Killing Eve season 2 review: Fumbling Eve, fashionably challenged Villanelle engage in the same chase but with a revamp
The soon to be released second season of 'Killing Eve' is every bit as riveting and enticing as the first one, at least that's what the initial bits reveal.
This article contains spoilers for 'Killing Eve' season 2.
When critically acclaimed shows that are an immediate hit with the target audience are announced to come back for a second season, one of the biggest points of concern is whether they will be able to match the debut season. The other question that fronts viewers the most is what more is left to be shown. Luckily for 'Killing Eve,' none of those questions were met with disappointing answers as the soon to be releasing second season is every bit as riveting and enticing as the first one, at least that's what the first two episodes available for early reviews reveal.
Kicking off just a mere 30 seconds after the teasing cliffhanger that the season one finale ended on, the premise of this season is the titular MI6 agent Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) realizing she has possibly killed her target assassin, Villanelle (Jodie Comer.) In signature Eve style, fumbling and confused, as the character tries to come to terms with what she might have done, we find out that Villanelle is actually far from dead. There on resumes the cat-and-mouse game between the two that we had seen and adored and grown obsessed with back in season one. But speaking of obsessions, Villanelle is quite possibly going to be really pissed at Eve this season.
And that brings us to the part that explains why season 2 of 'Killing Eve' isn't going to be all about the same old games, as there are new Villanelle and Eve stories to be told. When writer Emerald Fennell took over from the phenomenal season one director, and season 2 EP Phoebe Waller-Bridge, there were certain doubts about the new plot being able to live up to the expectations that the debut season generated.
Luckily, Fennell's story revolving around the teasing, taunting chase between the cop and the killer is far from disappointing, and one of the biggest factors behind that is a new killer on the horizon that Eve gets asked to hunt down. That is pretty much stealing Eve's entire focus from Villanelle - something that is obviously going to set the latter's psychopathic tendencies off and exactly how Eve tells her boss, Carolyn Martens (Fiona Shaw) at one point in the first two episodes, “this is going to drive Villanelle crazy.”
But while Eve might have to shift her focus to a new target, inherently, the tone of both the lead characters remain the same. In that, Fennell tweaks and twists the two characters in ways that are relevant only to how they are currently coping with the consequences of their actions. So as Eve goes about trying to register the violence she has committed (stabbing the assassin in the season 1 finale), Villanelle is prancing about Paris, trying to find asylum for recovery, and also probably plotting her next move. Yet, with so much going on, deep within, the two are still the same unconventional women - a clueless detective and a serial killer with a closet full of couture - playing two very mainstream roles that have stereotypically been associated with males so far. And that is the charm of 'Killing Eve.'
Of course, there are other charms about the show as it continues being promising, and for that, we have to thank Oh and Comer in equal parts. Much like the debut season's Eve, Oh's character continues meandering through the predicament she has landed herself in, and part of the reason why the lead of such a high-intensity drama stands out so effortlessly is because of her hilarious comedic timing. Be it revealing that she has killed someone right in front of a couple that's getting engaged, or being totally incapable of hiding her mirth as she gets reassigned to hunt down Villanelle - Oh's Eve is both calculated and confused in her own way - making her for such a refreshing watch instead of the stereotypical brooding, bossy spies we have seen on TV.
And Comer's Villanelle is no less in establishing just why we love this psychopath assassin more than the others we have seen on the screen. For the initial part of season 2, Villanelle's journey is all about a tale of survival and recovery from the fall she spiraled into at the end of season 1. And as she goes about her way, hiding from the masses, while secretly plotting to get closer to Eve, we see her embracing new levels of insanity, even beyond the limits of a usual Villanelle. In that, she not only takes to babysitting little children, humoring them in a way you wouldn't expect a serial killer too but also makes do with whatever fashion disaster is flung her way, not even leaving behind bedazzled crocs and bright color superhero nightsuits.
Fiona Shaw is just as crisp and raw as ever, in her role of Carolyn, and Owen McDonnell reprises the role of Niko Polastri - Eve's recently estranged husband. The lurking questions about a possible duplicitous trait to their characters don't get answered in the first two episodes of the show, but we aren't complaining. It's just another remarkable strategy to keep viewers on the edge even if the chasing game between Eve and Villanelle gets a little too old.
This is where we have Fennell's writing and the show's execution to thank for, as it strikes the perfect balance between keeping the tension high without overselling the plot. The fast-paced thriller is balanced out by never showing Eve and Villanelle in the same scene - something, had it been done frequently - would have ruined the big face-off that fans can look forward to in the latter half of the second season prospectively. Apart from that, Killing Eve season 2 is everything that we had expected it to be, and hopefully, more.
The humor is still dark, the twisted plots are still murky, and Eve and Villanelle are still trying to hunt each other down like they were in season 1. But none of it looks like anything we have seen on the show before. None of it is boring. In short, Killing Eve is more like, still killing it with their round two.
'Killing Eve' season 2 releases this Sunday, April 7, only on BBC America.