For Killing Eve and its romance, less should be more in Season 4

Sandra Oh as Eve Polastri, Jodie Comer as Villanelle - Killing Eve _ Season 3, Episode 3 - Photo Credit: Laura Radford/BBCAmerica/Sid Gentle
Sandra Oh as Eve Polastri, Jodie Comer as Villanelle - Killing Eve _ Season 3, Episode 3 - Photo Credit: Laura Radford/BBCAmerica/Sid Gentle /

Subtlety is the spice of life on Killing Eve

The third season of AMC and BBC America’s Killing Eve wrapped up a few weeks ago, and fans are eagerly awaiting what comes next. However, the series may be going down a path that drives viewers away.

For those who don’t know, Killing Eve focuses on the relationship between Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) and Villanelle (Jodie Comer). The latter is an arrogant and psychopathic assassin while the former is a British Intelligence agent trying to hunt her down. As their cat-and-mouse game goes on, they become ever more familiar and even intimate with each other.

Soon, everything else in their lives becomes hollow and meaningless, and the line between passion and obsession blurs beyond recognition.

Although the third season was generally received well, something felt off. The script wasn’t quite as tight, and more noticeably, the dynamic between the characters was somewhat less gripping.

Part of this could stem from the departure of creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who spearheaded the first two seasons. However, I feel that this only contributes to the larger problem.

It’s explicit over implicit on Killing Eve.

At several points throughout the season, the writers seemed to steer Eve and Villanelle’s connection toward physical attraction and love. Before this, we had always seen hints of yearning and passion between these two, but they were only ever hints. Nothing physical or traditional ever happened between them; it wasn’t that simple.

To begin, they were established as being bored by their current positions in life, utterly uninspired by routines that had become second nature. They desperately sought an escape from such mundanity, and they found it when their work brought them together.

Through the thrill of the chase, they drove one another to greater levels of excitement and unusual habits. Each woman attempted to understand the other, and this psychological chess match escalated to the point of consuming them both. Again, you got small inklings of physical attraction as they became more familiar with each other, but these were never more than teases to compliment a deeper intimacy.

Season 3, though, steps over that fine line and starts to frame these two more like lovers than adversaries. When they first encounter each other, for instance, they have a short fight before ending it with a spontaneous kiss. Then, in the finale, they share a romantic dance. To cap it all off, they have a starry-eyed walk on a bridge.

Killing Eve
Jodie Comer as Villanelle, Sandra Oh as Eve Polastri – Killing Eve _ Season 3, Episode 8 – Photo Credit: Laura Radford/BBCAmerica/Sid Gentle /

Going down this road could be a serious mistake for Killing Eve. Why? Well, it runs the risk of reducing the significance of the relationship. If Eve and Villanelle go through standard rituals like kissing, holding hands, or having sex, then their dynamic drifts closer to a conventional romance.

We’ve seen this countless times before. Changing the Killing Eve connection in this way would make it less special and, as a result, less intriguing. Also, it potentially diminishes their attraction up to this point. Are they drawn to each other through morbid fascination and psychological kinship? Nope, they just find each other cute.

Why is this such a big deal?

Chemistry arouses much more curiosity from the audience when they can tell that something’s there which they can’t quite pinpoint. It’s unfamiliar, so we are naturally uncomfortable yet inquisitive. In many ways, this follows the same logic as the unseen fear. What you don’t see is often more frightening than what you do see.

A fitting comparison would be the Hannibal TV show, which spends three seasons developing the unnerving friendship between criminal profiler Will Graham and cannibalistic killer Hannibal Lecter. Though the self-proclaimed “Fannibals” frequently support these two as “murder husbands,” never once does the show frame them as gay or bring them together in any traditional sense.

Rather, their yearning comes from a mutual understanding; they know one another’s twisted mentality better than anyone else. This paves the way for honesty and companionship that neither one of them has ever felt before.

Instead of making things too on-the-nose, Killing Eve would benefit from this type of unspoken passion next season. Of course, the golden rule is “show, don’t tell.” However, audience imagination can be a powerful tool when wielded effectively.

Next. For another passionate shipping fan base, check out The 100.. dark

Did you enjoy this past season of Killing Eve? What do you think the future holds for Season 4? Are you interested to see where Eve and Villanelle’s crazy connection go from here?

Killing Eve is available to watch on AMC and BBC America.