REVIEW: Killing Eve, S3 Ep8 – Are You Leading or Am I?

Killing Eve, S3 Ep8 - Are You Leading or Am I?

Killing Eve concluded its third season with a lackluster finale that saw Eve and Villanelle seemingly decide to part ways only to hesitate at the last moment.

And while they did open the episode with a wonderfully awkward but genuine dance as well as had that momentous conversation on London Bridge, the central pair were actually sidelined for most of the finale. At one point, they were literally sitting on a couch watching as other characters made significant decisions.

Villanelle continued to try and break free from The Twelve, first by meeting with Carolyn and asking for a job. But when she insists that she no longer wants to be an assassin for hire, which has been her main skillset all her life, Carolyn dismisses her.

Villanelle’s journey this season has really been to achieve some semblance of humanity, which may add some nuance to the character (though I’m still not that convinced that her family visit effectively prompted such a transformation) but given how Villanelle as an “agent of chaos” and creative murder has been one of the main draws of the show, it’s difficult to see how this evolving character will continue to draw us in. As Carolyn says, when Villanelle is stripped away, who is left? Oksana? And is she really a character that will have the same magnetism as her psychotic counterpart? After all, even Oksana herself never wanted to be Oksana.

Unused to rejection, she decides to meet up with Eve. Their reunion is relatively peaceful and even leads to a romantically awkward dance. As Villanelle looks towards an older couple dancing she asks Eve if that is the kind of relationship they could have but Eve replies that she no longer longs for such comfortable domesticity. She’s tried that and she wasn’t satisfied. Besides, it’s highly unlikely that these two would have such a conflict-free dynamic, given who they are.

Killing Eve, S3 Ep8 - Are You Leading or Am I?Their intimate tête-à-tête is interrupted by Rhian’s arrival. Villanelle sends Eve on a mission to collect an item important to Konstantin while she deals with her colleague. As Rhian escorts Villanelle to the train station, they have an argument at who is better at their job. And since old habits are hard to break, Villanelle eventually overpowers her opponent and in a completely expected move, Villanelle pushes Rhian to her messy demise care of the London ground. Not the most sophisticated kill but Villanelle works with what she has.

Konstantin discharges himself from hospital but finds a moment to share a final conversation with Dasha. He chides her for her brutal treatment of Villanelle but she insists that she did what she had to do. The aged assassin gasps her final breath as Konstantin walks away, a rather pathetic end to an illustrious career. As great as Harriet Walter has been in the role, we were never really shown Dasha at her best. One can chalk it up to old age but even then, she must have been a mediocre assassin if she couldn’t even murder a guy with a pitchfork to the neck. RIP Dasha.

The solution to the season-long mystery of Kenny’s murder turned out to be underwhelming, to say the least, and I’m not wholly convinced that we got the whole story but that’s just me trying to give the Killing Eve writers more credit for crafting a more sophisticated story. It’s also a bit ridiculous that Bear only just remembered that he had installed a hidden camera in the office and that he could have saved everyone weeks of investigation just by showing the footage of Konstantin meeting with Kenny on the latter’s last day.

This was easily the weakest of the three Killing Eve finales, not least because of the setting and the lack of high stakes. While season one ended with Eve stabbing Villanelle in Paris and season two with Villanelle shooting Eve in Rome, season three saw them both uninjured (physically) simply walking away from each other on London Bridge. But not really? We’ll have to wait till season four to find out.

And the episode was also simply dull, a contrast with the frenetic pace of previous finales or just previous seasons. Much time is spent with Eve finding some old betting house to collect Konstantin’s Russian doll. Villanelle pays a pointless visit to the Bitter Pill office, only really to disconcert the team, Bear in particular. And Carolyn has an anticlimactic conversation with Geraldine which ends with her summarily sending her daughter away. (I had high hopes for Geraldine earlier this season because it didn’t seem like Carolyn’s daughter would be so conventional. But as with most of the new characters this season, Geraldine was a disappointment.)

In the end, we are still stuck with the core characters from season one because apparently, introducing all these new characters didn’t have much of an impact on Killing Eve this season. Dasha, Paul, and Rhian are dead and Geraldine is out of the picture. We don’t know enough about Hélène to see if she will stick around. With Kenny’s death resolved, it’s also unlikely that the Bitter Pill team will stick around. And while there’s virtue in sticking to the core cast, particularly refocusing on Eve and Villanelle, it seems strange now that so many new characters were introduced in the first place.

Killing Eve, S3 Ep8 - Are You Leading or Am I?All main players were gathered conveniently in one place for the denouement and it played out very much like an Agatha Christie mystery, with Poirot explaining the solution to the mystery to everyone involved. Eve and Villanelle sat this one out as Carolyn pointed a gun at Konstantin and Paul. Konstantin admitted that he tried to recruit Kenny to The Twelve because the young man was growing closer to the truth but in the ensuing argument, Kenny accidentally fell off the roof (I’m still not buying it.)

In a rare show of genuine emotion, Carolyn aims the gun at Konstantin’s head. And as he pleads for his life, he also try’s to command Villanelle to save him. In that moment, Villanelle seemingly realizes that he has always ever seen her as someone to do his dirty work, but then again, that’s always who Konstantin has been. She refuses to help him.

Carolyn comes to a baffling decision of sparing Konstantin and shooting Paul instead and that’s when it became clear that this finale would flop. We barely spent time with Paul and we all knew from the get go he was shady so seeing him dead makes no impact. And also, what a waste of Steve Pemberton.

Killing Eve season three has made a point of not really killing people who matter and never has this been more evident than in Konstantin’s unlikely escape. As likable as he is, Konstantin’s death would have had serious repercussions on the main characters. But he’s got plot armor now. I mean, if Niko was kept alive, of course Konstantin was going to make it.

But when he invites Villanelle to escape with him, she refuses, insisting that he isn’t “family.” Given their closeness, this is a major rift in their relationship but bot the show and Konstantin shrug it off easily.

Then, following tradition, the final scenes are between Villanelle and Eve, but this time they have a quiet, reflective conversation. In a rare show of emotional maturity, they both acknowledge the toxicity of their relationship. When Villanelle asks if Eve thinks she’s a monster, Eve replies that everyone has a monster inside of them.

“I think my monster encourages your monster,” Villanelle tells Eve who also admits that she wanted her monster to be thus encouraged.

Killing Eve, S3 Ep8 - Are You Leading or Am I?As they lean over the bridge and stare into the night, both ponder the uncertainty of the future. Eve always sees Villanelle’s face in her future while Villanelle wants to become someone else, free of The Twelve. At this point, even Eve is done with The Twelve and would easily run away with the ex-assassin into some unknown future.

Their obsession with each other has been the crux of the entire show and after bringing them together and then pulling them apart, this might be the chance for them to really see what it would be like to be together, and what chaos that would bring.

But before that, Villanelle surprisingly advises them to walk away from each other. It’s a striking image but again, less affecting because we know that these two cannot resist each other. And true enough, they turn back to gaze at each other longingly.

Neither of them has tried to kill each other this time and for once, they may have a chance to stay alive together and properly indulge in the glorious disaster of their connection. That’s a compelling enough premise for the fourth season of Killing Eve, whenever that will happen.