Warning: the following review contains spoilers.
The announcement of the third series of Killing Eve in March made the idea of going into lockdown a little bit better. Musing on memories of female rage, fluffy pink ballgowns and a beheading by Sandra Oh, I felt relatively cheery. But two months and one season later, I’m feeling a bit miffed by the evasive plot: it took some real quarantine motivation to understand it.
Did Eve’s lover / assassin actually shoot her in Rome? Was it all a dream? Eve is so static and emotionally detached you might believe Villanelle did indeed kill her. The final ‘climax’ of the TV show, compared to the enthralling drama of the first two seasons, is a bit flatline. The cliffhanger hinges itself on the question of how Eve and Villanelle will live now. I’m interested to see if the fourth series will revive the violent tenseness of their relationship that we know and love, and the character of Eve herself.
The black comedy element is lacking compared to previous seasons. Most of it is embodied in Carolyn, played by Fiona Shaw. Her daughter’s mawkish outpourings of forgiveness and grief are met with Carolyn’s stony-faced, resolute apathy. It’s enjoyable but it becomes repetitive.
The fifth episode is the pinnacle of the series. Whilst Eve tries to distance herself from her past, Villanelle returns to her family, who are under the assumption she had died in a fire. An interaction with her mother begs the question: is her psychopathy the product of an abusive mother or is it an inherent nature she was born with? Villanelle and her mother do not have a normal mother-daughter relationship and the exploration of it is fascinating to watch. The episode ends with Villanelle close to tears on a train, her murderous composure almost jeopardised with emotion.
Villanelle is goaded into The Twelve’s promises of promotion, but she is unsure of what she wants, literally clowning around. That said, the programme maintains its allure, showcasing outfits that only Jodie Comer could pull off. The scene when Villanelle enters a perfume shop epitomises her character. The shopkeeper suggests floral scents, but she interrupts him- she is looking for the smell of power and revenge. “I want to make people gag with it”, she demands. The poor man shakily proposes “perhaps something more woody, then?”
Villanelle still embodies the fearless, liberated, dangerous prowess that most women secretly dream of having. This series reveals her remorse of destroying everything that feels like home, which dare I say, makes her all the more likeable, testament to Comer’s Emmy Award-winning talent. Eve is the only familiar thing she has left and her only remaining hope of friendship. Will Eve suffer the same fate as the rest?
If the show is to redeem itself, this is one of the uncertainties that the fourth series must answer.
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