But episode two, penned by Succession writer Anna Jordan, turns onto a better track: approaching territory that’s uncommonly poignant. Straying away from the usual USP of Eve (Sandra Oh) and Villanelle (Jodie Comer) finding or thinking about each other, this episode belongs to Fiona Shaw’s beautiful performance as Eve’s ex-boss, Carolyn. She's usually the character with the best lines, as sharp as many well-chosen daggers, but here she might make you well up – abnormal for a series that revels in its tearless and colourful nihilism.
Carolyn (Fiona Shaw) mourns for her son, in her own way
The bleak pointlessness of feeling for the dead arises straight away in episode two, picking up after last week’s impactful twist. The adorable, baby-faced Kenny (Sean Delaney) has met his demise, and his mother Carolyn holds a wake, where we meet her other child Geraldine (humanistically played by Gemma Whelan).
These scenes flow with a dark, very British sense of humour – to the extent that it makes you wonder how it translates abroad. The wake is an almost light-hearted affair, Carolyn laughing with her other guests and requesting ‘good music’. (Only one person cries in the whole event.) There’s no overwhelming, spirit-crushing sadness; just a desperate grasp at feeling anything else. Eve attends, drunk, avoiding the scented vapes blowing from the gruff Jamie (Danny Sapani), whose importance grows through the episode.
Villanelle (Jodie Comer) works her way up the ranks in a glorious Spanish mansion
Across the continent, starting in Barcelona and clowning to the Côte D’Azur, is Villanelle in all her glory. But she’s not alone, as her old mentor Dasha (Harriet Walter) guides her through the process of promotion. Although this almost mythical exploration into the hierarchy of a killer network offers something new – another layer to the fantastical underworld – its unfolding can be tediously bureaucratic. (And that's even with an excellent clown costume which, on Villanelle, looks like the latest fashion trend.)
Isn’t the end exhaustively predictable? Won't Villanelle try for promotion within the system and then realise she can’t be tied down? Probably. But episode two improves upon a mostly dull opener, finding a surprisingly emotional layer within the usual stylish clothes and surreal violence.
Killing Eve season 3 drops on BBC iPlayer Mondays at 6am, later airing on BBC One Sundays at 9:15pm
|Killing Eve season 3 episode 2, BBC review
20 Apr 20 – 20 Apr 21, ON BBC iPLAYER