The final season of Killing Eve has been a bit of a roller coaster, and not necessarily in a fun, dramatic, twisty kind of way. More in the sense of very high highs and very low lows, with a series of muddled motivations and disconnected plot threads that makes you feel like you woke up in the middle of a ride that keeps jumping tracks.
The final episode of season 4 – and the show’s series finale – brings this ride to its natural conclusion. By which I mean, it takes another sharp turn that takes the episode in one direction, then promptly runs out of track, leaving the show (and the fans) to crash and burn in the final moments.
*Note: all my other reviews for Killing Eve‘s final season have been spoiler-free. But given this is the series finale (and I have A LOT to discuss) this review will contain spoilers.
**Spoilers for the Killing Eve series finale “Hello, Losers” below**
“Hello, Losers” isn’t without its good moments; it does, if nothing else, bring Eve and Villanelle together in a beautiful, joyous way we haven’t seen in the show’s four-season run. Unfortunately, that might be the only good thing that can be said about this series finale, which ultimately fails to resolve the show’s plot in a satisfying way and ends with an abrupt, ill-thought-out, and frankly insulting conclusion meant to shock instead of provide catharsis.
Getting Back to the Driving Force of the Series: Eve and Villanelle
Undoubtedly, the most validating and enjoyable part of Killing Eve’s series finale is seeing Eve and Villanelle finally, finally together.
And I do mean this in all senses of the word. I’ll get to the romantic resolution in a minute (VILLANEVE ENDGAME!), but first, I want to say how wonderful it was to get an episode so heavily focused on letting Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer share the screen.
The phenomenal acting and chemistry of these two women have elevated Killing Eve from the very beginning. And yet, the occurrences during which they actually share screen time on the series can run few and far in between. To see them spend the series finale practically glued at the hip, getting the chance to play off each other for basically an entire 40 minutes, was absolutely wonderful and exactly what I wanted out of the show’s final episode. Even as part of me mourns that the final season wouldn’t give us more than just one episode like this, I’m busy grinning like an idiot at these two doing their thing together.
A huge thank you and congratulations to Comer and Oh for their work on the last four seasons of Killing Eve. You got us hooked on these glorious, messy, addictive characters. Much like Eve and Villanelle themselves, we’ll never be the same after having met them.
This Is A Love Story (Aka Series Finale Villaneve Speedrun)
Killing Eve launched as a cat-and-mouse espionage drama, driven by the mutual obsession reflected by its two leads. As the series progressed over the course of its four seasons, it became clear that this obsession underscored something deeper. Killing Eve is not just murder and mayhem; it’s a love story.
The core of the series has revolved around breaking down what that means for characters like Eve and Villanelle. What does love look like for them? Is it possessive? Toxic? Just a power play?
Or is it something more? Something soft and understanding and even joyful? Something… normal?
Killing Eve’s series finale certainly makes an argument for the latter: that these two women, despite their (many) flaws and even sociopathic tendencies, can find an almost unbearable tenderness in loving one another.
In that sense, the series finale provided so many things Villaneve fans never thought they’d see. Emotional confessions and acknowledging the loss of Bill! Cabin life domesticity! Villanelle oh-so-gently touching Eve’s scar! Road trip hijinks! Sharing a bed (no stabbing this time)! Kisses exchanged not in a heated moment of murder or one-upmanship, but out of pure joy for being in each others’ presence! If all of my exclamation points seem slightly manic, it’s only because I am more-than-slightly manic over this!
Also more-than-slightly manic? The pacing of this final episode. Look, I loved every second Villanelle and Eve spent together in “Hello, Losers.” But it also feels a bit like the show said, “Oh crap, we only have one episode left. Villaneve relationship speedrun I guess?”
On one hand, I appreciate the fan service. With how season 4 was plotted overall, I wouldn’t have been surprised if the finale only included an acknowledgement of Eve and Villanelle’s romantic tension in the final moments of the episode. Instead, we cleared that hurdle early on, and got some really wonderful scenes with the two of them as a result.
But the more cynical side of me has to counter that this big final rush into a relationship wouldn’t have to play out like this if the season had just put them together sooner in the first place. I feel like the Killing Eve Powers That Be must have believed the show wouldn’t sustain itself if they didn’t keep Eve and Villanelle apart. Otherwise, why would a show whose central premise revolves around a specific relationship give themselves only one episode to develop an emotional arc four years in the making?
The frenetic pacing of the finale is doubly baffling when placed in the larger context of season 4. I previously noted it didn’t feel like the season had a real direction until episode 4, and that episode 7 felt almost like filler as it struggled to pull together the season’s plot threads and balance its storylines. I can’t help but feel like Killing Eve spent season 4 backing itself into a corner, and the finale is the resulting panic of trying to get out of that corner.
The Twelve Conundrum
Possibly one of the most baffling things about the Killing Eve finale is its treatment of the Twelve. The shadowy organization responsible for a string of international assassinations took a backseat in the first two seasons of the series, but seasons 3 and 4 both focused on making the Twelve a priority.
Was that the correct move for the show overall? Personally, I don’t think so. The heart of Killing Eve is Villanelle and Eve; the audience’s interest and investment in the Twelve was simply never going to compare. But season 4 insisted on making the Twelve A Thing. So much so, in fact, that we got an episode focused on exploring the early days of its formation this season.
And for what, exactly?
In episode 7, after Eve shoots Lars, Carolyn comments that the Twelve will simply replace him. That’s what they do – over and over, just find new pawns for their game. It’s pretty much how I’ve viewed the Twelve from the start. Arguably, it’s the only real way to view the Twelve – a faceless monster, sprouting new heads like a hydra as soon as you cut one down. But either Killing Eve realized this too late into the game, or they just didn’t know how to get out of the corner they’d painted themselves into by turning the Twelve into such a heavy plot focus.
