Killing Eve finale recap: Every monster needs a little encouragement
The best early warning sign of a killer episode of Killing Eve is when Villanelle shows up wearing something pink and ridiculous — which is to say, one glimpse of her coat in the opening moments of the season 3 finale should have you very excited indeed. It's… it's… actually, I'm not sure what it is. The body says "trench coat" but the lapels say "couture figure skating costume," a cacophony of flashy sequins, netting, maybe even a feather or two. Has Villanelle been getting into bedazzling as part of this new leaf she's trying to turn over?
Well, anyway: the plot thickens as she enters a concert hall and we see Carolyn. Aha! This isn't a murder-for-hire, it's a job interview — and a disappointing one. Villanelle wants to join MI6, not as an assassin, but as an operative. She wants to do spy stuff. Imagine her surprise when Carolyn responds: if Villanelle won't kill for them, what is she good for? Nothing. She actually calls her "useless." Ouch.
There's only one place left for Villanelle… or rather, one person. And finally, we get the reunion we've been waiting for. At a basement club that feels like a time capsule from the 1940s, Eve and Villanelle come together like old lovers, slow dancing their way to an understanding. A silver-haired couple sways past and Villanelle asks Eve if that's what she wants.
"We'd consume each other before we got old," Eve says.
It's all agonizingly romantic but cut short by an uninvited guest: Rhian. Villanelle presses a slip of paper into Eve's hand and tells her to go.
Rhian has come to retrieve Villanelle and bring her back to headquarters — by subway, which gives Villanelle plenty of time to snipe at Rhian about her workmanlike wardrobe.
"I was trained to wear clothes that allow full range of movement," Rhian says.
"I was trained to look devastating," Villanelle replies, which is funny because the patterned suit and platform heels she's wearing are indeed devastating...ly ugly. Ha! Ha! (Seriously though, this outfit is hideous.) Unfortunately, Rhian lacks Villanelle's joie de vivre and sense of humor, and when Villanelle tries to tickle her, she snaps. Pinning Villanelle to a wall, she tells her to come quietly — and calls her a sheep. Bad move, Rhian! And if there was any question as to whether Villanelle's killer instincts had atrophied amid her crisis of conscience, you can put those concerns to rest: she pounds the living hell out of Rhian and kicks her onto the train tracks. Rhian, who is either paralyzed by the fall or just very stubborn, lies there, shouting at Villanelle until the train runs over her. So long, Rhian.
And while we're bidding a fond farewell to the young lady assassin, we'll also have to pour one out for Dasha, who shuffles off this mortal coil without ever seeing her beloved homeland (or her son) again. Her last act on this earth is to spat with Konstantin over his too-lenient handling of Villanelle. "You are going to die in this room," he tells her, not unkindly, although it seems like it might be a little premature to say the d-word. Dasha is awake and talking, and… nope, nevermind, she's dead. RIP, Dasha.
Konstantin heads for London, arriving just in time to find Eve retrieving a mysterious package — his package — from a betting parlor. Inside is a Russian nesting doll, which Konstantin claims is just a dumb trinket, a gift for his daughter… until Eve suggests pitching it into the street. "No!" he screams. AHA! Apparently, the doll has a barcode on it that opens another box, this one containing cash, passports, everything a rogue operative needs to betray his handlers and disappear.
But will he get the chance? At the Bitter Pill offices, a discovery is made: the spycam that Bear once set up to catch a candy thief reveals that Konstantin visited Kenny there on the day he died. Carolyn — whom we saw earlier telling Geraldine to please move out, thus wrapping up this season's most do-nothing plotline and hopefully releasing Gemma Whelan to another, better project where her talents won't be so shamefully wasted — shows up to review the footage and then leaves just in time to miss Villanelle, who pops in basically for no reason except that it gives the show an opportunity to indulge in a "pickled penis" joke. (Or in other words, for the BEST POSSIBLE REASON.)
And here's where the characters converge: Carolyn tells Paul that Konstantin has been stealing from the Twelve's secret bank account. Paul, held at gunpoint by Carolyn, calls Konstantin. Konstantin and Eve show up at Paul's house, followed shortly by Villanelle. The gang's all here, the gun is loaded, and it's time for the truth to come out.
"Why did you kill my son?" Carolyn asks.
Konstantin says he didn't kill Kenny. In fact, Konstantin says, he tried to save Kenny by offering him a job with the Twelve! But Kenny was afraid, and kept stepping back, until, accidentally, he fell over the edge of the roof — and Carolyn has to believe him, says Konstantin, because he'd never do something so terrible to someone—
"Don't say someone you loved," Carolyn says.
Later, we'll have to discuss whether Konstantin could have possibly been telling the truth — about how Kenny died, about his feelings for Carolyn, about… well, anything, really the guy lies all the time. But for now, Carolyn tells him to get on his knees, and puts the gun to his forehead. Eve and Villanelle cringe and lean into each other, and when Konstantin screams, "Villanelle, do something!" Villanelle does not. She stays right where she is. And Carolyn pulls the trigger.
On an adjacent couch, Paul keels over, the bullet hole in his forehead beginning to seep.
"It should have been you," Carolyn tells Konstantin. "Go before I change my mind."
Villanelle stays, of course. Because whatever else happens, and however many people have been lost along the way, this story always ends with two women standing, side by side, hand in hand. They leave together, walking through London, and find themselves standing on a bridge that looks out over the city.
“What’s happened to us?” Eve wonders. Villanelle asks if she ruined Eve’s life. It's an interesting question. Eve's life is a wreck, obviously, and that's all down to her involvement with Villanelle — but as Eve herself asked earlier, who was leading? Who was in control? Maybe it was a two-person job, sort of like Dasha's murder, which the women realize they pulled off together without even knowing it. Villanelle hit her, and Eve crushed her, and aww, isn't it nice to see them collaborating? But this was the last time.
"Help me make it stop," Eve says. Villanelle tells her to turn around. They stand back to back, a reverse-image of their embrace on the dance floor, each facing down the length of the bridge. Now what?
“Now we walk," says Villanelle. "And we never look back.”
And they do walk. Five paces, ten, a hundred. But then, as if by mutual agreement, they stop, and Eve turns, and Villanelle does, too. They look back. They look at each other. And what happens next? We'll have to wait until next season to find out: for now, the Eve-Villanelle relationship status is "gazing longingly at each other," and then a cut to black.