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Sandra Oh Reveals Divisive ‘Killing Eve’ Finale Was ‘Going to Be the Other Way Around,’ Kill Different Character

"I was like, ‘You should kill my character.’ I thought that would be the strongest and the most interesting [ending]."

Sandra Oh as Eve Polastri - Killing Eve _ Season 4, Episode 8 - Olly Courtney/BBCA

“Killing Eve”

Olly Courtney / BBC America

After the “Killing Eve” finale slaughtered fan expectations and received critical backlash, lead star Sandra Oh is setting the record straight on the ill-fated lesbian love story ending.

Spoilers: Mere hours after sharing their first kiss, assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer) is shot and killed as she and MI5 agent Eve (Oh) try to escape through a river in the final episode, which aired April 10.

“Honestly, it was going to be the other way around,” Oh revealed in a Deadline video.

Oh recalled discussing how the series should wrap with Season 4 lead writer Laura Neal, who previously explained just how important the final moments were to signify Eve’s “rebirth” away from Villanelle.

Oh said she told Neal that Eve should die instead of Villanelle: “I was like, ‘You should kill my character,'” Oh said. “I thought that would be the strongest and the most interesting [ending] and I felt, emotionally, it was the right place of where I was at.”

By the end of Season 3, Eve was “starting to get into, like, a nihilistic place,” according to Oh, and she wanted the storyline to “just continue that line and go straight into it.”

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown on production, it gave more time for Neal to wrestle with the finale.

“They came to me, and they said, ‘We can’t do it. We need to change it… Eve needs to live,'” Oh recalled. “Eve is the way into this world. She’s our everywoman. So it’s kind of really super depressing if she dies.”

So, the finale was “switched around,” and co-star Comer was “very much onboard” for Villanelle’s new death.

Yet author Luke Jennings, who penned the “Codename Villanelle” trilogy that inspired the BBC America and AMC+ series, certainly was not. Jennings slammed the finale for “bowing to convention” in an essay for The Guardian, arguing the series was “punishing” Eve and Villanelle by not allowing them to have a happy ending as a couple.

The author noted that a “truly subversive storyline would have defied the trope which sees same-sex lovers in TV dramas permitted only the most fleeting of relationships before one of them is killed off,” citing “The 100” as an example of stifling a same-sex lesbian love story onscreen.

“How much more darkly satisfying, and true to ‘Killing Eve’’s original spirit, for the couple to walk off into the sunset together?” Jennings said. “Spoiler alert, but that’s how it seemed to me when writing the books.”

Jennings concluded, “I learned the outcome of the final episode in advance, and suspected, rightly, that fans would be upset. But to those fans, I would say this: Villanelle lives. And on the page, if not on the screen, she will be back.”

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