Killing Eve (Season 2)
The first season of spy thriller Killing Eve established a tense cat-and-mouse game between two flawed, obsessive women – MI5 agent Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) and the target she is simultaneously pursuing and desiring, deadly Russian assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer). Concluding in Villanelle’s Paris apartment, it offered a resolution of sorts to the curious tension between them. It was a genuinely bold and surprising finale and it left me breathless.
Season 2 picks up directly after that cliffhanger and unspools with ample opportunities for each woman to get the other’s attention. In a smart twist, Eve needs Villanelle’s expertise to help crack the complicated case of a murderous tech billionaire. Villanelle continues to be a seductive magnet for Eve – the MI5 agent runs towards, not from, the wild vortex she represents, and that danger is mirrored in how the viewer responds to her too. Killing Eve: Season 2 is missing some of the wit that the show’s brilliant creator, Phoebe Waller-Bridge (who passed the writing and showrunner baton for the new season onto Emerald Fennell) brought to it, but it is no less dark, twisted, or layered. The visual, visceral pleasures remain – fashion, lipstick, and food are at the fore of these. And there is a tauter sense of the consequences, for both women, of their compulsive entanglement.
But what really makes Killing Eve so addictive is the fine line it presents between what is beautiful and desirable, and what is violent and repellent. It’s an extremely subversive quality in a genre where we think we already know the rules and how every narrative thread will resolve. I love that neither of the women’s motivations are easily explained. Eve is increasingly reckless, risking everything she has through this proximity to Villanelle. And Villanelle is not a garden-variety psychopath; she might just have a heart after all. I can’t wait to find out where their mutual path to self-destruction leads in Season 3.