As the final season of Killing Eve unfolds, amc.com had the chance to speak with Season 4 head writer Laura Neal about where this season begins… and where it’s going. From Villanelle’s imaginary friend to the fate of our star-crossed lovers Eve and Villanelle, dive in on the full interview below.
Q: This final season starts out with everyone in very different places both physically and mentally. We have Carolyn in hiding in Mallorca, Konstantin in a small town in Russia playing Mayor, Eve traveling the most as she’s on a mission to take down the 12, and Villanelle trying to embrace her new pious lifestyle in the UK. There’s a lot of ‘faking it until you make it’ energy at the beginning of this final season, no?
A: We were excited by the idea of coming into a new series of Killing Eve and finding people in unexpected places. Like you said, geographically—but more importantly emotionally. And we loved the idea of starting the series with a misdirect. We see somebody we think is Villanelle acting in a very Villanelle way, and then oh look it's Eve! That felt like that was the essence of what we wanted to do with Eve. Here’s somebody who's finally embraced the darker side of themselves. Instead of pretending to be acting under the guise of the greater good or what's right, she's like, "I'm not interested in that anymore. I want to do what I want to do, what feels good for me." So that felt really exciting for Eve because it really liberated us to be able to do new things with her.
With Villanelle, I feel like her trying to be good came directly at the end of Season 3. She says it. She says, "I'm done with this. I'm really done with this." And I think we really believe her in that moment. So, for Villanelle, it was about, "Okay, if she's done with this lifestyle, how can she really escape it?" The only way she can escape is if she changes the thing about herself which is attractive to the Twelve, which is that she's this ruthless killer. So that was really behind the impetus to put her in this godly community. I do think Villanelle is quite direct in some ways. She's like, "Okay, so if I want to be good, I have to surround myself with really good people."
With Carolyn it was about taking her out of her comfort zone. We always see her ensconced in a spy world and in MI6, and the question was, "What happens to a character like that when you take her out of that? And when you untether her from those things, how does she behave differently?”
Q: I would be remiss if I didn't bring up Villanelle's imaginary buddy this season, Drag Jesus!
A: We actually call that Villanelle Vision, just to be clear! [Laughs]
Q: It must have been SO much fun to create that character and then play Jodie against herself like that. How did that character come together for you and how much did you want to snag those gold thigh high boots and take them home with you?
A: Well, to the latter, extremely, like a lot, a lot, a lot! In fact, the entire costume would have been in my rucksack had I had my way. I was really excited as that was one of the very earliest ideas that we had in the writers' room, so it was my personal mission to get that through and to play with that. I think it came out of this sense of knowing Villanelle is somebody who's incredibly engaged in the theatrical, right? She loves all of that stuff and the church in so many ways is the perfect place for her. She loves the iconography, she loves the sense of grandeur, she loves the theater, the storytelling of it all. And it made sense to us that, for someone with an imagination like Villanelle's, being steeped in this incredibly camp place would have an effect on her. Also being somebody who's incredibly self-involved and self-important, I was convinced that if she was going to see a religious figure who was coming to guide her, it would of course take the appearance of Villanelle.
Q: This season we get a lot more Hélène, and the tension/game between Eve and Hélène is so fascinating to watch. It's reminiscent of the early days of Eve and Villanelle, but there’s something much more sinister about it—much more ruthless. Can you talk a bit about fleshing out Hélène in this final season?
A: We were really excited to be able to do more with Hélène because we're just big Camille fans and we wanted to give her some more stuff. I think in terms of Hélène's function in the story, it was a deliberate choice to echo those early Eve and Villanelle encounters. And what excited me was, how does Eve react to a dangerous woman now that she's had three seasons of Villanelle? What about her has changed and how do those changes affect how she approaches these kinds of women? That felt like a really interesting way to show Eve's journey and who she is now, as opposed to who she was at the very beginning of Season 1. I also think there's something about Eve trying out her new self on Hélène prior to trying it out on Villanelle, like how does Eve behave with this person when she is cast free of the history of how she has been with Villanelle? That felt really exciting. It’s just a really fun power dynamic, I think, and we had a great time flipping the power dynamic between those two characters and building the tension between them as well. I think everyone's curious to know, what is it about Eve and dangerous women? And Hélène gave us a vehicle with which to explore that question.
Q: In a lot of ways, the story between Eve and Villanelle, feels like one of star-crossed lovers whose only realistic ending is tragic. I felt—and I wanted to check with you—in my mind there's a visual reference to Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet with the aquarium scene in Episode 1. Is that correct or am I just crazy?
A: That is correct! That was a directorial choice from Stella [Corradi], who directed Episodes 1 and 2, and I think it was absolutely in her head. I think there's no doubt that Eve and Villanelle are fated in some way, in whatever way that is. I think that's very clear to everybody, so I think that was a deliberate allusion, yeah.
Q: I kind of freaked out over it!
A: I think people have been, yeah!
Q: Did you play with a variety of endings in your head, or did you always know how you wanted this final season to end?
A: We played with a variety. We knew how we wanted the end to feel. We always knew that from the beginning. We wanted it to feel triumphant, we wanted it to feel glorious, we wanted it to feel satisfying. But, in terms of actually what happens in the ending, we went through every conceivable version, and we really, really thought about it and it was discussed endlessly. We kept coming back to it, kept making sure that it was right, kept testing it, kept prodding it, and we had a lot of fun doing that. Ultimately the one that we've come up with feels like the truest version of the ending.
New episodes of Killing Eve Season 4 air Sundays at 8/7c on BBC America, and Mondays at 9/8c on AMC. Each episode will be available to stream one week early on AMC+. Full episodes are available to stream now on amc.com, the AMC apps for mobile and devices, and a week early on AMC+. Sign up for AMC+, which is available through several providers, including AppleTV, Prime Video Channels, DirectTV, Dish, Roku Channel, Sling, and Xfinity.
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