Published Apr 07, 2020Killing Eve's new season begins with a toast. "I'm so much happier now she's dead," Villanelle says, in a scene introduced in the trailer that many deemed her Gone Girl moment. The ending of last season resulted in a social media frenzy of shock and disbelief. The will-they-or-won't-they question often pertained to a romance between the series' main characters, Villanelle and Eve, but murder wasn't in our deck of cards. However, luckily and predictably, Killing Eve's title has yet to take a literal meaning.
After the mayhem in Rome that was season two's finale, Eve (Sandra Oh) and Villanelle (Jodie Comer) are trying to feign normalcy. Eve is back in England and working in the kitchen of a Chinese restaurant. Her relationship with Niko (Owen McDonnell) is in disrepair as he's still reeling from his last encounter with Villanelle. The villainous vixen herself has seemingly moved on and is living in luxury in Barcelona. Other characters are still around too: Kenny (Sean Delaney) has quit the MI6 and is working as a journalist; Carolyn (Fiona Shaw) is no longer allowed to do her work, as she is being investigated for all of her unauthorized assignments of the previous season; Konstantin (Kim Bodnia), as sneaky as ever, is surprisingly back working for the mysterious criminal organization known as the Twelve, despite the events of the first season. They all seem to be on a new course, but naturally, the past catches up with them.
Punches are thrown right from the start as a figure from Villanelle's past is introduced, an old teacher named Dasha (Dame Harriet Walter). There's a suggested history there, some bad blood, but Dasha quickly gets Villanelle back to work with the Twelve. Villanelle isn't just all about flamboyant kills anymore; she's power hungry and wants to move up in the organization. Back in London, tragedy strikes and Eve and Carolyn (along with some new players) are propelled into an investigation — off-the-books, of course — that dives deeper into the Twelve and their operations.
Now, don't worry, the relationship between Eve and Villanelle doesn't take a back seat. While it feels to have moved past its cat-and-mouse dynamic, judging by the first five episodes given to critics, the obsession between the pair still retains the magnetism and complexity that has been of much discourse since the show first aired. While Eve confesses that she would prefer the past be buried, her thoughts of Villanelle are impossible to escape. They're still longing and yearning for each other. As is shown in the season's trailer, Villanelle finds out Eve is alive, surviving what Villanelle believed was a fatal blow, and their inevitable reunion comes when you least expect it: with a violent and electrifying encounter that is sure to send Twitter into another frenzy.
But so far, the best part of the season isn't the relationship between Eve and Villanelle; it's the new depth that's given to some of its main characters. Eve was losing her grip and becoming much more unhinged last season – Villanelle no doubt influencing her newfound violent tendencies. Now in the third season, Eve must contend with her self-loathing. And Carolyn, while her intentions are still questionable, is slowly losing her calm and collected exterior. We see a different side to all of them, but the assassin especially. The show digs much deeper into Villanelle's past than ever before, examining her as a tortured soul whose darkness has its roots — revelations that are both heartwarming and heartbreaking.
Season 3 of Killing Eve is shocking right from the first episode and delivers an acting masterclass, as usual, from its main cast — especially from Comer, who brings the charm and humour as always, but also a vulnerable side of a different kind than last season. It's not perfect, so far, though. There are plot holes and questions left unanswered from last season, but there's still time for more clarity. Some wonderful characters are introduced, like Danny Sapani as Kenny's new boss, Gemma Whelan as Kenny's sister, and the aforementioned Dame Harriet Walter as Dasha; however, most new additions feel like filler, as their significance is fleeting or they lack impact.
But Killing Eve is as stylish as ever – and not just because of Villanelle's wardrobe, which now includes a clown costume and an '80s jumpsuit. The use of music has been one of the show's strongest technical choices, and it continues with an impeccable soundtrack with songs chosen that perfectly fit what is going in any given scene. The absence of Phoebe Waller-Bridge's singular voice as a writer is still felt, but while this season is nowhere near the perfection of the first, it feels like an improvement to what many thought was a disappointing second season. This is thanks to writer Suzanne Heathcote, who improves the show with surprising new layers to characters we've come to know so well.
Killing Eve's third season contains the show's signature murder and intrigue with no way to predict where the season is headed. Sure to end on a cliffhanger, it's a strong continuation of a narrative that has been a big obsession for many viewers. Killing Eve has audiences in a chokehold with no chance of easing up.