REVIEW: Killing Eve (S2 E8/8)

So Eve and Villanelle are in Rome, trying to figure out Bond villain Peel’s master plan – Villanelle’s behaving herself and everything is going tickety-boo. What could possible go wrong?

Apart from the fact that Villanelle has killed Nico’s girlfriend Gemma, and locked him in a storage container, that is.

Well, let’s think about how we imagine this episode playing out. Villanelle’s going to find an excuse to kill Peel – obviously – everyone’s going to decamp back home in a panic, and then Nico’s going to turn up in search of revenge. Eve is going to be torn between loyalty to Nico and her obsession for Villanelle (no concern for poor Gemma, we imagine), and the series will end with Villanelle on the run, this time with Nico in hot pursuit.

Well, we were half right. Villanelle does indeed find an excuse to kill Peel – he’s a serial killer who likes to murder his girlfriends and video the action. After finding the evidence on a hard drive, presumably in a folder marked Evidence of All My Terrible Crimes, Villanelle uses the safe word and calls in Eve for extraction. But she has her own problems – after her Mrs Robinson-like affair with Hugo, she leaves him bleeding to death after being shot by a hitman from The Twelve, and stumbles unarmed into Peel’s lair.

Peel realises that Villanelle is a plant, but still expects her to kill Eve – why would he assume she was a cold-blooded killer?  Anyway, he’s duly surprised when she slits his throat instead.

Leaving aside the question of why you would kill someone with Peel’s powerful data-mining weapon rather than extorting the secret out of him first, we knew all along that this was exactly the point of the mission – to have Peel dead but to retain plausible deniability – but Eve is completely shocked when Carolyn explains this to her. Eve really is a very, very bad intelligence agent, not realising the lay of the land even though Kenny had warned her that her mission was a phony.

In a confrontation with Raymond, Villanelle manipulates Eve into killing him with an axe – why would he turn up so inadequately armed when he knows Villanelle can kill someone with a hatpin? Anyway, Konstantin has washed his hands of Villanelle, so the two girls have to go on the run. Villanelle obviously has a Thelma & Louise vision of the two going off on some self-destructive final journey – or possible settling in a cabin in Alaska – but seems genuinely distraught and amazed when Eve doesn’t go for it. In fact, disappointed and spurned, she shoots Eve in the back.

So we’re back to where we started this season, with one of the main protagonists seriously wounded – but we know that Eve isn’t going to die, because a) series 3 has already been commissioned, and b) the popgun Villanelle shot her with is hardly adequate to kill anyone from that range. Eve will be up and grouching before tea-time.

So, the ultimate confrontation we imagined – an enraged Nico forcing Eve to choose between himself and Villanelle – is postponed until the next series. Eve has found her strength, and now says she isn’t afraid of anything – Villanelle has presumably lost her faith in Eve, and any prospect they had of a life together. Poor old Hugo and Gemma end up the innocent victims of the bad romance between Villanelle and Eve.

So, series two, classic or clunker? Well, it certainly didn’t have the novelty or shock value of series one, but that was perhaps inevitable with familiarity; somewhere, though, it also seems to have ditched a lot of the trademark Phoebe Waller-Bridge humour, and a great deal of the fashion style.

Maybe series three, to be written by Suzanne Heathcote (Fear the Walking Dead) will go off in new directions – certainly there are still big questions to answer, such as exactly how Konstantin and Carolyn are connected to The Twelve.

As to the relationship between Eve and Villanelle – well, they’re on equal footing now, both having tried unconvincingly to kill the other, so it could go either way. While that intriguing possibility still exists, we guess Killing Eve will still have options to explore.

Chris Jenkins

READ MORE: OUR EPISODE ONE REVIEW

READ MORE: OUR EPISODE TWO REVIEW

READ MORE: OUR EPISODE THREE REVIEW

READ MORE: OUR EPISODE FOUR REVIEW

READ MORE: OUR EPISODE FIVE REVIEW

READ MORE: OUR EPISODE SIX REVIEW

READ MORE: OUR EPISODE SEVEN REVIEW

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