Killing Eve episode 4 review: Sorry Baby


Killing Eve sets Eve and Villanelle on a collision course as the two women head to the countryside to chase a mole in MI-5.

After the dramatic events of last week, this episode of Killing Eve almost feels anticlimactic. And maybe it is. There’s certainly no scene to match Villanelle’s predatory takedown of Bill in a German nightclub. Yet “Sorry Baby” still does a masterful job of coloring in more details about what makes both Villanelle and Eve tick.

The plot of Killing Eve’s fourth episode in and of itself is pretty basic. It’s not clear that any of us really care whether Villanelle manages to take out the scummy Frank. Perhaps most of us are rooting for the assassin in this particular instance anyway. Frank does seem pretty terrible. As an individual story, this isn’t that interesting, even if the office politics happening in both the assassin and police worlds are generally fascinating to watch.

However, the show remains particularly deft at toying with our expectations when it comes to its villain. Within a single hour, we can feel utterly terrified of Villanelle, sympathetic toward her situation, pleased that she seems to have a real connection with someone from her past, and worried about her safety. Thanks to her murder of Bill last week, Villanelle gets professionally downgraded. She must work with a team of other assassins. They sleep in ratty vans, rather than live it up in the penthouse suite. (Did anyone else miss her terrific outfits this week? “Casual Army surplus” is not the look I’d pick for her.)

That Villanelle’s behavior does nothing so much as prove what an efficient killer she is should unnerve us. And it does. (If only because every scene in which she assembles a weapon and rambles off in search of someone to shoot feels like an outtake from a Terminator movie.) Yet, we’re also all left wondering exactly who this woman is, and how she became such a monster. Villanelle, as a character, is chilling, yes. But she’s also fascinating, and Killing Eve doesn’t let us forget that for one second. See also: Her charming birthday party for Konstantin, which featured Villanelle both sporting a paste-on mustache and threatening a child.

For her part, Eve is a raw ball of nerves in the wake of Bill’s death. After walking out on his funeral and fighting with her husband, Eve decides to throw herself even further into the hunt for the assassin who killed him. Of course, the fact that Villanelle sends a personalized suitcase full of designer clothes and custom perfume — labeled with her own name — to Eve’s home might have something to with that. (But, IDK.) At any rate, Eve’s determination to go head-to-head with the woman that killed her partner is understandable.

“Sorry Baby” sets Eve and Villanelle on something of an early collision course, as they both track the mysterious mole within MI-5. Of course, that traitor is Frank, the douchey guy who has attempted to thwart Eve’s investigation from the beginning. (He’s the guy who lied about the existence of surveillance footage way back in the series first episode.) No one should probably be shocked that Frank’s playing both sides. The show hasn’t exactly been subtle about his shady nature, and his open dislike of both Eve and Bill was somewhat over the top.

That said, since we as the audience are already predisposed to dislike him, it makes Frank a perfect target for Villanelle. Yes, Villanelle is a Bad Woman, but Frank himself is also terrible. Would we all really mind so much if he turned up dead? Wouldn’t Villanelle be kind of doing us a favor? Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, it’s another example of the show putting us, as viewers, into a complicated and culpable space within the narrative. Who, exactly, should we root for here?

Another thing Killing Eve excels at is building a universe that feels like it goes on when we’re not watching it. For all her horrible behavior, it feels as though Villanelle has a life that’s constantly occurring in every direction. She has a complicated history, which obviously informs every present day decision she makes. It’s not shocking that she turns out to have a past with fellow killer Nadia. But what is surprising is how three-dimensional that revelation makes her character seem.

Sure, probably no one is that shocked when Villanelle turns on her ex-friend/lover/etc. (Though perhaps running her over with a car is a bit aggressive.) However, the fact that their relationship feels as though it has weight, as though the two of them were once important to one another in a real, tangible way, is surprising.

“Sorry, Baby” doesn’t allow us to get to know Nadia enough as a person to really mourn her passing. But it does tease us with enough of her past with Villanelle to make us sad that we’ll probably never find out what that history is now. (I don’t know about you all, but I believed Villanelle’s promise that they could start over. Fooled me, I suppose.)

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The episode ends with a gunshot at an unseen target. We won’t find out until Episode 5 whether Villanelle took aim at Frank, Eve or someone else altogether. (The promo for next week’s episode promises the long-awaited first official meeting between Villanelle and Eve. So it seems safe to say that particular potential target, at least, is safe.)

We’ll have to wait and see.