Killer Chemistry: Why We Ship Eve & Villanelle on ‘Killing Eve’ (Even If We Shouldn’t)
“You poor fool. She’ll be the end of you.”
While those are the words of the late, great Olenna Tyrell to Jaime Lannister, if you swap out Olenna for Konstantin and Jaime for Eve Polastri, they ring just as true on Killing Eve as they did on Game of Thrones. Despite every warning, every red flag and every near-fatal encounter, Eve has continued her pursuit of the psychopathic Villanelle with an obsessive wonder borne of infatuation. That obsession is mutual: as much as Eve thinks about Villanelle, Villanelle thinks about her.
“Love” isn’t the right word to label it. “Addiction” might come closer, but it’s clear these women have fallen into something. While there’s no way it’ll work out, it’s certainly fun to watch… and it’s even a little fun to root for. Here’s why we, just like Eve, have boarded a ship we know can’t stay afloat.
They have incredible chemistry
For evidence, just watch the Season 1 scene with Eve and Villanelle in Eve’s kitchen. It’s clear there’s some kind of attraction between them — sexual attraction on Villanelle’s part, undefined-but-possibly-sexual on Eve’s — and whenever they’re together, there’s a powerful, fire-starter of a spark.
It wouldn’t be far-fetched at all to think Eve has a kind of romantic attachment to Villanelle. She’s incredibly attuned to her physicality and her beauty, and she seemed offended when one of her colleagues referred to Villanelle’s murder methods as “sloppy.” Not to mention that she decided to wear Villanelle’s lipstick, just as she wore the dress and perfume she’d given her in Season 1. One thing is for sure: Eve doesn’t mind having Villanelle on her mind.
They understand each other… well, kind of
As much as an MI6 agent can understand a psychopathic assassin, Villanelle and Eve seem to have each other figured out. Eve is better able to predict Villanelle than anyone else on her team, and though she says she’s “just a fan,” she even seems to understand Villanelle’s thought processes and her abilities. Villanelle, on the other hand, appears to sense the darkness in Eve and appreciates her dark side… a dark side Eve hasn’t yet come to terms with.
The narrative supports it
More and more, Killing Eve has been making the toxic romantic attraction between its main characters impossible to miss through the writing of its main characters and the way other characters interact with them. Villanelle tells Gabriel, “Sometimes, when you love someone, you will do crazy things,” justifying Eve stabbing her by saying she loves her. She also refers to Eve as her girlfriend and laments the fact that she’s married.
Multiple characters have made note of Eve’s feelings for Villanelle, too, with Konstantin asking if she thinks Villanelle loves her and Carolyn asking Eve if she has “any feelings.” The show has taken the romantic nature of the connection between them from subtext to text, and though it’s by no means a healthy potential relationship, it’s one the show is taking seriously.
They’re drawn to each other
“I think about you all the time,” Eve tells Villanelle in the Season 1 finale. And it’s true, even in the second season; Eve spends a lot of time thinking about Villanelle, and vice versa. Even now that Villanelle isn’t MI6’s only concern, Eve can’t stop herself from tying the case to her favorite deadly assassin, and her desperation to find her isn’t solely (or even mostly) motivated by the need to keep her from killing again.
That obsession is mutual. Villanelle is convinced Eve stabbing her was an act of love, and her elation at being just a hotel door away from the MI6 agent was as obvious as her jealousy was when Konstantin told her Eve was investigating another female assassin.
No one else compares
The narrative also seems to set up a Villanelle-Eve relationship by going out of its way to show that Eve’s marriage is blander than a bowl of plain yogurt. Eve never seems happy when she’s with Niko, and her mind is always somewhere else; on the Villanelle investigation, usually. They spend more time arguing than they do acting like a happy married couple, and Niko’s behavior around one of his female co-workers gives the impression he’s at least considering, if not having, an affair.
Eve seems happiest when she’s on Villanelle’s trail, and Niko seemed happier with his co-worker than he did with Eve.
Dating a psychopath?
All of this said, it’s worth noting that a relationship between Eve and Villanelle is extremely toxic and wouldn’t end well. Konstantin parallels his pet assassin to the Very Hungry Caterpillar, saying she consumes the people she cares about and that it’s best if the emotion she feels for Eve is hatred, not love.
It’s not as if Eve and Villanelle can go on dates, go for walks in the park or do other normal, couple-y stuff. Being with Villanelle would be dangerous for Eve, which might play into her attraction to her; but there’s a better chance it ends in tragedy than it does any kind of happy ending. The title of the show could be foreshadowing Eve’s eventual death, given her vow to find the one thing Villanelle cares about (ironically, this seems to be Eve herself) and destroy it… and if recent similar relationships among fictional characters are anything to go by, we should be preparing ourselves not for “Villaneve” domestic bliss, but for these two to embrace and fall off a cliff, together, into the sea.
Killing Eve, Sundays, 8/7c, BBC America and AMC