Killing Eve Season 4 wavers between surreal and beige, before ending in embarrassment ★★

By Ben Helme

*Minor spoilers throughout*

A parody of a former great. With air-guitar, quirky cameos, and drag-Jesus, it might as well have been a misjudged SNL skit. It’s not that funny, and the drama that the third to sixth episodes produce gets fumbled away. It loses much of the earlier seasons’ appeal – gone are the great fashion, the beautiful camerawork and most of the exciting locations. This is Killing Eve with the life sucked out.

The writers mistake ambiguity for mystery, and force the characters to make bizarre choices, or to hide their true motivations for far too long. It’s quite watchable, but the dialogue is undermined, and the actors limited, by a muddled script. Gone is Villanelle’s intimidating, volatile genius – her flair for clothes, luxury, and linguistics. Season 4’s Villanelle is a one-note bore, and even Jodie Comer can’t resurrect what the writers were so determined to kill. The complete spiral they send Eve on is relatively engaging, but it’s closer to a personality transplant than character development. She’s already acting out of sorts from the very first scene of the season, wearing bike leathers and shooting people. Carolyn’s plot is exciting and largely well-written, but it’s undermined by the betrayal of the ending. Pam’s storyline was rewarding, and well-written, but it’s an indictment of the season that the only character that received proper treatment was new. Speaking of Pam, Season 4 indulged the show’s worst trait, introducing irritating and/or mundane side-characters, for ‘comedy’, or perhaps just because other shows don’t do that. It was fun for a while, but after a while, it’s just irritating and mundane.

The first two episodes are truly boring, with far too much time spent on the misjudged ‘Villanelle is Jesus’ plotline, but in the season’s defence, they’re followed by a very serviceable four. Episodes 3-6, while still overly reliant on ‘quirky’ moments and unrealistic, ‘relatable’ dialogue, successfully engage the viewer. The plots are interesting, and largely unpredictable. If the season stayed at that quality, it would merit a four out of five. But it doesn’t.

The final episode, which at the time of writing sits at a 2.6/10 on IMDb, wasn’t just disappointing, but infuriating. Who were the Twelve, who truly killed Kenny, why did Carolyn know Villanelle as a child? Each was built up to be a major reveal, only to be neglected in favour of an ending that did a disservice to each of its three leads. It’s no wonder the actors seem so unimpressed with it in their interviews. It isn’t just a bad ending, but an offensive one, playing into vicious tropes that I’d thought were so well-documented that Killing Eve would never indulge them. Just look up ‘Killing Eve ending trope’, and it’s all there. This isn’t to say that it’s bad because it engages in a trope, but that the ending isn’t just redundantly, or creatively bad. It’s offensively bad, and maddeningly obvious. 

What a colossal let-down. 

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