Killing Eve: Is the murderous Villanelle really a sociopath?

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Were Villanelle’s feelings for Anna and Eve genuine?

As part of the diagnostic criteria for anti-social personality disorder under DSM-5, a person must exhibit either 1) a lack of remorse/empathy or 2) an inability to form deep attachments due to the use of “exploitation [as] a primary means of relating to others.”

A person does not need to meet both conditions. Theoretically, then, Villanelle could be a sociopath capable of caring about certain people. As exhibited by her relationship with Nadia, Villanelle is plenty exploitative. With Anna and Eve, though, she’s different.

By Anna’s account during her meeting with Eve, Villanelle had presumed Anna to have feelings that were non-existent and killed Anna’s husband out of unwarranted, delusional jealousy. As it turned out, Anna had been in a physical relationship with her young student, and she had if inadvertently, led Villanelle to believe they could be together with her husband out of the picture.

Villanelle certainly had mental health issues but that does not mean that she wasn’t genuinely in love with Anna. Anna rejected Villanelle after the murder, and Villanelle bitterly resented her. Yet, even years later when Villanelle finally got the chance to confront Anna, she seemingly could not bring herself to kill Anna.

Perhaps if Anna hadn’t killed herself, Villanelle would have eventually pulled the trigger, but I’m not so sure. She was clearly emotionally affected when she looked at her body.

Turning to Eve, Villanelle was obviously attracted to her, even obsessed with her. However, the most significant sign that she actually cared about Eve was her horrified and almost heartbreaking reaction to Eve stabbing her.

She could’ve been trying to manipulate Eve, and to an extent, maybe she was. Her words did make Eve feel remorseful and obligated to save her life. But she still ran away before Eve could help her.

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The only other logical explanation for Villanelle opening up to Eve in that moment is that Villanelle was being honest and vulnerable. She was surprised and hurt that Eve had betrayed her because she genuinely “really liked” Eve and had wanted Eve to like her. Such feelings would also explain the anger that drove her to run away. She felt humiliated.

It’ll be interesting to see how they interact in season two. If Anna is any indication, Villanelle can hold a grudge. However, as with Anna, Villanelle may ultimately continue to care about Eve, despite her best efforts to prove otherwise.

Did you like the first season of Killing Eve? Be sure to comment below!