WARNING: Contains heavy SPOILERS for Killing Eve Season 2, Episode 7
It’s been a big week for TV. With the finale of Game of Thrones and the tepid response that it received from the fans – myself included in that – it’s time to turn back to the show that’s yet to let me down.
The penultimate episode of the second season of Killing Eve opens with Villanelle or technically ‘Billie’ receiving an apology present from Aaron Peel. This follows on from their altercation last week which ended with Villanelle striking Aaron across the face. It would appear that Konstantin’s interpretation of Aaron Peel was correct; rather than be turned off by ‘Billie’s’ abrasive behavior, he’s more enamored by her, which of course works in the favor of Operation Manderlay.
Shortly after receiving his present and subsequent invitation to lunch as an apology, Eve enters Villanelle’s apartment to discuss the next stage of the operation. There’s a tenderness and frank vulnerability to both characters in this scene. Villanelle seems genuinely concerned by Eve’s distressed appearance, inquiring “You okay?” and “Do you want to talk about it?”. The source of Eve’s distress stems from Villanelle’s confession from the previous episode, that she doesn’t “want anything” or “feel anything”. This has Eve visibly rattled, her concern only fading when Villanelle tells Eve “I feel things when I’m with you.” Never a show to get too sentimental, Eve and Villanelle’s conversation is interrupted before Eve can respond, by one of the two women from the previous episode. Apparently Villanelle’s idea of “cooling off” involved intimidating and then seducing the two women from the kebab shop as opposed to skinning them like, well, kebab meat.
Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh in Killing Eve Season 2 (2019) – source: BBC America
Mood well and truly killed by this entrance, Eve switches back to work mode, telling Villanelle in a clipped manner that “Aaron Peel is going to Rome, we think that’s where the sale is taking place.” before she attempts to make a swift exit. This is stalled by Villanelle urging her to not be jealous, claiming “I’m not with them, when I’m with them” in a pointed manner.
Call Me Maybe
‘Billie’s’ lunch with the controlling and almost certainly psychopathic Aaron goes smoothly, with an invite to Rome sealed with relative ease. With Eve’s earlier irritation with Villanelle subsiding, worry and concern takes its place. She leaves several voicemails for Villanelle, the first of which says “Hi, it’s Eve. Just send me a text when you’re finished or otherwise I’ll worry that you’ve been murdered or something.” This sentiment alone shows the viewer exactly how far their relationship has come. In the fourth episode of season 1, Eve actively roots for Villanelle’s murder/death, saying “I want to kill her” yet a season later we see Eve concerned for Villanelle’s well being.
Throughout the episode, this concern, this obsessively protective instinct that Eve has for Villanelle is displayed in abundance. Eve later visits Martin, the resident psychopath expert, to ask for advice on how best to ensure Villanelle’s safety when placing her in Rome with Aaron, or as Eve articulates it “We’re putting our asset, the psychopath, undercover for a few days. It’s a high stress environment with a man who’s extremely irritating, likely a psychopath, most definitely a control freak. So I wanted to ask you if there’s anything you can think of, anything that might diffuse things if they get out of hand.” Eve’s reasoning is that she “wants her to be safe”.
Jodie Comer in Killing Eve Season 2 (2019) – source: BBC America
Instead of receiving advice on how to ensure Villanelle’s safety, however, Martin begins to ask Eve about her own state of mind. When asked how much of the day she spends thinking about Villanelle, she responds “Most of it” and when asked if her and Villanelle are in a relationship she replies “Define relationship”. Martin continues his line of questioning asking “Are you behaving differently, doing things that you normally wouldn’t?” to which Eve’s unequivocal reply is “Yes” and finally when asked to describe how else she feels, she delivers the crucial line “I feel wide awake.” Whilst the surface of this episode is hinged around the progression of the operation, the underlying focus remains on Eve’s steadily morphing mentality and her growing relationship with Villanelle.
Carolyn also inquires as to Eve’s state of mind, ruminating over whether she has exhibited “any escalation, increased attention seeking, recklessness?” All of which can be answered with the affirmative. After all, over the course of this season we’ve seen Eve nearly push a man in front of a tube train, put out a hit on herself, hire a known psychopathic assassin for an MI6 operation, fire one of her most moral and logically sound colleagues (Kenny) and ultimately cause the breakdown of her marriage. That’s not even mentioning her offhand comment moments before her meeting with Martin, where she runs into a man on the psych ward who has “killed three women” and she merely responds “He could kill the shit out of me”, a thoroughly desensitized and abnormal response.
Sandra Oh in Killing Eve Season 2 (2019) – source: Nick Briggs, BBC America
The assertion that she feels “wide awake” perfectly encapsulates her growing ability to embrace the darker and more exciting parts of her life. Eve has always harbored a duality, a desire for normality and a dull, listless life with Niko, but there’s no quelling her thirst for danger and thrills. This comment then, feels like an acceptance, a confession of her welcoming the part of her life that contains the things that make her feel alive and awake.
Whilst Eve wrestles with her conflicting sides, Villanelle has plans of her own; she wants Niko’s Shepherd’s Pie recipe because “Eve likes it”. Holding someone’s (hopefully soon to be) ex-husband at knife point in order to get this may not seem like the wisest method, but the thought process behind this decision is quite romantic in a very Killing Eve way. Villanelle is aware that Eve would “never forgive” her if she were to hurt Niko, so she makes a compromise by killing Gemma instead. And all for a Shepherd’s Pie recipe.
