Killing Eve accused of queerbaiting by viewers after Sandra Oh dismisses on-screen romance

'You don’t get to play up the relationship and then imply fans are delusional' 

Sarah Young
Thursday 06 June 2019 15:00
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Killing Eve Season 2: Official trailer

Killing Eve has been accused of queerbaiting by viewers after Sandra Oh dismissed the chance of an on-screen romance.

Ahead of the show’s second season debut in the UK, it releases on Saturday 8 June, fans of the BBC spy thriller have speculated as to whether the dysfunctional dynamic between MI5 security officer Eve Polastri and deadly assassin Villanelle will finally culminate into a romantic relationship.

The finale of season one ended with Eve telling the assassin she thinks about her all of the time, to which Villanelle replied, “I mean, I masturbate about you a lot.”

The “will they, won’t they” relationship teases continued when the show dropped its first season two trailer on Valentine’s Day.

The clip, which featured an eerie rendition of “Addicted to Love”, hinted at a potential romance between the two characters with Villanelle saying ominously in a voice-over: “Sometimes, when you love someone, you do crazy things.”

Despite the insinuations, Oh recently dismissed the idea of a relationship between the two leading ladies in an interview with the Gay Times, saying: “You guys are tricky because you want to make it into something… but it just isn’t.

“That’s also why I think sexuality and discovery of the wider reaches of sexuality is the theme of the show – why it’s interesting to people. It’s not one thing or another.”

Following the comments, fans of Killing Eve have accused the show of queerbaiting – a term used to describe purposely teasing the possibility of a character being queer in an effort to appeal to LGBT+ audiences without properly exploring it on-screen.

“You don’t get to play up the relationship in marketing and then imply the fans are delusional for shipping it,” one person wrote on Twitter.

“And to think before this week I defended them against accusations of queerbaiting.”

Another added: “Sigh. I need to stop putting any trust in shows to show me representation of queer couples outside of side characters. #KillingEve is one of the most disgusting examples of queerbaiting to date.”

A third person agreed, writing: “I'm not mad that they're apparently never going to have a sexual/romantic relationship. I am, however, rather annoyed that they clearly led us on and used us.

“I don't just throw around the accusation of queerbaiting but in this case, I sadly do believe they're guilty.”

However, some fans defended the show against the accusations, pointing out that Villanelle is clearly not depicted as heterosexual.

“Villanelle canonically has ex-girlfriends like they're straight up IN the show so pls explain to me how killing eve is queerbaiting when one of the main characters is queer [sic],” one person wrote on Twitter.

Another added: “Just because Eve and Villanelle don’t have a sexual relationship (or even a healthy one) doesn’t mean #KillingEve is queerbaiting, but maybe you don't appreciate the psychological dynamics between the two and this show isn't for you?”

A third person agreed, writing: “Okay y'all can stop being dramatic and saying Killing Eve is queerbaiting.

“It isn't queerbaiting when Villanelle is canon gay and attracted to Eve and Eve is clearly canonly into Villanelle too.”

The first season of Killing Eve, co-written and executive produced by Fleabag‘s Phoebe Waller-Bridge, was widely praised by critics when it aired last year.

It became the second-biggest boxset to air on BBC iPlayer, with more than 40 million streams since its arrival on the streaming service.

Killing Eve series two begins on BBC1 at 9.15pm on 8 June.

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