This show is reaching a point where it might be better to exile Eve and Villanelle to an island where they stop making trouble for everyone else. They’re lurching towards the destination desired by their various handlers, but there’s quite a lot of collateral damage along the way.
Sent to glamorous Rome to gain the information they need, the duo…more or less does that, but also fails to anticipate a series of things about Aaron, such as that he would prevent Villanelle from accessing any of her things or that he would be observing her all the time. Even aside from the tremendous riskiness involved in using Villanelle as an asset, this operation, which is at least ostensibly about preventing a terrible weapon from getting out into the world, seems like it would benefit from a lot more people working on it. Aaron is some kind of computer genius, and yet Eve doesn’t even seem to have tried that hard to craft Villanelle’s false identity.
Despite how Villanelle got there, her interactions with Aaron have that undercurrent of danger that often mark the best parts of Killing Eve. The thorny question of what human existence is when you live without emotion or fear of consequences has always been the underlying element to what makes Villanelle so fascinating. Putting her in a room with Aaron leads to one of the show’s better debates–if you felt nothing around people, would you obsessively be around them, or would you avoid them at all costs, as Aaron does? Villanelle’s response makes her more appealing, and more human-sounding, but it also means that when you see her wander off with two women, you have no idea whether she’s going to kill them or hook up with them.
To Hugo’s point, it’s very hard to know whether Villanelle is still working with Eve and her team, or whether what Aaron has to offer is so appealing that she’d betray them. His controlling nature suggests that without the Billy identity stopping her, their interactions would be a lot less peaceful. The bigger danger is probably in the moment when Konstantin points out that if something goes wrong, she and Eve are on their own. He means it as a warning, but it’s clearly appealing to her.
Eve is busy stumbling further down the path of her obsession with Villanelle. The scene with Martin is one of the only times someone has expressed meaningful concern about what she’s doing. The resistance has otherwise come from people like Kenny or Niko, who the show positions as morally upstanding, but who don’t quite have the ability to push Eve into questioning her own choices. Martin gets her to admit that she feels constantly unsafe but “wide awake” because of Villanelle. It’s clear that Villanelle has made her life objectively worse in many ways, but she’s also ripped the filter off of the peaceful existence Eve was living. Who wouldn’t want to go through life feeling wide awake? How could you ever go back? It’s a meaningful distinction from season 1 Eve, but it also means that she’s spent a lot of this season desperately unhappy.
And she’s possibly about to get a lot unhappier, when she learns what Villanelle did to Gemma. Or will she read it as a gesture of love, which is probably what Villanelle intended? One version of Eve would hate her for it. This new, darker Eve may not. She’s now seen Villanelle kill someone in front of her to provoke her and done nothing about it. Is she so far gone in her Villanelle infatuation that she’ll let this murder of an innocent slide? If she does, Niko will probably never forgive her, but it’s unclear how much she even wants him back at this point. And what’s Niko supposed to do with this information? Imagine witnessing a murder, knowing exactly who the murderer is, and then the government won’t do anything about it because she’s also working as their asset.
Regardless of how things shake out back home, Eve and Villanelle may have bigger issues out in Italy, since their own mission may not be the real mission, at least according to Kenny. And Kenny wouldn’t lie, would he?
- “She mustn’t kill Aaron. I mean it. I hate to be strict, but she really mustn’t kill anyone.”
- “He’s killed three women.” “He could kill the shit out of me.” This is an in-joke about all the “murder me, Sandra Oh” internet comments, right?
- People take contraceptives for a multitude of health reasons beyond birth control, and Aaron refusing to give her access in a gesture that is clearly intended to be read as him assuring her they won’t have sex is actually the same as refusing to give her any other medication she routinely takes. It’s not just controlling, it’s impacting her health.
- It’s a bit tired that the big thing Ivan is trying to conceal is that he’s in a relationship with a man.
- Wait, Villanelle is sleeping in that terrible wig? That would be extremely uncomfortable, and then she’d wake up in the morning and it would be all crooked.
- We’re shown earlier in the episode that both Aaron and Eve are observing Villanelle in her room, but then by the time Eve is listening in late at night, we don’t see Aaron watching, which makes it seem like Villanelle is only talking to Eve. But she’s still careful to say things in her American accent that would also make sense to Aaron. Is she talking to both of them, or is she talking to Eve?
- There’s an entire essay to be written about the treatment of wealth on this show, which is both aspirational and something that only murderers get and also somehow the only way to really live? It’s hard to tell when the show is making a meaningful critique of wealth and when it’s just saying, look, this seems like it would be cool.
- I enjoyed that Villanelle could not think of a single instance in which she would organically work the word “gentleman” into conversation.