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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

A strong Killing Eve proves that even assassins can be thoughtful gift-givers

Illustration for article titled A strong Killing Eve proves that even assassins can be thoughtful gift-givers
Photo: Parisa Taghizadeh/BBCAmerica

Welcome back to Killing Eve, source of TV’s most beautiful love story. In its third episode back, the show dials up the strength of its core relationship while simultaneously reminding us of how utterly dysfunctional it is. In a nutshell, the things that make this show the creepy, compelling delight that it is. 


It’s something of a relief to see Villanelle and Eve back to circling each other. After two episodes where Villanelle was very much out of commission and Eve was trying to grapple with her own emotions about her fascination with a killer, the two are both offered very good reasons why their relationship is harming them. And by the end of the episode, they’ve both decided to completely ignore this sound reasoning and refocus on each other.

There will undoubtedly come a point when the people who are depending on Eve and Villanelle for their skills and abilities will get very tired of putting up with their obsession with each other. Both Konstantin and Carolyn benefit from Eve and Villanelle doing work for them, but they’re also racing against time until one or the other of them does something destructive and reckless to get to the other. Carolyn has now completely lost her advantage over Konstantin, and Konstantin has put all his faith in someone who he knows will risk arrest time and again just to inch closer to Eve.

Konstantin ends the episode in the greatest position of advantage. He’s the only member of the central quartet to have spent any real amount of time with every other part of it, and he knows Villanelle well enough to have the best chance of controlling her. And while it’s easy to question his motivations for saying it, the point he makes to Eve about being loved by Villanelle is a very sound one. There is no one who has survived Villanelle’s love, except for him, and that seems to be an accident as much as anything else. But Eve wouldn’t be Eve if she could let go of Villanelle. And Konstantin may have misjudged the situation himself—does he realize that Eve is possibly a better match for Villanelle than either of those other women were? He’s already gambling that he can manage Villanelle’s obsession. Can he manage Eve’s?

Illustration for article titled A strong Killing Eve proves that even assassins can be thoughtful gift-givers

Eve clearly can’t manage anything about the situation. For every bare minimum effort she makes to save her relationship with Niko, she makes an equally obvious choice to stretch the distance between them. How much longer can the two of them maintain the status quo that there’s a relationship worth saving there? And she’s burned right through the one bond she had with someone who knew what’s going on with her. Kenny, for all that he’s often used for comic relief, was her only connection who could understand the weirdness of what she’s going through, who didn’t have the moral ambiguity and utterly opaque motivations of Carolyn. He’s now trapped between the two poles of power in his life, trusting either that his mother will do what’s best for him (which she makes very clear is not a terribly high priority for her) or that Eve is someone who cares about what happens to him. What’s he supposed to do? And also, what was he doing in that locker room that he didn’t want Eve to hear? (Seriously, was it a sex thing or a gastrointestinal distress thing or…Kenny is very mysterious). 


As the episode closes, the power dynamics have shifted quite a bit from what they were. Eve has proved to her new colleagues that she’s essentially psychic when it comes to Villanelle, Villanelle herself has abandoned the stifling oversight of her previous employers, and Carolyn is clearly doing some reordering of her own work, given the betrayal she faced from Eve and Konstantin. Most important of all, Gemma the teacher has made a slightly manipulative new best friend. 

After two episodes that were a little unsteady in terms of plotting and execution, the show seems very much back on its twisted path, sinister lipstick and all.


Stray observations

  • “I’ll just masturbate onto this omelet then, I guess.” 
  • “Imagine dying…on that carpet?”
  • “You sound like Raymond, who I love, and miss very much.”
  • Pour one out for Kenny’s pathetic “Do you think he’s coming back?” in regard to Konstantin.
  • So, Eve and Villanelle just had door sex, right?
  • But like…where did Villanelle special order that lipstick? “Hi, I’d like a novelty lipstick with a knife hidden in it. No, it’s not for murder, really. 
  • Does anyone want to take bets on when we’ll finally see the Ghost?
  • Potential hobbies for Carolyn: jigsaw puzzles, book club, baking, ultimate Frisbee, origami? 

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Lisa is a writer and editor based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.