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A much-anticipated meeting lacks suspense on Killing Eve

Photo: Parisa Taghizadeh/BBCAmerica
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It was inevitable that our two leads would meet up at some point this season, but did anyone predict it would be as work colleagues? It’s a far cry from how they’ve met in the past, as Kenny is only too ready to remind Eve. No matter what Eve thinks of her now, Villanelle is still the person who killed Bill for no reason at all other than because she felt like it, but it seems to matter less and less to Eve.

Their eventual meeting is, of course, in the kitchen. Notably, despite the range of events that have taken place prior to this little date, neither of them wants to apologize, and neither of them is scared. The scene is a little sexy, a little funny, but also lacking in the tension of all their prior encounters. If no one is afraid of being murdered anymore, what do these two have to say to each other?


Despite the inherent sexiness of everyone touching each other’s faces and standing very close together, the whole scene doesn’t have a lot of ground to cover. The episode tries to amp up the danger by suggesting that Villanelle is just as evil as ever. We see her concoct a very elaborate murder scheme to take out a man in a car wash, which she accomplishes while staring into his eyes, as we’ve seen her do in the past. The Ghost speaks of her in awed tones during her interrogation. Eve gets a special presentation about how irredeemable psychopaths are. It all seems designed to make Villanelle seem baaaad. But it’s also clear throughout that Villanelle is not going to murder Eve, even with the whole mourning getup, which mostly just looks ridiculous once they go for a hike in the woods. Later, she does whatever she does to the Ghost to get her to talk, but it all occurs offscreen.

Given how much time the episode spends telling us that This Could Go Wrong, there’s almost no hint that it’s going to. The lack of any building sense of terror means there’s limited suspense to the whole operation. The only question is whether the two of them are actually going to confess their love or something, which neither does. And ultimately, it seems like the whole reason to get the two of them together like this is so that Carolyn and Konstantin don’t have to admit they’re still in touch. Because clearly, Carolyn could have gotten Villanelle to England at any point. The two of them look like nothing so much as watchful parents making sure their kids have a safe date together as they observe Eve and Villanelle leaving together. They surely have their reasons for it, but it makes the entire enterprise seem like a Rube Goldbergian scheme that could have been accomplished in a lot fewer steps.

There’s also the minor problem that it’s not entirely clear what this whole government operation is trying to accomplish. Initially, they wanted to catch Villanelle, who has murdered QUITE a few people. And now they’re focused on the Twelve, but so much so that they’re willing to let Villanelle walk away? Jess seems like the only voice of reason, questioning why Villanelle is even involved with this. If this new group is an entirely different operation, has the government just given up on catching Villanelle?

Oxford drag, Villanelle-style
Photo: Parisa Taghizadeh/BBCAmerica

The grand suggestion is that this is all part of some plot by Carolyn, who is apparently testing Eve herself for hints of psychopathy through the time-honored torture method of a very tedious slide show presented by a boring speaker. Why do the test at all if she never intended to go anywhere with it? Why did this episode care so much about paperwork?


The end result is that there is now a lot of dramatic weight attached to Carolyn’s mysterious plans. She essentially has to be a heartless genius to push Eve this way, with the end result that Eve does something very specific to aid her cause to make it all worthwhile.

And in the meantime, Eve is slipping further towards the edge, almost shoving a man into a moving train, and only jumping into bed with her husband when Villanelle sends her flowers. If Villanelle had a bit more intel, she could have added that to the long list of Eve’s crimes she gives Niko.


Stray observations

  • What do middle aged men yell about? “I can’t satisfy my wife in bed” and “Have you seen Mad Men? It’s a masterpiece.”
  • Eve saying she doesn’t have the “stomach” for murder is an intentional reference to stabbing Villanelle in the gut, right?
  • Even the psychopath checklist doesn’t really make sense for Villanelle. One of the criteria is lacking lasting intimate relationships, which she has with Konstantin, even if he still can’t get over her shooting him.
  • The spelling bee joke is cute, but at some point they’re going to run out of cutesy reveals about Carolyn.
  • Has there ever been a more brutal burn than “I’m sure your mom will find something else for you to do”?
  • Carolyn Martens’ new associate is named Martin. He is not to be confused with the show’s previous character named Martin, who was her dog. Who was also introduced in Episode 5, which was also the prior kitchen episode. Why are there so many Martins?? Is it a code?? I need answers.

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Lisa Weidenfeld

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Lisa is a writer and editor based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.