Killing Eve burned so fast and bright during its first season that it kind of kicked itself in the butt. That kind of momentum, no doubt, was impossible to maintain, even though the follow-up seasons were still high-quality stuff. The cat-and-mouse game reversed itself multiple times (with the second season still crackling with electricity and the third one remaining hypnotic) while never quite recapturing the debut’s stratospheric heights. The re-upping continued until the show reached a point (during the third season finale) where neither Eve nor Villanelle was running from the other. And now that the show’s starting its fourth and final season, the question is how to justify continuing for a final round. That walk-away finale scene (and ambiguous turn-around) in London would have been a fine enough ending to the series.
This review is for all the people who may have felt a little let down after the high bar set by the first Eve season. And I get that. I’ve seen the rumblings out there, and maybe you used to be a fan but now wonder whether you should catch up if you already gave up, when there are a ton more streaming TV selections than there were when the show first launched in 2018. That’s especially the case with two years passing between seasons, and trash-can baby is but a distant memory. No one wants to start watching a show that they once loved while risking the whole thing becoming an exasperation-watch.
Here’s the lowdown: this fourth season is kind of a bonus with not much left to achieve in terms of the leading dynamic. We know, as Eve has pointed out multiple times, that this pairing would be doomed if she and Villanelle really gave it their best shot as a couple. My god, I can’t even imagine the fights and the frustrations as they attempted to tackle practical household matters together. Yeah, not happening. A former MI6 officer and an assassin who can’t give up her life (or her fancy trappings) are as ill-equipped for reality as Westley and Buttercup in The Princess Bride. Like, they wouldn’t even agree on how to divvy up household duties. The relationship would be completely toxic. So the good news is that the show has (going into Season 4) abandoned that illusion as well.
Granted, there are still feelings there, but the pairing needed to cease to happen. And you know what? It’s still entertaining. Background characters propel ongoing motion, and there’s still Carolyn out there as a driving force while attempting to figure out why members of The Twelve are dying. And remember, those bastards (actually maybe no one, if squirrelly Konstantin is to be believed) killed Kenny, so there’s definitely no shortage of mystery. Meanwhile, Konstantin’s still a hoot and has, uh, transitioned from double agent to fully embracing the life of a pampered politician when he’s really more of a court jester. I wouldn’t mind a spinoff for him, please.
Speaking of which, the very good news in all of this is that AMC Networks has signaled that spinoffs will be forthcoming. Do we call this the Villanelliverse? The Eveverse? None of that matters yet, only to say that even with slightly inferior followups to the first, the show is offbeat comfort food. And it seems to be that Season 4 aims to set up the future.
More to the point, though, BBC America provided three episodes for screening, and so far, this season proves that the mouse has fully had enough of the cat’s sh*t. Eve and Villanelle have embarked upon different missions with Eve’s being to take down The Twelve from the very top, and Villanelle taking a typically self-serving odyssey. She’s on the rather predictable route of attempting to find religion, but her execution of this quest is nuts because she does sort of find God, and Comer has a blast while carrying out the results. And it’s the strangest thing I’ve seen on this show, ever. She’s still a terminally homicidal toddler (remember, she loves stickers), and the writers (along with Comer) continue to go for it. There’s a reason why people are often surprised to hear what Comer’s voice actually sounds like IRL, and that she’s not pulling knives on people, and so on. She’s just too good in this role, and we’re lucky enough to see it keep happening, if only for less than a dozen additional episodes.
I must say that it’s a pleasure to see Eve’s attitude this season, too. She previously lit her peaceful life on fire for Villanelle and finally decided that it’s time to start living for herself. And damn that Villanelle. Girlfriend can’t get herself together as a legit human, and it’s almost voyeuristic to watch her try and fail miserably. Again, this season is about giving us one more round of intense what-the-hell is happening here. It’s stranger than killer clowns and gymnast-assassins, and Comer might very well top herself with her turn in Episode 2. In the end, Killing Eve is no longer really a major twist on procedurals. Instead, this show’s looking toward finding what Eve and Villanelle both truly need to find purpose in their lives. And they’re learning to find purpose elsewhere, rather than in a doomed pairing. It’s cathartic, and the process is chaos. That’s where Season 4 begins, and hopefully, they’ll keep that demented joy coming.
Killing Eve’s fourth and final season debuts (with two episodes) on Sunday, February 27 on BBC America and Monday, February 28 on AMC.