By Rae N. Watanabe
Killing Villanelle is a violation of all that is holy to Killing Eve fans, which is why there has been a loud and bitter wailing against her death in the series finale.
We love Villanelle because she’s a psychopathic assassin but she’s also childlike. We’re introduced to her as she eats ice cream and studies how the man behind the counter interacts with a child eating ice cream across the room. Being a psychopath, she has to teach herself how to act normally. She’s extremely playful—even asking for lollipops and stickers from a hospital doctor in season two, being told they are for children, and pilfering them anyway. Even the way she murders has a sense of fun about it, which often proves shocking, yet funny. She kills one man by taking out her hairpin, shaking her head flirtatiously, and then jabbing her hairpin (with poison in it) into the man’s eye. Moreover, she often kills horrible men who some women would love to murder, which gives her a touch of Dexter.
Villanelle is also romantic. From the moment Villanelle sees Eve (who works for MI6) in a hospital bathroom, she’s mesmerized by her. She becomes obsessed with her, but Eve is likewise obsessed with Villanelle: “I think about you all the time. I think about what you’re wearing, and what you’re doing, and who you’re doing it with. I think about the friends you have, I think about what you eat before you go to work, and what shampoo you have, and what happened in your family. I think about your eyes and your mouth, and what you feel when you kill someone. I think about what you have for breakfast. I just want to know everything.” Villanelle also steals Eve’s suitcase and returns it filled with designer clothes that fit Eve perfectly. When Eve put on that black and white dress that Villanelle chose for her, fans across the world gasped at its perfection. It’s true that Eve crawls into Villanelle’s bed at the end of season one only to stab her, and it’s equally true that Villanelle shoots Eve at the end of season two after being rejected by Eve. But at the end of season three, Villanelle has transformed. She is willing to walk away from Eve and let Eve walk away from her. She loves Eve in an unselfish way.
And this is why killing Villanelle is unholy. She is the character who changed the most—from a 100% psychopath to an assassin tired of murdering others. She is the “sort of” psychopath who confesses to Eve, “I feel things when I’m with you,” during season three. Psychopaths do not feel; Villanelle does. In many ways, loving Eve transformed Villanelle. She does not need to die and “rise up” with angel wings of blood. She has already been reborn. She should have been allowed to live with the woman she loved and the woman who loved her. That ending would have been heavenly.
Rae N. Watanabe is a retired teacher.