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Killing Eve follows an emotional payoff with some very atypical choices

The image for the article titled Killing Eve follows an emotional payoff with some very atypical decisions

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So far, this season from kill Eve didn’t seem to suffer from an overwhelming feeling that the show is ending. There wasn’t too much rush to work through the entire storyline necessary to leave these characters in what feels like the end of the story to them. And in the first half of Oh Goodie, I’m the Winner, not only does that quiet pace continue, but there’s a real forward thrust in the show’s central relationship. And then things fall apart in a collection of out-of-character choices.

First the good: Essentially all of Villanelle’s fallout gets hit by an arrow. Eve and Villanelle were cautious allies on occasion, but seeing Eve actually treat Villanelle with tenderness was one of the more emotionally satisfying payoffs this show has ever made. That has a lot to do with Jodie Comer’s appearance on the scene and how much of the action we see from her perspective. The show laid a lot of groundwork for the concept that all her want to be treated with love by Eve, and the fact that she’s finally getting that after giving up on Eve altogether is played out in a mixture of frustration and agonizing joy when it finally happens. The moment they sit on the bed and stare at each other was one of the most charged scenes the show has done, packed with more actual sexual tension and longing than any of the over-the-top flirting Eve has done with Hélène all season. It’s the show at its best, expressing in a tense gaze the slow build-up of four seasons of back-and-forth between these women, and Villanelle’s longing to see her love for Eve returned in a genuine way. But of course it comes too late after Eve has rejected and betrayed her too many times by having her arrested. On the one hand, Villanelle is a monstrous person who’s difficult to get too much sympathy for, but on the other hand, Eve spent endless amounts of time getting close to her and then pushing her away again, so it makes sense Villanelle would be fed up with it all.

The image for the article titled Killing Eve follows an emotional payoff with some very atypical decisions

photo: Anika Molnar/BBCA

But because Villanelle’s true nature is both what attracts and repels Eve, it’s important that Eve be reminded of who she became close to. The scene with Hélène is harried—Villanelle has agonized over Hélène’s responsibility for her violent life all season, and their eventual confrontation is frustratingly brief. There is no attempt to analyze Hélène’s outsized impact on her life before she is killed. But the ugliness of death plays out right in front of Eve, who may hate Hélène but wasn’t ready to see her throat cut just yet. Villanelle also looks a bit weary from the whole thing, aware that Eve will be shaking again after seeing her in action. Even the last-minute revelation that Eve kissed Hélène doesn’t help either.

After that, the episode spirals out of control when Eve tracks down Carolyn, confronts her, denies that everything she does is about Kenny, and then suddenly reappears to kill Lars for reasons that don’t really make sense. It’s a twist, but not one with significant emotional impact. Why would Eve choose Lars as the first person to kill her in cold blood? Is this all about getting revenge on Carolyn to stop her from getting what she wants? Eve is supposed to be trying to take out The 12, and she needs to know that killing Lars isn’t going to help her at all. Also, unlike Lars or Carolyn, she knows that Hélène is dead, leaving Lars her only real lead in this gigantic mess. What has she been working on all season if she hasn’t gotten past Lars to someone else? Also, and this may be petty, but Carolyn, awkwardly hugging a tree after almost getting caught talking to Eve, plays so much out of her character, less as comedy. The woman has worked in the espionage business all her adult life. It’s a cheap gag that makes her look stupid and not like the deeply competent Secret Service agent we know her as. Nor does it make sense that Lars, a suspicious, mysterious man who knows her well, would take it at face value.

That all of this comes out after the careful emotional work of the first half of the episode makes for a very uneven hour of television. The show now spirals into its final two episodes with no apparent villains other than three women who sort of hate each other for different and varied reasons. But maybe they can take out The 12 along the way work from theirs problems with each other.


Crazy observations

  • I’m not on the inside, so I can’t say for sure, but to me there’s no more obvious sign of the rotating showrunners for each new season of this show than the initial decision to give Carolyn’s son the sweet, innocent name of Kenny and then the decision to mysteriously kill him in a subsequent season. The whole thing has left the characters strained with repeatedly saying the phrase “who killed Kenny” which sounds absurd every time it comes up, to the point where I find it massively distracting, and I can’t imagine that anyone would have chosen that name from the start if they had known the outcome for that character.
  • I appreciated that Bill’s death resurfaced in this episode, but I really wish the show had made it more of a habit all along. He was the first truly heartbreaking death, and the show underestimated how much he affected Eve to his detriment.
  • I find Konstantin’s characterization the most consistent on the show, and his speech to Pam about how he knows he’ll be a target one day, and so will she, felt genuinely faithful to his cheerfully nihilistic view of this whole world. He knows what’s coming, but there’s no going back now, so why worry about it?
  • This show is hardly a model of realism, but it was particularly upsetting to see Villanelle row a boat and then get into a fistfight after being shot with an arrow. That would have absolutely torn those muscles, even if it had missed everything vital. Eve gives her a scooter earlier in the episode for a good reason!
  • However, I did enjoy the weird noises the scooter made. It was good use of audio to undermine their arguments.
  • Could Team Konstantin be here when it comes to how rude it was to shoot him. The hand appears to be “an extremely painful place” to get shot.

https://www.avclub.com/killing-eve-follows-emotional-payoff-with-some-very-out-1848743588 Killing Eve follows an emotional payoff with some very atypical choices

Andrew Schnitker

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