Killing Eve review: Villanelle and Eve come face to face once more


Killing Eve brings Villanelle and Eve together again, and their latest encounter shifts the show in a surprising new direction.

Killing Eve delivers its best episode of the season with the oddly titled “Smell Ya Later,” a tension-filled hour that finally gives the people what they want: Eve and Villanelle together again.

It’s only been a handful of episodes since Eve stabbed Villanelle in the season 1 finale. Yet it feels as though considerably more time has passed, likely because both women are undergoing some fairly massive changes in their lives as a result of meeting one another.

Villanelle is becoming increasingly introspective and emotionally volatile. (Who ever would have believed we’d see her genuinely cry??) Eve is taking more risks, telling more lies and pushing harder than ever to see Villanelle again.

Her decision to entrap Villanelle by ordering a hit on herself is a bold plan, but one that almost everyone in her life balks at. But Eve doesn’t seem to care, and in fact appears rather excited for the opportunity, both to see her adversary again and to put herself in a dangerous position.

In many ways, despite her psychopath status, Villanelle is more honest with herself about her feelings for Eve the other woman. She initially refuses the contract on Eve’s life, and basically makes no attempt to go through with it even when given the opportunity to do so.

She may not necessarily understand Eve’s importance to her, but she can acknowledge it’s there and that it affects her actions. Konstantin is right, her feelings for Eve are making her weaker, professionally speaking, and Villanelle is at least self-aware enough to acknowledge that fact.

Jodie Comer as Villanelle, Kim Bodnia as Konstantin Vasiliev – Killing Eve _ Season 2, Episode 5 – Photo Credit: Parisa Taghizadeh/BBCAmerica

Eve doesn’t seem capable of the same insight at the moment. Instead, she makes excuses for her growing obsession, citing the need to “crack” the Ghost case, ignoring her reluctance to confront the clinical facts of psychopathic behavior, and dragging her husband off to have sex after a gift from Villanelle arrives.

She even complains that the new serial killer they have in custody isn’t exciting enough for her taste!

By the time Villanelle herself shows up at Eve’s house – in a predictably decadent “mourning” dress – none of us should be terribly shocked that the subsequent conversation between the two women is much more about their relationship than the case Eve ostensibly needs her help with.

Fans of Killing Eve often animatedly discuss the sexual tension that underlies virtually any scene that Eve and Villanelle share. And to be fair – there’s a lot of it. The two women’s conversation in Eve’s home crackles with attraction of multiple varieties and at this point we’re all basically waiting for the two of them to make out.

Their meeting here almost completely reverses their initial face-off in season 1’s “I Have a Thing About Bathrooms.” There, the event was largely driven and planned by Villanelle; here, Eve is the one who sets up their meeting. And the two feel as though they are on slightly more even playing ground this time. Sort of.

Their long conversation crackles with energy, unspoken attraction and the sort of repeated double-entendres that indicate multiple conversations are actually happening at once. When Eve eventually agrees to give Villanelle everything she wants, it feels as though she’s saying yes to something much more complicated than an interrogation request.

On that note, it’s worth mentioning that this episode does require a certain suspension of disbelief on its face – it’s hard to imagine that Villanelle, a dangerous and wanted murderer in her own right, would not only be given the chance to interrogate the Ghost on behalf of MI-6, but allowed to walk away as a free woman afterward.

More people than merely Eve know precisely what Villanelle is capable of, after all. And what she is very likely to continue doing after this particular helpful interaction concludes.

But, injecting Villanelle so directly into Eve’s life makes for a climax that’s rife with tension, and promises that the remainder of season 2 will likely go in a way we may not necessarily expect.

Sandra Oh as Eve Polastri – Killing Eve _ Season 2, Episode 5 – Photo Credit: Robert Viglasky/BBCAmerica

Up until now, one of the basic premises of Killing Eve is simply that Villanelle is a monster that must be brought to justice. Likely at Eve’s hand. But…what if that’s no longer strictly true?

For her part, Eve doesn’t seem to want to stop Villanelle so much as merely see her, indicating that her obsession with the assassin has reached such heights that she no longer seems to really care about whether she’s still out there doing the grisly work she’s best at.

And her lack of interest in how dangerous Villanelle still is may put Niko in danger. Apparently tired of attempting to ruin his life through flirty coworkers and anonymous complaints, Villanelle finally decides to confront her crush’s husband herself.

Would Villanelle have felt emboldened enough to track down Eve’s husband on a school trip if she had not just been knowingly invited into the Polastri home? (Let alone blow up all her lies?) Does she feel more confident that Eve returns her feelings now that the two have essentially become colleagues?

Eve’s her slow spiral into…whatever this is that’s happening to her, is both fascinating and frightening.

We watch her reject the well-meaning warnings of her colleagues, even going so far as to have Kenny reassigned to a different team simply because he disagrees with her about Villanelle. She rejects any and all safety protocols, throws away her bulky bulletproof vest, and insists that only an “intimate” meeting with her favorite murderer will do.

She even spends a long moment apparently contemplating shoving an annoying commuter in front of a train! What has happened to this woman? And what sort of person is she becoming?

Is it Villanelle’s proximity to Eve’s life that’s making her spiral so badly, or is she still feeling shaky after stabbing her nemesis at the end of last season? We don’t really know. But whatever’s going on, it’s pretty major, and very, very dark.

Was getting the name of the person behind Alistair Peel’s murder worth all of this? By the end of this episode, it’s not clear that Eve thinks so herself, so it should be interesting to see what everyone else in her life has to say about it.

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Killing Eve continues Sunday at 8pm ET on BBC America.