The fact that after four seasons, Villanelle single-handedly takes out the Twelve (if they are actually the Twelve?) while Eve just gets her groove on in the other room is incredible. Like, did the scene make me laugh as intended? Oh, for sure. Did it mean the Killing Eve series finale dedicated exactly as much time to the Twelve plot as I actually cared to see about them? Absolutely. I was here to watch Villaneve, and Villaneve I did watch.
But from a strictly storytelling perspective… I mean, it really should have done more with the Twelve, right? It just doesn’t make a lot of sense that the show spent the last season(s) hyping the Twelve, only to pull the rug out from under us and imply they don’t really matter at all. Even though I will be the first to admit the Twelve are low on my Killing Eve wish list, this attempt at resolution feels incredibly rushed and unsatisfying. And speaking of the Twelve plot…
It’s one thing to have Villanelle decide she wants to take down the Twelve. After all, they made her just another disposable pawn in their game, manipulating her from day one. Some personal vengeance doesn’t seem necessarily out of place, even though I would argue it’s not necessarily where her character arc is anymore come season 4.
But Eve? By the time we get to season 4, what’s really keeping Eve chasing the Twelve? Her connection to the organization isn’t personal, like Villanelle’s. Sure, they’ve been technically responsible for hurting people in her life… but Eve has either finished off or made her peace with everyone directly responsible.
Konstantin killed Kenny. Eve shot him in the hand, and now they’re bros. Dasha pitchforked Niko. Eve crushed her chest and took her out of the game. Helene shot Villanelle. Eve watched her die. Villanelle stabbed Bill. It’s pretty clear Eve’s willing to forgive (or at least forget) that transgression.
The Twelve definitely served as a stand-in antagonist for Eve for a while. She could direct her time and energy towards taking them down as a distraction from her complicated feelings towards Villanelle. But by episode 6, Eve is admitting those feelings and the hold they have on her. By the time she shows up on Gunn’s island, ready to accept Villanelle into her life… I just don’t really see why she’d bother continuing on her “Twelve takedown” mission.
And speaking of muddled motivations… let’s talk about Carolyn Martens.
I know, I know, Carolyn has always been shady. It’s part of her charm. Throughout Killing Eve’s four seasons, she’s probably the character we’re always furthest away from understanding. Who does she work for? What does she want? And what will she do to get it? We don’t know. She keeps us guessing.
But having Villanelle (and Eve) shot? C’mon, Carolyn! I mean, why? What was the point? We don’t know, because the finale doesn’t bother to clue us in. Presumably, it’s her way of getting her foot back in the door at MI6 again – but since when did MI6 even care about Eve and Villanelle? It doesn’t make much sense from a character or plot perspective, as far as I’m concerned. But then, that’s pretty much a summary of Killing Eve’s ending, unfortunately.
Killing Eve Ends With Some Delight, But Mostly Disappointment
Somewhere along the way, prestige media decided that tragic endings automatically equal good endings.
And you know what? That’s bullshit.
I feel like I need to start by saying that as much as I would have enjoyed a happy ending for Eve and Villanelle, I didn’t need a happy ending. Or even expect one, honestly. Even disregarding for a moment how heavily season 4 leaned into foreshadowing a tragic end, Killing Eve hasn’t exactly promised us good things for these women. (We know. It’s in the title.)
In many ways, a tragic end – especially of the “we both die together” variety – could have been incredibly fitting for this series. That said, the way Killing Eve actually carried out its tragic ending was just… bad.
It feels like Villanelle’s apparent death (yeah I’m saying apparent, leave me alone, I’m coping) was included purely for shock value. Basically, it played out like “Surprise, we made you think it was gonna be Eve who died! Gotcha! Aren’t we clever?”
And the answer is… uh, no? Not really?
You narratively set up one thing (Eve’s potential death), then did the opposite for no real plot reason. You shifted the tone of the final episode essentially from romantic comedy to tragedy, but abruptly in the last two minutes, leaving the audience scrambling to find their emotional footing. It feels so left-field that Villanelle’s (apparent) death doesn’t even have the emotional resonance it should. I’m not even upset about it, because the confusion and anger is so jarring it’s all I can focus on. What, really? Carolyn? A sniper? THIS is how it’s all ending? Just… why?
What’s most frustrating – again, besides the approach that “tragic endings = good endings” – is that Villanelle’s tragic end isn’t even a result of her own emotional OR story arc choices. Killing Eve could have easily done a tragic “Villanelle dies” ending that made sense – but they didn’t.
Villanelle could have been killed directly by the Twelve – brought down by her own hubris, thinking she could take them on single-handedly, and by her love for Eve, the reason she ended up on the boat in the first place. Or the Twelve could have come after Eve, and Villanelle could have sacrificed herself to save the other woman. (Maybe “self-sacrifice” is how Laura Neal & co are hoping this death reads? I don’t know. For me, it doesn’t have nearly enough agency on Villanelle’s part to qualify.) Either of these options – and countless others – would have set up a tragic conclusion that also fit in logically with the show’s plot and character arcs. Instead, we got… this.
Again, the series finale of Killing Eve isn’t a disappointment because it ends tragically. (Although we could have a whole conversation about queer representation and the Bury Your Gays trope.) It’s a disappointment because the tragic end feels tacked-on for shock value. Instead of a resolution, an emotional catharsis after four seasons of buildup, fans got a slap in the face.
So, if I can’t have a good tragic ending, I’m simply going to fall back on my own imaginary happy ending for the series. Because Eve and Villanelle are happy together somewhere. At this point, I simply refuse to believe differently. (Pro-tip: Killing Eve ends with Villanelle and Eve hugging, as the camera pans out to see Tower Bridge. It’s better this way.)