‘Killing Eve’: Season 2 Finale Raises Big Questions About Where the Show Is Going

It’s customary for thrillers to end with a bang. “Killing Eve” ends its second season with a final gunshot that leaves us wondering not only what will happen next, but where the show can possibly go from here. Once again the series is switching showrunners, as Emerald Fennell hands it all over to Suzanne Heathcote, a veteran of “Fear the Walking Dead.” It will be up to Heathcote to bring some new energy to the cat and mouse game involving Eve (Sandra Oh) and Villanelle (Jodie Comer), which seems confused about what it wants to be. There’s still plenty of potential however, with moments defined by their tension.

The season finale, “You’re Mine,” begins with Eve searching for Villanelle, who is hold up at a fancy home with Aaron Peel (Henry Lloyd-Hughes). It turns out Peel is a serial killer and so Villanelle is aware she’s in great danger. But Eve soon comes to the rescue, disguising herself as a maid and even leaving poor Hugo (Edward Bluemel) bleeding on the floor from a gunshot wound. Villanelle meanwhile lets Peel know she is aware of his snuff digital collection of femicides. Believing her to be on his psycho level, Peele offers her a gig as the killer in his videos as long she whacks Eve. Instead Villanelle cuts Peele’s throat. When Eve returns to her hotel room the evidence of Peel’s killings is gone, swept clean by Carolyn (Fiona Shaw), who reveals MI6 wanted Peel dead all along. Now the death can be blamed on The Twelve. Angry, Eve fully quits the agency and goes on the run with Villanelle. But before this happens Villanelle is offered a chance to escape by Konstantin (Kim Bodnia). But Villanelle refuses, preferring to stay with Eve, who she feels a deep bond with. Or so we think.

“Killing Eve” proved itself during its first season with a unique blend of action and subtle humor. As a thriller it recycled the standard plot device of two nemeses chasing each other around. By the end of this second season the chase has lost some of its appeal. There is some intriguing psychology at play in the way Villanelle tries to manipulate Eve into becoming a soulless killer like herself. The best moment in “You’re Mine” is a confrontation between Eve and an axe-wielding Raymond (Adrian Scarborough), during which Villanelle pushes Eve into axing him to death. Eve breaks down, realizing the line she’s crossed. Jodie Corner is her demented, creepy best as she tries to comfort Eve, saying banal phrases like “It’s okay if you feel weird.” There’s even a twisted, almost romantic angle to all this as the two women profess love to each other and Villanelle daydreams about moving away to a cabin in Alaska. All of the second season has in a way built up to this, as Eve and Villanelle have been set up in a Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling relationship. Eve’s obsession and mirroring personality regarding her prey has taken both a physical and emotional toll. But the love doesn’t last and Eve pushes Villanelle away by the end, feeling manipulated into becoming something she is not. It is at this moment, amid ancient ruins, that Villanelle shoots Eve, leaving her splayed on the floor.

Is Eve dead? Most likely not. After all, the show has been renewed for a third season. The real question is where this story goes from here. Like “The Fall,” this is a show that delivered a strong first outing because the premise was so clear, but once the narrative exhausts itself it then struggles to find fresh avenues. We can only have Eve and Villanelle chasing each other around for so long. The writing gives us some hints at larger intrigues to come, as one of the final, quiet scenes reveals Carolyn to be standing next to Konstantin after Villanelle runs away. We can be sure as well that Eve and MI6 will cross paths again.

Because “Killing Eve” is based on some old-fashioned thriller elements, it’s never boring. Even as we wonder where this is all headed, the stand-offs and bloody twists keep the show going at a brisk pace. Individual scenes such as when Peel meets his demise have suspense, because at first we’re not sure just what decision Villanelle will make. Sandra Oh carries the material even when it lacks more punch, adding subtle humor in-between moments of tension. “Killing Eve” may have to work harder at justifying its storyline next season, but we will most certainly tune in.

Killing Eve” season two finale airs May 26 at 8 p.m. ET on AMC.