and comment thread!! I’m saving it to share with my daughter, who is a few episodes behind. I’m thankful for the comments about what Laura Neal has been saying because I can now avoid reading anything she says about it. I think it’s definitely one of those songwriter situations where the best ones never explain what they meant by their lyrics because it would ruin the song for most of their fans. Better to let us all love the the song we heard instead of the song they were trying to write.

  36. For 4+ seasons I felt completely queer baited and during the last 2 minutes of the series, I felt utterly queer bashed. Villanelle was murdered at a gay wedding?! Really?! At this point I just imagined the writers room snickering at all of us. Lesbianism was never taken seriously on this show and that ending absolutely proved it to me.

  37. Kayla, Thanks for all the recaps and opinions. I have really enjoyed reading them. I have also enjoyed all of the comments and discussions here.

    I had a hard time with the ending. I have so many emotions that they were hard to articulate. At the end of it, am still sad, frustrated and angry. Going into it, I did expect one if not both characters to die. But I did not expect Carolyn to pull the trigger. I did not expect that betrayal. I do feel betrayed by the show. In my opinion, the show was always about V and E, the other things in the show were just subplots/background BUT at the end it felt like Carolyn became the main character that felt soooo wrong. Its like Kayla said it was THE STATE that won. And I am not OKAY with that.

    I also felt sad that they could not be together, either in death or in life. They were both finally in the same page. I think I would have prefered that both of them died or as someone mentioned faked both their deaths and break the cycle of violence.

    I do agree with you Kayla that the execution could have been better in the ending. I did feel like something was off.

    I also agree with some comments here, if you have to explain the ending than you are not a really good writer. And it is also better not to explain the lyrics of the song because everyone’s point of view is a bit different and everyone has their opinion on what it meant to them. Also if you really had to explain the ending you are really not in touch with the audience of the show.

    And one last thing, I do like the reverse relationship analogy. I did enjoy the honeymoon stage of their relationship. The KISS was very well worth it.

  38. quite apart from the content of the ending, i find myself bored as hell over its shitty half-assed shoehorned xtian morality/symbolism that is inserted into every narrative possible regardless of how appropriate it actually is.

    i’m so BORED of “this character is jesus” “this character is redeemed through sacrifice” “this character is martyred” “this character is baptized” “this character is reborn” “this character is an angel, you can tell from the ~wings~ and ~halo~” plus some boring michelangelo reference that doesn’t do anything for the show besides thrill some a24-poisoned watchers who care more about “one perfect shot” than like, the shot actually making sense.

    promising young woman had this problem too! in very similar ways: xtian symbolism deployed more for aesthetic than effect, xtian ideas of penitence, forgiveness, sin etc. shoehorned into a narrative that seems to actively defy those labels.

    not only is it incoherent, it’s an overused snoozefest. filmmakers and showrunners should be banned from using xtian symbology in their work for the next five years while they learn how to do it right.

    • I’d make an argument for Drag Jesus, because I loved her, but the way these motives kept coming back is questionable at least. Maybe they shouldn’t touch the whole Church thing, she’s queer and Russian, for f*ck sake, and she declares herself as an atheist, sometimes even the coolest visual idea should die because it’s not worth it

  39. okay my last thought and I will step away from this enormous and wonderful comment section.

    I think folks saying: “The show had a theme of senseless violence, anyone can die, of being hella dark,” etc. — I think you’re right. The show definitely had that theme. But it also had deep themes of queerness, of struggling for redemption, and of uncovering or creating a more authentic self.

    And to me, the writers had a choice to emphasize one of those two angles/avenues, to end on one of them, and it’s no more right to end on the first than on the second. The queerness and the joy was just as much a part of the show as the violence and the darkness, and it wasn’t inevitable that it end on violence — that was a specific choice, and I think it was the wrong one.

    thanks again Kayla for the space to have this conversation!

    • Also, I think it trivializes what the show said about violence so far. Every character has a different relationship and experience with it. Villanelle is the only character who genuinely wants to stop it, and it’s not a paradox, not really. The show was built on these vibrant contradictions, grew on them, and then… Ugh!

