Sunday, April 29, 2018

REVIEW: 'Killing Eve' - Eve and Villanelle Race to Find the Mole in the British Government in 'Sorry Baby'

BBC America's Killing Eve - Episode 1.04 "Sorry Baby"

Intel from Berlin points to the existence of a mole, prompting Eve to undertake her first surveillance operation. Villanelle is sent to England to eliminate a member of British intelligence. Villanelle wonders, could it be Eve?

Bill's death in last week's episode suddenly made this conflict very personal and dangerous for Eve. The audience always knew it was going to be a dangerous and possibly lethal investigation for her. Villanelle was introduced in the first episode as this masterful killer who was able to cooly kill anyone she wanted with very little detection whatsoever. The show is titled Killing Eve. As such, it's reasonable to suspect that Eve's life will be in danger several times over the course of the series. Eve was never in danger while she was in Berlin even though Villanelle was obviously stalking her. It was Villanelle sizing up her opponent in this war of the minds. She wanted to see the person who had started an official unit looking into capturing her. She pushed the limits of this profession to really tease Eve. Villanelle obviously loves the thrill of the chase. Her organization wants her to be more subtle and stealthy. They see any further provocation of action as a potential threat to their safety and security. They aren't going to continue to put up with Villanelle's antics for very long. As such, it's very precarious for her as well. She keeps finding herself in Eve's orbit even though she's the exact person who can take her down. Villanelle has the training and the lack of empathy to be lethal in any situation. Eve doesn't have that training. She just has a keen eye and high intelligence for how the world actually works. She doesn't always know the right lingo to say in order to protect someone whose life is in her hands. But she is a very capable and smart officer who has quickly been able to come up with this case against Villanelle in the hopes of using any potential slip up as a way to find her. All of this continues to come to a head in "Sorry Baby" as Villanelle continues to make this conflict so personal for Eve.

Eve is so distraught over Bill not being able to die with honor and dignity. She can neither confirm nor deny the circumstances of his death. She has to be completely silent about it because her unit needs to operate in the shadows. Carolyn believes that's the only way that they can continue this important work. It's so destructive though. The main characters are aware that Bill was in that nightclub for a reason. He joined this unit because he believed in Eve's suspicions. He was willing to do anything to protect her. And now, he has died for this job and for Eve. That's a huge burden for her. It's a painful secret that she must now carry by herself. She has had no training for this whatsoever. Her colleagues have never died on her before. She doesn't know how to properly grieve. And now, she can barely go through the motions before Villanelle continues to taunt her. As such, she needs to continue moving forward with the investigation. She can't stop for a moment to mourn Bill's death and actually clean out his desk. She can't offer her sympathies to the family he left behind who don't have any answers for what he was doing in a German nightclub. They probably don't even know that he was stabbed to death. It's unclear if they even know he was fired in the series premiere. Frank is still the one who delivers the eulogy. He is so out of place during this event because it's clear that he really didn't like Bill at all. He didn't support or respect him as a colleague. As such, it's so disingenuous and the reason why Eve feels the need to leave. But that only creates more problems for her in the future.

Right now, Eve is grieving. She's also trying to defend her new job to Niko. He doesn't want anything bad like this to happen to her as well. He wants her to remain safe. He doesn't want to live in a world where he's constantly worried for her safety. He knows that there are elements of Bill's death that Eve hasn't and can't tell him. He is desperate to learn what exactly is going on with her. Instead, she keeps him at a distance. She is grateful to have his support during a time like this. He remembers to bring the kleenex to the funeral when she forgets. She needs him in her life. And yet, she also feels suffocated by him from time to time because he doesn't truly understand her. She loves him. But she has always kept her obsessions to herself. He understands that she wants to be a spy and make a difference in the world. He is completely supportive of this career change. But she also believes that he wants her around simply for the excitement. She believes she is the only thing of value in his life. His focus is entirely on her all of the time. He has nothing else going for himself. That's depressing and so cruel. It's this epic fight that doesn't reach any kind of easy resolution by the end of this hour. Instead, Eve quickly gets pulled back into work because her suitcase has been returned to her and it's full of gifts from Villanelle. That's such a casual but eery visual. Eve's personal space has been invaded. Villanelle knows exactly where she lives and the types of clothes she loves. Eve can come up with this whole list of procedures that should be done to determine if Villanelle left any clues behind in this suitcase. But it's mostly just an action that unnerves Eve. It's daunting on her that she is being targeted just as much by Villanelle as she is targeting her.

