Two women wearing good hats near a sign with a hat on it.
Photo: BBC America

So what happens when both your law enforcement figure and your criminal can’t trust their bosses? As we head into the first season finale of Killing Eve, both Eve and Villanelle find themselves cut adrift from the systems that created them. Eve has finally gotten confirmation (she thinks) that Carolyn knows more than she was letting on about Villanelle, and Villanelle has shot her new handler and failed to kill her old one.

That Carolyn was up to something weird was telegraphed pretty heavily in the last episode. What exactly she’s up to is a more complicated question. The security footage from the prison sure makes it seem like she’s pretty familiar with Villanelle, but she’s certainly gone to a lot of effort to get her son a job if there’s no other level to what she’s doing.

Speaking of people who aren’t quite on the level, we finally met the mysterious Anna, in a long one-on-one scene with Eve that dipped and bobbed in unexpected directions. It’s impossible to come away from it thinking definitively that Anna is who she says she is, or that she absolutely isn’t. Eve seems similarly mixed on her. Why was Villanelle’s passport hidden in Anna’s jacket? And Anna herself is distinctly odd, presenting what appears to be genuine sadness about her husband’s death while simultaneously never quite explaining why she saved what appears to be hundreds of love letters from someone she should fear and hate. Given that Villanelle seemed a little anxious about the possibility of running into her in Russia, it’s hard to imagine we’re not going to learn anything more concerning about her. Like, say, that she’s the one who murdered her husband. Remember how Villanelle faked Frank’s murder scene to look like her earlier kill? Doesn’t suggest much of a compulsion on her part.

Photo: BBC America

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That’s not to say that Villanelle isn’t exactly who we know her to be. Even for a contract killer, the way she kills the woman sent to kill her is incredibly gruesome. And she’s the type of person who pauses in the midst of her own prison getaway to admire the gore of innocent passersby killed during her rescue. She’s like a chef admiring a really well-made meal at a new restaurant.

In fact, one of the only times this season she’s appeared to show genuine emotion is in the scene where she tries and fails to kill Konstantin. His confession of love is a huge gamble, since everything we’ve been led to believe about her suggests she doesn’t feel love for people. Romantic obsession, yes. But her playful relationship with Konstantin hasn’t really been suggestive of actual affection. There’s also no sign that she was planning to let him live even after he’d said it. Given her clearly twisted relationship with Anna, the fact that he specifically said he loved her more than his family seemed very intentional.

Whatever else is going on with their relationship stands in sharp contrast to her scene with poor, dumb Anton. Leave it to this show to introduce a new character with a distinct, unusual actor performance and a suggestion that things are about to change for Villanelle, only to have her immediately kill him. Her eyerolls at the tropes of the genre are a constant source of amusement on this show. On the other hand, if all she wants to do is her job, why is she risking her own connections to the organization that pays her bills? And how committed is she to taking Konstantin out? That Jodie Comer’s performance leaves this so hard to discern is part of the joy of the show. It’s a great disappearing act, for a performer. Villanelle always seems so completely herself.

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We’ve got one more episode to piece these things together, to sew the various betrayals back into one cohesive group of people who may or may not be on the same sides. Was Konstantin trying to protect Villanelle? Has Carolyn been setting Eve up from the beginning? And what, exactly, do Villanelle and Eve mean to each other?


Stray observations

  • “Nadia has been murdered in prison. The good news is, the buffet’s open.” I just want Fiona Shaw to say dry one liners all day long.
  • Loved also the parallel between her saying “Go back to London. Traveling makes you rude” and Konstantin saying “I advise you to have a sausage and go home.” The adults are really trying to create the sense that they’re in charge, despite all evidence that no one will listen to them.
  • So who sent Inga to murder Villanelle? There are quite a few candidates. Or was it all an effort to give the prison an excuse to transfer her?
  • Eve and Carolyn were also dressed very similarly in their first scene together, in blue coats over turtlenecks. Is Eve starting to dress like her?
  • Poor Kenny. If Carolyn really does have some other plot here, she’s being deeply cruel to her son during it. Or she’s just who she appears to be now, which is also bad for him. Really a lose/lose. At least he got to meet Elena.
  • “Why did they want me in there? I’m amazing.”
  • Gonna start a petition for a spinoff series starring Carolyn’s Russia hat.

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