Season 2 of Killing Eve went out with a bang — and Eve was on the receiving end of it.
In the charged finale of BBC America’s alluring spy thriller, conniving assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer) manipulated sharp-yet-unseasoned MI6 agent Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) into dispatching Villanelle’s new handler, Raymond (Adrian Scarborough), with an axe (even though Villanelle had a hidden gun tucked away). In the post-kill haze and craze, after Villanelle led the very-much-in-shock MI6 agent through the underbelly of Rome, Eve discovered that Villanelle had been packing a gun and came to her senses, walking away from Villanelle’s offer to run away together. This did not sit well with Villanelle, who shot Eve from behind, leaving her lying motionless on the ground as she herself walked away from their strange, intoxicating relationship.
Killing Eve will return for a third season in 2020, and so will Eve, given that a Killing Eve without Eve and Sandra Oh seems… well, untenable if not impossible. But for now, the stakes are now as high as they’ve been on this series, as viewers are left to wonder how gravely Eve is injured — and to try to guess what Villanelle was thinking when she pulled the trigger. Was it a message or kill shot?
“What I thought was fascinating about that moment is the control is constantly shifting,” Comer tells EW. “One of them thinks they’re in control of the situation, and then the other one pulls the rug from under the other one’s feet. Villanelle is genuinely hurt in that situation, and she acts on impulse, the only way that she knows how to act. When she walks away, she’s walking away.”
Indeed, the tetchy Villanelle has shown herself to possess the disposition of a frustrated, spoiled child when things don’t go her way. Was her pulling of the trigger a wounding warning to Eve, a moment of untethered impulse, or both? When Villanelle walks away, how much does she even care if Eve is dead or alive? “That’s something that we’re going to look at and have to think about in [season] 3,” answers Comer. “As we tap into this woman’s emotions more or getting into the psyche of what she does feel and what she doesn’t feel, it’s: what is it about this woman that has such a hold? Does she, in fact? There’s so much to delve into in regards to that.”
“We have to think about if she’s shooting her to kill her,” adds Comer. “Villanelle doesn’t do a job halfheartedly or not go through what it is she’s out to do. So, we have to make a lot of big decisions in that moment, and a lot of these decisions were very final. These are somethings that we have to pick up with in [season] 3.”
While the parallels of what happened at the end of the season 1 finale (when Eve surprise-stabs Villanelle) and the season 2 finale (Villanelle shoots Eve) seem ripe for exploration, Comer does not believe those things were on Villanelle’s mind when she shot Eve. “I don’t know if she was [thinking about that] at all, actually,” says the actress. “And I say that because when we first came back for [season] 2, I was like, ‘Oh, she’s going to get her revenge.’ And they were like, ‘No, no, no, we saw that from a different way and what this actually now means a connection.’ I think it’s something Villanelle never forgot; don’t get me wrong. But in that moment, it is that thing of Eve walking away and [Villanelle] is like, ‘You can’t do that. You’re either in or you’re out.’ And that is, in fact, why she shoots her.”
Where that bullet ends up is, of course, critical. It’s a location that hadn’t been finalized when the season ended, but it may wind up being loaded with meaning, as Oh hinted to EW. (“I will say the blood is coming from a certain area, and I think that we may move that around, the area of the shot,” Oh said with a laugh. “All that stuff is really being creatively decided right now. What is the meaning of where she shot her? Obviously, it’s somewhere in her back, and in her body, but where it is and how close to the kill.”) “It could be something that is very visual,” teases Comer, who spoke with EW over the summer. “So that is a constant reminder or it is a shot to kill. But for me to make sense of that moment, it had to be to kill, because as much as we all discover in this relationship, we have to remember who this person is. She’s not a great person most of the time and she doesn’t think as others would. So that is to be continued.”
“Whether it’s fatal — now what we’re going to see is how Villanelle now has moved on from that,” she hints. “I can’t really say too much because of obviously how and where are we going to take this story. But it’s a question of: How much does Eve mean to Villanelle? Everyone who watches the show has a different view and their own interpretation, and they feel that it is love and it is deep and it is meaningful. And then there was another side to it that is very twisted. Does Villanelle understand the concept of love? She’s very warped in relationships and her connections to people.”
That was on display during that haunting (and, at least at one point, hilarious) scene in which Raymond and Villanelle match wits in the hallway before Eve steps in to “rescue” Villanelle after the assassin begged for help when he started to choke the life out of her. Was Villanelle truly risking it all on a hunch that she could get Eve to kill, or was she always secretly in control? “It really had to be that she was going to risk it all, especially for Eve, for the believability, Villanelle has to be on the verge of death,” says Comer. “What I do believe of Villanelle, though, is her life is the most important thing to her. So maybe she was going to let it go to the very last breath. But I think in that moment, she needs help, and Eve sees that. And you have to see that in order for that moment to be believable. It was such a huge, huge moment to film, and it was shot over a couple of days. It’s so crazy, energetic, strenuous. After that shot of Villanelle being strangled, everyone was like, ‘Now we can believe that this woman is driven to this impulse of saving her,’ because she is literally turning purple.’”
Turning to another notable moment from the finale, didn’t Villanelle’s mercurial handler, Konstantin (Kim Bodnia), all but tell Villanelle that she has another living sibling? “It’s something that people have always been curious of,” says Comer. “I don’t think you really should make too much of her past because what I love is that people end up making their own assumptions or ideas. That’s really fun for an audience to have their own journey with it. But I do think it would be really interesting to see another side of what her life was. When we went to the prison in Russia [in season 1], it was so fun because you see this feral Oxana. I feel like Villanelle is an outer shell and Oxana is like the core of this person and you get to see a completely different side. So that will be really fun to delve into.”
Comer leaves you with an enticing, cryptic hint about season 3, which may or may not involve Eve. “It’s that thing of: You believe someone’s dead, then you live with the fact that someone’s dead and then they’re not,” says the actress. “How do you come back from that? How does that change your relationship that you once had? Does it? Is there a new opportunity? Is there a chance or is there a need to finish what you did? That’s probably going to be the biggest thing for Villanelle.”
The now-Emmy-nominated Comer also spoke to EW about how she didn’t even know that the nominations were coming out that summer morning — and how she and Oh might team up against the other nominees in the category — which you can read all about here.
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