WARNING: Contains heavy SPOILERS for Killing Eve Season 2, Episode 1
Sophomore season blues? Killing Eve has never heard of it. The now heavily award decorated cat and cat – let’s be real, neither of the central characters can be described as a mouse – spy drama strode confidently back onto the small screen on Sunday with season two’s first episode ‘Do You Know How to Dispose of a Body?’
Keeping hype and momentum during a break in seasons is never easy, but with a steady drip of promotional clips, images and a staggering amount of press tours from its stars Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer, the waiting never felt laborious.
The episode opens just 30 seconds after the season one finale, which saw Villanelle (Jodie Comer) flee her apartment after being stabbed by Eve (Sandra Oh). Jumping right back in, we see Eve descend the spiral staircase, bloody knife in one hand and handbag in the other. The symbolism isn’t lost, it’s fitting that Eve is quite literally coming down to Villanelle’s level, truly falling from grace in a manner just as bloody as her counterpart.
The throbbing and enigmatic music of Unloved plays over the top, crooning “It’s not you, it’s me” as Eve evades the so called ‘Cleaners’ of The Twelve who are seeking Villanelle. Within minutes we already have our first fatality, as Villanelle’s elderly neighbor is shot swiftly and professionally as Eve gasps for breath, trying to retain some semblance of calm before leaving the building.
Jodie Comer in Killing Eve Season 2 (2019) – source: Aimee Spinks, BBC
The Devil is in the Details
The details in this show are immaculate and nothing is amiss. The camera follows Eve out of the building, focusing for a second on a slatted entryway, where we cannot see Villanelle, but we can feel her presence. Moments later there’s a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ flash of Villanelle’s signature Molly Goddard tulle dress that became synonymous with Villanelle’s dichotomy of feminine style and brutal actions, dumped unceremoniously into a bin bag and tossed into the back of a van. Is this the death of Villanelle as we know it? A figurative one as opposed to a literal death?
Weakened by her wounds, Villanelle winds up in hospital, once again manipulating those around her with ease as she lies to the doctor to stop him from contacting the police, before asking for a Lollipop. This small interaction results in the doctor remarking that the sweets are “normally reserved for children” to which Villanelle looks crestfallen, near pouting before exclaiming “Oh… stickers!” as she spies a pot full that say “Superb!”. In the next scene, she is in fact wearing said sticker and happily sucking on a lollipop whilst discussing her plans to visit her “girlfriend” in London to a boy in the bed next to her. So perhaps not quite the end of Villanelle as we know her, her strange childlike tendencies clearly still in tact.
Jodie Comer in Killing Eve Season 2 (2019) – source: Parisa Taghizadeh, BBC America
Meanwhile, Eve is travelling back to the UK, but not before being mistaken for an addict in a bar. This isn’t a million miles away from the truth, in fact there’s a strong argument to be made that Eve is undoubtedly an addict. Her addiction is Villanelle, but that’s rather reductive, it’s more that she’s addicted to the chase, the thrill of hunting down murderous women and knowing them more intimately than anyone else. That’s why this scene works. It’s like an inside joke, the audience and everyone in the show sees that she’s addicted to Villanelle, to assassins, to murder, to the chase. Everyone except Eve, the person who has the problem.
This is called out most openly by Niko. Eve’s phone is incessantly ringing on the edge of the bathtub, the caller displaying ‘Carolyn Martens’. Niko implores “Don’t.” referring to Eve answering the phone, but also implicitly to Eve re-entering the world of MI6 to which she replies “I have to.” as Niko exits the bathroom. That’s their relationship in one scene, Eve cannot help but be pulled into it, she wants to be in it, consistently shunning the humdrum of everyday life. Carolyn even later says to Eve to stop her false protestations telling her to “Save that for your husband, tell him I forced you to do it to make it easier”.
Sandra Oh in Killing Eve Season 2 (2019) – source: Aimee Spinks, BBC
Should I Stay or Should I Go?
The juxtaposition of Eve’s warring natures, the one that craves stability and the one that thrives on high octane thrills, are central to this episode. Upon arrival back in her London flat, we see Eve first call a hospital in Paris, inquiring after patients with stab wounds before maniacally chopping vegetables whilst singing to ‘Kids In America‘, chugging wine as she goes with a frantic energy. This incessant need for normalcy is pervasive for Eve, as she later stays on the phone to Armando, a window salesman. Her life is spiraling beyond her control and she’s clinging on harder than ever to the monotony of her life.
Yet an inevitable meeting with Carolyn quickly dispels any hopes of a return to her mundane existence. Eve is swiftly recruited back into the MI6 and asked to identify the cause of death of a recent victim. Of course in true Killing Eve style, this death is ruminated over with burgers and beers in hand, apparently “The smell of formaldehyde makes you crave meat”.
If Eve’s involvement in this episode is largely acting as the plot driver, Villanelle is undoubtedly the comic relief. In her quest to recuperate yet leave the hospital as quickly as possible to avoid alerting The Twelve of her whereabouts we see her balk at the prospect of wearing Crocs, the humor just as potent in the episode despite having seen this in a short teaser clip.
Villanelle’s sidekick for this episode, her bed neighbor Gabriel allows for her to flex her deadpan and clipped humor.
“You’re funny.” Gabriel remarks “Yes, I am funny.” she replies with no hint of irony.
If there was any concern as to the handing over of the reigns to Emerald Fennell, they died around the same time that Gabriel did, at Villanelle’s hands. For a second, I truly believed Villanelle was empathizing. His sudden death reiterates the point that Killing Eve still has the power to surprise, is still toying with the viewers expectations and subverting them whenever and wherever possible.
Pierre Atri and Jodie Comer in Killing Eve Season 2 (2019) – source: Parisa Taghizadeh, BBC America
Nice and Neat
In summation, we have Eve back in London, rehired by Carolyn Martens to continue tracking down assassins for MI6. Yes, plural, Villanelle is no longer the only assassin on Eve’s radar.
Villanelle is stowed away in the back of the car of a family of English holidaymakers headed from Calais to the UK, gazing wistfully upwards in the dark, with a glint of excitement in her eyes as she heads steadily back towards Eve.
Entering into the rest of the season, Carolyn and Eve’s showdown in the morgue will become more prescient. Those questions that were flung at each other may just prove to be the most ubiquitous of the season, reading like an objective list for this season, mapping out and signposting to the viewer where we’re going and what we’re – hopefully – going to find out by the end of it. Hey, if not, then there’s always season 3 to answer our questions.
Killing Eve will return next year for a third season and it is set to air in the UK starting June 8th on BBC One.