Rating 4/5 – The fact that I really liked Killing Eve should not be a reflection on my love for the whole “murder girl” sub-genre. After the entire main villain isn’t a young girl with advanced killing skills ala Logan or Kick-Ass. Based on a series of two novels (or novellas because these books are short in comparison to most books) it follows Eve Polastri played by Sandra Oh who is a desk bound MI5 operative who is on the trail of the assassin Villanelle played with awesome effect by Jodie Comer. After getting fired after a witness to one of Villanelle’s kills is murdered along with MI5 agents and then recruited to a more off the books MI5 office to hunt Villanelle and a larger shadow organization operating within Europe’s intelligence agencies. The show becomes a fast paced non-stop cat-and-mouse chase with the usual spy story twists and turns told from the perspective of both Eve and Villanelle.
Killing Eve: Villanelle
TV shows usually works from the perspective of the protagonist, the good girl or guy as cop, detective, secret agents or ordinary citizen caught up in extraordinary circumstance. Good villains usually drive the story but the perspective tends to stay with the hero. Killing Eve effectively tells the story from both sides and it’s hard to say which is more interesting. The problem with making the villain a POV character is villains are, well, villains. You are not exactly rooting for them but a great villain will have you following them. In Killing Eve, Villanelle is not an anti-hero or misunderstood good-girl-gone-bad. Villanelle is clearly a text book psychotic and by the numbers sociopath who treats murder like it’s a daily chore. With Killing Eve all hats off to Jodie Comer for pulling off this character with subtle flair and the right amount of vulnerability to make you want to keep following her story. Villanelle is no victim. The show flips the script on the “tragic backstory.” As Eve picks up on something in Villanelle’s past you say to yourself “oh, they’re going there” and then they don’t. Thanks to the talent of Jodie Comer we have a new villain to add to the Wax Museum display that includes such luminaries as Hannibal Lector and Mickey and Mallory Knox. You’re not going to forget Killing Eve because of Villanelle.
Killing Eve: Eve
Sandra Oh has been giving us interesting characters for year now. She’s one of those “gals who was in that thing” that managed to take what could be the usual background or supporting characters and adding depth to her performances that make them stand out. Known mostly for her award winning time on Gray’s Anatomy she also has been in some of the better movies of our times like Hard Candy and Sideways. Eve Polastri is our John McClain for this series. She not Atomic Blond with kick-ass outfits and ready-made martial arts skills. She’s a wife and office worker who pretty much got on to Villanelle’s path in her spare time. This is not one of those stories where the spy gets hunted by her own agency or has to take out the bad guy in the underground learn. Eve is the title character of Killing Eve, the audience POV to the world of Killing Eve whose intelligence and drive is underestimated by everyone except the psychopath she’s hunting. TV shows work because of the characters and Eve is an interesting foil for Villanelle and vise-versa.
Killing Eve: Spy Games
Killing Eve is your basic spy story with every troupe pretty much checked off. Success of a spy story is not about if they hit the same beats. BBC wrote the book on the spy series as most of the biggest shows stand the test of time and is always on someone’s top 10 lists. (Don’t feel bad, America still has Homeland and Alias to brag about.) Killing Eve paint-by-numbers on the troupes. Smart and Driven operative? Check. Betrayal within the organization? Check. Shadow organization bent on varies forms of world domination? Check. That’s the basic formula of every single spy show and movie from I Spy all the way up to 24. The trick to making a successful spy thriller is characters you care about plus interesting story mixed with action and intensity. Thanks to the main actors this show has enough intensity to have you wanting more soon as the end credit start. When Villanelle is on screen you wonder and fear whose about to die. When Eve in on screen you’re right there with her rooting her on but wanting her to be careful with her investigation, her life and her relationships. Being a BBC show you learn not to get too close to the more interesting supporting characters because the BBC has never been shy about killing popular characters.
Killing Eve: The Verdict
I rate Killing Eve 100% binge worthy. It’s sharp with some great action sequences, predictable but pretty good twists and turns, and enough intensity to pull you in every week. (This is a regular TV show so at first you have to watch in weekly.) Most important, Killing Eve does not talk down to its audience and is good enough to binge. The success of this show rest completely on the shoulders of its main villain and, of course, Eve. This show is worth the watch in whatever format you can find Killing Even on. I say again, Killing Eve is the kind of binge worthy that a “get ready to get lost for 10 hours” warning should be added. If you haven’t watched it yet, what exactly are you waiting for? Watch Killing Eve.