“It’s an extraordinary privilege to see your characters brought to life so convincingly,” wrote novelist Luke Jennings, “but the end of the series surprised me.”
The divisive “Killing Eve” series finale shocked even author Luke Jennings, whose “Codename Villanelle” trilogy inspired BBC America and AMC+ series.
The critically acclaimed spy thriller stars Sandra Oh as MI5 agent Eve who gets caught up in an erotic game of cat-and-mouse with assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer). Yet after four tense “will they, won’t they” seasons, the show’s final episode, which aired April 10, delivered a fatal finale to the alleged romance. Spoilers: Just hours after sharing their first kiss, Villanelle is shot and killed as she and Eve try to escape down a river.
Fans took to social media to express their disdain at the shocking finale, and vanity lounge published an article claiming that “Killing Eve” ultimately bowed to the “bury your gays” trope. Why couldn’t Villanelle and Eve finally be happy in a relationship together?
Now novelist Jennings has written an opinion piece for The Guardian breaking his silence on the television adaptation. After applauding the “chilling” sexual tension between main stars Comer and Oh, Jennings wrote, “It’s an amazing privilege to see your characters come to life so convincingly. But the final ending of the series surprised me.
He went on to say that “you’ll never like everything the writing team does”, the finale betrayed fans of the show who had followed Villanelle and Eve’s romance for three and a half years.
“The charged stares, the tears, the lovingly fetishized wounds, the endlessly deferred consummation,” Jennings added. “When Phoebe Waller-Bridge and I first discussed the character of Villanelle five years ago, we agreed that she was defined by what Phoebe called her ‘glory’: her subversiveness, her savage power, her emphasis on beautiful things. It’s the Villanelle that I wrote, that Phoebe turned into an on-screen character, and that Jodie ran so gloriously with.
Jennings wrote, “But the end of Season 4 was a bow to convention. A punishment of Villanelle and Eve for the bloody and erotic mayhem they caused.
The author noted that a “truly subversive storyline would have challenged the trope that same-sex lovers in TV series only allowed the most fleeting relationships before one of them was killed”, citing “The 100” as an example of a lesbian same-sex romance being smothered on screen.
“How much more darkly satisfying, and true to the original spirit of Killing Eve, for the couple to walk into the sunset together?” said Jennings. “Spoiler alert, but that’s how it felt to me writing the books.”
Even queer “Killing Eve” fans have reached out to Jennings to commemorate the characters he created, with a “young gay woman living in Russia” writing to Jennings to share that “no television writer can take [Villanelle] away because she is ours – all ours – and thanks to your books and our love, she will live forever.
Jennings concluded, “I learned the outcome of the final episode in advance and suspected, correctly, that fans would be upset. But to those fans, I would say this: Villanelle lives. And on the page, if not on the screen, it will come back.”
‘Killing Eve’ showrunner Laura Neal once said decision maker that the final scene was “really important” and signified Eve’s “rebirth” without Villanelle. “We really wanted her to erase everything that had happened over the past four seasons and be able to start over,” Neal said, “but take everything she’s learned and everything Villanelle has given her in a new life. “
Neal added: “It just felt right to us that Eve survived and Villanelle died, but died in a way that I think seems triumphant to her because she’s achieving something that she wanted to achieve at the very start of the season. 4 at this time of his death, which is to do something good.
A “Killing Eve” spin-off series is in the works, without Neal. The as yet untitled show will follow Carolyn Mertens, Fiona Shaw’s MI6 character.