The fourth and final season of ‘Killing Eve’ premieres February 27 on BBC America.
In a television landscape full of unknown endings and prematurely-canceled series, the knowledge that Killing Eve‘s upcoming fourth season will also serve as its last is a bittersweet consolation — a certainty amidst so shows that either overstay their welcome or get cut off at the knees before getting the opportunity to deliver a satisfying resolution. With that impending conclusion in mind, one question chiefly dominated the waiting time between last season’s cliffhanger and the arrival of more story: What happened to Eve (Sandra Oh) and Villanelle (Jodie Comer) after that seemingly pivotal bridge scene? What would come next after the moment when not only one, but both of them chose to look back — after initially agreeing to turn and walk away from one another? The immediate answer may be less satisfying, but what Season 4 appears to be building towards, at least based on the three episodes provided by review, could either be the culmination of two people who literally can’t seem to quit one another despite their best efforts, or a flame of persistent yearning finally and definitively snuffed out. Like Eve and Villanelle back on that bridge, torn between whether to linger or walk away, the direction Killing Eve‘s final season will take is still a frustrating unknown.
The fourth season, helmed by new showrunner Laura Neal, picks up with each half of the series’ most riveting pair having made the choice to try and live their lives apart from one another — but it seems that said choice may not have been a mutual one. Villanelle has rebranded herself as an outwardly pious woman named “Nelle,” a relatively new religious convert who is seeking to be cleansed of her sins with her upcoming baptism — of course, knowing Villanelle, it’s an occasion she’s aiming to mark with a party wholly dedicated to celebrating herself, one she’s hellbent on convincing Eve to attend. Meanwhile, Eve’s waking hours have been consumed with her own mission: learning the identity of the person at the very top of the mysterious organization known as the Twelve, so she can personally cut the head off of the snake.
Although these women are decidedly existing in two different spheres at the top of the season, it’s already easy to note the clear influence they’ve had on one another; Villanelle is actively making efforts to better herself, even if her psychopathic tendencies have the potential to lead her astray (and do, in several violent instances), while Eve is often unaware that the emergence of her darker edges have started to take the lead on influencing her decision-making and affecting her impulse control. It isn’t a complete role-reversal from where the two of them first started off the show, but the initial story arc of Season 4 provides clever, subtle reminders that they’re not the same characters they were at the very beginning — and by extension, they may be the only two who are positioned to understand each other in ways few others can. “She’s a rainbow in beige boots,” Villanelle says, at one point, while speaking of Eve to someone else; it might seem like a simple distillation of personality, but it also underlines what these two can truly see about one another beneath surface impressions.
Yet it’s not as if Eve and Villanelle immediately fall into one another’s arms after having some kind of earth-shattering revelation about their connection; Season 4 also continues to underline the pull Eve experiences between knowing how she should deal with Villanelle as part of her job and finally permitting herself to embrace someone who has awakened a new side of her. The time they spend together in the same room might be brief in the first three episodes, but there’s genuinely nothing more compelling than when Oh and Comer are on-screen together — with tension palpable enough to slice a knife through. Even the biggest mysteries looming, the conspiracies around the Twelve and deciphering the location of Hélène (Camille Cottin), prove nowhere as absorbing in comparison to when Eve and Villanelle are simply sitting on a couch side-by-side talking about the fable of the Scorpion and the Frog — and perhaps that’s intentional on the part of the show, giving us just enough interactions between these two to keep our appetites whetted for the next taste. But all of this tension-building also has to culminate in some kind of twist on the release valve eventually, especially now with an endpoint so definitively in sight.
We’re also given time to catch up with some other familiar faces; Fiona Shaw remains utterly tremendous as Carolyn, even while the character drifts in a much more limited space, a far cry from where she first as Eve’s self-assured boss at MI6. It’s also a little amusing to see where Konstantin (Kim Bodnia) has ended up since the last time we laid eyes on him — and his initial reunion with Eve illustrates what the series continues to do best even as other side-plot elements might be less successful or interesting. Killing Eve hasn’t lost a whit of its dark humor as well as its occasional turn towards violence, and the scenes that include the latter don’t shy away from getting bloody, although the show finds creative ways of illustrating these moments that don’t necessarily highlight the gore but don’t skimp on the story impact either.
“I think reinvention is just another form of avoidance,” one new character remarks, and it’s a note that coincidentally holds weight — not just for Eve and Villanelle’s separate attempts to redefine themselves, but how the series is poised to resolve its most important relationship. What will keep Season 4 from feeling less like a frustrating reset of its main duo and more like a satisfying slow burn is, ultimately, where it ends, and at this early stage in the show, it’s difficult to say what that will even look like. Eve and Villanelle have been engaged in this careful dance that can all-too-frequently feel like one step forward, three steps back, particularly when it comes to each of them acknowledging the truth of the other’s presence in their life. With an attachment as twisted and complex at its center, Killing Eve can only aim its sights on a finale that ends with a bang rather than merely a whimper.
Killing Eve premieres February 27 on BBC America, with the first two episodes premiering same-day on AMC+.