Killing Eve season 3 review: “Beautiful Monster” turns the tables

Sandra Oh as Eve Polastri - Killing Eve _ Season 3, Episode 7 - Photo Credit: Laura Radford/BBCAmerica/Sid Gentle
Sandra Oh as Eve Polastri - Killing Eve _ Season 3, Episode 7 - Photo Credit: Laura Radford/BBCAmerica/Sid Gentle /

The penultimate episode of Killing Eve season 3 turns the tables on many of our major characters, but many of its developments don’t feel entirely earned.

Maybe it’s because there’s genuinely so much to like about Killing Eve season 3 that its flaws feel so much more pronounced than they otherwise might. But while “Beautiful Monster” is an action-packed hour, with plenty of twists, near-misses and a truly stellar soundtrack, it feels more than a little bit hollow in the end.

There’s so much that happens in this installment – Konstantin has a heart attack, Villanelle goes on a mission with Dasha, but tries to kill her instead of completing her assignment, Irina is wilding out in Russian juvenile detention, Geraldine realizes Konstantin is a total scammer, Bitter Pill has their offices raided by the government, and Eve tracks Villanelle to Scotland, and just misses her as she’s boarding a train to what may or may not be freedom. (Minus Konstantin, due to the aforementioned heart attack.)

I’m not sure how much I entirely buy Villanelle’s sudden aversion to murder for hire – I accept the fact that everything that happened to her in Russia, including her murder of her mother, has likely had deep emotional effects on the woman she is now and who she sees herself becoming. That makes total sense.

But is that enough for her to give up on the one consistent thing we’ve always known about her character? That she’s not only great at what she does – she genuinely enjoys it? Maybe. But this is one of those rare moments I wish that Killing Eve’s seasons were slightly longer than they generally are, because I don’t think that the show has completely earned the moment in which Villanelle decides to club Dasha to death instead of her target.

Which, is another death that doesn’t stick, because this show is just so darn afraid to do anything that actually matters. Yes, Kenny died in the season premiere. But Kenny was also narrative dead weight and a general cipher as a character. Even most of the other characters appear to have given up on solving his murder.

Killing Eve couldn’t even allow Nico – a character that literally everyone hates – to stay dead. Did anyone think that was really the end for Konstantin? Of course not.

Speaking of unearned character twists, hi, Eve Polastri, what’s good? I know that I’ve ranted about this at several points already this season, but the completely ridiculous lack of any sort of perspective or motivation for Eve is driving me nuts.

Shouldn’t we be able to tell whether Eve is really digging in the trash and openly encouraging her friends to break the law to track down Villanelle because she wants to use her to bring down the Twelve or because she wants to kiss her some more?

Shouldn’t Eve’s decision to grind her foot into a wounded Dasha’s chest with a gleeful smile have felt like, oh, I don’t know, a natural next step in her fall from grace rather than a soap opera-level surprise villain twist?

(What even was that? Where did that come from?)

I get it – there’s something appealing about Eve spiraling into darkness just as Villanelle is maybe finding her way out of it. I’d rather watch a season of Eve indulging her inner dark side than…whatever we’ve had this year, that’s for sure.

But much like the show doesn’t seem to want to commit to things like death and consequences for any character whose name we might know, it also seems to have a bright line about Eve’s character: This far, and no further. She can kiss and flirt with Villanelle, she can even murder a man in the name of defending her, but she – and the show – can’t openly look at what any of that might mean.

If we’re supposed to assume that this is all fallout from Eve’s near-death experience in Rome and everything that went with it (killing someone, almost running away with Villanelle, etc.), the show has done absolutely zero work to make that story make sense for this character. At this point, I’m not sure why Eve didn’t just run off with Villanelle in Rome. That seems to be what she wants now, and other than nearly dying at the hand of the woman she’s now pining over, there’s virtually nothing that’s changed for her. So why is she so desperate for Villanelle now?

(Sidebar: I truly felt sorry for her when she was digging in a dumpster for a thrown away cake box in the trash. I don’t understand how this character has come to this.)

With just one episode to go in season 3, I don’t know how Killing Eve will manage to wrap up this story in a way that feels satisfying. I have to assume that Eve and Villanelle will actually run off together this time, or perhaps Eve will just follow after her crush, Catch Me If You Can-style.

The show’s already been renewed for a fourth season, so once again it seems fair to assume this one will end on a cliffhanger. The question is what that will look like. And since they’ve both already tried to kill the other, ending the season with the pair together will at least be something different. And I’m not even going to pretend that part of me wont’ like that, in some regard.

But I don’t think I’m doing to be happy with how we got there. Prove me wrong, show.

Killing Eve season 3 concludes next Sunday on BBC America. What do you think will happen in the season finale?