I’ve just finished binge watching Killing Eve, a fantastic new show brought to BBC America by star and creator of the hit BBC show Fleabag, Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
While I don’t ordinarily go for cat-and-mouse assassin/detective shows, reading a short Vice article which celebrated the show for its queer and female-led representation sparked my curiosity to check it out, and I’m sure glad I did.
The two leads, Eve and Villanelle spend the series chasing each other around a variety of exotic and sexy locations – Paris, London, Berlin and Russia.
What begins as a curiosity to learn more about women who kill – and a desire to escape her boring office job at MI5 – leads to much more than Eve, played brilliantly by Sandhra Oh, could ever have anticipated.
The same could be said for Villanelle, who finds herself perhaps unexpectedly obsessed with the woman trying to catch her.
At the beginning of the series, we are introduced to Villanelle’s psychopathic and frankly extremely entertaining personality. An assassin by trade, who clearly loves her job, Villanelle is a woman of complete spontaneity – the kind of person whose rarely home, keeps her fridge filled with only bottles of champagne and also kills whoever pisses her off at will.
Villanelle is also queer, something made clear to the audience pretty early on. While she sleeps with both men and women, her female romantic relationships are much more significant, and the only evidence we have that she is actually capable of love.
The series alludes to a possible romantic relationship Villanelle had with another female assassin, although before we have a chance to see any real romance between the two, Villanelle runs over her ex-lover/friend with their getaway car.
We learn about Villanelle’s most significant past relationship (also with a woman) later on in the series. This relationship reveals much about Villanelle’s past, including what fuelled her first murder. I admire the series for being completely upfront about the fact that this relationship between Villanelle and the woman from her past was of a romantic and sexual kind. This relationship also brings to light another side of Villanelle, the side that suggests she really is capable of loving another person.
Unfortunately though, this renewed romance is fleeting, and ends in tragedy at the hands, of course, of Villanelle.
The most intriguing relationship is the one between Villanelle and Eve. As Eve begins to chase Villanelle around the world, fascination soon becomes obsession. It is unclear whether Eve has any romantic feelings towards the assassin, but the way she describes Villanelle to other people comes with it a certain admiration indicative to a crush.
The final scene of the season is where everything between Villanelle and Eve comes to ahead. Eve ends up in Villanelle’s bed in her Parisian apartment, exhausted from chasing her. Villanelle appears to sympathise, lies down next to her, leans in and – what next? A kiss?
Perhaps that would have happened if Eve hadn’t subtly pushed a knife into Villanelle’s stomach as they lay next to each other.
While I certainly found this moment to be a bit disappointing (couldn’t they have at least made out first??), what’s interesting is the immediate regret Eve shows. As soon as she realises what she’s done, Eve runs to go get help. Whether this is a sign of compassion for Villanelle, or simply a disgust at herself for stabbing someone, it leaves the show finale up in the air, we don’t know what will happen to Villanelle in the end (although I suspect if the series is renewed, she’ll be alright).
Although this series made big strides for showing unashamed romance between ladies, not much of it was physical at all, which I found to be the biggest disappointment of the series. While we see Villanelle getting it on with guys, her relationships with women are only spoken about, not seen.
A kiss between Eve and Villanelle, whilst implied that it would happen, would in my opinion been the cherry on the cake to this season finale. Even if it did end with someone getting stabbed.