Killing Eve let down its queer audience with a shocking finale
Since its creation in 2018, Kill Eve has been a beacon for queer viewers around the world. The deeply developed queer lead characters of Villanelle and Eve captivated audiences for its four-season run and were a perfect example of how to craft queer villains in particular.
However, with its fourth and final season over, queer fans are feeling betrayed once again.
In the finale, Villanelle is shot and killed in the last two minutes of the episode. Now, anyone who watched the show probably saw this coming. Villanelle is an international assassin, of course she was living on borrowed time for the duration of the show. However, the manner and timing of his death makes it much more sinister.
Within the parameters of the Bury Your Gays trope, Sapphic characters are often killed off immediately after joyful events, declarations of love, or even marriage. In the Kill Eve finale, fans finally got the “Villaneve” content they’ve always wanted, seeing scenes of Villanelle and Eve kissing and happily having fun for the first time after years of chasing cats and cats. mouse. However, this budding romance was cut short before it could really begin with Villanelle’s untimely demise.
In a striking similarity to so many other lesbian character deaths we’ve seen onscreen over the years, Villanelle is shot and killed immediately after finally finding the love she’s always wanted with Eve. Like Lexa and Tara Maclay before her, Villanelle joins the now even longer list of Sapphic characters to take down and kill immediately after finally starting a relationship and getting the happiness they want.
Despite the implications, killing Villanelle wasn’t inherently bad. Simply killing off a queer character onscreen isn’t a sin, and showrunners shouldn’t be afraid to do so on their shows. The death of a queer character only becomes problematic when other factors come into play.
If the show had allowed Villanelle and Eve to be together longer this past season than the same episode in which she was killed off, her death wouldn’t have carried the same weight. By allowing Eve and Villanelle just moments of happiness before her death, she becomes a victim of the Bury Your Gays trope, while Eve is also robbed of her happy ending.
As previously mentioned, Villanelle was living on borrowed time as an international assassin, but by mirroring the previous deaths of iconic characters and playing in tired, overused tropes, the series undermines any logical reason for her death and instead opens up. old wounds for its LGBTQ viewers. .
To add even more salt to the wound, the book series the show is based on, Code name Villanelle and its two sequels, ends with Eve and Villanelle happy and together as a couple. While the show has never been very faithful to the source material, such a blatant deviation seems deliberate, in a blatant disrespect for its LGBTQ characters and viewers.
In addition to Villanelle’s tragic passing, Kill EveThis season’s charts for its queer characters weren’t great in the first place.
May, Villanelle’s lover in the church, was killed by Villanelle in episode 2. It was revealed during episode 5 that Carolyn’s father was blackmailed because he was gay by Konstantin, so he committed suicide in the 70s. Hélène, Eve’s lover for a time, was killed by Villanelle in episode 6. Fernanda, Hélène’s ex, was killed by Pam in Episode 6. Villanelle was killed in Episode 8, while her lover Eve was forced to watch.
By comparison, Pam and Carolyn, two of the show’s few straight characters, survived the finale and their stories didn’t end tragically.
That’s what queer people mean when they criticize the Bury Your Gays trope: Queer characters shouldn’t be the only ones suffering on your show. The message that came from Kill EveThe final season of portrayed gay people as deserving gruesome deaths while their straight counterparts escaped relatively unscathed.
It’s been a little over seven years since Lexa died on The 100. His death shook the TV industry and the LGBTQ community and changed portrayal so much as we know it. I thought we were finally in a better position in terms of representation, and for the most part we are, but this Kill Eve the finale seemed straight out of 2016.
How long before LGBTQ fans don’t have to worry about whether or not they should see themselves die on screen? How long until TV writers stop using the death of queer characters as a way to tell those queer viewers that our lives are sacrificial and our stories don’t deserve happy endings?
When will we finally learn from the mistakes made by so many TV shows in the past?
Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer to this question, but hopefully I will eventually not have to write articles like this again. That one day, eventually, queer audiences will be able to sit down and enjoy a queer performance, without the weight of negative expectations weighing on their shoulders.
Kill Eve is available to stream in its entirety on AMC+.