Editor’s Note: The following interview contains major spoilers for the Killing Eve series finale.
BBC America Original Series killing eve has revolved around its central pairing of two women who start out as enemies but then evolve into something far more twisted and complex: MI5 analyst Eve Polastri (sandra oh) and the skilled but psychopathic assassin Villanelle (jodie eat). Although Eve begins to investigate the Villanelle murders with a professional interest, their relationship inevitably takes a more obsessive turn with each other, and the two seem destined for a final collision course that could be as explosive as long awaited.
Ahead of the show’s season 4 finale (which doubles as the series finale), Collider had a chance to catch up with the showrunner again. Laura Nealwho worked in the writers room in season 3 and takes the helm of the show to conclude killing eveThe most complex stories of . Over the course of the interview, which you can read below, Neal explains why it was important to get Eve and Villanelle together for that quiet and intimate road trip, what the kiss scene is especially about for Eve, and what it was like to shoot the climactic moments of the episode. show on a real ship. She also talks about what Konstantin (kim bodnia) death represents in a dangerous world of espionage, which the contrast between the wedding and the execution scene of the Twelve serves to illustrate about the fate of Eve and Villanelle, and whether alternate endings were considered for the finale.
Collider: First of all, I feel like I have to thank you for Jodie Eating Like Jesus, because that’s something I didn’t even think I needed in my life until it happened.
LAURA NEAL: I feel completely the same. I didn’t think I needed it. And then when she dreamed, I said, “Of course I need this.”
One of the things that struck me specifically about these last few episodes is that Eve and Villanelle are largely alone. There are other characters present, but these women spend a lot of time alone together outside of the supporting cast. What prompted the decision to bring them together and give them this intimate little road trip sequence?
NEAL: Well, a few reasons. One, because we knew this was the final episode and this was the last chance we were going to get for them to have that intimacy together. Because those two characters are in the emotional places that they are in, and also where they are in the story and knowing that they are on their way to what could be the grand finale of the game, the stars aligned and allowed us to have those scenes of reality. stillness between the two of us in a way that we haven’t really been able to have. I don’t think we could have, even if we wanted to, at the beginning of the season. So it felt like a gift that was too good to refuse, really.
In terms of stillness, that was something we found while shooting it, almost. There was definitely more dialogue in the script, or in the original version of the script, than what ended up in the final cut. That was because we realized that as those two artists interacted with each other, a lot of it was done in appearance. A lot of this is about their on-screen chemistry and them playing games, so I realized that I could take out whole bits of dialogue and the scene would be just as special because it’s about those two characters existing in those places quite claustrophobic than simply mark the relationship between them. It was a joy to write those two having fun with each other, especially knowing where it ends. It felt important to have a contrast and allow us to see them happy in each other’s company.
There’s definitely claustrophobia to some degree, but there’s also this feeling of openness because they’re in such a remote place. I’m specifically thinking of the scene where they finally kiss on the road, with no one else around. It’s like a moment that’s just the two of them and it also felt like a release valve moment in a lot of ways. Villanelle first playfully kisses Eve on the cheek and then Eve initiates the deepest moment. What is the character motivation behind Eve finally deciding to do it?
NEAL: I think there’s a now or never aspect to that moment. The intimacy they have shared as a couple opens that moment for them as well. They have shared the sleeping bag together. They’ve had the scar moment, touching each other’s scars. They have recognized their shared history and what the other has done to the other and also what they have given to each other. There is a kind of bubbling after they urinate on the side of the road. I felt like, emotionally, that was the moment where they could both get there at the same time, which I don’t think has ever happened before.
Throughout the show, they never seem to be on the same page, either emotionally or physically, and it seems like, at that point, they finally sync up.
NEAL: As you say, there are no distractions. Villanelle has no one to act, and so does Eve. They’re just there on the side of the road, and they’ve just shared this moment together that has been quite funny and subversive and intimate. It’s kind of a really unexpected time for them to come together, which I really like. It’s not romantic by any means, which feels true to the show. And then, in other ways, it’s the most anticipated time for them to meet because of what just happened before.
