Killing Eve season 3 review: “Still Got It” raises the emotional stakes even higher

Sandra Oh as Eve Polastri - Killing Eve _ Season 3, Episode 4 - Photo Credit: Des Willie/BBCAmerica/Sid Gentle
Sandra Oh as Eve Polastri - Killing Eve _ Season 3, Episode 4 - Photo Credit: Des Willie/BBCAmerica/Sid Gentle /

Killing Eve season 3 continues, with an hour that pushes the stakes of the season higher than ever before.

After last week’s shocking installment of Killing Eve, which saw Eve and Villanelle come face to face for the first time since the season 2 finale, and Carolyn survive the harrowing experience of her informant being assassinated in the backseat of the car she was driving, this follow-up episode keeps the stakes painfully high.

It also keeps the show’s major players in distinctly separate lane, breaking the hour into six segments focused on an individual character – Niko, Eve, Konstantin, Villanelle, Carolyn and Dasha. This is a new format for the show and, quite frankly, feels a little weird, but by the time the credits roll, you’ll realize why it’s necessary – because the story of this Killing Eve episode doesn’t happen linearly.

The final moments of “Still Got It” – which reveal the meaning behind its title – are a real gut punch, a twist that pushes the stakes of season 3 even higher, and gets rid of some narrative dead weight at the same time.

Look, I know that sounds cruel. And maybe it is. But who among us really cared about Nico’s story anymore? Fine, that didn’t mean he deserved to die. Probably. But there’s something perfect about the fact that Killing Eve fridges a dude to power the emotional angst of a female character, and this is exactly the sort of turning traditional tropes on their heads that I expect from this show.

That said, I still have no idea what Killing Eve is doing with Eve. Perhaps Nico’s murder will be the lightning bolt shot of clarity that both this character and this narrative need.

Don’t get me wrong, Killing Eve is doing a great job of showing – not telling – how distraught and torn Eve feels over her Villanelle-related emotions. The sequence with the bus-shaped birthday cake is a master class in acting by Sandra Oh, rocketing through excitement, revulsion, fury, pleasure and regret without saying a word.

The problem remains the fact that the show is completely uninterested in exploring Eve’s emotions beyond the most surface-level reactions. What are Eve’s feelings toward Villanelle, exactly? And how have they changed in the wake of her near-death at the end of Season 2? What drove her to kiss the other woman last week? What is it that she wants from her? And why is so willing to ignore…well, literally everything she knows about the assassin?

Shrug emoji. We don’t know, and unfortunately, Killing Eve appears more interested in stoking the (admittedly incredible) chemistry between the two women than it is in making sure there are plausible reasons for their behavior. Granted, Villanelle is a psychopath and she’s obsessed – so it’s easy to draw conclusions about why she might have such a problem letting go of Eve. But when Eve keeps the bear Villanelle sent her? What’s the reason for that? (I ask that question honestly, by the way – these are things that I genuinely want to know. I’m as invested in this relationship as anyone else.)

Perhaps Dasha’s plan to pin Nico’s murder on Villanelle will give Eve some perspective on everything that’s happened between them, and possibly push her toward making a real decision about how she feels about the other woman. A girl can dream, at least.

Eve isn’t the only character behaving in a way that’s as dictated by plot reasons, though. The Twelve, the mysterious shadow organization that’s been largely directing many of the events of Killing Eve and possibly the entire world, is annoyed enough with Villanelle’s scattered-ness vis a vis the Eve situation to complain to Dasha about it and tell her to drive a wedge between her protégé and the other woman. But…somehow just straight killing Eve is too much trouble?

Technically the phrase was “cause too many problems” – but other than depressing Villanelle, what are those? Villanelle survived thinking Eve was dead before, one has to assume she would again. I mean, yeah, Eve is the title character so it’s unlikely she’s going to get killed off. (Or, at least, not by anyone who isn’t Villanelle and certainly not with another season of the show already greenlit.) It’s just…well, it’s lazy storytelling.

All that said, things certainly seemed primed for season 3 to move in some truly intriguing and unexpected directions. Nico is dead, and for all Eve knows, Villanelle did it. (For real this time, instead of just threatening to do it and killing his mistress instead like last season.) As for the assassin, she’s headed off to Russia, ostensibly to find her family. Konstantin’s playing both sides and Carolyn’s attempting to grieve her dead son by throwing herself into the hunt for his killer. And Eve is paralyzed by grief in Poland. How will these threads find their way back to one another? We’ll have to wait and see.

Next. “Meetings Have Biscuits” exposes the major flaw in Killing Eve season 3. dark

Killing Eve season 3 continues next Sunday on BBC America.