By Laura Denby
The BBC have announced Killing Eve's fourth series will be its last, with filming due to begin this summer after the previous instalment aired in 2020 and ended with Eve and Villanelle reluctantly heading their separate ways following a dramatic reunion.
Although full of strong performances and the trademark wit that is part of its charm, the third season struck a different tone. It left us craving more excitement as the original narrative grew stale. So there are a few changes the show needs to make for its final outing.
When we last saw Eve (Sandra Oh) she was stuck in the same repetitive routine, obsessively hunting for Villanelle (Jodie Comer) and wrestling with a twisted affection for the young assassin. But while Villanelle questioned her own lifestyle and examined her past, there was a severe lack of development for Eve.
Season three dedicated an episode to Villanelle’s trip to her Russian homeland, leaving Eve out entirely as she floundered without a storyline of her own not just for the hour, but throughout the series. Season four must allow Eve to evolve in the same way her fellow lead has, exploring an existence that doesn’t revolve solely around Villanelle.
Obviously their story isn’t over yet, but the relationship shouldn’t come at the expense of the individual characters – even the attempt on Eve's life wasn’t given the attention it deserved, after she was shot and left for dead by Villanelle at the end of season two. When we first met Eve, she was already a complex person and there was intrigue in trying to guess what her next move might be. Having lost some of her edge, Eve must take back control – she just can’t seem to move on, and this should be addressed upon her return.
The cat-and-mouse game between the two women was a thrilling watch when Killing Eve first hit our screens, but it has become tiresome. They have always been chasing each other, locked in a will-they-won’t-they saga. A new angle that puts Eve and Villanelle in each other’s orbits in a fresh, unexpected way would be welcome.
She may have indulged in some soul-searching in the third series, but Villanelle remained as impulsive as ever. She could liven up any setting no matter how dull, so her decision to quit her profession as an assassin won’t ruin the format. In fact, if the show doesn’t backtrack, this could be the shift in dynamics Eve and Villanelle need in season four.
The third season's finale looked like a turning point for the pair and, while it’s inevitable they will remain in each other’s lives, something has to change. With Villanelle seeking a more ordinary life, perhaps she could reappear to Eve in an unplanned way for once. If the show can continue their connection without falling into the same pattern, it could revive Killing Eve and reignite our interest in their unlikely bond.
While some old habits should not be revisited, there are other aspects that must make a comeback. One feature which was neglected during the last series was the show's penchant for murder. What made this drama so unique was its swift pace and ability to truly shock us, blending the element of surprise with casually brutal scenes.
The first two series delivered this brilliantly, from Bill’s (David Haig) shocking nightclub slaughter to Eve’s axe-wielding swing that saw the end of Raymond (Adrian Scarborough). But with Hugo (Edward Bluemel) living to tell the tale (offscreen) after being shot, Konstantin (Kim Bodnia) cheating death twice and Niko (Owen McDonnell) pulling through after a vicious stabbing; the show played it too safe in its third run.
Yes, taking too many lives can lead to a show becoming overly dark; however, death with intent is the essence of Killing Eve, and there’s nothing to lose in making bolder choices en route to the finish line. It was the fearless approach of those who created this drama that made it such a hit, after all. Season four would be the perfect time to kill off a prominent character and avoid the implausible survivals that are starting to feel predictable.
Carolyn (Fiona Shaw) dodged death in season three and she could be the ideal candidate, having become an obvious target. But as her killer side emerges, there’s the possibility of a much more sinister path for her going forward. We always knew Carolyn wasn’t innocent and there’s potential to take that concept further than ever before.
We’ve never underestimated her, but there’s got to be more to her than that steely composure. If ever there was a time to solve the enigma that is Carolyn, it’s in this final chapter. This should tie in with some solid answers about The Twelve, as that mystery has been sidelined and it’s always been hinted she knows more than she is letting on.
Killing Eve needs to remind us just how ruthless it can be. So bring back those mid-episode twists and increase the tension. If the show returns to the risky roots that made it famous, it could deliver a goodbye that's unforgettable in the best possible way.