The Killing Eve finale feels like a stab in the back for its queer audience

If Killing Eve had been centred around a straight couple, they definitely would’ve got to drive into the sunset

The Killing Eve finale was released on Sunday night, and like many of the show’s fans, I was left disappointed with its ending and actually, a bit pissed off.

The show, which has been praised by so many for its queer representation, crushingly resorted to TV and film’s classic “bury your gays” trope. This is the idea that queer characters are more expendable and rarely get a happy ending, with one or both parties in the on-screen relationship ending up dead.

The trope features in shows like The 100, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and even Coronation Street, yet I expected so much more from Killing Eve.

Villanelle’s death felt like a stab in the back

It’s arguable that the show went downhill after Laura Neal took over from original writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Many fans are even petitioning for Waller-Bridge to rewrite the finale. Yet I still expected a happy ending for “Villaneve,” like that in the books written by Luke Jennings.

However, after a very rushed battle with The Twelve, who we unsatisfyingly never actually see, and the romantic reunion of Villanelle and Eve, there it was-  the “bury your gays” trope. Villanelle was shot to death, for absolutely no reason other than to add unnecessary shock value.

With Villanelle falling in the water after being shot, the show has a very similar end scene to fellow queer drama The Haunting of Bly Manor. However, where Dani’s death in Bly Manor felt emotional and fitting to the plot line, coming after we see her and Jamie live many happy years together as wives, Villanelle’s felt like a stab in the back.

This betrayal was made even worse after only seeing a couple of scenes of her and Eve as a couple earlier in the episode. We literally waited four whole seasons for that!

The show left me with disappointment and a feeling of betrayal

Killing Eve’s queer representation wasn’t perfect throughout the show. It has long been accused of queer-baiting with it’s will-they-won’t-they cat and mouse game never quite amounting to them so much as touching each other, never mind addressing Eve’s sexuality.

However, it was empowering to see an openly lesbian couple confidently dominate our screens as titular characters, especially on a channel like BBC. Killing Eve trail-blazed before the likes of Gentleman Jack and Feel Good in presenting us with queer main characters on mainstream TV channels, only for this representation to be heartlessly annihilated when it had finally amounted to something.

Like many other fans, I’m still clinging to the idea that Villanelle is alive. Online fans have been speculating that this wasn’t the last ever episode, and Villanelle will be shown to have faked her death to be with Eve in a surprise episode, just like in the books.

Others are praying that she appears in the upcoming sequel centred around Carolyn. However, it all feels like empty hope and an attempt to soothe the feelings of disappointment and betrayal the show left us with.

If Killing Eve had been centred around a straight couple, they definitely would’ve got to drive into the sunset

And what even is the overall message of the show? That queer women shouldn’t explore their identity or get into relationships or they’ll die? That we don’t deserve a happy ending? Either way, it feels very negative, especially in the knowledge that if Killing Eve had been centred around a straight couple, they definitely would’ve got to drive into the sunset.

In essence, destroying Villaneve’s relationship has in turn destroyed the whole show for a queer viewer. Never again can it be watched with pride or hope because we know the end. If I were one of the many people who have “sorry baby x” tattooed on them in Villanelle’s handwriting, I’d be hastily planning a cover up, maybe something with more meaningful representation.

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