This Killing EVE article contains spoilers for season 4 episode 1.
Killing Eve Season 4 Episode 1
Villanelle often starts the new season hiding out somewhere and fooling someone, but the question this season is whether she has actually turned over a new leaf, or is she just fooling herself. Given her focus on optics and an audience of one, it often seems like her soul’s restoration is more about vanity and only appearing to be a better person. But there are still just enough quiet moments alone where she seems to be looking for something better, a new path if not actual forgiveness, to keep us guessing.
It would be easy for all the religious imagery to feel indulgent and on the nose, especially after all the promotional materials and the way Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag already trod such similar ground so exquisitely in its final season, even if PWB is no longer involved with Killing Eve anymore. And yet. Hearing “Nelle” referred to as “Miss Perfect” is so jarring, and Villanelle is so perfectly aware of the beatific imagery she (and in turn, the show) are creating, that it comes back around again to delightful and hilarious.
The bold imagery and the strange, darkly tinged sense of humor are two of the show’s hallmarks that help mark how closely it hews to its much-celebrated DNA. In place of high fashion, we have Villanelle in tie-dye normcore, an angelic white robe, and bright red vestments, and Eve in head-to-toe leather and that orange-y/yellow keffiyeh while trying to blend in (and letting the mortician get the drop on her, before ultimately getting the intel she needed). Dry lines like Carolyn “I can’t promise I’ll do any of it, but if I do, I’ll be drunk” are back, but it’s Eve’s “I don’t want to see your nipples unless they’re fully in agreement with me,” that feels more Killing Eve-y, a line that’s hard to imagine on almost any other show right now.
The family Villanelle is staying with seems to have its own mysteries, like the priest father who is very against her presence even before she actually does anything. The young woman is writing erotica and seems like she’s maybe a bit more than friendly to Villanelle. Lucifer the cat is obviously doomed, but it’s fun to watch our favorite murder be tested.
Villanelle loses her shit and has her very own queer version of Jed Bartlet screaming at God in “Two Cathedrals.” It’s always a surprise to see her actually want someone to live, reminiscent of the Russia episode with her family, so maybe there’s something to this ruse after all. The very notion of salvation for Villanelle seems beside the point, at least until she decides she wants someone to live and then tries talking to God. It’s so atypical of Villanelle it’s worth sitting up and taking notice. Maybe all this talk of forgiveness and redemption is starting to wear off on her…
Elsewhere, someone is flaying, torturing, and killing members of The Twelve, so Carolyn, who has been given a “face-saving” demotion to Mallorca wants Eve to find them. And while Eve won’t give her the satisfaction of saying yes, of course Eve takes the files, because while Eve has been working for a private security firm, she’s been searching for The Twelve on her own, and Carolyn doesn’t miss a trick.
Eve’s crisscrossing Europe and even pops over to Russia to shoot Konstantin in the hand real quick to grab some intel, shoot him in the hand and tell him to “get over it,” which feels right. Shout out to Konstantin being shocked someone found him while being an elected official with campaign posters of his actual face plastered all over town. Don’t ever change! He still deserved to get shot, though, because we will never, ever forget Kenny.
Eve feels like she’s in an oddly healthy place mentally, as though having her clear mission of finding The Twelve – and perhaps some time away from Villanelle? – has helped her right the ship and find her own version of okay. She’s definitely still an odd duck – girl why do you have to be weird and touch that dead body at the funeral home? But she seems to be in command of herself, rather than steadily losing her grip on her sense of self like she did for so much of the last two season.
Eve’s private security colleague/partner-in-crime/friend with benefits seems weirdly good for her. Their chemistry and repartee, they physically spar, and they both know what the relationship is and isn’t. After being a long-time Niko Polastri apologist, I hope to never see or hear from Eve’s former husband again. This is what fun, interesting, healthy relationship could look like for her; the choice doesn’t need to be boring vs murdering sociopath.
Eve and Villanelle’s current coping mechanisms clash at Eve’s hotel, where Villanelle confronts Eve for ignoring her (many) unanswered invitations to her baptism. Shooting it on either side of the aquarium recalls the kind of stunningly eerie visuals the show has become known for. Villanelle starts praying for Eve, trying to win by bulldozing her and then switching back to her old dynamic: “I’ve changed” “If you had really changed you wouldn’t have come” “Then why did you lead me here.”
But this isn’t their old dynamic, and Eve isn’t playing ball anymore: the slap and her terse, “Not the same person,” say it all. But if they didn’t, Eve’s ability to have ignored Villanelle all this time, and to walk away now that she’s come in person, is all the proof she needs. Part of their dynamic has always been the way that they’re both strangely drawn to one another, unable to back away or simply stop picking at the scab even when that would be the best, safest, healthiest thing. If Eve can now simply stop, what does that mean for Villanelle?
The jury’s still out on V’s hallucination of herself as drag Jesus, bad wig and facial hair included. Genius or weird, unfruitful dalliance? It all depends on what we get out of it. Is she losing it, is this a long-lost Russian twin we never knew about, or something else altogether? If nothing else, it says something about Killing Eve as a show that there’s no obvious answer, and that this could turn out to be part of a genuine religious awakening in Villanelle or a sign that she is actually losing it for real. In any case, his bustier and gold over-the-knee boots are killer.
Carolyn’s skeletons are still popping out of closets, or I guess manila folders full of folders of people she killed, but they’re also still providing escape hatches, like when she goes to Moscow to see Vlad. Perhaps we’ll be seeing more of Konstantin sooner rather than later.