It also shouldn't be surprising in the slightest that Frank is revealed to be the mole within the British government working for this mysterious organization. It's a new way to include him in the conspiracy of the narrative once more. He was positioned as Eve, Bill and Elena's boss at the start of the series before he fired them. The show could have just found casual ways to keep him involved in their lives. He provided clues when they came asking and he delivers the eulogy here. But it's much more exciting to think that the answer to figuring out who these people are is so much closer than anyone could have suspected. Carolyn has been tracking Villanelle across Europe for months. She's proud to have Eve working on the investigation now with an unofficial unit. She is confident this will lead to her capture and the exposure of what her organization is truly trying to do throughout the world. But now, the most substantial clues may come from Frank. The main characters already know who he is and the reasons he could be turned against his government. He was paid off to ensure that his children could attend private schools. That's his sole motivation through all of this. He was an easy target because his wife had just passed away. And now, it's so easy for everyone to track him down after realizing his importance. Kenny can track his cell phone signal as well as all of his incoming and outgoing calls. Meanwhile, Villanelle and her new team are gifted with his location and the mission of eliminating him as soon as possible. As such, that continues to prove that the British government may be further compromised if they know that Frank is on the verge of flipping on the mysterious organization.

And yet, Frank manages to remain alive by the conclusion of this hour. Sure, the story leaves things on a massive cliffhanger of Villanelle firing at the getaway car with Eve, Elena and Frank inside. It seems like Eve is unable to move because she sees Villanelle as the woman causing all of these latest problems. More importantly though, Frank survives because of the new personal drama happening with Villanelle. She is compromised in the field because she is asked to no longer work alone. Konstantin is able to figure out how Eve arrived in Berlin so quickly after Villanelle committed her last murder. He sees the benefits in her going out with a team now. It's the only way to reign her in to ensure that she doesn't get caught. He sees a woman who is increasingly testing just how far she can go without anyone coming close to catching her. It's a thrill for her. And so, she meets up with a couple. She just happens to have history with the woman, Nadia. Apparently, the two of them had an affair that ended in betrayal. It's enough for them to want to beat each other to death because of what happened in the past. It's a story that gets power from its ambiguity. The audience doesn't totally understand what's going on. It's just further confirmation that Villanelle has these deeply twisted relationships that almost always end in tragedy. Here, she gets both of her partners killed because of her personal feelings. That's the reason why Frank is able to make it to Eve's car in time. Well, the van refusing to start for Villanelle is very beneficial as well. But it also just ensures that Villanelle values working alone in this business. That's when she can be the most deadly. All she has to do is focus on herself and the mission at hand. It should just be interesting to see if her organization will continue to accept that after losing two of their agents.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Sorry Baby" was written by George Kay and directed by Jon East.
  • Villanelle really enjoys surprising Konstantin in her apartment. She gets so much joy out of those interactions while it's all about business to him. She has such a playful spirit that makes it so intense and sinister when she becomes deadly. Here, all it takes is the usual details of a dozen balloons in her apartment for the audience to know that something is off and a twist is coming soon.
  • Of course, that twist is Villanelle confirming that she does know some of the details about the people she is working for. During her therapy session, she claimed to have no interest in the reasons why people wanted her targets dead. She was just happy for the work. But here, she is able to deliver a threat to Konstantin simply by revealing she knows that he has a daughter.
  • This episode brings attention to the Russians on two separate occasions. Elena continues to fangirl out about Carolyn. She admires the work she did in the past including in the 1980s when she exposed a Russian spy ring. And now, Frank is seen at the house with a Russian agent who pretends to be his mother when Villanelle and Nadia come knocking at the front door.
  • What kind of protection can Eve honestly give to Frank though? Right now, he'll need it. His children will probably need it as well because they'll become easy targets to stop him from talking. And yet, Eve's unit isn't an official investigation. Only a few people knew that it existed. Frank figured it out and told this organization about it. He probably deleted the missing footage from the premiere as well. But how can Eve keep him safe in a world where she doesn't have those kinds of resources?
  • Eve worries that the world will assume she was Bill's other women. In a way, she was. She was his closest friend and confidante at work. She was the one who knew him the best in that environment. Of course, there was still plenty from his past that surprised her. But here, she worries that her leaving in the middle of the funeral is so dramatic that it could only signal something very inappropriate was going on.