Killing Eve, Season Three

BBC’s weird, wonderful cat-and-mouse thriller-romance-comedy Killing Eve is back for Season Three. Every season I wonder how they are going to keep this over-the-top series going and every season they manage.

When you talk about Killing Eve, you have to talk about Sandra Oh, who plays former MI6 analyst Eve, and Jamie Comer, who plays assassin-and-fashionista Villanelle. Villanelle works for a global crime organization called The Twelve. We knew pretty early on that Killing Eve wasn’t a “serious” thriller, basically after we see Villanelle’s first kill. (In the second episode of Season Three, she kills two people with a piano tuning fork.) Clearly, The Twelve’s murders represent a political statement; in Villanelle’s hands they are also a fashion statement or an artistic one. Eve Polasko is a driven analyst who identifies a female assassin and zeroes in on Villanelle, but then they meet and the mutual obsession becomes something more.

Sandra Oh and Jamie Comer inhabit these roles and play them each with a different flavor of to-the-hilt and over-the-top commitment. It’s impossible to look away from these two when they are on the screen together, and pretty hand to look away when either on them is on by herself. To focus only on them would be to ignore a large part of what makes this weird show work, and that’s the ensemble. If Eve’s former boss Carolyn (Fiona Shaw), her husband Niko (Owen MacDonald) or Villanelle’s father-figure handler Konstantin (Kim Bodia) were played by anyone else, or written an differently, it’s hard to believe this show would work at all.

This season Villanelle has a new handler, Dasha (Dame Harriet Walter). I’m tempted to write that as “handler” because I’m not 100% convinced, yet, that Dasha really works for The Twelve. Or maybe she does, but her personal animosity for Villanelle adds a fillip of tension to an already complex relationship.

Certain plot-beats are predictable — usually, like who among the folks we’ve come to know and love are going to die — but the writing scene by scene is unpredictable, especially when the scene features Villanelle. The writing is brilliant, and I noticed a lot of writers are women, which might be why characters like Eve, Villanelle, Carolyn and Dasha are so vividly rendered on the screen.

The show is violent, weird as hell and makes no sense, and I love every single second of it. I’m so glad Season Three is airing!

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