It’s a scene that could seem offhand and silly, even irrelevant, but much like Eve is doing more this episode to convey her feelings towards Villanelle via her incessant worrying for her safety, Villanelle is reciprocating in her own way. Aligning their characters feelings has been a drawn out process, but it’s one that’s intensely gratifying to watch the pair struggle with as they learn to read each other’s subtle (and not so subtle in Villanelle’s case) expressions of love.
Jodie Comer in Killing Eve Season 2 (2019) – source: Parisa Taghizadeh, BBC America
What Happens in Rome, Stays in Rome
Before heading to Rome, there’s time for a warning from Kenny to abandon the operation. He tells Eve “Don’t go to Rome. Just don’t, trust me, get out of it,” but before he can continue, Carolyn enters and the conversation is over. With only one episode left to go, it’s a safe bet that Kenny’s failed warning will manifest next week. There’s been something off kilter about Carolyn and the operation as a whole from the beginning, so it’ll be satisfying to see what exactly it is that Carolyn has been hiding.
With the warnings from both Martin and Kenny well and truly ignored, Eve heads to Rome accompanied by Hugo, to oversee Villanelle during her attempts to get the names of the potential buyers of Peel’s ‘weapon’. The second half of this episode slips into a study of voyeurism and control. We see Aaron Peel watching ‘Billie’ via hidden cameras, we watch Eve and Hugo listening in to Aaron and Villanelle’s conversations through hidden microphones and we observe Aaron meticulously controlling ‘Billie’ from her outfit to her food choices.
Aaron and Villanelle’s relationship is surprisingly gratifying to watch. Their interactions, whilst false on the level that Villanelle is essentially acting as ‘Billie’ during these interactions, they seem to share a twisted kind of affinity towards one another. Hugo even called them “the perfect match” and Villanelle herself joked that “maybe we’re soulmates”. Of course both of these comments were made with wry humor attached, yet it’s true that Aaron and Villanelle do have things in common. Aaron describes Villanelle as “a void” adding “me too”. However, it becomes apparent that their ‘brand’ of psychopathy don’t quite align, as Aaron “never gets lonely” and shows no interest in talking to or sleeping with anyone, whilst Villanelle does “all the time”. There’s a mutual understanding between the two, but it’ll be interesting to see how long that lasts; Villanelle isn’t best known for her ability to take orders and relinquish control.
Jodie Comer and Henry Lloyd-Hughes in Killing Eve Season 2 (2019) – source: BBC America
Thanks For The Threesome
After gaining as much intel as possible for the day, Villanelle returns to her room, mic still firmly on. It’s at this point that she begins to address Eve via the mic, who is listening through an earpiece now that Hugo has gone to bed. She tells Eve “You should let yourself go once in a while. I could help you”. The effect on Eve is instantaneous. She finds sexual relief in the form of Hugo, saying “Don’t talk” when he begins to, instead focusing on the sounds of Villanelle’s heavy breathing in her earpiece.
Not only does this show Eve using Hugo as an object or commodity, something to be utilised for her own personal gain, but it shows her lack of remorse at doing so. The following morning, awakening to the sound of Villanelle’s sleepy “Morning, did you sleep well?” Eve allows herself a smile, before Hugo’s greeting of “Hey” breaks her out of her reverie, responding unenthusiastically with “Hi.”
This closing scene sees Eve crossing a line by irrevocably tying her sexual desires to Villanelle, accepting Villanelle as the catalyst for her arousal, as well as showing the cold and callous manner in which she is manipulating people for her own needs. Quite similarly to a certain someone else we know. It’s no coincidence that the episode opened with Villanelle basking in the morning after she’d consorted with two unnamed women. The cyclic nature of the episode served to further tie the two women together, merging their natures ever closer.
Sandra Oh and Edward Bluemel in Killing Eve Season 2 (2019) – source: Gareth Gatrell, BBC America
Next week is a wrap on Killing Eve Season 2! From the promotional clips that have been circulating, to no ones surprise something goes terribly wrong with the operation, causing Eve and Villanelle to ultimately be left to their own devices. They’ve been warned a multitude of times over the season that they’re “on your own” if anything were to happen, so it’s just a matter of waiting to see how they manoeuvre their way out of it.
It’s finally the return of Raymond too, which is both exciting and terrifying. As we know from Konstantin, he’s essentially a glorified executioner, hired by The Twelve to ‘put down’ assets that are no longer required AKA Villanelle.
Will we find out once and for all who The Twelve are? Will Carolyn betray Eve and Villanelle? Will we get a Villanelle/Eve kiss? Where will our two leads be left for a year until we join them again for season 3? Here’s to hoping that we get a yes for at least one of these.
Jodie Comer in Killing Eve Season 2 (2019) – source: Gareth Gatrell, BBC America
All Killer No Filler
- Villanelle listening to Eve’s voicemails on her bed like a schoolgirl in love
- “I couldn’t remember her name, could you tell?”
- Villanelle singing Blondie “One Way or Another” to Eve via her hidden mic
- Eve rolling the spare mic concealed in a bread roll to Villanelle; their hands brushing and Eve’s fingers lingering in the air after the contact has ceased
Fiona Shaw in Killing Eve Season 2 (2019) – source: Nick Briggs, 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.