WARNING: some spoilers for Killing Eve series 2 episode 4 ahead. Still catching up? Read Steve’s review of episode 3 here.
While it may be a series dominated and driven by incredible women, Killing Eve doesn’t skimp on providing its audience with smart, cleverly-written and insightful male characters.
The first run (well, the first three episodes of it, at least) had David Haig’s hilariously droll Bill Pargrave as an emotional anchor for Eve as she nearly got lost in a sea of intrigue and assassins’ bullets. Both series have had Villanelle’s affable but deadly arch manipulator and handler Konstantin (Kim Bodnia) on display too. As well as Eve’s placid, supportive but strong-willed husband Nico (Owen McDonell).
Now it looks as though we might well be able to add sex-obsessed cad Hugo’s name to that list. Eve’s new Oxbridge-educated colleague (played by Edward Bluemel), it seems, isn’t just a horny young graduate, he’s also pretty adept at reading people. Here, in Killing Eve series 2 episode 4, Hugo admits to Eve that he’s worked out what’s going on between her and Villanelle. He knows that they represent pure and unadulterated excitement to one another.
“Do you like watching her, or do you like being watched?” He asks her at one point. “I wanted this job for exactly the same reason as you did,” he goes on. “I didn’t want to die of boredom…”
But Eve is getting bored. While tracking down efficient female assassins like ‘the Ghost’ for the intelligence service might be exciting to schlubs like us, to Eve? It’s just, well… it’s just not quite the thrill of hunting down the flamboyant, poetic, artistic, idiosyncratic and spell-binding Villanelle.
You can tell that Eve’s bored – she’s smoking, eating fried chicken at 1am and very nearly copping off with a colleague half her age. She needs Villanelle.
And Villanelle needs Eve. She’s every bit as lost and unentertained as her wavy-haired counterpart. Even when she’s jetting off to Amsterdam to kill a pervert in the most brutally public (not to mention disturbing) way imaginable, she’s still so utterly lifeless.
These two need to get it together or get over it…
We may have lauded a slight breakthrough for a male character earlier, but again – Killing Eve deserves huge praise for its well-drawn female roles. This week’s standout performance? An incredible three minute cameo from none other than Love Hurts and My Family star Zoë Wanamaker as Carolyn’s foul-mouthed, volcanic, Pringle-eating, stripey sock-wearing boss. It’s the kind of scene you could happily rewind and watch again two or three times.
This week’s instalment, called ‘Desperate Times’, is Killing Eve (very nearly) back to its absolute best. Nothing will likely top the standout five star moments from series 1, but these 45 minutes felt like they could well have come straight from it.
That said, it’s somewhat difficult to get too excited about the subplot involving the murdered associates of Alistair Peele and all its potential conspiratorial fallout. Not because it’s uninteresting or poorly devised, more just because, well, it’s not all about Eve and Villanelle. And that’s what Killing Eve is all about at its core. For all the cameos and supporting cast and set pieces and gags and music, it’s all about Eve. And Villanelle, of course.
What did you think of Killing Eve series 2 episode 4? Let us know in the comments below…