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

Villanelle tries out a new career path on Killing Eve

Illustration for article titled Villanelle tries out a new career path on Killing Eve

Does Konstantin need a day job? Everyone’s favorite assassin minder seems to have a lot of free time on his hands these days, swinging from breakfast at Carolyn’s to hanging out on a stakeout with Eve and eating every piece of snack food he can find.


It’s representative of the overall problem weighing the show down right now. Everyone is on the same side, if somewhat uneasily. Villanelle and Eve are texting? The earlier episodes of this season at least had the narrative boost of Eve and Villanelle being separated from each other, but now they’re just…grabbing lunch because they’re coworkers? There’s no ongoing tension, which feels deeply foreign to the show’s DNA. It’s all in service of broadening the antagonists to some massive criminal conspiracy, but it’s still hard to fathom that this group of government agents is more interested in working with Villanelle than just arresting her. Not too many episodes ago, an attack force tried to capture her at a hotel.

The other problem is that the ways in which the show is forcing Eve and Villanelle together feel very inorganic. Nothing about this world of cosmopolitan assassins has any particular connection to reality, and as a viewer, you roll with the general premise. The problem is when the plotting becomes so unlikely even within that generous framework that it’s hard to stay immersed in the world of the show. It makes no sense at all to send Villanelle out on this mission. And this is a group of spies. Why in the world wouldn’t they employ one of the many agents available to them who would, for instance, read the dossier explaining the details of the mission? Everything that goes wrong on this mission is because Villanelle has been sent instead of a more qualified agent. And then a woman dies because of it! Even if you accept that Eve behaves irrationally where Villanelle is concerned, why in the world is anyone else going along for this ride?

Illustration for article titled Villanelle tries out a new career path on Killing Eve
Photo: Robert Viglasky/BBCAmerica

And now the show has a bit of a Niko problem. After a season and a half of him grumbling about Eve’s job, he abruptly leaves her. On the one hand, he should have left her a long time ago. And on the other hand, somehow it still comes across as really abrupt. They have some kinky sex and he bails. It’s not like Eve has been wife of the year at any point over the course of the show, but it’s the first time Niko has really seemed to understand something fundamental about what his wife wants. Then his immediate response is to bail on her because it makes him feel bad. He wonders why she’s drawn to Villanelle, but isn’t at all interested in trying to give her what Villanelle does. To be clear, it’s not like he should go out and start murdering people. But part of Eve’s journey has been discovering some other parts of herself, and not all of those discoveries necessarily need to be dangerous. There’s a way to explore her desire for something different without taking things as far as Villanelle does.

The fact that this ends with Eve mimicking Villanelle’s behavior by ransacking Gemma’s bedroom comes across less as a way in which they’re similar and more as a sign that Eve would, at best, be a pale imitation of her. It’s all so tawdry and…ordinary. Enjoy the missionary position, Gemma.


The ill-advised mission to infiltrate the Peel family is yet another moment where the show is forcing something to happen that doesn’t make a ton of sense. Namely, that Aaron, as obsessed with privacy as he is, would let his sister invite someone she barely knows over to their house. As satisfying as it ultimately is to watch Villanelle smack him in the nose, it’s hard to see this as being any kind of master strategy to get him to trust her. And yet, somehow it seems like we’re going to see her on her way to Rome in another episode or two.

Stray observations

  • “You’re not yelling, but it feels like you’re yelling.”
  • Eve and Niko have CDs? To be fair, I had a big collection of them until a couple of years ago, but I never listened to them. They’re never going to notice that prank.
  • The show jokes about Eve’s inability to tell Hugo and Kenny apart, but it’s honestly just a reminder that it’s unclear why we have two very similar characters right now. I didn’t even notice that she called him Kenny at first.
  • Jodie Comer has many skills but her American accent is probably not the strongest one of them.
  • I have a distinct concern that the route the show is going this season, what with Eve picking up a lot of Villanelle characteristics, is that she’s going to try to kill Gemma. Maybe I’m totally off-base. But it would explain why we’re being told that Gemma is this important, and we’ve seen Eve slipping on the verge of killing someone.
  • Oh, and we learned one of Carolyn’s hobbies: fencing.
  • Was Kenny’s whole part this episode stepping wordlessly into a room to see his mother with her two lovers and then backing out like the Homer/bushes gif?

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