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Killing Eve tells a series of short stories about bad choices in its strongest episode of the season

Illustration for article titled Killing Eve tells a series of short stories about bad choices in its strongest episode of the season
Photo: Ludovic Robert/BBCAmerica
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If you thought Kenny would be the only major character death this season on Killing Eve, the show is ready to pull the rug out from under you. “Still Got It” is structured around a series of vignettes about each of the major characters, and it’s not until a few of them happen that it becomes clear they’re not occurring sequentially, with the fatal scene starting at the beginning of the episode, but not coming to its horrifying conclusion until the end.


The major through-line for all of the vignettes, no matter how disparate the characters, is that all of them are at a break point in their lives. What do they want the rest of their lives to look like? Who are they worried about failing in their lives? Is their past calling them back in a way that’s healthy, or harmful? For an episode that also includes the usual degree of death and violence, it’s deeply introspective. All of these people are traumatized to some degree, and all of them have had a lot of time to think about how they want their choices to define them. It may be made explicit in Eve’s early conversation with Jamie, but it’s just as true for all of them. It’s an odd thing to happen all the way in the fourth episode, but what happened here seems likely to shake out over the course of the rest of the season, from Villanelle ignoring the request that she stop traveling to Konstantin requesting an off the record kill from her to Carolyn failing to connect with her daughter and going back to work.

Of all of these, Carolyn’s is perhaps the most heartbreaking. She finally gets what she wants again, which is a return to work (and her office, wherever it is), but her personal life is a mess. It’s hard not to empathize with both her and Geraldine. Geraldine just wants her mother to comfort her during a terrible time, but she’s also asking Carolyn to grieve in the same way that she does, which is both unfair to ask of anyone and also a failure to understand who her mother is. On the other hand, Carolyn is her family. Is there not some level of responsibility on her part to try and compromise between the way she wants to handle Kenny’s death and what her daughter needs? It’s enough to make you want to scream into a pillow, but for all that this family is living in unusual circumstances, it’s the sort of troubling, impossible dynamic that is going to feel familiar to almost anyone who’s been frustrated by a family member’s refusal or inability to change. Everyone gets set in patterns with their families over the years, no matter how much they may grow or change in other aspects of their lives. These two really need a therapist to help them work through things, but undoubtedly the therapist would turn out to be a spy.

Illustration for article titled Killing Eve tells a series of short stories about bad choices in its strongest episode of the season
Photo: Des Willie/BBCAmerica/Sid Gentle

And poor Eve tries to make the healthier choice for once in her life, only to have it blow up spectacularly thanks to Dasha’s machinations. Whether clinging to her marriage with Niko was actually a healthy choice or not isn’t quite the point here—it was a gesture on Eve’s part to have things turn out differently, and now she’ll most likely get sucked back into the obsessive behavior that ruined her life for the past two seasons.

It’s also a sign that the show finally wants to move beyond the same fight Eve would have with Niko every episode, and a decisive choice to move beyond what’s come before. That shot of Niko’s phone abandoned on the bar is obviously meant as foreshadowing, but if you guessed “this leads to Dasha killing him with a pitchfork in front of Eve,” you should perhaps start doing some more gambling. Dasha getting her own vignette is surprising until you realize that she’s the one manipulating Eve, not Villanelle, for once. It’s also a step that makes a lot of sense in terms of the Twelve trying to control their own operation, although it’s just as easy to see this backfiring on them. The connection between Eve and Villanelle was still present, but it had cooled a bit. Now it’s been reignited. Which is worse for a secretive organization—Villanelle sending Eve the occasional birthday cake, or Eve hellbent on tracking down Villanelle and killing her?


Stray observations

  • I looked up what a GBH charge was in the UK for you. It’s grievous bodily harm.
  • I didn’t end up going into this in the recap, but I really liked the conversation between Eve and Jamie where he tells her “Do not think that you are the only self-loathing asshole in the room, ever.” I still think there’s a possibility of a romance there, but it’s also just nice to see Eve have a conversation with someone who could be her friend, and who can point out that she’s wallowing more than she should be.
  • Look, I know the plot needs to move forward from here, but I would really, really love to have seen Villanelle on the Jack the Ripper tour. I just feel like we all deserve that.
  • Konstantin, the first step to being a better father is not screening your actual daughter’s phone calls to go hang out with your psychopath surrogate daughter.
  • I’ll miss Villanelle calling Niko “the Mustache.”
  • Does Geraldine not have a job? What was she doing before her brother died?

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