Photo: BBC America

Quite the turnaround of fortunes for old Frank there! Eve’s former work nemesis, the infamous dick swab, starts the episode giving a terrible eulogy for Bill in front of Bill’s family, friends, and colleagues, and ends it sprinting across the British countryside pursued implacably by Villanelle. Or should we call her Oksana?

Villanelle has her own status change to grapple with all episode, as her misbehavior causes Konstantin to demote her to assassinations with colleagues, one of whom is an ex she betrayed. Nadia and Diego basically serve the purpose of proving how much better at this Villanelle is. There’s something about watching her fire a gun that seems so graceless. So uncreative. And their lack of guile brings to mind Eve’s earlier declaration that Villanelle deserves to kill whoever she wants because she’s smarter than everyone else. As soon as Nadia makes the choice to trust Villanelle, all because Villanelle says some sweet, romantic things to her, you know Nadia is doomed. There’s just no way the Villanelle we know would sincerely mean those things. But at least we’re getting the first glimpses into Villanelle’s past, and while she may have cheated somehow to get ahead of Nadia, it’s clear she’s earned her place, while Nadia is slumming it with Diego, who’s an idiot.

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The whole plotline serves as an important reminder of the way Killing Eve toys with how you feel about Villanelle. In one episode, it’s possible to feel concerned for her safety, pleased she’s gentle with someone from her past, and scared of her, as she’s basically as relentless as the Terminator.

This is also the first episode where we really see Eve and Villanelle going head to head. They’ve both zeroed in on Frank, whose obvious faultiness as a mole has resulted in his employers deciding to eliminate him. It’s probably a wise choice, considering Eve’s group didn’t have to work particularly hard to reveal him as a problem, even if they were tipped off. The show hasn’t been subtle about setting him up as a potential villain—he tried to distract Eve from Villanelle earlier by lying to her about surveillance footage. Even given his dislike of Eve and Bill, it was an odd move. But he’s a useful villain for this plot point—familiar, unlikeable, and yet not entirely unsympathetic.

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Meanwhile, Eve has blundered full speed ahead with her investigation of Villanelle despite the clear evidence that she needs to take some actions to protect herself and Nico. She knows Villanelle has tracked her to her home, and that Villanelle has shown a willingness to go after her colleagues, and yet she goes after Frank with Elena. While she doesn’t have reason to think Frank’s handlers will take such quick action about him, it is curious that she brings Elena along for this job. She’s still acting as though this is a normal investigation, even though it isn’t, and the person she’s investigating is all too aware of what she’s doing. And now she’s distracted by wanting revenge.

It can almost make you wonder what Carolyn Martens is planning. Eve’s judgment is deeply compromised, and while she was smart enough to put together the disparate cases that connected Villanelle, she doesn’t have experience with the realities of dealing with a person like Villanelle. And the inherent risks. It’s not surprising that all of this would be shocking and new for Eve, and that she’d take steps that are unwise. But Carolyn is supposed to be a super genius who saved the world 9 times, and she’s awfully cavalier about not giving Eve much more to go on than telling her what meats to order. There’s a steep learning curve here.

But this is a show about Eve, and so it’s worth giving her the benefit of the doubt that she’ll rise to the occasion. She’ll certainly need to, now that she and Villanelle are engaging face to face. What odds would you put on who survives that interaction by the field?

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Stray observations

  • “What’s going on?” “She had a wasp on her nose.”
  • This show, like any other, requires some suspension of disbelief, but the wildly reckless assassins who fire guns out of a moving vehicle in the quiet countryside were a bit much. How in the world would they have operated that way for any length of time?
  • But another way of looking at them is that they were a problem, and also a reminder for Villanelle of the importance of professionalism. She eliminates both of them with such casual determination that it seems like she knew she was supposed to do it.
  • Frank’s “mother” is another moving piece in this thing. Theoretically, the people Frank was working for are aligned with the interests of/are the same as the people who tell Villanelle what to do, and yet the woman Nadia and Villanelle speak with doesn’t reveal herself, and protects Frank at least long enough for him to sneak out the door.
  • Everyone knows “Fanny” is slang for vagina, right? Jodie Comer appears to be from the Tatiana Maslany school of accents, though—the accent she deploys in that scene does not seem to be her real-life one.
  • I enjoyed that Bletcham gets the same font treatment as the show’s more glamorous destinations. And it was a nice twist that the first people we see there are Villanelle and her crew, even though we’ve just heard Eve talking about it.
  • Despite the fact that our true conflict on the show is Eve/Villanelle, the confrontations between Villanelle and Konstantin are far more charged right now. Villanelle’s puckish sense of humor results in both the fanny joke and the non-birthday prank, which is a very elaborate way of establishing for Konstantin that she knows he’s going to be mad at her, but he’d better be very, very careful about what he does about it.

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