    • The other angle of this is that i would trust the writers if they at least had neutral respect for the fans but instead they’re thriving off people getting upset/don’t understand why people liked the show in the first place.

  40. I think most of us can agree that Season 4 was not great. I, however, am not upset by the killing of Villanelle. As for Laura Neal, all I can say is that sometimes artists forget that art is open to interpretation. The moment you touch pen to pad or paint to canvas the creation has taken on a new meaning. It is difficult to let go of an idea sometimes and it is easy to get so caught up in an idea that you destroy your own intentions. I, honestly, don’t think she fully understood the characters.

    That being said, I do not think this is a bury your gays situation because there was nothing about Eve or Villanelle’s lives that suggested it would end any other way. They’ve destroyed and have been destroyed by their obsessions. I wonder if this season was an attempt at writing a “Mad Girl’s Love Song”. I would have been more offended had they wound up having a happily ever after. I think Carolyn (and her obsession with power and the game) had to kill Villanelle because she had already been tasked with killing her. Villanelle knew too much about Carolyn. Not to mention the fact that she just slaughtered half a boat full of very powerful people. You can’t let that slide. And it was more than likely that Eve would’ve asked Villanelle to kill Carolyn.

    I, also, like that they don’t get together until the end. I can’t even imagine how weird the dynamic would’ve been had they went on some type of Natural Born Killers spree across Europe. There union needed to be more poetic. Neither had a fixed form. They had to evolve and come to a place of fixedness. They both had to except who and what they were with and without each other in order to come together. That could not have happened in prior seasons. I liked how seeing the other couple together was sort of their realization that they didn’t need to change in order to be together. They didn’t have to be a perfect, kidney swapping, cocoa drinking couple to have something real.

    The moment Eve finds out that the meeting had been cancelled you knew it was the beginning of the end. I enjoyed every moment they were on that boat. It was absolutely fitting, that in the same moment, they both found joy doing what they love. Villanelle’s scenes reminded me of The Bride from the Kill Bill films. I didn’t really need to see how she dismantled The Twelve because we’ve seen her work. The implied savagery was enough for me. In the end, Villanelle got to be a hero, an angel, a good person. She was a bad person, who did bad things, but under the right circumstances she could be the type of person that no one gave her a chance to become. In a very Titanic moment, she metaphorically gave Eve a kidney.

    Eve’s screaming as she resurfaced could have been for a number of reasons. The woman you love was just murdered so a scream seems fitting. She could’ve also been facing the realization that Carolyn killed her. It could’ve also been the realization that she’ll never be able to get off the merry-go-round. She would have no choice but to avenge Villanelle. Carolyn would be a difficult target but the shooter (who I think was Irina) would be her re-upping on chasing down another assassin. Anyway, just a thought.

  41. Thanks for a thorough and thoughtful review. But, “mouses”? :=)

    Seriously, I agree about the ending. I do think that Villanelle, one of the most compelling characters in contemporary TV, deserved a better death than a shot in the back from some unknown sniper. “Ayo” commented that it could have been Irina. If that had been confirmed, even that small detail would have improved the ending.

    And for the show to live up to its title, Eve, arguably the most unpleasant and unlikable main character in the history of TV, needed to be figuratively “killed” so her life could change direction, as the Tarot card implied. But did that happen? All season, we’ve watched her descend further into clueless depravity. At the end, was it really love, or just delusional nihilistic acquiescence? It’s no coincidence that Villanelle told Eve that she was the real psychopath. Ambiguity can be artistic, but Eve’s scream seemed more like a creative cop-out to me.

    And certainly we deserved a real denouement so we could get a fair attempt to process the impact of the finale events.

    Ultimately, the finale, like the whole series, vacillated between the brilliant and the preposterous. But everyone involved deserves credit for a completely unique creation, flaws and all. It was a great ride.

