Reviews Television

KILLING EVE: Season 2, Episode 5: Smell Ya Later

Rachel reviews Killing Eve's fifth episode of season two.

WARNING: Contains heavy SPOILERS for Killing Eve Season 2, Episode 5

Forgive me for thinking that after last week’s intense ending, as a stoic looking Eve prepared to interrogate her captured target ‘The Ghost’ aka Jin, we would finally have some answers. Perhaps the most genius and delightfully irritating thing about Killing Eve, is its ability to wrong-foot its audience, even over halfway through Season 2.

Instead of maintaining its serious and somber tone, this week opens with Villanelle slurping a milkshake, using said milkshake to deface a targets car, thus luring him into a car wash where she kills him by strangulation. A swift and fairly innocuous death. Well, for Villanelle anyway.

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Jodie Comer in Killing Eve Season 2 (2019) – source: BBC America

This occurs before we see Eve and Jess behind the two way mirror of the interrogation room, watching their colleague attempt to get some information from The Ghost. After a beat, Jess asks Eve what she thinks he’s saying, to which Eve jokes “I can’t satisfy my wife in bed!”. Perhaps not the grilling I was expecting just then.

However, Eve re-enters the interrogation room and begins to question The Ghost. The Ghost questions her back, asking “Do you want to do it yourself?” referring to the act of murder. Eve laughs, saying “No I don’t think I have the stomach for it.” The key word here being “think”. Is that the only thing stopping Eve from changing careers, just the weak stomach? This follows on from the revelations of last week that occurred as a result of the interaction between Eve and Hugo. The Ghost follows up with “Then what do you want?”, to which Eve answers by asking about Villanelle. At this point, it seems like subtlety is a form that Eve has all but given up on, flagrantly showing where her mind goes when asked about her desires.

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Jung Sun den Hollander and Sandra Oh in Killing Eve Season 2 (2019) – source: BBC America

The Fall of Eve

If boredom was the root from which problems seemed to stem from for our central pair, this week shifts to a more internal struggle, building upon last week’s dark confessions from Eve.

Her transgressions are more chaotic and frantic. She suggests putting out a hit on herself in order to entice Villanelle to her cause – a plan that is not only foolhardy but dangerous to boot.

Eve notes that “Jin is scared of Villanelle,” to which Jess replies “And she should be.” It’s easier than you’d think to forget that Villanelle is a highly skilled assassin, “The Demon with no face” as The Ghost calls her. Of course it makes sense to be afraid of her, yet Eve is aware that despite everything, Villanelle would not hurt her.

Eve’s own psychology is analysed heavily. Carolyn orders a ‘psychopath expert’, Martin, to present to the members of Project Manderlay. Whilst this is a gloriously amusing scene, from Martin’s plea to “Ignore the… whatever, Aston Martin, I cant delete it” referring to the PowerPoint backdrop, to the papyrus font that lists the qualities of a psychopath, it serves a crucial purpose.

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Sean Delaney, Sandra Oh, Edward Bluemel and Nina Sosanya in Killing Eve Season 2 (2019) – source: BBC America

Martin’s presentation is a tool to highlight Eve’s movement towards the psychopathy scale. The list states that the key qualities of a psychopath are Superficial Charm, Dishonesty, An inability to form lasting, intimate relationships and Poverty of emotions. It’s telling, therefore, that Eve shows signs of all of these.

Importantly, this psychological evaluation parallels Villanelle’s own tests in Season 1, further aligning the pair, blurring the lines between the personalities of the two. Eve didn’t flinch when faced with images of death and murder, and neither did Villanelle. Yet Eve did react to the photo of Villanelle, the same way that Villanelle was triggered by the drawing of Anna.

This Sounds Like An Awful Plan, What Time Should We Arrive?

Despite suggesting that the plan be aborted by practically everyone on the project – and more importantly, Martin the Psychopath Expert – Eve progresses with the hit. This is even with Carolyn saying that she will “always support” Eve, but not on the record, as well as Jess pointing out that there’s a distinct lack of paperwork that documents Eve’s movements on Project Manderlay. The final straw appears to be Kenny’s emotional conviction that “She murdered Bill. You are putting yourself and this entire operation in danger and for why? Or need I not ask?

He need not have asked. Following this interaction, Eve fires Kenny, before pointedly following Hugo out of the building – a further alignment with the morally askew. Eve’s toxic obsession is once again making her isolate herself from those around her, her fixation on Villanelle becoming glaringly less ‘professional’ if it was ever that to begin with.

To Eve’s credit, her plan works. With Niko otherwise indisposed at a Spelling Bee orchestrated by Carolyn, Eve is free to be Villanelle’s next target in peace. She refuses any back up from the team, insisting that Villanelle and herself “need to be alone, it needs to be intimate.” Eve’s obliviousness to her own addiction brings to mind the assertion in the first episode of Season 2 that Eve is a “junkie”. Consistently, she’s making excuses to get close to Villanelle and ultimately, she’s very good at using logical and legitimate rationalizations for her actions.

Like clockwork, after a shaky moment on the tube in which Eve comes extremely close to pushing a man onto the tracks, she enters her home to await the arrival of Villanelle.

Some Women Just Can’t Hold Their Arsenic

The audience gets a glimpse of Villanelle preparing herself for the meeting, getting ready in front of the mirror. Her demeanor is in stark contrast to the last time we saw her before a mirror in the previous episode. Here we see a calm, collected and poised Villanelle, a woman with a plan and a purpose.

