A quick warning to all readers: Once you start “Killing Eve”, you will not be able to stop. It might be best to save it for after finals week.
Did the last season of “Game of Thrones” disappoint you? Do you have nothing to watch now that you’ve seen “Avengers: Endgame” (and rewatched all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe)? Do you search through Netflix but find nothing exciting besides your favorite sitcoms that you’ve seen too many times? Well, do I have a show for you.
“Killing Eve” is one of the greatest shows to come out in recent years, and it is nothing like anything I’ve seen before. It stars the uber-talented Sandra Oh as the goofy but scarily intelligent MI6 agent, Eve Polastri, who is obsessed with female assassins. She is recruited by a mysterious agent named Carolyn Martens (Fiona Shaw) to track down an assassin who has been killing important figures across Europe. Jodie Comer, who plays the Russian master assassin and psychopath Villanelle, embodies the role perfectly, surprising viewers constantly with her next gruesome kill and dark sense of humor. When Eve and Villanelle accidentally meet without realizing who the other is, a spark of obsession is lit, and a race begins to see who will catch who first begins.
The first season bursts onto screens with breathtaking cinematography, killer fashion designed by Charlotte Mitchell and writing that can make you laugh and feel afraid all in the same scene. But don’t be fooled by Villanelle, or really any of the characters’ jokes or moments of humor; any of them could kill someone in the next moment if it suited their goals. Each scene brings a new dimension to the characters and their relationships with each other. In the beginning of the very first episode, the audience gets a contrasting image of the two main characters. Villanelle, wearing a wig and a disguise, smiles and watches a child eating a bowl of ice cream from across the parlor. As she leaves the restaurant, she knocks over the ice cream onto the child with the music swelling in the background. This immediately cuts to Eve screaming in her bed… only to find out that she fell asleep on her her arms and they felt weird when she woke up. From only the first five minutes, the audience gets a sense of the show and the contrasting personalities that dominate the screen. Villanelle has no morals and loves making trouble, ranging from being mean to a kid to murdering an aristocrat by sticking a needle in his eye. In comparison, Eve does not seem to take anything in her normal life too seriously, but when it comes to assassins and her job, she is the master. The initial game of cat and mouse between the two women eventually turns into a game of cat and cat by the end of the season in a shocking cliffhanger.
Season two takes everything good from season one and cranks it up by ten notches to be even more fun and intriguing. Without spoiling anything from season one, I can say that fans will be excited to see the return of their favorite characters as well as the arrival of some new ones. The drama increases with a new villain, Aaron Peel, a tech billionaire who has been hiring another assassin called the Ghost to kill off his rivals. As MI6 struggles to catch the Ghost and take down Peel, Eve and Villanelle are brought closer and closer together until the heart-stopping finale that made me dread the long wait for season three.
The real force behind the show are the three leading ladies— Sandra Oh, Jodie Comer, and Fiona Shaw— each of whom have now won an award for the series. Their portrayals of these characters are a master class in acting. Oh’s Eve Polastric is dynamic. Her descent from perfect wife and employee to darkness and desire for Villanelle and Villanelle’s freedom is perfectly portrayed in every action and word. Comer’s Villanelle seems inhuman. Yet, the nuances between her pranks, her ability to switch fluently from accent to accent and her minute facial expressions embody the psychopath. Audiences can’t help but root for her, even as she tears apart person after person. Shaw’s Carolyn Martens remains an enigma; the audience cannot put a finger on who she really is and what her role in the larger game will become. Each actress demands attention when she performs, and this is what keeps me unable to stay away.
“Killing Eve” is the perfect mix of drama, intrigue, humor and addictive personalities that keeps a hold on its audience from its first breath to the very last. The feminist theme throughout the series is powerful and natural within the plot, and the cast and crew continue to push the boundaries of what makes good television. I, for one, cannot wait to see what comes next.
Contact Caroline Keyes at ckeyes22 ‘at’ stanford.edu.