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Killing Eve - Reviews- Making Dead Things Look Nice, Hello, Losers: Finale Roundtable

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The four-year cat-and-mouse game between security operative Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) and the stylish Russian assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer) has come to an ignominious end. The show's final two episodes, "Making the Dead Look Good" and "Hello, Losers," managed to further tarnish its original glowing legacy while disappointing and even insulting fans who had stood by the show and these characters on their journey. It was not a fitting nor respectful end to a show that, in its early days, excited and shocked viewers with its wit, its outstanding characterizations, and storytelling.

In this Killing Eve season and series finale roundtable, my Spoiler TV colleague CJ Allan graciously accepted my invitation to join me in sharing final thoughts and comments on the show.

What was the purpose or point of introducing two new assassins, Pam (Anjana Vasan) and Gunn (Marie-Sophie Ferdane), in the final season? What, if anything, did they contribute to the final season or the show?

CJ I believe Gunn was meant to represent what Villanelle could have become if she didn't have Eve and Konstantin in her life, but like most of the season, it wasn't executed very effectively. Pam, however, I find it hard to work out what the writers were trying to say about her. Using her as an excuse to kill Konstantin (Kim Bodnia) lacked emotional substance due to our lack of connection to Pam. I feel like his death could have been handled better for him being a leading cast member.

DJRiter In general, neither character contributed anything significant to the overall story, and both served to take up valuable screen time that could have gone to crafting a more satisfactory conclusion. Had Gunn been slowly and more covertly introduced a few episodes earlier, she could have been used as a menacing arm of the Twelve and an adversary that forced Eve and Villanelle to work together sooner. On the other hand, Pam was an uninteresting character from the beginning. Her story further illustrated how handlers Helene and Konstantin groomed young women into becoming assassins. Still, there was no clear narrative purpose for yet again elaborating on this part of Villanelle's background. This was the best idea the writers came up with for Konstantin's final storyline?
As unsatisfying as the final two episodes were, was there a memorable or stand-out scene or moment? If so, what, and why?

CJ I thought the finale was the strongest episode of the season and did show elements of what we loved about Killing Eve but waiting until the final episode to have Jodie and Sandra together was a significant mistake on the show's part and a big part of many fans' complaints. I thought the disco scene on the boat with the ending of the Twelve was highly entertaining, and for a second, it gave me hope they could salvage the episode in the last ten minutes. But then we know what happens next.

DJRiter Almost every stand-out scene in the show would be between Eve and Villanelle. Giving them less than 15 minutes of screentime to work together in the show's final episode was criminal. I can't choose one of those scenes and reward the writers for the ludicrous decision to keep their two leads separated for most of the final season. Instead, one scene that did stand out for me was having Pam dress Konstantin and lay him out at rest in his best suit after she killed him, much like her actual training of making the dead look good as she did in her original job at the funeral home. That moment gave a glimmer of depth to the oddly titled episode of the same name. It was a moment that finally gave the character a little humanity and the first bit of dignity the show had shown Konstantin all season.
The mysterious Twelve were supposed to be the villains of Killing Eve, yet season by season, they grew to be less and less menacing. Were they the true villains of the final season? If not, who was the true villain?

CJ I feel the Twelve needed more of a presence, a character, for us to truly fear them. However, the season took any fear of them away by revealing it was a bunch of ordinary people/anarchists, and their threat just disappeared. The real villain of the final season was the writers. They were trying too hard to make Eve (Sandra Oh) like Villanelle (Jodie Comer) and remove Villanelle as the psycho killer we all loved.

DJRiter It's unfair to call the Twelve the villains because they've never been menacing. We were supposed to believe they were the "big bad" villains because the characters kept saying so. "Show don't tell" might be an oversimplification, but Killing Eve spent far too much time telling the audience the Twelve were scary and too little time validating the Twelve's impact on the story. I will have to agree with CJ and say the perpetrators of the most significant crimes this season are the writing staff. They forgot who their characters were, their main storyline and failed to craft a suspenseful end to the show. This is the second time in a year that I've written that the writers were the main villains of a show's final season (the first being Supergirl), and it's always disappointing when a show's writers shrug off viewer investment and dispatch a once-exciting show with a whimper.
What is your overall impression of the final two episodes, "Making Dead Things Look Nice," and "Hello, Losers"?

