SPOILER ALERT: This article includes details about the season 2 finale of Killing Eve. It’s no surprise that the season 2 finale of Killing Eve ended with lots of bloody twists and turns, but there is one particular maybe-death that will have audiences gasping and clutching their pearls for dear life.
In the final scene of BBC America’s acclaimed spy thriller, Villanelle (Jodie Comer) shoots Eve (Sandra Oh) leaving her for dead. She may or may not be dead, but chances are that the titular overeager and obsessive British intelligence officer will survive the gunshot wound considering the series has been renewed for a third season — but you never know. Either way, Eve’s maybe-death at the hands of Villanelle had us all in shock. At the same time, it mirrors the end of the first season when Even stabbed Villanelle leaving her for dead. The glassy-eyed assassin was simply returning the favor. Even so, the events leading up to this moment spanned a well-mapped out sophomore season, leading to a riveting finale that closed this chapter of television’s favorite co-dependent couple.
The second season has found Eve and Villanelle are collaborating to track down tech bro Aaron Peel (Henry Lloyd-Hughes) who the team thinks is about to sell a mysterious weapon. In the finale titled You’re Mine directed by Damon Thomas Villanelle has gone undercover and is developing this bizarre sadistic relationship with Aaron, whose face just looks like it deserves to be punched more and more with each episode.
Things start to unravel very quickly as Eve and Villanelle try to corner Peel — without killing him. They have specific orders to NOT kill the insufferable weasel even though we know Villanelle is dying to have his blood on her hands. At the top of the episode, Villanelle discovers Peel’s surveillance videos of her and realizes that she’s in danger, girl.
As Eve monitors Villanelle and Peel, she hears her use the safe word and starts to panic. At the same time, some henchmen have infiltrated their hotel and shoot Hugo (Edward Bluemel) in the hallway. Eve tends to him and he seems to be okay so she goes off to save her frenemy. As Villanelle has a casual conversation over breakfast with Peel, Eve barges in and their cover is blown. Villanelle is expectedly blasé about the whole ordeal and in a tense exchange, Peel tries to convince Villanelle to work for him and kill Eve while he watches (ew). Instead, she takes a knife to his throat and forces himself to watch his death in the mirror and in his final breath, he has an arrogant smirk as blood runs down his throat. “What a dick,” Villanelle says as she throws his body on the ground.
Now that the plan has totally derailed, the real intention of this mission is exposed. After Peel’s death, our favorite TV couple splits ways and Carolyn (Fiona Shaw) tells Eve that killing Peel was the goal even though they said it wasn’t. The whole ordeal was a setup to kill him without having blood on their hands — only on Villanelle’s, who works for the 12. Konstantin (Kim Bodnia) breaks the same news to Villanelle. The two feel betrayed and look to maintain this odd Silence of the Lambs meets Thelma and Louise meets Bonnie and Clyde relationship.
It’s not long until Villanelle comes face-to-face with the 12’s Raymond (Adrian Scarborough) who is waiting for her in the hallway with an ax. The two have a brawl and right when Raymond is about to squeeze the life out of Villanelle, Eve steps in and threatens to hack him up with the ax. She’s apprehensive at first, but after some wide-eyed encouragement from Villanelle, she hacks away as blood splatters everywhere like the bloodiest of slasher movies.
The whole situation has turned into a bloody mess —figuratively and literally. Eve feels betrayed by her team and Villanelle by Konstantin. The two only have each other because, as messed up as their relationship is, they can only trust each other. As Villanelle points out to Konstantin of her relationship with Eve: “We are the same.”
Eve is in shock after violently killing Raymond, but Villanelle finds an intoxicating joy about seeing Eve kill for the first time. Their lives have intersected in a way that Villanelle feels that she has found her soul mate. As they go on the run, Eve finds out that Villanelle had a gun the whole time and is mad that she didn’t shoot Raymond instead of having her hack him to pieces. Villanelle says she’s proud of Eve in what she has become — which is essentially Villanelle 2.0. They exchange words and Eve wants to “break up” as she realizes what she has become. Villanelle professes her love for Eve and begs her to stay with her saying “You’re mine!” Eve says “Sorry to disappoint you” and as she walks away, Villanelle pulls out her piece and shoots her. Eve is seen on the ground in a puddle of her own blood before cutting to the credits.
Is Eve dead? Or is she faking it until Villanelle walks away? What is Villanelle do now? Where will season 3 and I must ask again: IS EVE REALLY DEAD?” Executive producer Sally Woodward Gentle talked to us about that gasp-worthy ending, the mind of a psychopath, Eve and Villanelle’s anti-romance and plans for season 3.
DEADLINE: Was season 2 mapped out from the beginning?
SALLY WOODWARD GENTLE: We had it vaguely mapped out. We knew that we wanted to get to a place where … we suspected what would happen is that Villanelle would manipulate Eve into killing somebody. So we had that mapped out, but we didn’t have the detail of it mapped out.
DEADLINE: Was Villanelle shooting Eve something that you wanted to happen?
