Killing Eve's Second Season Is As Brutal As Ever (And A Bit More Fun)
Last year we told you about a fun, upstart new little show that would "stab your Sunday Night in the eye". With season two having premiered on BBC America last night, it certainly doesn't feel like much has changed. Villanelle still dispatches and manipulates marks with all the calculated grandeur of someone who seems to know they're on a TV show, and Sandra Oh's Eve is as determined as ever to get closer to Villanelle. Whether it's to catch her or kiss her, we still don't quite know.
In the two episodes of Killing Eve provided to critics in advance of its premiere last night, Killing Eve goes light on story but big on its unconventional sense of humor. It's, dare I say, lighter than the last time we spent time with this show – which ended its first run with Eve stabbing Villanelle in the gut.
Of course, this is an action thriller that relies heavily on its lead actors, so Villanelle was never in any real danger. She's wounded, but can still get stuff done, including smuggling her way into the UK via a family's hatchback, and conning her way in and out of hospital without anyone asking too many questions. Oh has won the majority of plaudits and physical awards for her work on the show, but Comer is easily as important as her counterpart. (The second episode, in which she finds herself housebound by a terribly polite self-styled do-gooder with a doll fetish features her best work yet.)
Eve, too, is having A Time, officially fired for swanning off to Paris to confront Villanelle herself (she is, of course, quickly put back on a covert task force, perhaps as bait). The first season, plotted brilliantly by Fleabag's Phoebe Waller-Bridge, hinted at there being some deeper fascination within Eve when it comes to female killers, something not entirely... negative. Hopefully, that's further unpacked this season during this new game of cat and mouse.
And therein lies Killing Eve's new flaw to contend with: This is no longer a small show, and can't afford to change things too drastically while the writers figure out just how long this story can be told. There were moments last year in which the show felt entirely shocking, happy to kill important characters and move the plot along at a lightning-fast pace. Now that it's a sensation, a "must watch," there's already a creeping sense of wheel-spinning. The writers were happy to let Comer and Oh's charisma paper over the narrative cracks because, well, they're just so damn fun. That's not a bad strategy, but it's not going to work forever. If Killing Eve wants to really sell us on its new era and on its future, I hope it continues to embrace the chaotic, unpredictable energy that turned it into an overnight sensation.