Review: KILLING EVE SEASON 2 – Witty, Violent, and Utterly Compelling

FIRST IMPRESSION

Killing Eve overcomes the risk of change in showrunner and reminds as sharp and entertaining as the first season.
Directing
Writing
Acting

The first season of Killing Eve was one of the biggest shows of 2018. It became known for its memorable characters and dark, twisted humor. It earned numerous awards and praise for its stars, so the new showrunner had a lot to live up for the second season.

The second season picks up 30 seconds after the first season left off. Villanelle (Jodie Comer) has been stabbed and is hiding from the cops and The Twelve. Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) gets rehired by MI6 to investigate another set of murders believed to be committed by a woman. With Eve’s mind on other things, Villanelle becomes paranoid that the American-accented British agent is no longer interested in.

The showrunner of the first season, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, left to make the second season of Fleabag. The reins were handed to actress/novelist Emerald Fennel. Because of the new showrunner, there were some changes to the series.

The most notable change was the plot expanded beyond the cat-and-mouse game between Eve and Villanelle. In this season Eve goes on the hunt for another assassin known as The Ghost and discovers a tech company might have partaken in illegal activities. The season was split into three distinct sections within the overarching plot: the first being Villanelle escaping from the Twelve, second being Villanelle trying to get Eve’s attention and the third was Eve and Villanelle teaming up. It builds up the world and shows there are more threats than just Villanelle.

The second season saw an increase in violence. Many of the deaths were more bloody than in the previous season. The most memorable was in the opening of the fourth episode where Villanelle kills a man in Amsterdam’s red light district. People get disemboweled, have their throats slit, or stabbed with different instruments, and it will please gorehounds.

A smaller but still notable change was the music. Throughout the season more songs were being used. This gave the season a different style from the first.

The second season kept what worked from the previous season – the character dynamics and the humor. The core of Killing Eve is the relationship between Eve and Villanelle and how they are drawn to each other. Villanelle is an attention seeker, and it drives her up the wall when she’s ignored while her dark side tempts Eve. This season puts Villanelle in a vulnerable state because of her injury and gets held captive by a handler from The Twelve. Villanelle’s still resourceful but physically weaker and lacks control in the first three episodes. Villanelle is unpredictable and does some reprehensive things which push Comer’s charm as the character to the limit.

Vulnerability is a great description of Villanelle’s role at times. The end of the fourth episode shows Villanelle at her lowest ebb – she is a dark place because her ego can’t handle not getting what she wants. Villanelle faces her match when faced against someone equally as cruel and psychopathic as she is. The sixth episode exposed Villanelle’s weaknesses – she gets called out for lying, and her own laziness and arrogance puts her in danger.

Killing Eve has razor-sharp dialogue. There are hilarious lines and reactions through the season. Some personal favorites were when Carolyn (Fiona Shaw) reveals why she looks so good and an incident with an ax. The key actors have great comedic timing. There were also some clever subversions like when Villanelle meets the Quartermaster – going into more detail will spoil the joke.

Killing Eve is one of the most inventive shows currently on TV. It works both as a thriller and a comedy and second season carries on the great work of the first. I binge-watched the second season over the course of two days – it was a breezy watch.

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