writers and directors for each volume in a franchise can yield fascinating
rewards. Mission Impossible and Star Wars are two such
beneficiaries (until recently): finding a new angle, a new vision with different
filmmakers. The sexy, stylish, and rhythmically funny spy thriller Killing
Eve, engendered for TV by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, is another – swapping show-runners
for each season.
But contrary to its psychopathic, anti-hero assassin
Villanelle (Jodie Comer), the show itself is fragile – one bad move and the
original immersion is broken. Waller-Bridge is an unfairly hard act to follow, and
Emerald Fennell proved an adequate replacement for the second season. The
pressure’s on the newbie Suzanne Heathcote, whose previous writing credits
include the spin-off series Fear the Walking Dead and a couple of short
Prematurely judging by the first episode, she can’t maintain
the house that Phoebe built.
One of probably many guises adopted by the assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer)
shadow of the so-called ‘break-up’ between Eve (Sandra Oh) and Villanelle hangs
over episode one so, perhaps appropriately, a strong inertia flows through most
of it. The start is an exception to this, delving into the past of a new
character – kicking off season three with some well-paced brutality.
is as strange and spirited as ever, with Comer’s performance resuming its enjoyably
crazy energy, but with a layer of sadness after leaving Eve in Rome. Surprise, surprise:
Eve’s not dead, as revealed by the trailers. She’s actually living in New
Malden at the moment, taking every day as it comes.
It's an approach taken by most of the characters – not least by former MI6 boss Carolyn (Fiona Shaw) and her adorable son Kenny (Sean Delaney). The visuals look greyer than usual; a general, overcast air of boredom, as if the colours of the last two seasons have drained away. Although this is clearly intended, a narrative calm before the storm, the first episode succeeds at being a bit sluggish in itself.
Eve (Sandra Oh) is alive!
Unlike Waller-Bridge and Fennell, who were ensconced in Killing Eve's stylised world, Heathcote and director Terry McDonough
(new to the series) craft a pale, underwhelming imitation. This episode checks off the series’ boxes – lush locations, twisted murder, and silly slow-mo walking – but the flavour
is missing, the formula tasting stale.
episode is entertaining enough; the story and characters graze the edge of
dullness while never crossing over. But the ghost of Waller-Bridge’s electrifying
dialogue haunts that of Heathcote’s, almost highlighting the former’s
overwhelming superiority to the latter. Maybe this is harsh, given it's the first of eight episodes. But in this weekly
set-up, new to the UK, will binge-age viewers continue to stick around?
Killing Eve season 3 episode 1 is available on BBC iPlayer from Monday 13 April at 6am. Further episodes will drop on a weekly basis.
|What||Killing Eve season 3 episode 1, BBC review (spoiler free)|
13 Apr 20 – 13 Apr 21, ON BBC iPLAYER
|Website||Click here for more information|