Another great moment is Konstantin, and what happens with his character, and it’s surprising in a way, but also not. These are characters who are involved in this world of spy games, [and] there’s a danger in that, but one of the things that feels a bit more tragic for him is that it happens almost as a result of a miscommunication, or a character not having all the information that someone else has.
NEAL: We wanted him to feel like a product of the world he’s in. So this world of deception, this world of cheating people, this world of cheating people, normally, he’s the one who does that, and then he throws the wool away. the eyes of him, and ends up on the receiving end of it. He felt very appropriate for his character. There’s something I really love about the futility of his death, the futility of it. That feels really cruel, but it also feels appropriate for Konstantin in the way he lives his life, and I like the tragedy of his death.
He and Carolyn have this moment on the phone. I think it’s in episode 5, where they say to each other, “We’re not cut out for happy endings, people like us.” They have sown too much themselves. They have inflicted too much pain on other people to avoid it in their own deaths. There is a real tragedy with Konstantin because he is opening up emotionally. This relationship with Pam has made him reflect on his life, and it seems like he’s finally making progress and, of course, that’s the point where he runs out of track.
I love that Eve and Villanelle end up in a wedding at the end. On the one hand, you have something that is supposed to be a happy event. And on the other hand, it’s basically ground zero at the end. What prompted the idea of having them there on the ship and what was the process behind trying to keep everything a secret during filming when you’re out in the open?
NEAL: The decision to have the ending of the game at a wedding was partly a cheeky nod to Eve and Villanelle’s relationship and where it would end up in the kind of Disney version of the story. I also love the contrast. I love the bloody rampage that’s going on below deck in contrast to this joyous, happy, life-affirming, universal moment that’s happening on top. He also talked to me a lot about the difference between Eve and Villanelle. We have seen their similarities as much as the seasons have passed. We see those similarities more and more as season 4 goes on. You see the darkness in Eve, and you see the Eve in Villanelle.
For me, that wedding where Eve dances and Villanelle kills is the moment where you say, “No, but these people are inherently different.” Eve is not a Villanelle. Villanelle is not an Eve. They are not destined to become the same person. They are meant for different things. It felt like a very clear way of saying [that] Eve is about looking for life right now, and Villanelle is about looking for destruction.
As for the practical aspects, yes, it is a real boat. It moves, we get it moving. In fact, we had Tower Bridge built and closed for us, I think, twice in one night, and we shot on that ship for a week. It was quite difficult to keep it a secret, to be honest. We did everything we could to keep it a secret, and I think we did pretty well. I don’t think there are any big spoilers about what happens on that ship, but we were sitting there with our fingers crossed the whole time that it didn’t come out. That ship is really cool, so spending 12 hours filming on it is quite a challenge for people’s stomachs.
When we talked before the season started, you mentioned writing and rewriting this ending, and there were a lot of different versions. Was the plan always that Villanelle was going to die? And if not, were there alternate endings that were almost considered right before settling on this one?
NEAL: We discussed many different versions of the ending. We had a version… This is just in the discussion phase. We talked about both living. We talked about the death of both. We talked about a version where Villanelle lived and Eve died, and we talked about all those versions quite seriously. The only version that made it to the script stage was this version, in which Villanelle died and Eve lived. There was a version that was written where Villanelle saves Eve more openly, she sacrifices herself for Eve. That was a version that existed in the script stage for a while, and then we walked away from it because it didn’t feel very true to Villanelle’s innate self-interest.
We had another version where the location was different, so he wasn’t always on the ship. There was an iteration of that where the same thing happened, but it was in some kind of clifftop hotel, and there was a hotel jump instead of a boat jump. For various production reasons, we couldn’t make that happen. But also, we found that we could have that location on the Thames, and it allowed us to have Tower Bridge, and in the end that felt a lot more exciting with that.
‘Killing Eve’ Season 4 Showrunner Laura Neal on Changing the Cat-and-Mouse Game of Eve and Villanelle and Finding the Right Series Finale
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