REVIEW: Killing Eve (S1 E8/8)

Killing Eve comes to a thunderous climax (fnarr, fnarr) with the final showdown between psycho assassin Oksana/Villanelle, and downtrodden intelligence service wifey, Eve. Who will get the bullet? Or will they go off into the sunset together, like Thelma and Louise?

First, of course, there’s a big obstacle to be removed before the lust-fuelled relationship between Eve and Oksana can be consummated (and no other word is appropriate, what we’re all hoping this is heading towards is a full-on session of agent-on-agent action).

The obstacle is Konstantin, who is kind of in love with Oksana, kind of in love with Carolyn, but mostly in love with staying alive and not falling foul of Oksana or the Twelve.

Eve’s suspicions of Carolyn are easily diverted – she and Kenny catch her in flagrante with Konstantin, but the news of Villanelle’s escape diverts Eve from asking what Carolyn was doing interviewing her ‘girlfriend’ in the first place.

Meanwhile, the comedy is screwed up to maximum as Oksana has to deal with Konstantin’s horrible daughter Irina – Konstantin says he’s more worried for Oksana than for his daughter. Irina gives Oksana the third degree, and the two bond over a takeaway; you get the feeling that Irina too might end up being bad, if she gets enough practice.

Eve figures that Villanelle must be heading to see Anna to retrieve her fake passport, and heads off with Konstantin (notice Eve has picked up Oksana’s annoying habit of flicking car door handles). She forces part of the truth out of Konstantin, but we know he hasn’t revealed everything to her.

It’s too late of course, Oksana is already at Anna’s, and after a tense confrontation in which each accuses the other of being a heartless seducer, Anna shoots herself; but we still don’t get a clear explanation of why Oksana killed Anna’s husband, so perhaps that is yet to come.

Note that Carolyn avoids explaining to Konstantin who Kenny is, so we still reckon he’s Konstantin’s son. Maybe that will get resolved in the next season too.

Oksana forces a confrontation in a beautifully decorated café – we really wanted to sample those cakes – and Konstantin takes a bullet. At this point, it’s not clear whether Oksana wants to kill Konstantin because those are her orders, or just because she feels he betrayed her; either way, we’re surprised she goes through with it.

(Mind you, we are only told that Konstantin is dead via a phone call – we’ll be amazed if the rogue isn’t back for the next series.)

Eve can’t pull the trigger on Oksana, and offers her an out, but she does a runner; but rather than give up, Eve follows a clue and tracks her down to Paris.

Here, where she feels most comfortable, Eve perhaps hopes that Villanelle will also be at her most vulnerable; but Eve is so frustrated by her taste of Villanelle’s champagne lifestyle that she can’t stop herself from smashing the place up.

Inevitable, Villanelle turns up, and the two have a heart-to-heart; and you really can’t be sure if they’re going to end up having sex or killing each other. So it’s quite a shock when Eve, rather than letting Villanelle go or even offering to go with her, instead stabs her. Well, it’s only a token stabbing – if she really wanted to kill her, she could have gone for the heart or the throat. No, she just wanted to prove to herself that she had it in her, and hadn’t forgiven Oksana for killing Bill, without actually destroying her beloved.

Of course, Oksana could equally have killed Eve, but promises not to; did she mean this? Does this suggest a change in her character? Probably not. In other circumstances, she would probably have been quite happy to kill Eve.

Instantly regretful for having stabbed her, Eve tries to save Oksana, but she disappears; where would she go now? The game’s afoot, again.

A satisfying ending to what has been a thrillingly unpredictable series. Enough has been said about the performances of Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer that we needn’t repeat how refreshingly off-the-wall they have both been; and there have been enough strong performances and parts in the supporting characters to argue that Killing Eve has invented a whole new genre of modernist, feminist (not to say,  gay), anarchic spy drama – due in no small part to the adaptation by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, whose voice can be heard very strongly in the quirky, black humour.

The question is, where can Killing Eve go from here? If season two abandons the plot of the original Villanelle novellas, it could spin off in any direction; certainly, it would be a disappointment if it just turned out to be a re-tread of season one, with sundry assassinations, Eve pursuing a refreshed Villanelle around the world, and a confrontation which resolves nothing, except that the two women’s relationships can’t be resolved.

Resolutely un-Bondian, Killing Eve has given the genre a kick in the pants – can it continue to do so, or will Chasing Oksana become a matter of going around in circles?

Chris Jenkins

FOR OUR EPISODE ONE REVIEW, CLICK HERE

FOR OUR EPISODE TWO REVIEW CLICK HERE

FOR OUR EPISODE THREE REVIEW CLICK HERE

FOR OUR EPISODE FOUR REVIEW CLICK HERE

FOR OUR EPISODE FIVE REVIEW CLICK HERE

FOR OUR EPISODE SIX REVIEW CLICK HERE

FOR OUR EPISODE SEVEN REVIEW CLICK HERE

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Thoroughly enjoyed this show, especially the two leads. I may have to add Eve and Oksana to the list:
    https://www.thrillerwriter.org/in-praise-of-la-femme-fatale

    Like

  2. malerogue says:

    Marmite….love it or hate it. The latter for me… like watching a poor adolescent graphic novel…sorry.

    Like

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