Killing Eve: Why Villanelle Is The True Main Character (& Why Eve Is)
The show Killing Eve is consistently one of the most fascinating and fun television series on the air, with Jodie Comer winning an Emmy and BAFTA awards for her portrayal of Villanelle, a complex assassin. Sandra Oh as Eve Polastri, the woman who pursues her, has been nominated for an Emmy as well. Both are equally compelling. But who is the main character?
It’s arguable they both are, and Villanelle and Eve represent one of the most dynamic duos on television. The show plays around a lot with expectations and tropes, making it hard to determine who the actual main character is, though there are points to be had for both.
10 Eve: She Represents The Audience
Eve Polastri is ostensibly the main character and hero of the show, being the ‘good guy’ MI:6 agent who pursues the ‘bad guy’ assassin Villanelle. But she isn’t the obvious choice.
Eve is somewhat dowdy, especially in comparison to the fashion-minded Villanelle, and not a field agent when the series begins. In many ways, Eve is an average person, and she represents an audience surrogate as someone who is thrown into a complex and slightly exaggerated world of intrigue and murder.
9 Villanelle: Jodie Comer Is Magnetic
Jodie Comer has rocketed into stardom with Killing Eve, and it’s easy to see why. She’s an incredibly talented actress who gets to play a bunch of different characters through the chameleon-like Villanelle.
She’s magnetic in her performance, keeping the audience’s attention and sympathy in spite of the terrible things Villanelle does to others and especially Eve. Jodie Comer creates a believable performance even as Villanelle seems over the top in her behavior and her many amazing outfits.
8 Eve: Sandra Oh Sneaks Up On You
Eve might be a little bland in comparison to Villanelle, but she’s not less fascinating. That’s entirely down to the subtle performance of Sandra Oh in one of her best roles.
Sandra Oh gives Eve a frazzled, lived-in charm that proves irresistible as the show progresses. Her fascination with Villanelle is believable, as is her quiet but growing discontent with her home life. Eve wants more out of her life, and her simmering eagerness comes to the surface in unexpected ways through Oh’s acting.
7 Villanelle: It’s About Her Growth
Eve is on her own journey in Killing Eve, but Villanelle so far has been the subject of the most change on the show. She begins as an unrepentant murderer, and at the end of season three, she can’t bring herself to kill anyone else. Her journey forces her to confront her actions and her past in ways that position her as the focal point of the show.
Villanelle is undone by her actions in season three, including killing her own mother, and it’s clear that her trajectory is taking her somewhere she never imagined that she would go.
6 Eve: It’s Eve’s Story Too
Eve is on a journey, too. By the end of season three, she’s essentially lost everything. She’s lost her job, her marriage, and her home. All she has is Villanelle and the faint possibility that the two of them could end up together.
There are a lot of reasons why the two are perfect for each other (and a lot of reasons why they’re not) but Eve has gone from wanting to put Villanelle away to becoming someone capable of killing herself. She kills Villanelle’s temporary handler in season two and contributes to the death of Dasha in season three.
5 Villanelle: She’s Representation
Eve and Villanelle are certainly one of the best will they or won’t they couples on TV. But the show goes beyond the prospect of the two getting together by showing clearly that Villanelle is an LGBTQ+ character.
She has dalliances with numerous women and even marries another woman at the start of season three. Villanelle is a complicated character in many ways but she is a good depiction of an LGBTQ+ character in modern television.
4 Eve: The Show Doesn’t Forget Her
Many other television shows would have shifted their focus entirely to Villanelle once it became clear the hit they had on their hands with the character. For example, shows like Family Matters refocused entirely on the breakout character of Urkel.
Rather than make Killing Eve entirely about Villanelle and her murderous exploits, the show remains the back and forth between the two women, with as much investment in Eve’s story as Villanelle’s.
3 Villanelle: The Anti-Hero
The so-called ‘Golden Age of television’ is defined by the anti-hero. Whether it’s Breaking Bad or other anti-hero-focused shows, the character who operates outside of the norms has become the trend in recent years. Villanelle fits this mold perfectly.
Villanelle is a character fans love to hate. She kills, she cheats, she lies, and people keep watching her because she’s not a simple stock character. She’s complex, with shades of light and dark that make her story compelling.
2 Eve: She’s Becoming The Villain
Villanelle has killed and hurt a lot of people. But after three seasons, Eve is well on her way to becoming someone just as dangerous. Eve has done a lot of horrible things, and in many ways, she’s becoming the villain of the series.
As Villanelle rejects her violent past, Eve seems to be embracing it. She took a certain amount of glee in attempting to kill Dasha in season three. She held back in the end, but Dasha’s injuries were a result of Eve’s actions, making her culpable.
1 Villanelle: She’s Becoming The Hero
Just as Eve is descending into darkness, Villanelle is drifting toward the light. She couldn’t bring herself to kill anyone after the murder of her mother, and at the end of the third season, she is on the run from her handlers and out of the game.
She even tried to sign up with MI:5, offering her knowledge and experience to Carolyn in a bid to get away from The Twelve. It seems possible that the fourth season will see Villanelle working for the good guys in some capacity and likely still partners with Eve.
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