Killing Eve season 2 episode 3 review: The new normal


As Killing Eve season 2 continues, both Eve and Villanelle embrace something like their old lives, but that’s all a bit harder than either expected.

In the opening scene of the third episode of Killing Eve season 2, resurrected assassin handler Konstantin compares his protégé Villanelle to the children’s novel, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”

"“She eats you up to make space for herself. Like that book…with the hungry worm and all that food? Yes. That’s her.”"

His commentary turns out to be more prescient than he knows, however, as this episode is all about documenting the ways that Eve and Villanelle, hunter and hunted on both ends of the story, have burrowed into one another’s heads and lives.

Because no matter how either of them tries to go back to the lives they lived before they knew one another – or, more specifically, the events of the season 1 finale — the more we see that that’s simply not possible anymore. For either of them.

Oh, yeah, and Konstantin’s still alive, in case you missed that little bombshell from “Nice and Neat’s” closing moments.

But, the revelation of Konstantin’s survival is generally just taken in stride – the show makes no effort to even try to explain why he isn’t dead, but Kim Bodnia’s wry charm is so welcome that none of us really care that much.

He even almost makes Carolyn tolerable for a moment or two.

(But, seriously, though, how is he not dead?)

Sandra Oh as Eve Polastri, Nina Sosanya as Jess – Killing Eve _ Season 2, Episode 3 – Photo Credit: Parisa Taghizadeh/BBCAmerica

Villanelle, seemingly fully healed from her stab wound, is back on the clock as a Twelve-branded assassin. However, since she’s been instructed to keep herself and her work on the down low, she’s forced to make her kills look like accidents and stuck slumming it at a hotel that’s definitely seen better days. (Her “20/20”-style investigation of the bedsheets is not just hilarious, it’s a mark of how fall she’s fallen, professionally speaking.)

Her horrible new handler Raymond is basically the Twelve’s version of a crappy hotel. He seems to spend all his time either taunting or threatening Villanelle, and pretty much looks five minutes away from being arrested on some kind of sex crime. It’s odd to want someone who kills people for a living to get away from a creepy dude, but, hey, that’s where we’re at.

Fresh off her exploration of Villanelle’s more vulnerable side last week, Jodie Comer manages to craft a different kind of take on her character here that manages to incorporate some of that same tentativeness into her generally brash exterior. This is still, to be fair, a version of Villanelle that’s fairly close to the woman we saw in season 1 – obsessed with luxury products, rocking multiple costumes, stalking Eve through the streets of London without her knowledge. But…not quite.

Let’s put it another way: She’s so relieved/pleased to see Konstantin alive and well and waiting for her in her hotel room at the episode’s end that she flings herself into his arms and maybe even gets mildly teary for the tiniest of seconds. This feels like a woman in the grips of some kind of fairly significant transition, though it’s hard to predict where it will all end.

Eve, for her part, is busy trying to make her life feel normal again. She’s making Niko breakfast in bed, playing the dutiful and flirtatious wife at his work functions, and focusing her professional energies on a her new female assassin case, “The Ghost”.

Yet, while both Villanelle and Eve are engaged in many of the same activities – nefarious and otherwise – that they did last season – something is now very, very different.  Villanelle’s Eve obsession now seems to have a particularly active bent, as she works to separate the Polastris from one another by phoning complaints that Niko’s harassing students and pushing one of his coworkers to have an affair with him. (Her smile after she manages to orchestrate a this-close brush-by of Eve and drop a lipstick in her purse? A lipstick that secretly has a blade hidden in it? Girl has leveled up.)

Sandra Oh as Eve Polastri, Owen McDonnell as Niko Polastri – Killing Eve _ Season 2, Episode 3 – Photo Credit: Gareth Gatrell/BBCAmerica

And despite her insistence that she’s fine, Eve still sees the possibility of Villanelle everywhere – for good and for ill. She becomes so desperate to locate her after she realizes Villanelle’s in London that breaks all sorts of rules to find out where she is. Including giving Konstatin the location of his witness protection-stashed family. (An act that even Carolyn refused to do.)

What she wants from her – to arrest her or simply to best her after so many near misses including her almost-death – is unclear. But it’s clear that despite everything that’s happened Eve’s even more obsessed with her quarry than she was in the past.

And that increased obsession goes both ways. The only thing that keeps Villanelle from crying out to Eve when MI-6 arrives at her hotel is the fact that Konstantin is there, with his hand literally over her mouth.

What, exactly, Villanelle thinks will happen here is equally a big mystery – that Eve will confesses she loved her enough to track her down, that she’ll manage to be with her somehow despite the imminent threat of arrest? But as the action slows down and Villanelle and Eve breathe just the width of a door away from one another, anything seems possible.

By “The Hungry Caterpillar’s” final moments, the status quo as we know it has changed for good. (Or, at least, it appears to be.) Konstantin and Villanelle have escaped out the window, officially broken with the Twelve, and taken up the freelance assassin life as partners. Eve, following an exceptionally out of character mini-breakdown following Villanelle’s escape, finds herself in the doghouse with both Carolyn and Kenny and sliding closer to what feels like a dangerous path.

That final shot of her looking fascinated with her bleeding lip courtesy of Villanelle’s hidden lipstick knife? (Yikes.) Well, it’s impossible to look at that and conclude this character’s headed anywhere good.

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Killing Eve continues next Sunday on BBC America.