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'Killing Eve' Is the New 'Dexter'

By Dustin Rowles | TV | June 1, 2020 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | June 1, 2020 |


Showtime’s Dexter was a fascinating and, at the time, groundbreaking series about a serial-killing antihero that exhausted its premise after two seasons and — aside from a fourth season buoyed by John Lithgow and a legitimately shocking death — limped along for six more seasons, not because it took eight seasons to tell the story. It was because it was a popular series that Showtime was desperate to keep around, so every year — through several showrunners — the writers would spin their wheels to avoid moving the story forward because to move it forward would mean either killing Dexter, imprisoning him, or, uh, moving him Alaska so that he could become a lumberjack.

Sound familiar? Killing Eve is basically the new Dexter. It is an intense, fantastic drama with an unsustainable premise and too many showrunners and it has been spinning its wheels since the first season finale. It’s a show heading into a fourth season that desperately needs an injection of John Lithgow or its equivalent. It needs to kill Eve or Villanelle and go out on a high note before it wears out its welcome more than it already has, because right now, Killing Eve is lousy.

It pains me to say that because Jodie Comer, Sandra Oh, and Fiona Shaw are so very good, but watching these characters spin their wheels and refuse to advance the story enough even to kill off the completely useless Niko is enraging! He serves no purpose! The show is killing time, and while, in theory, Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s original idea to swap out female showrunners every season sounds great, in practice it’s a mess. It’s almost as though the showrunners are being tasked with handing the show off to the next showrunner with a clean slate, which is exactly what happened at the end of each season, more or less. Phoebe Waller-Bridge has entrusted Killing Eve with a new showrunner each season on the condition that they return it back to her in the same shape.

Meanwhile, the “less” at the end of the third season is Carolyn’s decision to kill off the leader of The Twelve instead of Konstantin over Kenny’s death, which was a sort of foreseeable accident. By killing off the leader of The Twelve, however, the show seems to have given up on that storyline, which never really amounted to much to begin with. The Twelve was a sort of shady, amorphous entity that acted as a catch-all for all of Killing Eve’s story problems, a way to handwave away plot holes. Carolyn, channeling the showrunner, was also too much of a chicken-sh*t to kill off Konstantin because the series needs to keep its pawns in place for the next showrunner.

It’s all become tedious enough to suck the joy out of even Eve and Villanelle’s once electrically-charged romance, which has not only grown stale, it’s barely even toxic. Villanelle seems to want to give up what makes her character so interesting: Senselessly and joyfully killing people. Her desire to quit suggests she has empathy for human beings, and for someone like Villanelle, that is straight-up character assassination. Villanelle cannot grow a conscious overnight, particularly in a season where she was never really given any reason to do so. There was no Come to Jesus moment for Villanelle, so it doesn’t make any sense for her to give up on her profession because she’s “tired.”

Meanwhile, Eve? Eve didn’t do sh*t this season except pull a Russian doll out of a safe. Eve drifted into other characters’ storylines and witnessed the bad acts of others, but she never seemed to have a story of her own, which is a shame for a show called Killing Eve! She meandered for eight episodes, and then ended up where she always ends up: Not dead, but also not quite with Villanelle, either. At this point, — after one brilliant season and two increasingly frustrating ones — it’s time to send someone to Alaska to become a lumberjack and put Killing Eve out of its misery.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

Header Image Source: BBC America