Whoa has it really been over a year since I’ve dipped my toes into this blog? Insanity. Well, for those reading in the future, we are currently in the grips of a worldwide pandemic (COVID-19 to be specific, just in case there are more around the corner), and that means a lot of inside time. Like, a lot. So in-between the books and the knitting my eyeballs have soaked up an insane amount of screen time. This means I’m recapping (spoilers ahead!) the entirety of Killing Eve Season 1, which I binged over the course of two days. Without further ado let’s meet our characters!
The titular Eve Polastri is played by my forever idol Sandra Oh and this show is literally proof that my love for her means I will sit through just about anything she is in. Eve is a something something detective with a crazy theory: there’s a mysterious female assassin on the loose. Eve is married to Nico and their relationship is boring (he maybe runs a bridge club?). Mostly he stands around being verbally supportive while giving off sad body language. Anyway, Eve illegally records a witness describing a possible assassination and then also tries to sneak into her hospital room. While Eve is in the loo (p.s. this show is produced by BBC America so nearly everyone else on the show is British) the witness, nurses, and guards are murdered. Eve is promptly fired, with literal blood still on her hands, and her immediate supervisor quits in solidarity.
All is not lost though because this latest attack brings the wonderful Fiona Shaw into my life playing Carolyn Martens: a no-nonsense MI6 Agent who works in uncovering Russian espionage (maybe? I’m not totally sure what she does either) and she agrees with Eve that something is definitely up and hires her to try and find this assassin. Eve brings her former boss and a coworker onboard and they start to try and figure out who is doing these killings and what organization is behind it.
While all of this has been happening our assassin Oksana Astankova aka Villanelle, played by Jodie Comer is having the best time coming up with creative ways to kill people while also lounging around her Paris apartment looking like a psychotic Carrie Bradshaw. Villanelle is paid by a presumably Russian organization called The Twelve to kill people. They don’t tell her why she’s been asked to kill and she doesn’t care, she kills for the pleasure of watching people die.
Her contact with The Twelve is through a man named Konstantin whose whole look and vibe screams bad Russian guy so loudly it’s a wonder people don’t go running the other way when he’s on screen. He and Villanelle have a complicated father-daughter relationship where he tells her to be a good little assassin, she misbehaves, then he gets mad but gives her what she wants anyways.
The last important main character is violence, and they are featured heavily on this show. The violence ranges from stabbings, to shootings, to gassings, to memorably: a needle/hairpin to the eyeball. People are shot or stabbed so often it becomes weirdly predictable and Villanelle’s face never seems to be without bruises or blood for the second half of the season. But don’t worry, I’m not including any visual gore in this post, so the sensitive among you should be alright. However the sensitive among you maybe shouldn’t watch this show.
Eve tries to track down the assassin we know as Villanelle, who is in turn told by Konstantin that Eve is on her tail and trying to pin her down. Villanelle, who we all shortly realize is a full blown psychopath, becomes completely infatuated by Eve going so far as to insist on calling one of her hookups Eve, stealing Eve’s suitcase so she can wear her clothes, and eventually breaking into her home to have dinner with her.
This is probably a good time to mention that Villanelle is bisexual and into Eve, while Eve is definitely feeling an attraction towards her even though she wont admit it to herself. The complicated part is, you know, the whole assassin thing.
Anyway, Villanelle continues on her merry killing way until she kills Eve’s former boss for following her and is punished by Konstantin because he was not a sanctioned kill. She is forced to team up with an old lover Nadia and her boyfriend who’s irrelevant so I don’t remember his name to kill the man who originally fired Eve. The mission goes haywire and Eve’s former employer escapes. Villanelle promises Nadia that she loves her and wants to be together, so Nadia kills her boyfriend.
About five minutes after this declaration of love Villanelle purposefully backs over Nadia with her car (twice!) but doesn’t realize she’s not dead. This is bad news because Nadia is somehow transported back to Russia and put in jail (I literally don’t remember why or how this happened) and Konstantin tells Villanelle she must go and kill her. Villanelle heads to Russia to kill Nadia and Eve and Carolyn also head East to investigate the mysterious organization The Twelve. This leads to a visit to Nadia in jail, and Eve promises they can get her out if she gives them information. What she doesn’t know is that 1) Villanelle is already in the prison to kill Nadia to make sure that doesn’t happen and 2) Konstantin, her Russian contact who arranged the jail visit, is working for The Twelve and will do everything in his power to block that transfer. While Villanelle is busy trying to acquire a shiv, Eve goes against Carolyn’s wishes and meets with Anna, Villanelle’s former teacher and lover. When Villanelle was a student she and Anna began a relationship culminating with Villanelle castrating and killing Anna’s husband.
Eve warns Anna that despite being told otherwise, Villanelle is very much alive and will likely try and contact her. After Villanelle manages to gruesomely kill Nadia she is sprung from jail and given her next assassin assignment: Konstantin. She heads to his home, kidnaps his wife and daughter, and waits for him. Konstantin requests to overdose on pills instead of being shot, which Villanelle allows. As he takes the pills he tells Villanelle that he’s so proud of her and loves her before hitting her in the head with a log and managing to escape by boat. It’s very James Bond-y. Villanelle takes Konstantin’s daughter Irina hostage and they head to Anna’s because ages ago she hid a passport and cash in the lining of a coat and needs to retrieve it. However! On Eve’s earlier visit to Anna’s she is shown the coat and discovers said items, which she takes. Anna is obviously upset at seeing Villanelle again and threatens to shoot her. Instead she shoots herself and the whole thing is very weird. Villanelle tells Eve she has Konstantin’s daughter and will do a trade of kid for passport and money. They all meet up at a fancy restaurant and Eve tosses the items to Villanelle but her throwing arm rivals mine and it doesn’t go very far. A terrified diner has to deliver the passport and money the rest of the distance and I had flashbacks to basically every gym class ever, but I digress. Villanelle grabs her things, shoots Konstantin (we’re supposed to think he’s dead but come on), and runs (Irina is fine). Carolyn is furious that Eve met with Anna and helped cause this train of events (and that she found out some shady stuff about her), so she fires Eve.
Instead of heading home to her husband Nico, Eve jets to Paris because she’s found Villanelle’s apartment, which she promptly trashes. It’s fairly cathartic.
Obviously Villanelle walks in and the two have a chat. Eve admits that she can’t stop thinking about Villanelle and Villanelle is obviously very into Eve. They both lie on the bed having a nice moment and just as Villanelle goes in for a kiss Eve stabs her in the stomach!
Eve freaks out because 1) she’s not a trained killer and 2) seems to immediately feel really sorry about the stabbing. Villanelle tries to shoot Eve but her aim is bad because she is bleeding everywhere. While Eve goes to the kitchen for something to stop the copious bleeding Villanelle somehow manages to leave.
And that’s it! We’ve come to the end of Killing Eve season one. Now obviously seasons two and three are already out so we know that Villanelle and Konstantin are not dead. We can also assume that Eve continues to try and get to the bottom of who The Twelve are as well as play a game of cat and mouse with Villanelle. So am I going to watch those seasons? Honestly, probably not. If it weren’t for Sandra Oh I’m not sure I would have even finished this season. There is little I find redeeming about Villanelle and the senseless killing is both disturbing and boring (quite the combination!) to the point that I don’t really want to see any more. Instead I prefer to imagine them in perpetuity as they were portrayed in the promo below from Entertainment Weekly: in a moody dramatic yet balletic sword fight.
To sum up: