Killing Eve season 2 premiere review: Love makes you do crazy things


If the premiere is anything to go by, season 2 of BBC America’s breakout hit Killing Eve is going to be every bit as stunning and satisfying as its first.

When a new show catapults into the center of our general pop culture awareness the way that the first season of Killing Eve did, there’s suddenly a lot of pressure when it returns for a second run.

Will it live up to the heights of its first? Will the characters still be as appealing? Is the writing still as snappy? Can the story pick up from last season’s cliffhanger in a way that makes sense? Where does the show go from here?

These questions are natural ones, particularly for jaded television fans who’ve been burned before, even by critically acclaimed shows on niche prestige networks.

Sophomore slumps are real. Second seasons – particularly when meant to capitalize on that rare buzzy hit that actually grew its audience week after week – can falter. Behind the scenes shifts can kill the internal chemistry that originally made a show great.

In short: Sometimes it’s hard to live up to your own hype.

But Killing Eve, happily, does. And then some.

The season 2 premiere picks up literally seconds after the events of the season 1 finale, and it honestly feels as though the show never stopped at all.

Sandra Oh as Eve Polastri – Killing Eve _ Season 2, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Aimee Spinks/BBCAmerica

“Do You Know How to Dispose of a Body?” manages to contain the explosive fallout from Eve and Villanelle’s season 1 face off, and spin both women off again into their own separate narratives that nevertheless continue to dance around one another from a distance. It’s exciting, emotional, and sets up big things for the season to come.

When will Eve and Villanelle come face to face again? We’re not sure yet. Maybe not for a while.

Eve spends most of the episode having a complicated breakdown. Whether this is because she’s never stabbed – or maybe possibly killed – anyone before, or specifically because she stabbed Villanelle isn’t entirely clear. But either way, she’s not taking it well.

From endless bathtub time to fighting with her husband to stress purchasing new window installations, Eve is obviously barely hanging on. Which sort of begs the question – what did she think was really going to happen here? She’s the one who started this chase in the first place, apparently without any real thought about where it might end. (Which ostensibly could be with either or both of them dead.)

That the prospect of solving another mystery with Carolyn is what pulls Eve out of her downward spiral is… well, let’s just say it’s kind of messed up. Particularly when Carolyn has given her no concrete answers to anything and doesn’t seem particularly inclined to do so. (Sure, she gets out of answering by throwing Eve’s own secrets back in her face, but whew. Push a little harder, girl!) By the end of the episode, despite everything she’s been through, Eve seems largely back to normal, if normal can be defined as back on her Villanelle-related BS.

Villanelle, for her part, has it a little worse. She’s bleeding from a stab wound to the gut, a team of assassins pretending to be police show up at her flat, and there’s clearly some kind of price on her head, courtesy of the mysterious Twelve.

She responds in typical Villanelle fashion, with grit, an indecently high pain tolerance, and several (three) dramatic disguises that are somehow both amazing and completely ridiculous, including everything from a pair of too-small comics pajamas to hateful flowered plastic crocs. I can’t wait until this poor girl gets the chance to go shopping again.

Around Villanelle’s attempt to get some very necessary medical attention, we learn that she’s not exactly mad at Eve for trying to kill her. Instead, she seems to view attempted murder as something of a relationship upgrade. A declaration that they’re going steady now, if you will. This kind of makes sense, since the primary language Villanelle understands is violence, and in that world a stab to the gut could be as much of a come on as a kiss.

Jodie Comer as Villanelle – Killing Eve _ Season 2, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Aimee Spinks/BBCAmerica

She’s suddenly referring to Eve as her girlfriend, making plans to go find her in London and… well, we’re not sure what happens after that exactly. Villanelle certainly has different rules for dating than most of us.

Jodie Comer sells the heck out of Villanelle’s hospital stay – a combination of frustration at her own physical limitations, desperate self-preservation since a gang of assassins is probably hot on her trail, and a strange satisfied smugness, which seems to come from the confirmation that Eve “likes” her back.

It’s almost sweet, in a way.

But Killing Eve takes pains to remind us that Villanelle’s ideas of love and kindness maybe don’t mesh with everyone else’s.

Villanelle spends most of the episode in the company of a young teen named Gabriel, injured in an auto accident. She uses him to help her steal clothes, a security card, drugs and money, but in the midst of all that the two almost become something like friends. Not really, of course, since Villanelle doesn’t really do friends, but she at least seems to tolerate him better than a lot of people we’ve seen.

Much like during her buddy comedy-esque interactions with Irina last season, this feels like a somewhat more human version of Villanelle: She’s honest with the kid about the drastic state of his injuries, makes fun of him in a bleak, black way they both seem to enjoy, and generally treats him like a person, rather than an object of pity.

The fact that Villanelle quickly, brutally breaks his neck is horrifying and oddly, strangely… sympathetic. It’s difficult to know precisely how to interpret this scene: Is Villanelle merely covering her tracks? Is she mercy killing Gabriel because that’s what she’d want someone to do for her if she were in his position? Is she respecting his wishes or cleaning up a potential mess? Did she genuinely feel something for this kid she spent all episode manipulating? Or is she just a monster?

“Sometimes when you love someone you do crazy things.”

We’ll never know for sure, so we’re all basically free to interpret Villanelle’s behavior however we like. If you’d prefer to read Villanelle as a monster who’s capable of mercy, that’s certainly supported by events here. But it’s equally as easy to assume that she merely intended to get a possible witness out of the way. Part of the reason her character’s so fascinating is that both those things are certainly possible, perhaps even at the same time.

As season 2 of Killing Eve continues, the chase is back on as Eve and Villanelle are left searching for one another once more. And we can’t wait to see where it all goes from here.

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Killing Eve continues next Sunday on BBC America.