Killing Eve season 2 episode 2 review: The tables turn for Villanelle


As Killing Eve season 2 continues, Villanelle finds herself in a compromising position, and Eve tries to figure out what’s become of her nemesis.

If the season 2 premiere didn’t convince you that Killing Eve is even better in its second season as it was in its first, “Nice and Neat” should be all the proof you need that this show is the real deal.

An unexpected episode in which Eve and Villanelle’s stories once again diverge almost entirely — until they don’t — there are surprising twists, truly moving moments and laugh-out-loud funny lines. Sure, it works overtime to keep our two leads apart, courtesy of a shiny new female killer for Eve to chase, and an extremely unfortunate choice in marks for Villanelle. Yet, each individual storyline is intriguing enough on its own that the episode hangs together as a largely satisfying whole.

We spend most of “Nice and Neat” with Villanelle, still seeking a respite after her life-threatening injuries and hospital escape. After reaching England in the trunk of a car, Villanelle turns her charms on a sad sack man at a local Birmingham hospital, asking him to play knight in shining armor to her clearly broken and desperate self. And he does, but that’s where the story you thought Killing Eve was going to tell stops.

Remember that bit in the first season 2 trailer when Villanelle is jokingly laughing about stabbing someone? And how we all thought she was going to just kill some random who tries to help her? Well, that’s kind of what happens – eventually – except that the presumed victim turns out to be a monster who holds women hostage in his creepy doll-filled prison house.

Jodie Comer as Villanelle – Killing Eve _ Season 2, Episode 2 – Photo Credit: Parisa Taghizadeh/BBCAmerica

Yes, Villanelle chose extremely poorly in rescuer Julian, a man who clearly likes to wield power over women he considers weaker than himself. He’s busy keeping his own dementia-addled mother prisoner in their home, and seems to want to do the same to Villanelle. Within a day he’s refusing to get her medicine, calling her a tease, physically threatening her and blocking all paths of escape from the house, including locking the windows and doors and physically removing the phone.

It’s an unexpected — and unexpectedly fascinating — situation to see Villanelle in a position where she’s so clearly not the one in control. Here, thanks to her injuries and general weakened state, she’s largely at the mercy of someone else for the first time ever, and that someone else is possibly just as disturbed as she is.

We’ve never really seen Villanelle in a position where not only does she not know what to do, she can’t even physically defend herself from a threat that we see coming long before she does. This leads to the episode’s most surprisingly emotional scene, as Villanelle uses brief access to a telephone to try and call both her former handlers (who deny her) and MI-6. That Villanelle, in tears, is trying so desperately to reach Eve, in the hopes that her “girlfriend”/nemesis/whatever they are to each other right now can save her is — whew, it’s something else. Jodie Comer is a master at giving every one of Villanelle’s actions such layers, and here is no different.

Is her call to Eve an act of survival? One of desperation? Does she just want someone to care enough to come find her — and she thinks Eve is that person? All of these things seem as though they’re true in that moment, and they all just mean that whenever the two women finally meet again, that scene is going to be positively explosive.

Sandra Oh as Eve Polastri – Killing Eve _ Season 2, Episode 2 – Photo Credit: Nick Wall/BBCAmerica

Eve, for her part, spends most of “Nice and Neat” trying to put her life back together, joining Carolyn’s new (reconstituted? IDK) team and realizing a new female assassin is likely on the loose. (That her first reaction is glee over how angry another woman murdering people will make Villanelle? Perfection.) Yet, for every moment that Eve seems to have things on track, there’s another in which she…clearly doesn’t. She’s keeping secrets from her husband again, struggling to focus during work presentations and constantly talking about Villanelle.

Whether its filling Kenny in on her near-murder in Paris or pressing to keep their murder squad looking for Villanelle even though a second killer has presented themselves in London, Eve looks more obsessed than ever. But, oddly, everyone seems okay with it – for the moment.

Will that be the case forever? What about when Eve gets closer to the object of said obsession? The two had a near miss this week – as Villanelle is picked up by a new handler just as Eve and Carolyn arrive to discover Julian’s dead body. What about the next time, especially since Villanelle seems convinced that Eve’s feelings for her are perhaps something different than they actually are?

Oh, and we’re not even talking about the last-minute twist where Carolyn revealed to Eve that Konstantin is still alive. (Granted, this is the sort of show where nothing should really surprise me anymore but Villanelle’s decision to follow through with the hit on her handler felt so momentous last season!)

How did Carolyn pull this off? Who is she anyway? And why did the Twelve decide to take Villanelle back after everything she’s done? Is it to take out Konstantin again?

The worst sentence in TV fandom: We’ll have to wait to next week to find out.

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Killing Eve continues next Sunday on BBC America.