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First look TV review: Killing Eve: Season 4

Written by Belinda

Review Overview




Rating 3/10

Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer’s entertaining chemistry is the star attraction in this unfocused final chapter.

“You’re still playing the same old game of chess.” “So what game are you playing?” That’s the sound of Killing Eve returning for its fourth and final season – and struggling to work out exactly what moves it wants to make before bidding farewell to the electrifying odd couple at its centre.

The show has always faced the challenge of living up to its own first season, which channelled the cat-and-mouse thrills of an agent (Sandra Oh’s Eve) and an assassin (Jodie Comer’s Villanelle) circling each other, while also being drawn closer together. Season 2, which began a tradition of handing over the showrunner reins to a new writer each season, expanded the world to craft a more intricate web of espionage and enemies, but the show’s driving force has always been the intense bond between its leading women. Season 3 zoomed back in on them as a pair, pulling them together and leading them to confront their own feelings and identities – right up a to a poignant finale that left them trying to walk away from each other, but (maybe) failing.

That, in itself, would have been a fitting end note, the duo forever caught off-screen in a two-handed tango of desire and death. But here we have Season 4 to wrap things up once and for all – and yet what’s surprising is how it only seems to unravel the series’ emotional and thematic threads further. Things start, once again, with Eve and Villanelle apart, as they attempt to live on without the other. Eve is now working in private security, while Villanelle has become embedded in a church community and appears to be turning over a new leaf.

Except, of course, things aren’t as clean-cut as that. By night, Eve is embarking on a revenge mission to wipe out “The Twelve”, while Villanelle is desperately hoping that her upcoming baptism will be attended by her ex-whatever-Eve-is. And so the stage is set for another season that contrives to separate Eve and Villanelle only so they can be reunited once more – and, not unlike some mid-season moments in Outlander’s more uneven chapters, it’s a cycle that can become frustratingly repetitive.

As always, there’s fun in just watching the two stars in action. Sandra Oh’s Eve is becoming more and more herself as she dons leathers and bikes around with a threatening authority, while crossing paths with all the old familiar faces (Kim Bodnia’s Konstantin and Fiona Shaw’s Carolyn both get welcome screentime) and sharing sparks with new colleague Yusuf (Robert Gilbert). Jodie Comer’s Villanelle, meanwhile, is amusing manic and childish, as she declares she wants to be a good person, but can’t resist turning a Christian camp retreat into something nasty and bitter and doesn’t have the patience for actual redemption. (“Just dunk me!” she shouts at the priest, as he prepares to baptise her.)

But where the twisting scripts once tapped into their screen presence to drive things forward with a fun unpredictability, it now feels like they’re elevating material that has become disappointingly routine. After four seasons, we’ve seen these women grow and develop in their understanding of themselves and each other – watching them play the same old game, then, can be entertaining but unlike their eternal attraction it doesn’t make such sense.

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