‘Killing Eve’ Series Finale: Fiona Shaw on Carolyn’s Ending & Fond Memories
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the final two episodes of Killing Eve, “Making Dead Things Look Nice” and “Hello, Losers.”]
Killing Eve gives some of its fans what they’d been wanting for years only to (seemingly?) take it away in the final moments of the series.
In the final two episodes of the drama, Konstantin (Kim Bodnia) was killed — by new assassin Pam (Anjana Vasan)! Meanwhile, Eve (Sandra Oh) and Villanelle (Jodie Comer) reunited on Gunn’s (Marie-Sophie Ferdane) island, faced off with the other assassin and lived to tell the tale — and kissed! But no sooner were Eve and Villanelle together and taking down the Twelve than were shots fired at them. Villanelle, presumably dead after the number of bullets that hit her, sunk into the darkness of the water, while Eve, raging, surfaced. And Carolyn (Fiona Shaw), who knew she couldn’t return to MI6 empty-handed, walked away.
Shaw discusses the finale and looks back on the series.
Let’s talk about Carolyn’s actions at the end.
Fiona Shaw: It’s an accumulative thing, isn’t it? What’s happened all through the season is that Killing Eve has played with the fact that people get corrupted when their emotions get hurt, I suppose, or that can happen. And I don’t think it’s the best of Carolyn, what she did at the beginning of the season. But by the end, there is a kind of despair, isn’t there? … I don’t think she knows what the price will be, but it’s more than likely to be a fairly high price because in the same way, she paid a fairly high price to get into the Russian sector. There’s only really a couple of valuable commodities she’s got, isn’t there?
How does Carolyn feel about Eve after everything that led to the end? I loved their conversation in the pub. Those two have come so far from the beginning.
Yeah. In fact, I found making that scene in the pub really strange. It was almost like we didn’t want to use the text. We wanted to just talk. All of us had come so far. You couldn’t have filmed that scene in Episode 1 or anything like it, and somehow all the formality had fallen away, hadn’t it? And there was a strange intimacy between all three of them. The three of us meeting for that last meeting in a kind of crappy pub, it was a really interesting place, I think, to meet, a kind of no man’s land. It wasn’t exotic. It wasn’t foreign. It wasn’t anything. It was just a pub in London.
But Eve is alive at the end of the series. So how concerned do you think Carolyn is or should be about that?
I don’t think she’s very concerned because she’s done the task she presumably paid the price to do. There’s nobody in Killing Eve who doesn’t know the price of life. In that way, that’s part of the fun of it. It’s a game, Killing Eve. It’s a sort of game in which nobody has to take any big responsibility about death if everybody is involved in death as their job. So I don’t think she’s worried about her. I think she’d probably be very pleased that Eve lived.
She did see what Eve can do. She killed Lars right in front of her.
Yeah. But he deserved it, too. Everybody deserves it — in that universe. Not in our world, in the Killing Eve world.
That’s what makes the show so fun.
Yeah, it is fantasy romantic detective. It is a genre in which people go bang and someone dies. It’s not our world. But it is a world in which even within its own rules, all those people have witnessed or been part of or ordered or suggested or felt inevitable that somebody would die. So none of them can feel entirely safe ever.
Konstantin died, and his final message was that he always loved Carolyn and he sent her that letter.
He says he did kill Kenny.
Their relationship was so complicated, and Carolyn said in an earlier episode that people like them aren’t meant for happy lives with happy endings.
I don’t think Carolyn necessarily has quite the same feelings for him as he has for her. And what is the value of his love? He’s so abused everybody he’s loved, including his daughter, in such terrible ways that I’m not sure these people are worthy of the notion of love. I’m sure he feels affection for Carolyn. I’m sure she feels affection for him, but standing on a pontoon, looking out over a lake where they once accidentally sort of murdered a colleague 40 years ago, it is a kind of philosophical thought. I don’t think it’s an actual thought about living their life simply. I think everybody who lives their life as out on the edge as these people get tired from time to time and wonder would they have had a better time if they’d stayed in and whether we would’ve a better time if we were one of them. That’s the way it is.
In their line of work, they can’t really trust anyone.
You don’t trust anyone and they trust each other when they need to trust each other and when it works out for a minute and then they betray each other. That’s the game.
What’s Carolyn’s take on Pam? She did kill Konstantin, and then they spend that time together in the finale.
She’s grooming Pam, but it didn’t work out. Pam didn’t want to join. I’ve always said from the very first series, Carolyn may have many Eves working for her, many Pams, but by the time we take her out of MI6, she’s run out of all of these underlings or these students of her skills. And she meets a new one in Pam. But it’s always interesting to be grooming a psychopath because they’ll always jump up against you in the end.
That’s the thing: You put someone in this world and you don’t know how it’s gonna change them.
Yeah. And even Villanelle says that, doesn’t she, to Konstantin: You teach people to kill, they’re bound to turn on you because it becomes their nature.
Speaking of Villanelle, I loved Carolyn with her earlier this season. I could’ve watched an entire episode of just the two of them.
Yeah. I actually wish that the story had taken them to travel further together. I’m sorry they separated in Cuba. It would’ve been nice if they had stayed together for another bit of the journey.
Did Carolyn think that it was possible for Villanelle to change at all?
I don’t think Carolyn gives a toss about Villanelle. She’s never judged her. She just said in Cuba we’d make a very good team, but that’s ’cause that worked for her that minute. She never showed any interest in Villanelle. In fact, she never even asked Eve about her obsession about Villanelle. She just never thought it was significant, which is why I think Carolyn’s very interesting. She doesn’t fall into any traps of being interested in anybody else who works for her. She’s only interested in the story that she has to solve or be in charge of or mop up or execute. She’s not very involved with either of those girls. I think that’s part of the genius of the series actually is that they’re not intricately involved, not necessarily. And yet they hold together as a triumvirate in some way.
When it comes to Carolyn, what primarily stands out to you about her over the four seasons? Is there a scene or an episode?
I think the earlier episodes are the ones where we formed the characters. I began to get to know Carolyn as we went along and Carolyn began to get to know me, partially in response to the writers to what they were seeing I was doing. So people are writing in response to what they saw, but the hard drive was laid down by Phoebe [Waller-Bridge] in the first season. And I think I stayed pretty consistent with that, which is somebody highly witty, completely their own person, not in any way trapped by the conventions of the time, slightly a period piece, but also more maudlin than the modern. So I really enjoyed playing it. It was a whole lot of things that didn’t fall into any obvious category.
I never knew what she was going to do.
That’s the point, and that was great fun to take exactly. I enjoyed playing her very, very much. I’ll miss her.
How will you remember Killing Eve?
As really one of the most pleasurable four years, period, of my life bar the pandemic. It was absolutely stupendous and we were very nervous start, thought it was a small, maybe niche thing and then it absolutely exploded. And that was great fun too, because we all were solid in the characters. We all got on very well. We enjoyed it. It was full of gorgeous costumes and mad storylines, but also very rooted in something very modern. It felt very modern and quite radical and it was a huge pleasure. So I will remember it incredibly fondly. I loved it.