Killing Eve review: Villanelle spirals as Eve finds success without her


As Killing Eve’s second season continues, Villanelle spirals in Amsterdam as Eve finally triumphs in London. Who are both of these women becoming?

After a couple of episodes of near-miss moments, Killing Eve pulls its two leads apart again and sets them off on their own separate, but inevitably interconnected arcs.

Villanelle, now a full-time murder freelancer, is in Amsterdam with Konstantin, where apparently the two are being paid handsomely to take out sleazy dudes. Plus side: Her new partner/former handler tells Villanelle she can now be as loud and obvious as she wants to be when it comes to her kills. Have some fun. Show that Eve Polastri what she’s missing by focusing on that boring Ghost woman.

Downside, Villanelle seems to find the bulk of Amsterdam boring, spending her days pouting in her luxurious new hotel digs and shouting in art museums. However, she perks up a bit when she discovers a 17th century painting by artist Jan de Baen, The Corpses of the DeWitt Brothers, a work that depicts the gruesome, flayed bodies of two men who were assassinated by their political opponents.

Villanelle likes the artwork so much that she purchases a postcard of it to send home to Eve, along with a note encouraging her crush not to forget her. Eve, for her part, never receives this missive, as its intercepted and kept by Carolyn.

Carolyn would probably say she was keeping the grotesque note for Eve’s protection, since it’s unlikely that anything good can possibly come from these two women coming face-to-face once more. (And she doesn’t even know about the stabbing, remember!) But, if we’re being honest, the odds are pretty high that she’s also still punishing Eve for her mistake with Konstantin last week. The most effective way to do that is to keep her on the Ghost case, or really doing anything that isn’t speculating or fantasizing about Villanelle.

Fiona Shaw as Carolyn Martens – Killing Eve _ Season 2, Episode 4 – Photo Credit: Parisa Taghizadeh/BBCAmerica

Which, for the most part is true. Despite her ongoing problems with her husband Niko – they have another tiresome spat about her job and how dangerous it is – and a strange interlude in which she comes this close to making out with one of her new coworkers, Eve makes progress in her Ghost chase by running tests on one of the victims and figuring out that their target must have some kind of medical background.

Eve’s dull investigation pales in comparison to Villanelle’s romp through Amsterdam, however. The assassin has really taken Konstantin’s admonition to “have fun” with her work again to heart.

She tracks a particularly sleazy target into the city’s red light district and murders him with a gawking crowd of onlookers watching while dressed in what basically comes down to a frilly schoolgirl costume complete with pig mask. (Apparently this guy… may have been into farm animals? Yikes.) She then proceeds to gut him as the tourists ooh and ahh over how realistic it all is, and arrange his body to match the de Baen painting she fancies. Let it never be said that Villanelle is boring.

Seriously, how is Eve supposed to compete with this, story-wise? Of course, looking into the deaths of Alistair Peele and his secretary feels beige and dry, next to her nemesis’ live action performance art animal costume furry murder. (Seriously, I can’t get over this sequence, can you tell??) It’s not like Kenny running algorithms is exactly compelling TV.

Jodie Comer as Villanelle – Killing Eve _ Season 2, Episode 4 – Photo Credit: Parisa Taghizadeh/BBCAmerica

But, to her credit, Eve’s plodding investigative style is effective, and she actually tracks down and arrests the Ghost by the end of the episode. And while she spends a long moment getting herself ready to interview a serial killer, one has to wonder if Eve will be disappointed by what she finds.

Will she be disappointed that the Ghost is not Villanelle, and clearly does not come part and parcel with all the flair and flourish that she does? Will capturing the “new girl” not feel as satisfying as she’s been hoping?

As for Villanelle herself, when she realizes that Eve isn’t coming to Amsterdam to admire her murderous handiwork and that MI-6 has in fact sent her partner Jess instead, she… doesn’t take it well. In fact, she goes on what can only be termed a bender, popping a bunch of what looks like ecstasy in an underground nightclub and nearly murdering a woman who cuts in front of her in the bathroom line. (I mean, to be fair, we’ve all thought about it, right, ladies?)

Villanelle’s drug trip is a wild sequence to watch, and not just because it’s shot in a way that’s supposed to mimic her obviously blotto state of mind. No, it’s largely because we’ve never seen Villanelle truly out of control like this, taking drugs, attacking strangers in a blind rage, getting physically carted out of the nightclub by Konstantin, waking up in her own vomit and breaking down in tears the next morning when she realizes her crush hasn’t texted her back. So to speak.

This girl is a mess. And what’s going to happen if and/or when she can’t keep it together anymore?

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Killing Eve airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on BBC America.