When Killing Eve first premiered back in 2018, the BBC America series, based on Luke Jennings' Codename Villanelle novels, felt fresh in a crowded TV landscape. Offering an eye-popping tale about a cat-and-mouse chase between an MI5-turned-MI6 agent and an assassin, the Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer-led series became an instant hit and one of the most buzzed-about shows of the year. Now, three seasons in, and with Season 4 set to premiere on BBC America on Sunday, Feb. 27, Killing Eve may have lost some of that momentum, but it's continuing to prove to be a force to be reckoned with.
When fans last saw them, Eve and Villanelle were standing on the London Bridge, their backs pressed together before they decided to walk away, only to briefly turn around for what could be the final time. Cameras cut to black on the season before fans could find out what happened next – did they run back to one another, or did they choose to turn back around and continue walking away, leaving one another to deal with their own monsters? Over the course of the next three episodes – Season 4, Episode 1, "Just Dunk Me," Season 4, Episode 2, "Don't Get Eaten," and Season 4, Episode 3, "A Rainbow in Beige Boots," which BBC America gave me to screen – viewers finally learn what decision they made that fateful night on that bridge and the fallout from that moment the cameras didn't show. While too much can't be said about the first two episodes, as doing so would send us into spoiler territory, I can share a few details.
The Villanelle we see in Season 4, the final season, is far different than the one we met in Season 1 – a ruthless assassin who can kill someone without even blinking an eye. In Season 4, Villanelle, fresh on the heels of Season 3 — in which she killed her own mother and tried to escape the grip of The Twelve — is still struggling with her true nature, caught in a web of good and evil and perhaps more vulnerable than we have ever seen her. She has found religion and a moral compass, whether she completely understands it or not and regardless of whether she is capable of following it. This new Villanelle, for however short it lasts, is trying to find redemption and herself by finding faith, trying to lock away that inner monster she so candidly spoke to Eve about in the Season 3 finale. Though as is always the case with the beloved assassin, wherever Villanelle goes, chaos is soon to follow.
Eve, meanwhile, is as laser-focused as ever, and even taking a few notes out of Villanelle's playbook. In Season 4, Eve, portrayed by the commanding presence of Oh, seems to have more of a handle on her "monster," or is at least learning to accept that part of her, and for perhaps the first time throughout the show, she is living her life without the distractions that inundated her throughout the early seasons, and without Villanelle consuming her mind.
Oh, once again, demands the screen in every scene she is in, and Comer's portrayal of Villanelle, or Nelle, as she now goes by, is as convincing as ever — and the two still have that same captivating chemistry that has enthralled fans from the start, even when they aren't in the same room. Returning alongside Oh and Comer is Fiona Shaw, who again provides a transfixing performance as Carolyn, who, still devastated by Kenny's death, continues her mission to chase down The Twelve. Together, the three actresses provide nuanced and strong female protagonists. Newcomer Robert Gilbert provides an interesting addition to the cast as the warm and charismatic ex-army, alpha bad boy Yusuf, who works with Eve and helps her on her mission of revenge. Season 4 also boasts familiar faces outside of the ones viewers are likely expecting to see.
The cast performances aren't the only things working right this season. Filled with callbacks to the first seasons, Season 4 brings the same dark, razor-sharp humor of past seasons, and the first three episodes are filled with visually stunning imagery that is sure to have fans talking and theorizing.
For all that works this season, it would be remiss of me to not delve into the more flawed components of the fourth season. For the final season, there is a new lead writer, who has the job of replicating the work of her three predecessors, and while Laura Neale hits the nail on the head with the themes, stunning visual imagery, and comedic dialogue, Season 4 still seems to be held down by the criticized flaws of every season that came after the first: Killing Eve has lost its originality, every subsequent season struggling to match the wit of Phoebe Waller-Bridge's original episodes. Don't get me wrong, the first three episodes are compelling and entertaining, but they seem to be lacking, especially on what seemed to surmount to a pivotal moment at the end of last season, almost as though it has taken one step forward and two steps back.
With Neale at the helm, Killing Eve, once again, goes in a new direction, and while that isn't necessarily bad – the first three episodes held my interest from beginning to end – it is a bit jarring for a final season, especially given the slow pace of the first two episodes. Whereas the show was once fast-paced and kept viewers on pins and needles, the first two episodes of Season 4 offer a slower pace, with brief moments where it picks up, to what is supposed to be the concluding season. Some storylines and relationships now seem placed on the backburner or entirely lost in translation. However, by Episode 3, things seemed to turn up a notch, the show seeming to fall into a groove that could set the series up for an epic conclusion. Meanwhile, there is one creative choice in particular that, while funny and surprising at first, quickly became jarring and downright odd, leaving me uncertain just how to interpret it.
Overall, Season 4 is already setting up to be a very interesting season and one in which the cat-and-mouse game between Villanelle and Eve will continue. It remains to be seen, however, just how that game will end. Killing Eve Season 4 premieres on Sunday, Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. ET on BBC America and AMC+. AMC+ subscribers will be able to catch new episodes one week in advance of linear viewers with the exception of the Season 4 premiere and series finale.