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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

It's very hard to be a good parent in the world of Killing Eve

Illustration for article titled Its very hard to be a good parent in the world of iKilling Eve/i
Photo: Laura Radford/BBC America
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One of the more unexpected focuses emerging over the course of this season of Killing Eve has been parenting, and the struggles faced by both kids and their parents as they strive to forge connections and share the things that matter. Last week, Villanelle tried and failed to figure out what her relationship with her mother should mean, and this week, Konstantin and Carolyn both try to connect with their daughters, to decidedly mixed results.

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Well, Konstantin finds mixed results. Carolyn comes closer to an understanding with Geraldine, one that Geraldine at least has been seeking all season, only to make clear at the end of the conversation that it was all a precursor to interrogating her daughter about her relationship with Konstantin. The whole speech is very Carolyn—yes, she struggles to understand her daughter, but she’s still trying in her own way to be there for her, even if it means eating a stew of deformed vegetables instead of the pot pie she’s been craving. And while it’s been easy to sympathize with Geraldine throughout the season as Carolyn refuses to grieve with her, Carolyn is also right that Geraldine has kept something pretty major from her. The counterpoint, of course, is that Geraldine might not have been driven to seek comfort from Konstantin if not for her mother’s aloofness during a terrible time in her life.

It’s just more bad luck for Konstantin that Carolyn is feeling “galvanized” right now, since it means that he gets taken on a terrifying car ride (one of two for the episode) while she interrogates him about his connection to Kenny. And for any of us who wondered way back when the Konstantin/Carolyn romantic history was first teased, it turns out Kenny also thought there was a chance Konstantin was his father. In another deeply Carolyn moment, when Konstantin says he told Kenny he did not even know himself if he was Kenny’s father, she doesn’t respond to either confirm or deny. Instead, she tosses his various possessions out of the car and goes about her business. And when Konstantin finally makes it back home again, presumably after a very long walk back to find his wallet and phone, it’s to discover yet another nemesis hiding in his room. This time, it’s the obviously-a-stinker-from-the-start Paul, who Carolyn has recently pinpointed as a likely member of the Twelve thanks to his stonewalling on releasing Kenny’s phone records. Paul’s there to force Konstantin to figure out who had the Twelve’s accountant’s wife killed, all in service of finding out who’s been stealing money from the group. Since all of that is apparently Konstantin himself, he’s basically one collapsed lie away from death here. And none of that is even the worst thing that happens to Konstantin in this episode!

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That would, of course, be seeing his daughter murder her harmless stepfather for no reason other than dislike for him, a very unfortunate hobby she has clearly picked up from spending time with Villanelle. Which he will probably blame Villanelle for, but of course it’s his own choice of career that brought Villanelle into his life. He’s also the one who made sure Villanelle stayed on assignment as an assassin, so the fact that murderous behavior has now become part of his own life is as much his own doing as anyone else’s. It’s not particularly possible to keep your hands clean in the business he’s in, and his hope that he could get his daughter out unscathed was always a pretty hopeless one.

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Villanelle, meanwhile, is clearly still reeling from what happened with her mother in the last episode, and finds herself starting to struggle with the career she’s chosen. It all makes her go from her biological mother straight to her surrogate mother, Dasha, who may have had an illustrious past but is clearly a bit of a screwup now. The most obvious sign that Villanelle didn’t attack Niko is that he survived.

Secret bowling champ.
Secret bowling champ.
Photo: Des Willie, BBC America
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Which all brings us back to Eve, who is now once again demonstrating the keen investigative skills that made her a good candidate to track down Villanelle in the first place. Eve has been so caught up in her own messes on the show that it’s easy to forget that she’s supposed to be brilliant, which is something that Dasha herself is clearly underestimating. Everyone knows Villanelle is obsessed with Eve, but no one else seems to have questioned why too deeply. If Dasha had given Eve the tiniest bit of credit for being smart, she would have come up with a much better plan to drive her away from Villanelle. To put it in a metaphor that is also actually what happened, she used a blunt instrument when something subtler was needed.

But an oblivious Villanelle, fresh out of options after a misfire of an assassination in Romania, still needs her surrogate mother, even if she only needs her to help stitch up an injury. It’s too bad she also uses the time to break the one rule Konstantin has set for her: making it very clear that things aren’t going on as usual. Is she going to get another meeting with Hélène now?

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Stray observations

  • Since this is now at least the third time I thought we’d seen the last of Niko this season, I’m going to refrain from gauging the likelihood that Eve will now “piss off forever.”
  • Carolyn’s extremely competent effort to go around Paul to get what she needs about Kenny is also why it’s very odd to me that the Twelve went after her son. Why attract the attention of someone as well-connected and smart as her?
  • Ready for an entire other subplot about Eve’s apparent secret bowling league.
  • Hard to tell for sure, but it seemed like the camera really focused meaningfully on the abandoned, bloody hair cutting scissors in the botched assassination scene. Is this a suggestion that Villanelle has made a mistake by leaving them behind? Because it’s not like she’s ever tried, at all, to conceal her murder efforts before. She doesn’t wear gloves.
  • Dasha threatening Eve fell a little flat. Eve knows her number could have been up at any point by now. Why would she believe Dasha’s threat is real? Or rather, why would that make her more worried than anything else?
  • Now that everyone else’s family life is in tatters, will we see more of Eve’s?
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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Lisa is a writer and editor based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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