The ‘Killing Eve’ Finale Set the Stage for a New Chapter of Sex, Death, & Obsession

     May 28, 2018

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Killing Eve’s finale (which is thankfully only a season finale, as the show has already been renewed) brought everything back to the show’s core dynamic. One of the most surprising things about Killing Eve was that it allowed Even and Villanelle / Oksana to actually meet early on, in what became a series of increasingly close interactions. It mirrored the women’s growing fascination with one another, something the show never held back from fetishizing in their worlds. With the revelation that Anna was Oksana’s first and perhaps most enduring object of affection, it also seemed clear why Oksana was initially attracted to Eve. But Eve’s interest in return was less sexualized and more intellectual. Both women regarded one another with a wary kind of respect, and they earned ours as well for taking on roles in their respective fields that are usually reserved for men.

Towards the very end of “God, I’m Tired,” Eve sits on Oksana’s bed after having (minority) trashed her beautiful apartment full of expensive clothes and champagne (and one very ornate bathtub fixture). Eve admits that she thinks about her all the time — what she’s eating, who she’s hanging out with, her sartorial choices. Oksana admits her own feelings, and the two women seem to come to some kind of genuine accord. And even when Eve stabs her, to avenge Bill, perhaps, or in the name of everything she’s lost in her pursuit of Oksana, she doesn’t really want her to die. She hurries to help her, before Oksana shoots at her and disappears. For Eve, despite everything she’s lost, she’s also gained a significant amount. Oksana woke up her life, gave her a purpose, and has given her new opportunities she wouldn’t have previously dreamt of. The price she’s paid has been high, but in letting Oksana go in the past and in trying to save her here, it’s clear that Eve believes it’s worth it.

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Image via BBC America

That scene is the culmination of a season’s-worth of obsession, something the show has included as a wonderful augmentation to its cat-and-mouse game, as well as what the women have learned from one another. It feels right to believe Eve when she admits her thoughts about Oksana, and the same is true when Oksana says she really liked Eve. It would be easy to not trust either one, particularly Oksana (especially after her non-reaction to Anna’s suicide), but Eve was able to get her guard down by just being honest. And yet, Eve’s exploitation of that vulnerability (something she’s learned from Oksana, while Oksana herself has shown more vulnerability throughout the season, perhaps because of Eve’s influence) will surely lead to dire consequences when the show returns.

But as for the rest of the cast, there wasn’t much time to wrap up their stories as there could have been. Kenny continues to follow Eve around, and while he does question his mother’s actions, in the end he defers to her. Carolyn’s machinations aren’t fully explored by Eve, perhaps because she’s distracted by Oksana, and the introduction of a new (though very fun character) in Konstantin’s daughter also took up a lot of time in an episode that felt like it should have been spent elsewhere. (I’m also not at all convinced that Konstantin is dead, given Carolyn’s unfinished sentence where Kenny and Eve seemed to infer the worst without confirmation). Anna’s death, and its aftermath, also felt rushed — what exactly is Oksana’s capacity for caring? She seemed genuinely upset when she arrived, but was unaffected by Anna’s dramatic end. She could have killed Konstantin’s daughter, but didn’t. Some of it is justified by whims, but there’s an uncertainty still about what she really wants.

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Image via BBC America

While “God, I’m Tired” was a fine episode, it didn’t feel like a finale. The dynamic that we’re left with, between Oksana and Eve, is ultimately the same one that we’ve spent most of this season with. They like each other, but they don’t trust each other. In some ways it felt like a missed opportunity to turn things in a new direction, but as the show has never been anything less than surprising, so it’s not particularly concerning — as long as things move out of this particular space (perhaps a team-up, at some point, against The 12? Since it seems the two may be working for the same people after all) there’s still plenty of room to play.

Plotting aside, what the season ultimately gave us were two phenomenal character performances. In truth, the entire cast was extremely solid, all the way down to memorable bit parts like Oksana’s Parisian neighbor. But what sold the story, and the fascination that spilled over to viewers, was how Sandra Oh and particularly Jodie Comer chose to play their roles. There was not one reaction from Oksana that ever felt predictable, or even planned in the moment. Comer made sure her responses to almost every interaction were the opposite of what was expected, and it made each scene absolutely dynamic. Oh matched that with her immense charm and understated humor, giving Eve an often unearned confidence as a woman who has never done this kind of work before, and yet, is fully assured within herself that she will achieve her goals. The problem for her is that those goals aren’t really fully defined, as seen in those final moments with Oksana. Eve wanted to kill her, and could have, many times. But she also held back — that’s not who she is. At least, not yet. That conflict was ever-present and never anything less than sincere.

The final scene between Eve and Oksana was an inversion of Oksana breaking into Eve’s home (and let us not forget, helping her undress after seeing her in one of the garments she had picked out for her). At that point Eve was terrified and upset, as well as literally cold, wet, and shaking. This time, Eve holds the power (and the gun), while Oksana is bruised, battered, and has her defenses down. The setting for their interaction still revolves around opulence and sartorial splendor (despite Eve somewhat maniacally tearing it down), which has always been part of the show’s visual appeal, but the more important thing is that the women seem to be on equal footing now. It’s not about the hunt, for once, which is why Eve is able to make her final move against Oksana. It surprised them both. Obsession brought them this far, but what they have learned from each other will surely now fuel the next thrilling, hilarious, insane, and unexpectedly delightful chapter.

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