CJ The penultimate episode felt terribly slow and lacked the emotional impact of Konstantin's death that it should have had. I feel he was wasted this season and needed more time with Villanelle than Pam. The finale was the only saving grace of the season other than the ending. I do love that Villanelle sacrificed herself to save Eve, showing her journey from a cold-hearted killer to a devoted friend/lover. I feel like a show with such a heavily supported and committed fan base deserved a better ending than the rushed final ten minutes that we received. I believe this could have been a much better season if the season had focused on Eve and Villanelle traveling around looking for the Twelve like we got in the final episode.

DJRiter Instead of focusing the final two episodes of Killing Eve on its core characters, the writers/producers chose to give us perhaps the laziest two episodes of an already lackluster season. Again, as she has been from the start of this season, the glorious Fiona Shaw was the most valuable player on the show. She gave depth and more nuance to Carolyn as the cunning spy brought her story full circle. Like most fans, I did not expect a happily ever after ending for the title characters. In fact, I was predicting a more Thelma and Louise style ending with the characters choosing to face their ends together. Eve and Villanelle could have partnered up earlier in the season instead of having them get together only to immediately do a death scene in the same episode. It's no surprise the ending has quickly been dubbed Clexa 2.0. Perhaps the conclusion was predetermined and the last push to get to the end was too muddled for its own good. In crafting such an ill-advised sequence of ending events, the writers and producers opted to wound a community that, from the beginning, included some of the show's most enthusiastic viewers.
What will be the overall legacy of Killing Eve as a series? Has the show done justice to these characters and this story?

CJ Has the show done justice to the characters? We can all agree that the final season really ruined most characters' development. We lost some of the core dynamics we loved, like Villanelle/Konstantin, Carolyn/Eve, and Eve/Villanelle. The introduction of so many new characters was not needed. Killing Eve's final season tried to give us new dynamics that should never have been attempted in the final season when most fans wanted something similar to the Season 1 and Season 2 dynamics. Killing Eve had so much potential initially but, starting in season 3, incrementally continued to lose its way.

DJRiter After season 2, Killling Eve tossed the towel on attempting to tell a cohesive story. Shows with strong debut seasons often follow this downward trajectory. Frequently switching creative teams and losing a story's initial creative voice, as happened here with the departure of Phoebe Waller-Bridge, often results in a more drastic quality slump. Ultimately some projects don't have the creative gas in the tank to go the distance. This show started out as a kill-of-the-week, then became more serialized without a clear game plan. The show would have been better served ending as a limited series. Additionally, Killling Eve had no clear idea of who Eve should be and kept the title character walking in circles and treading water. Multiple times during Killing Eve, things happen at the expense of Eve's intelligence. Eventually, the show correlates events directly to Eve's declining intelligence, further killing any hope of suspense. The show's writers appear to have lost interest in exploring Eve along the way. Perhaps the writers were having too much fun playing with Villanelle and didn't want to invite Eve to the party, even though there's no way the writers couldn't have known viewers were tuning in to see Eve and Villanelle shake the party up together. Even with the preferential focus on Villanelle, her character was also diluted by the series end, becoming a pastel imitation of the Villanelle fans adored.

We can be thankful those first two magnificent seasons introduced the voluminous talent of Jodie Comer to the world and launched Sandra Oh into a thrilling post-Greys Anatomy chapter. We can also be grateful for all the creative ways Villanelle executed her missions (who could ever forget Pig Villanelle) and all the iconic fashion moments along the journey.

Be sure to share your thoughts and opinions of the final two episodes of Killing Eve and the show's 4-year journey in the comments below.

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