Killing Eve





Paul Asay

TV Series Review

Many people have a love-hate relationship with their jobs. Doctors might love to patch people up but hate the paper work. Accountants might love numbers but can’t stand people. I like to write, but I despise it when my editor says, “Write a review, you idiot! We have no need of epic poetry penned in Old English!” Thus, this review.

But Eve Polastri may take her own love-hate relationship with her work a bit too far.

Eve is a talented investigator for MI5—essentially Britain’s version of the FBI. And for a while now, she’s been on the trail of a nefarious and, quite frankly, psychopathic assassin called Villanelle. Eve’s pretty good at her job, too, though it doesn’t hurt that Villanelle leaves behind corpses like Hansel and Gretel left breadcrumbs. (Doesn’t hurt Eve’s investigations, I mean. Obviously it’s rather painful for the victims.)

But Eve’s dedication to her current assignment goes beyond pure professional enthusiasm. Eve knows that Villanelle’s a ruthless killer. But truth be told, Eve kinda digs her, too.

The Fruits of Eve’s Labor

The feeling’s mutual, by the way: By Season 2, Villanelle considers Eve her “girlfriend,” despite the fact that the last time they saw each other (at the end of Season 1), Eve literally stabbed her in the gut. “She did it to show how much she cared about me,” Villanelle explains. And as much as Eve wants to find Villanelle, the assassin wants to find the detective just as much. Killing Eve is an extended game of cat-and-mouse—one in which the cat and mouse are rather interchangeable and kinda want to smooch.

Obviously, Villanelle and Eve’s relationship is … complex. A few other salient facts further compound said complexity. One is The Twelve, the shadowy organization that hires Villanelle from time to time but which may also have concerns about the assassin’s wantonly bloody ways. Two, Eve’s own boss, Carolyn, seems to have her own mysterious agenda. And three, … Eve’s married. And while many a marriage has likely survived an awkward revelation, it’s really hard to confess that you’re sexually attracted to a same-sex serial killer, y’know?

Out of the Garden

Given the whole love-hate theme going on in Killing Eve, perhaps it’s not surprising that I felt a bit the same way about the show itself.

This BBC America program is clever, well-written and skillfully realized, anchored by the performances of Jodie Comer (Villanelle) and the Golden Globe-winning Sandra Oh in the title role. According to the review-aggregator site Metacritic, Killing Eve was the highest-praised show of 2018.

But—and you knew this was coming, didn’t you?—it’s still a show about (to this point) the unrequited same-sex, love-hate obsession between a seriously disturbed killer and the morally compromised detective pursuing her. Not exactly the sort of show that Plugged In could, or would, shower praises upon.

Killing Eve doesn’t need to shock viewers with salacious visuals to hold their attention, but we still see plenty of blood and, it would seem, at least one terrible murder every week. Villanelle and Eve are rarely in the same place long enough to canoodle, but when they are, you can bet on some sexual tension and content. And just as blood can splatter over the occasional crime scene, so can some seriously bad language.

Episode Reviews

April 7, 2019: “Do You Know How to Dispose of a Body?”

After stabbing Villanelle, Eve leaves Paris and makes her way back home to London. But she’s worried that her deed (which she believes might’ve been a murder) could be uncovered, as well as being confused by her conflicted feelings toward her victim. So Eve struggles to present a façade of normalcy for her husband. Meanwhile, Villanelle survives the wound, makes her way to a hospital and plots to pursue her enemy/lover.

Villanelle does so with the aid of her hospital roomie, a teen who was injured in a terrible car crash that killed both of his parents. He’s having extensive skin grafts done to his face, and he invites Villanelle to look under the bandages. Villanelle does so and tells him his face looks like “pizza.” (Indeed, it does look pretty grotesque). The teen bemoans his fate, and Villanelle puts her arm around him to comfort him—right before breaking his neck. (She perhaps thinks it’s an act of mercy.)

Before making it to the hospital, Villanelle staggers around the streets of Paris with bloody hands. She pours vodka into an open wound. (She takes a drink from the bottle, too.) Villanelle jumps in front of a taxi so that it’ll hit her, thus forcing the driver to take her to a hospital. The driver, apparently Muslim, pleads to God for help and protection. She steals loads of drugs from the hospital, pilfers other things, too, and lies repeatedly to the people around her to further her own ends.

A woman recalls how her father, a spy, used to hang out in a popular gay hotspot, both to have clandestine meetings and “to have sex with boys, of course, which would’ve been an added bonus for Daddy,” she says. The woman seems quite affectionate with a female coroner, touching her familiarly on the cheek. A woman takes a bath, holding her knees close to her chest. (Nothing critical is seen.)

A two-month-old corpse is examined. When one of the investigators says that she’s suddenly hungry for a hamburger, the coroner explains that the scent of formaldehyde “makes you crave meat.” An innocent woman is shot. A family of four may be killed (though by episode’s end, it’s unclear.) Eve and her husband drink wine, and Eve sits by a glass of whiskey (that she has presumably ordered). A woman, seeing Eve’s nervous agitation, assumes she’s a recovering drug addict. We hear references to messy stomach ailments.

Characters use the s-word three times (and once in French, too), along with “d–n,” “d–k” and “p-ss.” God’s name is misused twice.

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Paul Asay

Paul Asay has been part of the Plugged In staff since 2007, watching and reviewing roughly 15 quintillion movies and television shows. He’s written for a number of other publications, too, including Time, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. The author of several books, Paul loves to find spirituality in unexpected places, including popular entertainment, and he loves all things superhero. His vices include James Bond films, Mountain Dew and terrible B-grade movies. He’s married, has two children and a neurotic dog, runs marathons on occasion and hopes to someday own his own tuxedo. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

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