Killing Eve episode 3 review: Don’t I Know You


Killing Eve ups the emotional stakes with an episode that reminds us how dangerous obsession can really be. 

It’s only the third installment of Killing Eve, yet the mutual obsession growing between our two leads is getting kind of terrifying. Not to mention deadly.

Villanelle’s murder of Bill is the episode’s most shocking moment, but just because someone dies. After all, we’ve seen her kill at least half a dozen people in increasingly gruesome ways by this point. The fact that Villanelle is not only a murderer, but someone who actively enjoys the act of killing, can’t really be that shocking anymore.

But what “Don’t I Know You” does so well – and Killing Eve itself, come to that – is lull its audience into a false sense of security. Yes, Villanelle is a monster, but she’s so much fun. She kills people with fancy perfume or decorative hairpins. This week, she takes out a pretty sketchy dude who regularly visits a kink-based medical clinic. I mean, on some level, she probably did the world a favor there.

Yet, despite all the terrible things Villanelle has done, Killing Eve hasn’t really made any of them look particularly threatening to Eve, or our core cast of good guys. Bill’s death changes all that.

We didn’t really think Villanelle would come after Eve or those close to her. Not really. After all, it’s only the series’ third episode! Plus, Villanelle spends most of the episode obsessing over her nemesis, not plotting her demise. She steals her luggage. She wears her scarf. Heck, she even finds a random woman with big, unruly hair to call Eve and role play with in the bedroom.

It’s fascinating that the show chooses to explicitly make Villanelle’s interest in Eve sexual – or at least have her express some of her interest in her in a sexual way. Her multiple hookups with Pamela – one in which she makes her wear Eve’s literal clothes, another in which they literally play hide and seek – are especially interesting. Not just because she’s clearly fantasizing that she is Eve, but that after everything she’s done to so many others, she makes no effort to harm her.

Yes, the idea that she’s important enough to inspire a covert MI-6 operation appeals to Villanelle’s vanity. But she’s also clearly fascinated by this woman who is investigating her work, as a person. She secretly gives her fashion tips, for goodness’ sake!

It feels like she’s about five minutes away from asking her out, not murdering her.

Or at least it did, until Bill (very obviously) tails Villanelle into a nightclub. The hypnotic dance club sequence, complete with flashing lights and a thumping vase, is thrilling to watch. Why? Because Villanelle fooled us too. We’ve gotten too comfortable with her. Maybe we forgot just what she is.

However, by the time she turns around and smiles at Bill, we remember. Honestly, Jodie Comer deserves some kind of award, just for that smile. It is terrifying and beautiful and utterly perfect. As she races toward Bill, Villanelle is once again, pure psychopathic. (As evidenced by the fact that she stabs him at least a half dozen times in the chest, grinning maniacally all the while, before leaving him to die in the crowd.)

You can, of course, argue that Bill’s decision to tail Villanelle so closely is a stupid one. That’s probably true. Particularly since he actually had a face-to-face encounter with her at the train station. Bill isn’t an idiot. He probably should have realized that if he recognized Villanelle, she probably recognized him. Perhaps it is just the rush of fieldwork after so long away. Maybe he wanted to protect Eve. Or it is possibly just sloppy writing, meant to get us all to a certain end. Likely, it’s a bit of all of the above. At any rate, Bill’s murder – and Villanelle’s brutal performance of the act – certainly ups the stakes in the chase between them.

Prior to this moment, you might have wondered whether Eve really wanted to catch Villanelle at all. During her debrief with the team’s sketch artist, she describes the nurse she believes to be a cold-blooded murderer in nothing short of glowing terms. She goes on about Villanelle’s appearance at some length, using words that sound lush and poetic. Her description basically sounds like a crush. Yeah, Eve’s always been into the idea of female assassins. But she certainly seems to be particularly enamored of this one.

However, with Bill’s death, one has to believe that will change, and quickly. After all, Villanelle’s just proved that she’s not some abstract idea of a monster. She’s real, and dangerous.

In other words: It’s on now, as the kids say.

Next: Killing Eve: Building an imperfect heroine

How will Bill’s death impact Eve’s fascination with Villanelle? Where will her investigation go from here? If “Don’t I Know You” showed us one thing this week, it’s that pretty much anything can happen.

Killing Eve continues Sundays on BBC America.