What happens when an MI5 security officer and an international assassin both get bored with their jobs at the same damn time? A highly entertaining and wholly original hour of television.
Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) has an interesting hobby: she tracks the details of murders around the world, believing they’re all committed by the same woman. When she’s tasked with protecting the only witness to the murder of a Russian politician, Eve becomes convinced he was murdered by her mystery serial killer.
Villanelle (Jodie Comer) is that killer, and she’s become increasingly, purposely sloppy in her work. She gets the order to clean up her mess by taking out Eve’s witness, and she’s instructed to make it look like a suicide. Villanelle kills the woman in her hospital bed, and the nurses and guards. She had a brief encounter with Eve in the ladies room before she did it.
The loss of the witness leads to Eve’s termination, but she’s promptly recruited to head a secret MI6 team to track Villanelle off the record. Although, the operation doesn’t appear to be all that covert because Villanelle’s handler, Konstantin (Kim Bodnia), informs her that Eve is leading that team to find her. Despite failing a psych evaluation Konstantin arranged, Villanelle continues to work and kills a big political donor making it look like an asthma attack.
Her next target hasn’t been assigned, but Villanelle clearly has her sights set on Eve. So, who’s tracking whom?
There’s so much to love about this series – the music, the settings, the sharp dialogue, and the outstanding performances from Oh and Comer are just the ones that immediately jump out after the first thirty minutes of the premiere.
While Eve is witty, intelligent, and good (maybe too good) at her job, there’s also a darkness there. She relates to the way Villanelle thinks just a little too well, and there are times when it feels as though she idolizes this woman who has been getting away with murder — a lot.
Villanelle is also very capable at her job, and, again, maybe a little too much. She studies people — even the ones she’s not paid to kill — as if she’s trying to understand how to act as them; how to be normal. But when she puts on an act to lure in her victims, she’s stunningly convincing. There’s also a connection to a woman from her past, one with dark hair, that may be the key to stopping her, or understanding, or both. The fact that Eve reminds her of that woman is fascinating and terrifying.
To help understand these two women, it might do well to look at their relationship with others. First, Eve’s marriage is as quirky and funny as she is, and while her husband Niko (Owen McDonnell) appears to know her better than anyone, it also feels like he’s not fully aware what she’s capable of doing. It’s also interesting that she’s honest with him when instructed by her new boss, Carolyn Martens (Fiona Shaw), but it felt like she did it because she’s used to sharing everything with him and not because she necessarily wanted to do it. If Villanelle becomes as obsessed with Eve as Eve is with finding her, I worry about anyone close to Eve.
Villanelle doesn’t have any family (that we know of) or friends. Konstantin is close enough that he has keys to her flat, and they finish each other’s sentences, but she’s not above lying to him or swiping a job out of his pocket under the guise of a hug. Things get surprisingly physical and violent between the two when he learns she did as he’d forbidden; however, when cooler heads prevailed, I couldn’t help but think only one of them could truly go through with ending the other. And it’s not the one who wears pink fluffy dresses to therapy sessions.
Killing Eve reviews will go up weekly, starting with this week’s review of episode 3 on Tuesday. You can also follow along with our Killing Eve podcast by becoming a Premium podcast subscriber on Patreon.
Killing Eve S1E1/S1E2 Review Score
"Nice Face" / "I'll Deal With Him Later"
Killing Eve – S1E1/S1E2 – “Nice Face”/”I’ll Deal With Him Later”| Starring: Sandra Oh, Jodie Comer, Owen McDonnell, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Fiona Shaw, David Haig, Kim Bodnia | Directed by: Harry Bradbeer | Written by: Phoebe Waller-Bridge