WOODWARD GENTLE: Yes, I think it was, but I can’t remember the point where we actually knew what the detail was, but I think it’s inevitable. What Emerald [Fennell] really wanted to do was explore that both Eve and Villanelle are slightly deluded about what each other means to the other, what they mean to themselves, and what they mean to their own egos. So I think there was an inevitability that if Villanelle had manipulated Eve in that way. There’s no way that Eve would suddenly go, “Well, you’re absolutely right, we’re meant to be together forever.” From our study and our research into psychopathic behavior, psychopaths fall desperately and very passionately and very deeply in love. And it can be very intoxicating, but they can also turn it off. It can just be turned off like a light switch. So if at any point Villanelle feels it’s not reciprocated, we knew that was a really dangerous moment too. We knew the background, and we knew what the truthful behavior would be, but we didn’t know the detail of it.
DEADLINE: How do you expect the fans to react to this ending?
WOODWARD GENTLE: I don’t know. Who knows what’s going to happen in the future — whether [Eve] is even alive or whether they could be together happily after. What would that really look like if you ever have a happily ever after with a psychopathic assassin? So I think you’ve just got to keep that alive and keep that sense of mystery and surprise going. So I hope that what the fans ask: “what’s going to happen next to this relationship?”
DEADLINE: This season was very tense and was interesting to see Eve and Villanelle intersect in this way that we have never seen before and in an unexpected way. What was the most difficult part of this season to keep this anti-romance fresh?
WOODWARD GENTLE: I think the biggest challenge is keeping them within each other’s orbit, but not too close. It’s how you keep that tension. So it’s about these two women. How do you keep alive the notion of this obsession, but not have them in the immediate proximity of each other? That’s the biggest challenge because I don’t think you can play them in close proximity for too long without something explosive happening. So you just got to keep teasing it. You’ve got to keep going back in and then coming back out again. Therefore, there’s a story you can create in order to allow that to happen and keep surprising people, but keep being truthful to who they are as characters.
DEADLINE: You mentioned earlier about the term psychopath. Many people view Villanelle as a psychopath and it is put front and center this season. The term “psychopath” is thrown around a lot with villains these days, but do you think that Villanelle is actually a psychopath?
WOODWARD GENTLE: We do bandy about with shorthand without really thinking about the detail of it. And quite a few of us read Jon Ronson’s Psychopath Test, so we’re very aware that there are psychopathic traits and that there are various forms of narcissistic personality disorder. And I think that she’s got a degree of that too. We wanted to explore was what it feels like, or what it would feel like if you woke up every day and you didn’t have any fear. So having a character who can embody that in a way was something that we were really attracted to. But I think you’re absolutely right, to bandy about too much. This isn’t a detailed forensic serious study of a psychopath. She is somebody with psychopathic tendencies and she’s probably a whole complex of other bits and pieces, but she’s a way for us to explore, if you like, a fantasy of what it would be like to live without fear or anxiety about circumstance.
DEADLINE: Villanelle definitely has no filter — but it’s so heightened, that it’s almost ridiculous in a way.
WOODWARD GENTLE: Yeah, exactly, and I think that’s what appeals to Eve as well because she’s probably being crippled by the thought of circumstance and what might happen, including what would happen if she was ever single. That’s terrifying. What would happen if she ever spoke to Niko about what her true feelings were? We all don’t have those conversations because we’re terrified of what’s going to come out the Pandora’s box. I was just talking to someone the other day about how we’re all terrified actually, of somebody just shouting at us. Why are we so scared of people shouting at us that it holds us back from doing stuff? I think it’s a really interesting thing to study.
DEADLINE: That said, the show has had cultural impact and a lot of it is because it is a very female-driven series in an era where there is a craving and demand for inclusivity. How do you feel this show has contributed to this conversation and how has it strays away from the problematic term of “strong complex female” roles?
WOODWARD GENTLE: Luke Jennings had created these books which had these two central women. We then brought Phoebe [Waller-Bridge] on to put it through a Phoebe kaleidoscope well before Fleabag had come out on television. We didn’t really set out to turn the dial or make anything that felt culturally important. We thought it was entertaining and we liked the fact that you just had fun with these two women at the center of it — three with Carolyn. And I think that this notion of complex women at the center of everything is really quite reductive and a little bit patronizing — and this isn’t. This is just women playing around. I think with Sandra, Jodie, Fiona, Phoebe, Emerald, we just got rather brilliant women, just having fun, having fun and being clever.
DEADLINE: So we are definitely want to see more of these characters in season 3. Has that been mapped out yet?
WOODWARD GENTLE: We do! We have a sketchy map with little bits colored in various places. I think what is fun about the show is because we kill so many people, there’s always room to bring in new brilliant key people that you either kill or you going to keep going — but we’ve got a plan.
DEADLINE: Even though we suspect that she survives because her name is in the title of the show, can you say whether or not Eve survived that gunshot?
WOODWARD GENTLE: I’m not going to say it. (laughs)
DEADLINE: You just want to leave it as a cliffhanger, right?
WOODWARD GENTLE: There’s absolutely no point in going, “Yeah, and then she got out and went and had a pizza.”