Sunday, May 13, 2018

REVIEW: 'Killing Eve' - Eve and Carolyn Want to Interview Nadia Before Villanelle Kills Her in 'Take Me to the Hole!'

BBC America's Killing Eve - Episode 1.06 "Take Me to the Hole!"

A female assassin is taken into custody in Russia, and Eve and Carolyn head out to Moscow to negotiate access. She could hold the key to the organization that runs Villanelle. Meanwhile, Villanelle is smuggled into the same Russian jail.

It was so miraculous that Nadia survived being run over by Villanelle twice. Not only that but her body wasn't discovered by British intelligence. That proves that she is a fighter and that the powerful people she works for don't want her to be found. They ultimately don't care about her side of the story about how the mission went awry either. Villanelle still completed the job and that was the most important thing. Nadia has been sent back to the prison where she was first discovered by this organization. She will spend the rest of her life there just like it was always intended. She had this opportunity to have something more from her life. Instead, it was all ruined because she knew Villanelle. That relationship was full of so much passion and anger. And yet, Nadia didn't suspect that Villanelle would try to kill her. Villanelle thought she was successful in that as well. She didn't learn that Nadia survived until she had already delivered her threat to Eve and killed Frank. She returned to Konstantin in Paris and was immediately greeted with her new mission of needing to break into this Russian prison in order to finish the job. Konstantin is willing to help her with this because Villanelle is an effective killer for the organization and Nadia talking could be a huge problem for them. Eve and Carolyn are able to quickly figure out that the missing person from the field is Nadia and she has been taken back to this Russian prison. They are slowly but surely connecting the pieces of this vast conspiracy. Eve is so dedicated to capturing Villanelle and figuring out the nefarious purpose of The Twelve. It's distracting from everything else in her life. That's a huge problem that she just wants to avoid for as long as possible. But it creates an episode of television where it's a race to get to Nadia in time. And in the end, both Eve and Villanelle are able to have meaningful interactions with her that will change their lives and investigations.

Eve sees Nadia as just another innocent victim in all of this. Yes, she notes that both Nadia and Villanelle are killers. She can only have so much sympathy and empathy for a psychopath. But she does believe this profession was forced onto them by The Twelve. It was this mysterious organization offering them a new possibility in their lives. It's an opportunity that the audience learns that Villanelle embraced completely. Nadia just happened to be a packaged deal because they just happened to be mounting their escape from the prison together. They were in love when they were in their previous identities. That love still existed in some form in the present as well. But Villanelle has a new love in Eve whom she is completely obsessed with. She wants to know everything about what Eve is doing and what she's asking from Nadia. Sure, it's her doing her professional duty to ensure that Nadia didn't say anything incriminating to the people investigating the organization. But it's also equally fueled by a desire to understand Eve. It's fascinating to watch Eve interact with the world this week. Carolyn knows that there is a game that must be played in order to get access to Nadia in the first place. She flirts with several of her Russian contacts in order to present her case for why British intelligence needs to interview her. It presents a new side of Carolyn that hasn't been seen so far. It's a side that allows personal emotions to creep in even though she doesn't believe personal lives mix well with this particular job. It's also just beneficial that the two people from the government to negotiate this deal happen to be two people she has slept with in the past - even with the uncertainty of whether or not they were working each other in order to get information for their respective governments.

That also leads to the big reveal that Konstantin actually works for the Russian government. He has been with Villanelle since the very beginning of her journey as an assassin. He has been the only handler she has ever had. They have a fine working relationship but one where they still feel the need to threaten and intimidate each other every so often. Here, the audience gets to see a new side of Konstantin as well. For the first five episodes, we've seen him in one role. He's the man who gives Villanelle her missions. He's the man with the awareness and knowledge of what The Twelve is planning. He's the man that Eve and Carolyn should really be targeting in the hopes of uncovering what's truly going on in this conspiracy. But here, he presents to them as the simple government contact who insists on being present while Eve and Carolyn interview Nadia. They understand it as a professional courtesy. They see Konstantin as a Russian government official who is just doing his job to ensure that Eve and Carolyn aren't keeping anything from him that could prove beneficial to their respective investigations. But the audience is aware that Konstantin forces himself into this interview in order to ensure that Nadia doesn't reveal anything to Eve and Carolyn that could incriminate him as well. Nadia doesn't really start to engage with Carolyn's offer until Eve starts talking about Villanelle. Even though she's a killer who has tormented all of them, Villanelle is still the easiest way to form a relationship and connection with someone else in this world. Just bringing up those feelings is enough to start the information flowing. Nadia is talking but then goes silent as soon as Konstantin makes his entrance. Again, it's perfectly inconspicuous to Eve and Carolyn who don't know any better. But it also shows the many layers that are currently being played in this exchange. Nadia does tell them about Anna and the personal connection she has to Villanelle as well. But she is still quiet about Konstantin which keeps him safe for now.

