REVIEW: Killing Eve (S2 E5/8)

Villanelle is bored, The Ghost is enigmatic, Eve is frustrated – how are the three going to collide, now that we’re past the mid-point of this gallingly inconsistent season?

Unlike Villanelle, who loves to be the centre of attention, rival assassin Jin, The Ghost, is impassive and unresponsive – she taunts Eve with a few sassy remarks, but gives no real information. Eve’s breakthrough comes when she realises that even Jin is frightened of Villanelle, the Dalgyal Gwishin, the Egg Ghost, the Demon with No Face, and she hatches a barmy plot to recruit Villanelle to break Jin.

We have three problems with this. First, if it was so easy to contact Villanelle by putting out a hit on someone, why not do it before? Second, that’s not how contract killing works – the client doesn’t know who the killer is, or the other way around, so this is an unrealistic plot device. Third, this moves Villanelle further into Hannibal territory – firstly, acting as a sort of consultant psychopath, and secondly, as she breaks Jin merely by whispering to her in a shipping container, becoming a nightmare figure operating in the recesses of other malefactors’ minds.

It’s also unconvincing that Jin vouchsafes the information that her employer on the Peel hit was the victim’s son – again, the hitter shouldn’t know the employer’s identity, precisely to prevent this sort of information coming out.

Villanelle has been bored, taking up out-staring human statues as a hobby, not even entertained by punching a victim to death in a carwash (and emerging remarkably unbloodied), but she does regain her mojo when she comes to Eve’s house to cut a deal.

Villanelle is so excited that she dresses up in a lacy black number (and it’s a sight to see her tripping around the Forest of Dean in it) – Eve’s so turned on by meeting Villanelle again that she drags limp noodle Nico upstairs for a quickie (an unsubtlety we think Phoebe Waller-Bridge might have avoided).

Eve herself is tremulously wondering whether she does in fact have it in her to kill, perhaps by pushing someone under a train – certainly she’s developed a streak of ruthlessness which leads her to falling out with Kenny, and allows her to expose Jin to Villanelle (Jin calls Eve a “monster” for doing it). When Carolyn’s pet psychologist comes in to lecture the team about psychopaths, he’s actually assessing Eve for psychotic tendencies.

Yet when she has Villanelle in her clutches – and let’s not forget that Villanelle murdered Bill and many others – Eve simply lets her go. If she was doing her job, Villanelle would by now be strapped to a trolley, wearing a bite mask, and locked in a big plastic cage.

Instead, she’s wandering around Oxford, dressed as something out of Brideshead Revisited and confronting a baffled Nico.

While we think the writers have lost their way in this implausible episode, they’re obviously working up to a confrontation between Eve, Villanelle and Nico – so will the limp noodle finally become aroused enough to fight to save his marriage from the toxic influence of the psychopathic Villanelle?

Chris Jenkins






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