Eve is also assembling herself, taking her hair down and gazing at her reflection similarly to in episode 5 of season 1, when Villanelle first showed up at her house. Mirrors are a significant motif this season, which makes sense for a show that’s devoted to showing the shifting personalities of these women compared to how they present themselves on the exterior.

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Sandra Oh in Killing Eve Season 2 (2019) – source: BBC America

At long last, our two leads meet again. This scene is choreographed with meticulous detail, a true reverence and care has gone into this reunion and it bleeds out of the screen. From the thrumming score underlying the scene, trilling delicately to the repeated riff on the phrase “All the time” which featured in Eve’s declaration to Villanelle in the first season finale, this scene is just crackling with intensity.

The sexual tension between the pair is palpable. As they exchange a few sparring sentences, Villanelle brings up the fateful stabbing, saying “You could’ve killed me,” to which Eve rather surprisingly replies, “I know. I think about that all the time,” with an almost heartbroken look. There’s no apologies exchanged on either side, but from Eve’s forlorn expression and tender consolatory cradling of Villanelle’s face, the message is clear: Eve is sorry.

There’s a tenderness and a terseness to their exchanges. Eve physically steps away from Villanelle when asking for her “help with something important” almost like she can’t stand to be too close to her for too long without losing control. Yet there’s a mutual understanding between the two. Like whenever they meet, there’s an unspoken challenge, as if they’re daring each other to go further.

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Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer in Killing Eve Season 2 (2019) – source: BBC America

Their drive to test each other is seen when Villanelle procures some nondescript pills, placing them in front of Eve. Eve takes all three without question. Of course, Villanelle has not actually poisoned Eve, but it’s revealing that Eve just took the pills without hesitation. It’s also illuminating that Eve responds positively when Villanelle asks her – at knife point, admittedly – whether she will “give me everything I want”. Sure, this could be Eve manipulating the situation and using her hold over Villanelle, but to what extent? Eve is undeniably in over her head this week.

Agreement reached and knives away for now, Villanelle and Eve head to the Forest of Dean where The Ghost is waiting for further… well, we’re not sure what exactly, at the hands of Villanelle.

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Sandra Oh in Killing Eve Season 2 (2019) – source: BBC America

But Seriously, This Is A Bad Idea

As it happens, Villanelle is also skeptical of Eve’s plan, asking “Are you sure this is legal?”, replying to Eve’s brusque “What do you care?” with “I’m just looking out for you, Eve.” Eve’s manner remains tormented and cold, even after Villanelle successfully extracts the information required of her; The Ghost was hired by Aaron Peel, Alistair’s son.

Villanelle almost reprimands Eve, noting rather accurately that “You just take, take, take.” after she disingenuously thanks Villanelle for her services. Seeing Eve behave in such a way just reconfirms everything that’s already been set up in the episode; that Eve is becoming ever more depraved and cold, adopting near psychopathic tendencies herself, whereas Villanelle is showing signs of a more empathetic manner.

Empath or not, Villanelle is clearly still effective at her job. Eve inspects Villanelle’s handiwork on The Ghost only to find that the only sign of change are some discarded handcuffs on the floor and The Ghosts claim that Villanelle is a “monster”.

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Jodie Comer in Killing Eve Season 2 (2019) – source: BBC America

The episode closes with Villanelle in Oxford confronting Niko as herself. There’s no accents involved, no costumes, Villanelle is presenting as completely herself. By interacting with Niko, Villanelle is essentially integrating herself into Eve’s sphere, Eve’s daily life.  Access to Niko means more ways to drive him and Eve apart, more chances to prove herself more suited to Eve than Niko is. Villanelle walking away as the lyrics “may the best man win” play in the background will hopefully set the tone for the next three weeks. Here’s to hoping that the best (wo)man does win.

I Hope You Like Missionary!

Well it looks like Villanelle and Konstantin are officially on the Peel case. From the teasers, we see Villanelle talking to Aaron in one of her many wigs over dinner, so we can safely say that Eve and Villanelle will be spending a fair bit of time working alongside each other next week. Eve and Niko have another big blow up, presumably caused by Villanelle’s admission of truth about what happened in Paris. Whether this will work in Villanelle’s favor remains to be seen, but at least she’s highlighted the conniving side that Eve possesses. Here’s to another week of waiting.

All Killer No Filler

  • Villanelle having a staring contest with a human statue performer
  • “It’s a little basic bitch for her
  • “Would you like to watch?
  • Can I take your veil?
  • Villanelle sending Eve a funeral bouquet and Eve subsequently getting hot under the collar due to Villanelle’s attention

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Jodie Comer in Killing Eve Season 2 (2019) – source: BBC America

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.

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Rachel Chandler is an English Literature with Creative Writing graduate from the University of Birmingham. Born and bred in about as middle England as you can get – The Midlands are real and she will fight you on it – she spends her time slinging pints for the masses by day and obsessively watching films by night. Her favourite film is staunchly Donnie Darko despite its edge-lord following, any French or Australian cinema as well as anything that’s gay even if it’s pure trash. Her writing has feautured in RADICL Mag, HighClouds and Screen Queens. You can scope out her many ramblings at @RShanaynayChand or @RachelC978 on Twitter as well as getting in touch via her film blog recrecs.wordpress.com

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