When “Killing Eve” left off, in the spring of 2020, Villanelle (Jodie Comer) and Eve (Sandra Oh) had just come together on the Tower Bridge, in London — a handy symbol for the scene, as bridges often are.
It was a bridge that allowed two women, whose relationship had been defined by repressed desires, to have an emotionally (and physically) vulnerable conversation. “When I try and think of my future, I just see your face over and over again,” Eve told Villanelle as they leaned over the edge of the bridge. Near the end of their heart-to-heart conversation, the two turned back-to-back — leaning into the moment and each other — and then walked in opposite directions, promising never to look back.
“I’ll be yours forever,” Saoirse Ronan sang over the scene, as the two dragged their heels. A moment later, Villanelle and Eve, assassin and assassin-obsessive, broke their agreement and turned around, locking eyes in a shared expression of yearning and heartbreak.
Almost two years later, we’ll finally find out whether that lingering gaze led to anything — a proper kiss with no head butts, maybe? Another murder attempt?
“Killing Eve” returns on Sunday, bringing its trademark blend of blend of wit, murder, luxurious outfits and queer sexual tension back to BBC America and AMC for a fourth and final season. (The first episode airs Sunday on BBC America and Monday on AMC; the first two start streaming Sunday on AMC+.) Here’s a refresher before the premiere.
What’s Eve been up to?
Over the last three seasons, Eve went from being an MI6 agent with, as she puts it, “a husband, and a house, and a chicken,” to being single and homeless.
Eve lost her job in the Season 2 finale after finding out that her boss, Carolyn (Fiona Shaw), set up Eve and Villanelle to murder a weapons dealer named Aaron. When Eve refused to leave Rome without Villanelle, Carolyn wished her luck and left.
When Eve returned to England in Season 3, she got a job in the kitchen of a Korean restaurant. Carolyn’s son, Kenny (Sean Delaney), checked in on Eve after she drunk texted him, and he mentioned that he was investigating “the Twelve,” a shadowy organization that coordinates assassins like Villanelle to commit high-profile murders. He was doing so, he said, for the Bitter Pill, an online publication. He invited her to visit the office.
Kenny wasn’t there when she went, but his phone was on his desk. Turned out, that’s because he was busy plummeting to his death from the roof. Eve soon started working for the Bitter Pill herself, looking into Kenny’s death and continuing to research the Twelve.
At the same time, Eve’s obsession over Villanelle finally ended her marriage to Niko (Owen McDonnell). During the first two seasons, he had become increasingly frustrated with Eve’s split attention. By the end of Season 2, he left her after Villanelle killed his friend, co-worker and crush, Gemma (Emma Pierson).
At the beginning of Season 3 — as Niko was ignoring Eve’s calls and texts — Eve saw Villanelle on a bus and finally kissed her for the first time. (Immediately after they kissed, Eve head-butted Villanelle, who then got off the bus.)
After leaving Eve, Niko moved to a farm in Poland, where one of Villanelle’s former trainers from the Twelve, Dasha (Harriet Walter), tracked him down in an attempt to drive Eve and Villanelle apart, and she steals Niko’s phone to text Eve, convincing her to visit. When Eve arrived, Dasha stabbed him in the throat with a pitchfork, but she hid so that Eve would suspect Villanelle. Niko survived, but as for his relationship with Eve — stick a fork in him — he was done.
Eve continued investigating Kenny’s death, but by the end of the season she seemed to lack a greater mission. Who is she when she doesn’t have a murder (or a murderess) to obsess over?
What about Villanelle?
After killing plenty of people for the Twelve, Villanelle decided to work undercover for MI6 at the end of Season 2 to catch a weapons dealer named Aaron. Her handler Konstantin (Kim Bodnia) — under orders from Eve’s boss — told another hit man who worked for the Twelve that he could kill Villanelle if she killed Aaron, which, of course, she did.
Villanelle killed the other assassin with Eve’s help and made it out of Season 2 alive, and at the start of Season 3, she no longer wanted to work with Konstantin or the Twelve. Soon after, Dasha showed up and talked her into working again, but Villanelle made it clear she wanted to move up the ranks of the organization.
In the middle of Season 3, Villanelle returned to Russia to see her mother, Tatiana (Evgenia Dodina), who left her at an orphanage decades before but kept her brother Pyotr (Rob Feldman). While there, Villanelle met her stepfather and her two stepbrothers — the younger one loves Elton John and the older one believes the Earth is flat — and spent some quality time with the family at a local fair. But later that night, her mother asked Villanelle to leave.
In true Villanelle fashion, she burned down the house, killing everyone but Pyotr and her young stepbrother, whom she gave an envelope of cash and a note encouraging him to see Elton John’s farewell tour.
After killing her own mother, Villanelle struggled to complete the Twelve’s assignments. Although she received a promotion, she learned from a higher up named Hélène (Camille Cottin) that she would still be expected to murder for them. After nearly being killed on her next assignment, she decided she wanted out again: By the end of Season 3, she and Konstantin had come up with a plan to escape the Twelve’s web.
As they gathered money and passports, Villanelle invited Eve to a sultry dance hall, and as they danced, she invited Eve to come with her and Konstantin to Cuba. Eve seemed to be on board, but their escape plan was derailed when one of Konstantin’s bosses, Paul (Steve Pemberton), called him to say that he knew Konstantin had been stealing millions from the Twelve. Eve, Villanelle and Konstantin arrived at Paul’s house to find Eve’s former boss, Carolyn, there, aiming a gun at Paul.
As Carolyn asked Paul questions, Konstantin admitted that he had been triple-crossing everyone by working for the Russians and the British and by taking orders from Paul. When Carolyn asked Konstantin who was behind the death of her son, he said that he had visited Kenny on Paul’s orders. (Kenny’s death, Konstantin said, was an accident.)
Carolyn shot Paul and let everyone else go. Given the circumstances, Eve and Villanelle seemed oddly calm, and they left Paul’s apartment together.
Well, who else lived and died?
While on assignment with Dasha to kill an American man on a golf course, Villanelle abruptly changed gears, attacking Dasha with a golf club instead. Later, as Eve chased down Villanelle, she discovered Dasha — whom she believed had tried to kill Niko — lying in the grass. Dasha, who seemed close to death, confirmed Eve’s suspicions. Eve stepped on Dasha’s chest, pressing into her ribs until she heard a police siren in the distance.
Konstantin, who had a heart attack toward the end of Season 3, wound up in the hospital next to Dasha, but as he left, he heard her die.
About those finales
For those of us who have watched “Killing Eve” from the start, the Season 3 finale may have felt somewhat familiar: Season 1 ended as Eve confessed that she thought about Villanelle all the time. Once she lured Villanelle into bed and the two leaned in for a kiss, Eve stabbed her.
A similar scene played out in Season 2, which ended with a fight between Villanelle and Eve amid some Roman ruins, where Villanelle told Eve, “You’re mine” — then shot her when Eve disagreed.
Although neither was injured when last we saw them, they were still toeing the complicated line between love and obsession on that bridge. This time, each seemed more willing to contemplate what her new life might look like without having to end the other’s.
What would happen if Eve embraced her darker impulses? Who would Villanelle be if she weren’t a villain? And could they have a real relationship if they moved beyond the obsession and longing?