Bill, no!
Photo: BBC America

You can’t say Killing Eve doesn’t take risks. There aren’t many shows that would heavily suggest that one of their characters is almost a third lead, then kill him off in the third episode.

Of course, as soon as Bill starts joking that he’s going to die, it’s hard not to expect it by the end of the episode. But there’s a fair degree of misdirection in the middle. He and Eve are such a sweet duo, and the scenes of them gossiping about Bill’s past in Berlin suggest a pretty fascinating life. It’s also still notably rare for men to discuss sexual fluidity this way. The whole thing is just…nice. The two actors have great chemistry, the writing is just the right degree of coy and witty about his sexual escapades, and it’s overall an impressively tender scene, considering we’ve only known these characters for two and a half episodes

Bill’s death, on the other hand, doesn’t work quite as well. From a plotting standpoint, sure, it’s shocking, and it will severely alter the burgeoning bond between Villanelle and Eve, and force Eve to reckon with the stakes of her new job. But the route the show takes to get him there doesn’t quite hold water. He may have been sitting behind a desk for the last couple of years, but he seems far too savvy to take the risks he does following Villanelle in Berlin. He’s always too close behind her, and he pursues her too directly in the club. He knows that she’s brilliant, dangerous, and violent—why wouldn’t he be smarter about following her, especially after they had a face-to-face encounter at the train station? For that matter, why wouldn’t he assume that Villanelle would recognize him? She’s been following Eve well enough to get on her train, so she presumably would have seen him hanging out with Eve all day.

And why wouldn’t Eve suspect that Villanelle was still in Berlin? Villanelle using her name at the sex club is a clear effort to provoke. We’re supposed to believe that Eve is smart enough to be Villanelle’s equal, and while she may be a little more naïve than her, it’s odd that she doesn’t have more questions about why her name popped up in Berlin. 

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Speaking of people who should know more, why doesn’t Konstantin know that Villanelle used Eve’s name? Everyone else does. She wasn’t subtle about it. She did a murder with it. It’s a provocation that should be colossal, in terms of the ecosystem of government spooks and shady criminal syndicates that are circling each other on the show. Instead, only Eve’s group and the Germans seem to know about it. On a character level, it makes sense for Villanelle to pull this maneuver. She wants Eve to know she’s watching. And maybe there will be more ramifications for this down the line. But the interaction with Konstantin makes him look a little more foolish than we’ve been led to believe he is.

The whole concept of the murderer and the detective who understand each other all too well works best if you believe that not only are they equals, but that they’re two people who recognize something vital and unique in each other. Considering that Eve hasn’t done this type of investigation before, she’s going to have to be a few steps behind Villanelle. But she can’t be so far behind that she doesn’t even seem like she should be following her. 

Still, whatever pattern the two women had been falling into has suffered a cataclysmic shock. The (off the books) government agency investigating Villanelle has lost a member, which is a clear acknowledgment of the stakes here. Villanelle’s employers presumably didn’t want anyone connecting the dots between her kills, and her attack provides pretty direct confirmation for anyone paying attention. Caroline’s group may be a secret, but we know that there are people in the British government and in Villanelle’s group that are paying attention. It’s also hard to imagine Eve being as blasé about the people Villanelle has killed now that someone close to her has been taken. Villanelle never suffers any consequences, but there’s a lot of potential for her to regret this move. 

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Stray observations

  • Would love to read an interview with whoever chooses the music for the show. It always so clearly announces itself as Spy Music, in the same clever way the show comments on other tropes of the genre.
  • Really interested to see where they’re going with clothes on the show. For Villanelle, they’re clearly vital. That suit she’s wearing during the Bill pursuit is amazing, and she’s already weighing in on what Eve wears, because Eve dresses like a normal busy office worker. There haven’t exactly been signs that she’ll be smitten with high end designers the way Villanelle is, but I have a feeling we’re going to start seeing it.
  • Similarly, I am rarely as aware of someone’s hair in a show the way they’re making us think about Sandra Oh’s. Is it up, is it down? Is she playing with it? Can Villanelle keep finding random American women with similar hair?
  • The whole dance club murder scene was so awful. In, you know, a good way. Bill realizing he’s the hunted one, the crush of people, the deafening music.
  • Is it weird that I liked Zhang Wu? They made him seem like a decent guy! He was so nice to the people at the sex club.
  • So Kenny is clearly into Elena, right? I hope the show starts relying on them more as characters.
  • “Don’t follow behind. She’s farted. It’s horrendous.”

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