  42. thank you so much for your recaps this season. i was too cheap to pay for AMC plus so i couldn’t go read other ppls takes on twitter without getting spoiled, so getting to read your recaps allowed me to digest the episodes.

    i’m still processing having just watched eps 7 and 8, but i truly truly loved the finale. i can agree there’s things they could have added or changed, but watching it i was simply enthralled. i haven’t looked at other ppls takes yet, i’m sure a lot of people hated it. but before this season even started i was quite sure one or both of the two would die – how could they not, when the whole show was an endless cat and mouse game full of death? so i was more so thrilled we got some happiness before it all inevitably fell apart.

    truly if the show had ended with them on their road trip making out peacefully – i wouldn’t have been satisfied, personally. bc how is that honest to the rest of the show? i do loathe bury your gays having been personally burned by tara and lexa in particular, but truly this is different to me because vilanelle didn’t die as a punishment for being gay, she died bc this was a tragic story. anyways, loved the recaps, now i gotta do a full rewatch

  43. Jodie Comer deserved better.

    Whatever they wanted Villanelle’s death to be in this series, they clearly didn’t tell the actors, and it’s disappointing at least. Jodie Comer is one of the greatest breakout actors I’ve seen in a very, very long time, and I find it extremely disappointing that she had to act out her character’s death in such a truncated way. Separate from the character herself, the resolution was way too brief for any actor to do it justice. I wish Jodie Comer’s curtain call wasn’t her flailing in the water, because she’s carried this fucking series.

  44. It has been done in the past: we can do it again. What if we fought for our own little miracle? Wouldn’t it be unique? Maybe it’s a detail, maybe it’s really not. Anyway, in fiction anything is possible. Step j’y step, we can change the world. Spread the word, share the love: https://www.change.org/p/petition-for-phoebe-waller-bridge-to-make-an-alternative-ending-for-the-killing-eve-finale?redirect=false
    I think they really meant well. But I think they really don t understand the impact of that ending in the queer community. Hell, I didn’t understand it and I married a woman! But I think we can tell them again. And maybe we can make history. Maybe Killing Eve could become a milestone in the history of television.

    • Here’s the alternative ending that I’ve adopted for myself:

      1) Sorry, but Villanelle and Eve are NOT star-crossed Shakespearean lovers. They are psychopaths incapable of a “normal” relationship. Villanelle has the insight to understand this. She thoroughly enjoyed the Scottish road trip as an experience to add to her database, while fulfilling some physical needs. She is fascinated by Eve, but in a clinical sense, shown by her reaction as she watched Eve gouge out Gunn’s eyes.

      2) Eve does not have much insight, so we’ll let her scream ambiguously in the river, having been killed figuratively, and wish her luck with the rest of her life’s quest. BTW, I admire Sandra Oh’s skill and courage in playing this role.

      3) The writers don’t seem to know this, but bullets are slowed by water after the 3 – 5 foot range, so those bullets we saw in the river did not kill Villanelle. The wing-like blood was from the first shot. She pulls a Jason Bourne and escapes.

      4) We see another title card, telling us that we’re in some exotic location several months later. Villanelle, in a drop-dead gorgeous outfit, is following the advice to continue doing what she’s good at. This means executing a convoluted plot to get revenge on Irina and Carolyn, who dies with a final pithy comment. Maybe Villanelle would die in this effort, but I’d prefer to see her move on, truly independent, to realize the promise of the Sun card.

  45. Wow. I am so glad this was the first place I came after (finally) watching the last two episodes. I knew Kayla would have a thoughtful take.

    I had never heard of Laura Neal prior to reading these comments, and I think that was for the best.

    It looked to me like Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer were much more aligned with Kayla’s take on things. And even if they weren’t, I’m going to keep taking from it what I saw—which was the pointlessness of it all (and the absolute joy of Villianelle and Eve on that road trip).

    Konstantin’s death was explicitly pointless. Carolyn is back in the game that took away the only thing we saw her love and didn’t fulfill her. It was sad and not triumphant to see that this was all she has even in “victory”.

    Would love Kayla’s take on “I still owe you a dare” though.

  46. This finale was honestly just complete trash with only a few moments of greatness though in that vein it followed pretty well how this whole season has gone. Laura Neals comments afterwards were just the cherry on top to this insult.

    It also scares me how accepting some in LGBTQ+ community have become of killing off the very few representative characters that we have.

  47. I’m wondering who actually killed Villanelle–did Carolyn talk Pam into it, or was it (the one who seems most likely) Irina? And so poetic; what kills Eve is actually the murder of Villanelle. The old Eve is gone, gone, gone.

