REVIEWED: SEASON 2 (EPISODES 1 - 3) | WHERE TO WATCH: BBC iPLAYER
The wicked black comedy and cat-and-mouse spy action of Killing Eve made the first eight-part series a hit in the UK and USA last year and a second series was quickly green-lit. The first season fast established the fact that Villanelle (played with outrageous gusto by Jodie Comer) is a mercurial, psychopathic assassin who delights in flamboyantly killing her victims. She is barely under the control of her handler Konstantin (Kim Bodnia), and by the end of the season she is tasked with killing him, which she attempts with great aplomb and determination. In contrast to the self-obsessed killing machine that is Villanelle who travels the world in style, we have the desk-bound MI5 officer Eve Polastri played by Sandra Oh. Through her own unofficial research, she identifies a cluster of killings as the work of a female assassin and this leads to her meeting Villanelle face-to-face.
Having established an erotic charge between the two women, the second series has Villanelle escaping capture in Paris and smuggling herself to Britain to find Eve - and do who knows what. Even when she is recovering from stab wounds endured at the end of Season 1, Villanelle gets up to her old murderous tricks in a Paris hospital where she befriends a fellow patient, and hilariously steals their colourful pyjamas to escape. Once in Britain, Villanelle has a hard time recovering from her wounds and meets Julian (Julian Barratt) who is more creepy and potentially as murderous as herself. At the very least he might well bore her to death. Worst of all, she learns that there is a new female assassin on the block who efficiently kills her targets with cunning and discretion. Eve is also aware of the new girl, whom they call ‘The Ghost’, and also discovers with relief that Villanelle is still alive. Indeed, she taunts Eve by leaving clues with her victims - an apple that has been bitten into is one example, indicating a Biblical note that she is ‘Adam’ who wants her Eve.
Besides the two main characters, the new series features more of Eve’s husband Niko Polastri, played by Owen McDonnell whom Villanelle tracks down and has no doubt got some designs on. Plus there is the return of Konstantin who is a little bit too friendly with Eve’s boss Carolyn Martens played by Fiona Shaw. And, we must not forget Villanelle’s tough new handler Raymond (Adam Scarborough) who is determined to keep her on a short leash (good luck with that!).
Killing Eve, based on the Villanelle novels by Luke Jennings, is a breathtakingly wonderful excursion into a dizzy world of desire, compulsion, control, lust, and death.