‘Killing Eve’ author slams series finale

Luke Jennings has spoken out following the controversy Kill Eve The series finale. Jennings, author of Code name Villanelle trilogy on which the BBC America series is based, criticized the series for “bowing to convention” and “punishing” the same-sex love affair between Eve and Villanelle in a column for The Guardian published on April 22. Warning: this story contains spoilers for Kill Eve Season 4.

Jennings began the opinion piece by reflecting on the process of making her books, sharing that “it’s a pleasure to have your work made into television” and applauding the “compelling” performances of Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer. However, while Jennings wrote that “it is an extraordinary privilege to see your characters come to life so convincingly”, he admitted that “the final ending of the series surprised me”. In the final moments of the series, Villanelle was shot in front of Eve just minutes after finally taking down The Twelve and right after she and Eve shared their first kiss.

Although Jennings acknowledged that “you’re never going to like everything the writing staff does”, he said the series finale betrayed not only the fans, but also the characters at the heart of the show. Jennings recalled how “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 ‘fame’: her subversiveness, her wild power, her insistence on beautiful things. It’s the Villanelle that I wrote, that Phoebe became an on-screen character, and that Jodie ran so gloriously.” The Season 4 finale, Jennings said, was more like “a bow to convention. A punishment of Villanelle and Eve for the gory, erotically driven mayhem they’ve 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 Lexa’s controversial death on The 100 in 2016, which sparked public outcry and a call for change and an end to the use of the “bury your gays” trope. He went on to ask “how much more darkly satisfying and true to Kill Evethe original spirit, so that the couple goes away together towards the sunset?”

Jennings went on to note that for many young people living difficult and isolated lives, a show like Kill Eve can be a lifesaver. He shared that throughout the show many LGBT fans reached out to him, with a “young gay woman living in Russia” writing to Jennings to share that “no TV writer can take [Villanelle] because she is ours – all ours – and thanks to your books and our love, she will live forever.”

Although fans probably can’t expect to see Villanelle back on screen given her tragic end, Jennings offered fans some hope. The author ended his message by writing, “I got the outcome of the final episode in advance and suspected, rightly, that the fans would be upset. But to those fans, I would say this: Villanelle And on the page, if not on the screen, it will come back.

Grover Z. Barnes