The chaos of the coronaviruses may have delayed most of the rest of production, but it introduced the third series of Killing Eve. The program was originally scheduled for the summer. Instead, we get it in early April. The BBC would say it’s a gift to distraction-hungry viewers based on Jodie Comer. Killing Eve, killing the evenings. A cynic might wonder if he knows his flagship thriller is a bit questionable these days, and wants to release it while the entire western world is under house arrest, glued to their television.
Anyway, here it is. The second season ended on a “cliffhanger”, but only in the sense that you wondered if it would be a year before the release of the next series, or six months. Glamourpuss Villanelle’s murderer (Jodie Comer) shot British spy agent / thug Eve (Sandra Oh) in Rome. There was no way she was dead. When the BBC is successful in America and Britain, as Killing Eve is, he doesn’t give it up without a bloody fall (literally, in the case of Jeremy Clarkson Top Gear). They will keep this for as long as possible, which cannot last forever. Comer, in particular, owes a role that will allow him to display depth as well as range.
The series was created by Flea bag the brain Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who adapted the novels of Luke Jennings. She wrote the first episodes herself and her fingerprints were evident. The script had spirit, soul and style, and was so much more fun than the average spy thriller that Daniel Craig recruited it to embellish the new Bond script. Comer and Oh turned cautiously through glamorous European cities, while Comer repelled a succession of targets in horribly imaginative ways. You were never quite sure if they would fight or get out of it, less cat and mouse than cat and cat, and their energy propelled the whole series. Some of the supporting performances were entertaining, like Fiona Shaw as ghost boss Carolyn, and Kim Bodnia as manager of Villanelle, Konstantin, but they were little more than cutouts.
Download the new Independent Premium app
Share the whole story, not just the headlines
Emerald Fennell took over the writing duties for the second series, and the same items were sort of added unless. It was partly the second album syndrome, but you can’t ignore the Waller-Bridge effect. To his favorite, Killing Eve was a media act, counting on enough amusement that his ridiculous intrigue and caricature character did not matter.
Fennell handed it over to another writer, Suzanne Heathcote, who previously worked on Fear the living dead. His zombie experience could be useful. Or Killing Eve had a vitality, he now feels tired to the point of living lifeless. Eve Polastri is not dead but lives only half a life. No longer an agent tracking down horrific murders with incompetent male colleagues, she works as a chef at Han in New Malden, listening to the romantic journeys of her junior male colleagues while she hacks meat. You can’t imagine Waller-Bridge letting go with this kind of metaphor. Eve is separated from her husband Niko (Owen McDonnell), who is in rehabilitation.
Her former colleague Kenny (Sean Delaney), Carolyn’s son, also has a new job as a journalist. In one of Killing EveNumerous deviations from plausibility, he is underworked in his new role, and has enough time on his hands to check on his former boss at his apartment, with mixed results. Villanelle suffers from a similar boredom. She arranged to marry a wealthy Spanish woman. We do not know why, except to give the opportunity to fight with the former boss Harriet Walter. Before long, she is sucked into her old ways and onto Eve’s radar.
But who cares? Once fresh and exciting, Killing Eve has become obsolete and predictable. It’s 2020, and the phones click and scream when the text messages are sent. The humor is weary. I groaned when Carolyn told Kenny that he was working for a website and he corrected it by saying that he was working for an “online publication”. Comer remains observable, but she could film herself by opening her message and it would be better than a lot of what is on television.
Killing Eve has already been renewed for a fourth season, so critics are probably peeing in the wind, but the truth is that beyond Comer, there is little more to offer. Sometimes killing can be mercy.