All of this also forces the audience to re-examine the relationship between Eve and Carolyn. This hour proves that Eve is willing to do whatever it takes in order to catch Villanelle. She is willing to betray every personal relationship in order to continue to chase this obsession. That could be incredibly toxic for her. It leads to a screaming match with Niko where he suddenly realizes just how dangerous it is for Eve to continue to pursue this case. He doesn't want her to be the next victim. He wants his wife to be safe while she wants excitement and purpose in her life. Meanwhile, Carolyn is the one who gave her this assignment and her own task force. She believed Eve was the right person for the job because she had the insights to know that this was something worth looking into. Sure, she kept secrets. But that was more out of her own privacy instead off trying to unnerve or shock Eve. Kenny is her son and she has the authority to make very enticing deals even though this unit is suppose to exist in the shadows. She has the influence and expertise throughout the world to know how to get things done. But Eve is willing to blow all of that up for this one case. She is willing to betray Carolyn's confidence just in order to get Nadia to safety so that she can give her more information about Villanelle. Carolyn shared that Vladimir never forgave her after she refused to name her source during an intense negotiation. That source happened to be Konstantin. This past is so complicated and interesting. Eve is perfectly willing to leverage this knowledge to get what she wants. She has Kenny dig up the evidence to prove it. And yet, that risks destroying this relationship altogether and possibly getting her removed from this special task force. And yet, that's a risk she's willing to take because Villanelle is so important.

Of course, Villanelle also happens to be in this prison and is able to go undetected. She worries that someone will recognize her as Oksana. Her past life was spent in this prison as well. She knows how to get around the building. She expects this to be a simple job where she'll just get in and out. She needs a weapon from the doctor and then she can kill Nadia. It just proves to be more complicated than that because she had forgotten just how cruel and rough the guards and the system could be. She is still ultimately successful with her objective. She manages to get into the infirmary before Nadia is swept away to England once more. Then, she is able to stage the attack while taking down several of the guards as well. This can still be an empowering story about Villanelle using her smarts and skills in order to hurt people who abuse the system. In this case, she just happens to be a psychopath with no problem killing someone who mistreats her in even the most minor ways. It's all just building to that fateful confrontation with Nadia in her prison cell. Nadia knows that this attack is coming. As such, she feels the importance to get a message out to Eve in time. It's ominous to think that she wouldn't be able to do that before Villanelle struck. And yet, she succeeded in that mission too. It ruins Eve's plans of getting her to safety. Perhaps she won't have to betray Carolyn after all. However, it's much more brutal to be in that moment where Villanelle is comforting Nadia in the moments before her death. They both know it's coming but they can spend that time embracing each other. And then, it becomes even more tragic once Villanelle learns that she has no escape plan. She was listening to Konstantin who told her that she would meet him. And then, he just leaves her behind in solitary confinement. That's probably a smart decision on his part as well because she has been so reckless as of late. And yet, it's also just a matter of time before Villanelle finds a way to get her vengeance.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Take Me to the Hole!" was written by George Kay and directed by Damon Thomas.
  • Last week it was a huge question for me whether or not Eve told Niko about Villanelle breaking into the house and threatening to kill her. He would be put in so much danger if he ran into Villanelle again and didn't know that he should be afraid of her. And yet, being able to put a face to this crime only makes him more worried about Eve. He wants her to stay behind and live a happy, peaceful life with him. And yet, she notes that this has already gotten too personal and she can't stop now because of this threat.
  • Of course, it's still clear that Eve is longing for things to work out between her and Niko. When she's in Russia, she keeps calling him. He keeps declining her calls and she doesn't leave a message. She knows that she needs to focus and work on this marriage. And yet, Carolyn also astutely points out that Eve may no longer even like her husband if he is asking her to give up the one thing that she loves the most in the world.
  • It's very curious that both Elena and Kenny decide to stay in London while Eve and Carolyn go to Russia. It should make the audience suspect that something has happened between the two of them that they don't want to talk about but may already be affecting their work. Or it could just be a convenient way to get Eve and Carolyn alone on a mission together in order for these new character insights to occur.
  • It's also potentially awkward that Eve calls Kenny to ask him to look for any personal correspondence between Carolyn and Konstantin. That's Eve asking Kenny to look for any messages between his mother and one of her former lovers. She is asking so much of him while also believing that he will be loyal to her in the end and not his mother because she is still the one technically in charge with this specific investigation. The lines will just be more blurred moving forward.
  • Throughout this season, Villanelle has killed with style. She has gotten even more reckless and performative as the season has gone along. But she can still kill in a covert way as well. Here, she is able to take down one guard while making it seem like another inmate did the crime and still holds the knife. Of course, she is still ultimately punished because she's the only other person in Nadia's cell when she dies from the knife wounds.