REVIEW: Killing Eve (S2 E2/8)

With episode one offering little in the way of plot development, and only a smidgeon of the psycho action we have come to expect from Killing Eve, we have to hope that this week’s episode moves things along a bit faster, and with a bit more panache.

Certainly things are progressing, with a substantially recovered Villanelle heading for Britain in the boot of a tourist family’s car. We anticipated her spinning them some sob-story about being a poor exploited migrant when they pop it open at the other end, but no, she just sneaks off into the wilds of Basildon, still clad in her superhero pyjamas. In due course she picks up a patsy in a supermarket – Julian (Julian Barratt) is putty in her hands, and immediately offers her somewhere to recuperate, entertaining an angel unawares, he thinks – well, an angel of death, maybe.

Meanwhile Eve follows up a lead on murdered entrepreneur Alister Peel – assuming that Villanelle killed him, does this give some clue to the plans of the Twelve? Carolyn introduces her to her new team, including her son Kenny (Sean Delaney) who we’ve met before, Jess (the inevitable Nina Sosanya), and obnoxious Old Etonian, Hugo (Edward Bluemel). Eve confesses to Kenny that she found and stabbed Villanelle, but he agrees not to tell Carolyn – but the longer they delay the inevitable, the worse the fallout will surely be.

As Eve fills in the team on her pursuit of Villanelle, or Oksana, we’re reminded that she shot her handler Konstantin – but we still reckon he isn’t dead (it’s a fair rule of thumb in this sort of thing that unless you actually see someone bisected, they’re usually alive). And did Villanelle leave a clue for Eve in her French hospital – a half-eaten apple in the hand of her victim?

Hugo turns out to be familiar with psychopaths – well, he did go to boarding school – while  Julian turns out to be a nutcase with a house full of dolls and a demented mother. He helps Villanelle to lick her wounds but keeps her locked up and is clearly a creep.

Alister Peel’s son and daughter Amber and Aaron take the news that he was murdered fairly calmly, but can’t identify Villanelle – is another assassin at work, one who can pass unnoticed anywhere she goes, masquerading perhaps as a cleaner to slip her next victim a poisoned coffee?

A weakening Villanelle takes a gamble and calls a contact from the Twelve, only to be blanked – it seeems she’s burned her boats there. She can’t get through to MI6 either – but the message she leaves is enough for them to close in on her.

After a murderous fight with Julian where he gets what’s coming to him – a knitting needle in the neck – Villanelle is rescued by her new handler Raymond (Adrian Scarborough).  He promises her she’ll be kept on a tight leash from now on – let’s see how she takes to that.

Carolyn and Eve narrowly miss Villanelle as she escapes from Julian’s, and Eve realises that she really is in danger – Carolyn’s next move doesn’t do much to reassure her though, as she takes her to see Konstantin (Kim Bodnia).

See, we told you he wasn’t dead – perhaps now we’ll get a bit more detail on his and Carolyn’s relationship with The Twelve.

Will Villanelle be allowed to continue her dangerous obsession with Eve, and vice versa? What role will new assassin The Ghost play? And will Villanelle finally get out of her flannelette nightie and into something more glamorous?

While this episode certainly had a lot more pep to it, it really needs Villanelle to be on top form, wise-cracking and making mayhem, for this series to get back into its stylish form. Maybe next week, with Konstantin back on the scene and Villanelle pumped full of antibiotics, we’ll finally get back in the groove.

Chris Jenkins


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