Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Killing Eve takes the worst Russian vacation ever

Illustration for article titled Killing Eve takes the worst Russian vacation ever
Photo: BBC America

Both Eve and Villanelle are currently doing what they love. It’s thrilling and yet completely unsustainable, in part because both of them are dependent on handlers whose motives they don’t know. When their bosses tell them to do something, is it furthering some mission they have no part in, and which might hurt them?


For Villanelle, trust in her boss leads her to a trap in a prison cell. She has been overestimating her usefulness to Konstantin all season, perpetually pushing the limits of what behaviors he’ll tolerate from her. She might be curious about the Twelve, and about Konstantin’s personal life, but she never really questions the mission she’s on, or who she’s going to kill. That Konstantin would abandon her in the most secure part of the prison is the least surprising part of this episode for the viewer, but Villanelle never really considers the possibility that it could happen. But it’s just about the only place it’s safe to keep her, the only thing short of killing her that takes her out of the equation. He’s clearly nervous about where Eve’s investigation is taking her, and a wildly unpredictable assassin is not what he needs right now.

Eve’s risks are far more serious. Her work only exists because Carolyn Martens says it should. She’s completely dependent on Carolyn for resources, for connections, and for the entire bureau she’s formed. She’s wrecking her marriage in pursuit of this thing, revealing some dark part of herself that lets her hit her husband, and then get angry at him for brushing past it. And now Carolyn is clearly compromised to some degree. It’s still not out of the question that it will turn out that Carolyn has some tricks up her sleeve, and that she was playing both Vladimir and Konstantin, but if she was, she certainly doesn’t tell Eve.

Instead, Eve gets to enjoy a full Moscow holiday’s worth of learning why you should never work with your heroes. Carolyn immediately starts acting incredibly irresponsibly, in a way that is so drastically out of character that it’s a little hard to believe. It’s like she’s on spring break or something. This is hardly the person we’ve gotten to know over the course of the season.

And Eve takes an almost unthinkable risk, immediately enlisting Kenny to research his own mother. She’s known Kenny, what, a month? And he was recruited by his mother for this group. What makes her think it’s safe to ask him to do that research, other than the fact that she has no other options?

She spends most of the episode off-balance, grappling with the fight with Nico, struggling to keep up with Carolyn’s mood swings, and trying to extract information from a source who knows all too well that she’s massively inconvenient for powerful people as long as she’s alive.


Poor Nadia. Despite being hardy enough to survive being run over (twice), she knows she’s very much on borrowed time. Her presence in prison is at least a suggestion that Konstantin and Vladimir might not be on the same side, even if Vladimir is not particularly interested in protecting Nadia.

What would have happened if Villanelle had taken her up on the idea of going to the British? She wouldn’t be Villanelle, for one. She’s not interested in getting rescued. She’s interested in sustaining the situation she’s currently in, and that means killing Nadia. Until, of course, it becomes clear that she can’t go back to her old life. 


It is very easy to watch this episode of Killing Eve hoping Villanelle gets out soon while also simultaneously knowing that this is a person who belongs in prison. She is in the place that Eve is trying to put her, and if you want Eve to emerge the victor on this show, you should want her to be there. And yet, here we are again, hoping this magnetic and charming psychopath escapes her circumstances, even though we know she’s just going to kill again. It’s that lick on Konstantin that does it.

Stray observations

  • Hard agree with Kenny and Elena NOT taking the glamorous work trip to a Russian prison. Also, it’s unclear if something is happening between them yet but I would just like to say that in this terrible world we deserve to see that first date.
  • “Was it an Asian woman with amazing hair?” Sandra Oh’s hair on this show is basically its own character.
  • Should have known something was wrong with Carolyn when she didn’t get Eve’s tit for tat joke. If you can’t enjoy suggestive wordplay jokes, who even are you.
  • Eve is starting to call Villanelle Oksana, but I’m going to stick with calling her Villanelle for now. If the show generally seems to transition to using Oksana, I’ll do so as well.
  • I still think it’s possible that Konstantin will win Villanelle over again after she eventually escapes that room, but I’m also very curious to see what this show will become when Villanelle turns on her handlers.
  • At least some of the prison staff are connections of Konstantin’s, but let’s pause for a moment of sympathy for the folks who just saw a hat thief commit three gory murders.

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