    Such a great show.

  48. Thanks for the recap! I found following all “the twelve” lore hard work and ended up just feeling confused and went along for the ride without caring who is or isn’t a member. Ending the series was for the best, but the finale left me unsatisfied. I think I will go back and watch S1 to remind myself what made this show so great!

  49. in my heart, the finale ended two minutes sooner than the credits rolled. Villanelle emerged to see Eve dancing at a beautiful queer wedding, they kissed on a boat under the stars, and partied the night away dancing and drinking and eating and laughing together in a celebration of love.

    that’s how I choose to believe it happened and nobody can tell me otherwise.

  50. After taking time to grieve and also recover from the blunt force trauma of those last three minutes of the finale, I did a season 4 rewatch and read all your recaps to help me through some of the more confusing moments of the season. I appreciated your recaps so much especially this one. I’ve come to terms with the ending and I totally agree that, if executed better with that one extra beat, it would feel less of a cheap trick and more of a compelling “glorious” conclusion. All the death and funeral symbolism felt so heavy handed this season that I thought they’d have a twist as KE usually does and end it on happier note. I do think how sad it was for Villanelle to die alone falling deeper into the darkness of the Thames. Just felt so bad after the endless suffering she had this season. I knew Carolyn was shady even when she manipulated V to torture Rostem in Cuba but still stings that V thought they were buddies. I now wonder if that story of meeting her in the orphanage was actually made up too.

  51. It’s such a relief to see a review I actually agree with haha. Yes, the ending felt kinda rushed and awkward and honestly trying too hard to be artistic rather than emotional. And I completely agree even just a moment of Eve washing ashore to show her “moving on” would’ve done wonders, especially after how nihilistic her outlook on life had gotten this season. I feel so worried about her and her mindset after the episode, it’s hard to imagine her walking out of the water and having a life after this! The show literally removed every important relationship or friendship she had over the years, it almost might’ve been more fitting for them to die together but happy.

    But I actually really enjoyed the episode itself and the beats up until that, and don’t think the ending takes away from that. I love your point about it feeling like their relationship in reverse; this episode really is their honeymoon phase they never got, and even ends with a wedding. But they were never going to have a happy ending, especially with how much Villanelle has done.

    • also I SO many people on Tumblr confused about why carolyn did what she did and I’m like “were y’all not watching? did y’all miss her talking about getting her job back at the MI6 and needing to do something big to do so?” so thank you for that haha

  52. By any chance do you know which song is playing when Villanelle suggests to steal the stupid camper van? I’m obsessed with it and that scene and can’t find it anywhere!

  53. It’s not easy for me to judge the final episode or the final two minutes without evaluating the entire season. Seasons 1 & 2 were great. Things went a little downhill (IMO) during season 3. It got a little bit boring. Season 4 as a whole, as in every single episode, was poorly written. Each scene felt like one lazy “idea” followed by the next. I found myself thinking things such as “they’re really putting Villanelle in a beard again?” We already got that amazing scene in Season 1 and we don’t need to see it again. I called it before Eve got in the tub, which was taken straight from Lost Girl. The tarot card? Bitch, please. Everything felt so tired and lazy. Season 3 had a beautiful ending and then where Season 4 picked up made NO sense. Why was Eve mad at Villanelle, and then all of a sudden she’s not mad anymore? The LGBTQ+ community RARELY gets huge shows with a high production value and stars like Jodie and Sandra. You can’t play hokey pokey in the seventh inning and then end on the Bury Your Gays trope. But, I guess that’s what it’s all about. I guess I’ll go watch that one lesbian show on repeat with with good ending to try and reverse my trauma. lol

  54. Kayla, you mentioned Gentle’s interview, but have you read what Laura Neal had to say about Eve’s scream being a scream of rebirth and that she thought she would go on to have an amazing life after that? Cause I was right there with you about this finale (ie not perfect, but fitting), then I read Laura Neal’s words and it pushed me off the edge. It’s so offensive and frankly homophobic and I felt tricked for ever giving the show the benefit of doubt and a “pass” when it came to explicit questions of representations because it seemed to be beyond that. But it isn’t.

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