Flowers for Villanelle: Real-Life Memorials Show Character’s Impact

Villanelle Memorial
Photo of Tower Bridge Villanelle memorial taken by Twitter user @villanevermore

Fans create real-life memorials for Villanelle in the days following Killing Eve’s controversial series finale.

Critically acclaimed series Killing Eve ended its fourth and final season with a controversial bang. The series followed the character of Eve (Sandra Oh) as she hunted, and eventually fell into a series long twisted courtship, with assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer). The series’ strength was the chemistry between the two leads that really shone in the moments that the two were on screen together.

Spoiler Warning: Spoilers for the season 4 finale of Killing Eve.

The finale finally allowed the two to finally consummate their mutual obsession and attraction, much to the delight of fans. The ending of the series swiftly extinguished those fans’ enthusiasm, as Villanelle was shot and subsequently drowned in the episode’s final moments. The decision to kill Villanelle was instantly a controversial one, as many fans were hurt after yet another example of the “Bury Your Gays” trope. To add insult to injury, many fans were offended by the callous and disconnected explanation of the ending by season four showrunner Laura Neal in the aftermath of the episode.

Despite her psychopathic nature, fans quickly fell in love with Villanelle for her compelling personality, her unabashed sexuality, and Comer’s Emmy-winning performance. Though Villanelle was not quite the ideal model for positive LGBTQIA+ representation, fans couldn’t help but be drawn to her character and to root for her. Villanelle’s death hit the LGBTQIA+ community hard due to its rushed and tropey nature, and the fact that the novels that inspired the series, Codename: Villanelle by Luke Jennings, gave Eve and Villanelle a happy ending together.

The outcry on social media after the finale was loud, but many fans also manifested their grief in the real-world as well. In the days following the finale, fans created real-life memorials to celebrate Villanelle and mourn her death. While the largest one was built at Tower Bridge in London where Villanelle spent her last moments in the series, there were reportedly smaller memorials popping up around the world. Even pop-up areas promoting the show’s final season found themselves becoming a location for a mini memorial.

Villanelle Memorial
Photo of pop-up Villanelle memorial taken by Twitter user @rolllthediceee

While the memorials primarily featured flowers and pictures of Villanelle, there were many other objects as well, including handwritten notes both celebrating Villanelle and criticizing the show’s finale and writers. Fans who attended commented that many passersby were stopping to read the notes, even though they most likely didn’t understand the memorial.

Though many of the memorials have likely disappeared in the days that have passed, the impact of Villanelle likely will remain for the years to come. Despite Villanelle being a fictional character, her death had a very real impact on the community. While the harmful “Bury Your Gays” trope will hopefully someday become a relic of the past, the reaction to Villanelle’s death shows that representation will always continue to matter to the LGBTQIA+ community in all forms it takes.

Author: Jessica Wolff

Jessica Wolff is a graduate of Drexel University with a BS in Film/Video. She has a passion for entertainment and representation in entertainment. She currently resides outside of Washington, DC.

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