Killing Eve Almost Had A Darker Ending, And That Might Have Been Better

This post contains spoilers for the ending of "Killing Eve."

Endings are never easy, least of all when they involve bidding farewell to a beloved TV series. For fans of the sexy cat-and-mouse murder saga, "Killing Eve," waving goodbye to Sandra Oh's British Intelligence operative Eve Polastri and her sociopathic assassin-girlfriend Villanelle (Jodie Comer) was always a tough pill to swallow, but after four seasons of watching them fall in love, yearn, and try not to kill each other (for the most part), the time had come. "Killing Eve" felt destined to go out with a bang, but instead the show offered a poorly-received whimper — and fans didn't keep their feelings about the finale to themselves.

"Killing Eve" has never been a show that pulls punches when it comes to tragedy or gruesome violence, and the lead characters have certainly not been exempt, given all the stab and bullet wounds we've seen them patch up — not to mention all their lingering trauma. Plus, the show was notorious for ending each season on bittersweet or horrendously violent notes, that somehow doubles as a tender show of their complicated affection. Like the time they laid in bed together, sharing an intimate moment that ended with Eve stabbing Villanelle in the stomach! Or the season 3 finale that saw them turning their backs on one another for good (only to stare back longingly at the person they weren't ready to let go). So there was always an expectation of pain, but given the subversive nature of the show and the happy ending that caps off the source material, there was also a hope for Eve and Villanelle to finally stroll off into the sunset ... and they do. Until a sniper gets involved and ends Villanelle's life, leaving Eve to grieve.

How Killing Eve almost ended

Based on the very angry fan reaction, this isn't the ending that the audience envisioned for the dangerously dysfunctional duo — but series star Sandra Oh has recently revealed that it isn't the ending the writer's room originally had planned. But something tells me that the finale left on the cutting room floor wouldn't have been much better received. While chatting with Deadline (via TVLine), Oh revealed that she originally wanted Eve to bite the dust instead. She said:

"Honestly, it was going to be the other way around. When I was talking to Laura Neal, our head writer – that was at the beginning of 2020 – and we were chatting about how we were going to end this. I was like, 'You should kill my character'. I thought that would be the strongest and the most interesting ending."

Oh explained that this felt like the most fitting end to Eve's story, given how much she'd changed:

"I felt emotionally, it was the right place of where I was at, because at the end of season 3, I just felt like Eve was starting to get into a nihilistic place, and we're like, 'Let's just continue that line and let's go straight into it.'"

Oh partially credits the big change to the pandemic shutdown, which halted production and gave the team more time to ruminate on the ending. Ultimately, they returned her later in the year after a change of heart and decided Eve needed to live. Oh goes on to explain their reasoning:

"Eve is the way into this world. She's our everywoman. So it's kind of really super depressing if she dies."

According to Oh, her costar Jodie Comer was very much on board for the change but judging by the fan reaction, not everyone feels that this solved the whole "super depressing" part of the problem. Villanelle certainly serves a different role in the series than Eve and in a way, there's something less tragic about the assassin dying in place of the (semi-)innocent agent, but does that make the ending better? It depends who you ask. It's a better fit for the subversive nature of the show than the predictable tragic end of Villanelle and, like Oh originally argued, follows Eve down her hole of nihilism. But then again, it still keeps the leads tragically apart.

Even Luke Jennings, author of the "Codename Villanelle" book series that the show is based on, was unhappy with their separation by death ending that he argues punishes Villanelle (and Eve) "for the bloody, erotically impelled chaos they have caused." Jennings hits the nail on the head when he said that it would've been "much more darkly satisfying, and true to Killing Eve's original spirit" had the pair "walked off into the sunset together." Alas, endings rarely go the way we want them to.