We finally got the answer we'd been waiting for all season... or did we?
WARNING: Spoilers ahead! Do not proceed if you haven't watched the season three finale of Killing Eve, "Are You Leading or Am I?"
At long last, Carolyn (Fiona Shaw) learned (what was presented as) the truth about her son, Kenny's (Sean Delaney), death. Eve (Sandra Oh) and Villanelle (Jodie Comer) found themselves in a tension-filled room with Carolyn, Konstantin (Kim Bodnia) and Paul (Steve Pemberton), where Carolyn was ready to start firing -- but first she needed to know what led to Kenny being thrown off a building in the season three premiere.
Fighting for his life, Konstantin explained that Kenny had simply gotten too close in his investigation into the Twelve. He admitted to trying to recruit Kenny on the rooftop, but claimed that Kenny had gotten scared, backed away from him and accidentally fallen to his death.
If that explanation seemed fishy, there's a reason. "It definitely wasn't accidental," Killing Eve executive producer Suzanne Heathcote tells ET. "I'll say it's definitely open to interpretation."
Konstantin's explanation was at least good enough for Carolyn in the moment, as she ended up killing Paul instead. After seemingly getting on the same page, Eve and Villanelle, meanwhile, flirted with the idea of leaving each other behind for good. The finale ended with the pair walking away... but then turning back, unable to truly say goodbye.
In an interview with ET, Heathcote opens up about offering fans a "different" kind of season finale, where Eve and Villanelle stand now, and what could potentially lie ahead in season four. (The AMC and BBC America series was renewed for a fourth season in February, headed by Laura Neal.)
ET: We've really seen an evolution in Villanelle this season, to the point where she she asks Carolyn for a job within MI6 that doesn't involve being an assassin. What sparked that transition in her?
Suzanne Heathcote: It's really interesting because Villanelle has always believed that she's very much in control, and this season, she's become very aware of the fact that she's not in control at all. She may be given the beautiful apartment, the wonderful clothes and have the money and the lifestyle, but it's not her calling the shots on her own life. To someone like Villanelle, control is everything. So, after she kills her mother, something internally changes in her and she doesn't feel possessed to kill. I don't know the future of season four, so who knows how that develops -- whether it returns to her or not -- but the realities of that are interesting.
I think Eve was interested in that as well -- what if Villanelle loses that desire to kill? It's not as if she suddenly grows a conscience, it's just the desire to do it has left her. It's just a moment that we see the human beneath that for a moment. What is the life she wants for herself, I think is the question she's really left with.
Then on the other side, Eve started the season horrified by her ability to kill in season two. By the end of this season, she tries -- and thinks she's succeed in -- killing Dasha (Harriet Walter).
There is something in Eve that she is almost feeling more in control of what happened to her. Eve has this dark speck inside her, in the depth of her, and Villanelle has like this speck of light inside her, and they both see that in the other person. And they're the only people to see that in each other, so there's something in that that almost brings it out of the other. I really believe that Eve feels it's her way, in that moment [of trying to kill Dasha] -- spur of the moment crime of passion, in control of what's been happening to her and to Niko and her life.
Eve has grown since Kenny's death, but we've also seen Carolyn torn apart by it. His death was the big conspiracy this season, and Konstantin offers such a simple, unsatisfying explanation -- what was the decision-making process behind that?
I mean, I'll say this: we always knew Konstantin was involved. Like, the minute Kenny died, we were like, "It's Konstantin." We were aware of that from beginning. Konstantin may be stealing money from the Twelve and Kenny was somehow uncovering stuff that was maybe getting a little close to. All I'll say is, as much as you think Konstantin is to be believed, he was fighting for his life in that moment. He will say whatever he needs to say to save his life. It definitely wasn't accidental. I'll say it's definitely open to interpretation.
Was there ever a possibility that Carolyn would kill Konstantin?
We really, really talked about that. Up until that point, Carolyn, the way she's been controlling her grief is by investigating Kenny's death. And in her mind like she feels somehow in control of what she's lost by doing that -- which of course is then an inner conflict, because no matter what you discover, Kenny will still be gone.
That is the realization she has in that moment, so she can kill Paul. He's a traitor, he needs to go. That's just a reality. But Konstantin, someone who's so deeply personal to her... in that moment while she's fantasized about looking whoever was responsible in the eye and killing them, she knows that killing him will not bring her the peace that she's looking for. It's just not the answer. Ultimately, killing Konstantin is not going to relieve her in any way. It's right up to the wire, but in that moment she just knows that to be true.
It really was up to the wire. Given how you unexpectedly spared Niko this season after fans were sure he was dead, it seemed possible Konstantin might really die.
Well, I hope people think it might happen, because it's dramatic enough, but no, Konstantin is there to fight another day. He's got his own battles to fight. He's got a lot of people after him. He's wronged basically everyone he's ever worked for, so he's got his own issues to deal with going forward.
Eve and Villanelle seem to have reached a new point in their relationship. We ended season one with Eve stabbing Villanelle, and season two with Villanelle actually trying to kill Eve, but season three ended with them unable to say goodbye to each other.
I really felt the journey of that relationship this season. It was important to me that I really had to honor what happened before. They have both tried to kill the other, so to get that relationship back, it really needed this season for them to individually come to terms with who they were as a result of everything that's happened. So, as frustrating as that may seem at moments they're not together more, it just needed that time for them to have that journey to themselves... and for Eve particularly who's been fighting it up to this point to acknowledge that Villanelle is in her life, and the danger of that hasn't been eradicated.
Relationship is life and death dangerous for both of them, but really at the end, that turning back moment, they know that no matter what they do there is no parting ways. They are in each other's lives going forward now, regardless. They can't fight it anymore. I always knew I wanted the season to end with them together in some way. I don't want an act of violence from one to the other, I just knew that I wanted it to end with them together somehow. We talked about some different versions of cliffhanger endings and things like that, but we just felt we had two "Are they alive or aren't they alive?" endings and it just felt right to do something very different this season.
Where do you think Eve and Villanelle's relationship stands now, and where would you like to see them go in season four?
They see each other in a way that no one else sees them. To the rest of the world, Villanelle is nothing but an assassin, and as Carolyn says, if you can't do that, you're useless. Eve sees so much more in her than that. And similarly the dark element to Eve that she's been battling... I think Eve's been trying to hide that from everyone including herself and her life. And Villanelle sees that in her and totally accepts it. There's no judgement. Having someone really see you in a way you've never felt anyone see you before is very intoxicating and very addictive. So, while logically that this relationship is dangerous, Eve also knows that she cannot run from it anymore. I think that they're just in each other's lives going forward. As to what that means for their relationship going forward, who knows? I am as excited as you to see where Laura and the team take it. I think there’s like a wealth of possibilities.
What do you hope audiences walk away from this finale feeling?
We've come to understand Eve and Villanelle as people more this season. And as a result, their understanding of each other, through Kenny's loss and Villanelle discovering her family and the loss of that. We've seen beyond the Agent Eve and the Assassin Villanelle. We have a deeper look at what makes them tick as people and what's beneath the surface.
I'm really grateful that we were given and opportunity, this being the third season, to do something that really allows us to just understand the characters better. It's very important that it feels like you're trying new things and you're going somewhere deeper with it.
See more on Killing Eve in the video below.