Sunday, April 28, 2019

REVIEW: 'Killing Eve' - Villanelle Reaches Out to Eve Despite Her Being Busy on the Hunt for Ghost in 'Desperate Times'

BBC America's Killing Eve - Episode 2.04 "Desperate Times"

Villanelle decides to take matters into her own hands on a trip to Amsterdam. Carolyn is called in to face the music with her boss. After the discovery of another dead body, Eve and her new team make a break in their case.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of BBC America's Killing Eve.

"Desperate Times" was written by Emerald Fennell & D.C. Moore and directed by Lisa Brühlmann

Is Eve more attracted to her work at MI6 or to Villanelle? What about Villanelle? Those are the predominate questions being asked right now. For Villanelle, it seems clear that she's devastated by the conflicting reports about how interested Eve continues to be in her. In the first season, it was all about the attraction that came from the hunt. It ended brutally. Villanelle saw that as a symbol of love. But now, many people are telling her that Eve has moved on and no longer cares about her. She has a new assassin she is tracking down for MI6. Villanelle is no longer a priority for her. Villanelle didn't want to believe that. She saw how she can still get into Eve's head through the incident at Niko's school. That was a telling moment that Eve was still consumed with thoughts about Villanelle. But now, Villanelle is no longer in England. She may see London as her home now because that's where Eve is. But she is working a job with Konstantin in Amsterdam. She may have questions about life as a freelance assassin. And yet, she still goes through with the job. It just happens to be much more boring for her. It's no longer the core source of her excitement. She has always had so much fun at the numerous ways she has killed people. And now, she is enticed by dropping clues for Eve to follow her around Europe. That's the latest evolution of the hunt. She may be bored by the cultural history of Amsterdam but she is still more than willing to use it to draw Eve in. She sees this latest job as a way to continue forcing Eve to come to her. This can only be her handiwork. Sure, the spectators may be confused as to if they are truly watching a man be murdered. But there is no ambiguity for Villanelle, her target or the target's wife who ordered the hit because of his wandering eye. It's just too simple for Villanelle. There is nothing passionate about it even though it's a tale of a scorned lover wanting her partner dead. That has always been so exciting and sexual in this medium for years. To Villanelle though, it's boring. It's much more important to see Eve in this new city. That is all the proof she needs that this is an attraction that is still active and worth pursuing. Eve doesn't show up in Amsterdam though. However, it's not of her choosing. Instead, Carolyn assigns the Amsterdam case to Jess while Eve stays in London to hunt down the Ghost. Eve ultimately succeeds in that mission as well. But she isn't aware of the choices that are being made on her behalf and how they are disrupting this world. That clear example of rejection basically leads to implosion for Villanelle. She initially has no interest in buying drugs off the street. But she does and gets high at a club. She almost kills a girl simply because she cuts in front of her in the line for the bathroom. That is so trivial. But it continues to show how explosive Villanelle can be. She has become the woman scorned. That will make her extremely dangerous. But it also makes her more reckless and out-of-control. Konstantin may no longer be able to rely on her for this work. That could ensure all of this is over before it even gets started.

The same quality could also be used to describe the hunt for Ghost. That new threat was introduced briefly at the start of the season. Her capture at this point may prove how much better Eve has become at hunting down female assassins. She may actually be the expert that the rest of her team assumes she is because of what Carolyn said. Of course, she too has been incredibly reckless. She risked the safety of so many people in order to get to Villanelle just in the previous episode. That was a devastating defeat that Carolyn immediately has to rectify with her boss. It's important to see Carolyn have that kind of agency throughout all of this as well. The narrative is mostly about the game being played between Eve and Villanelle. And yet, Carolyn is an objective observer who sees the manipulations taking place and hopes to put barriers up to ensure that nothing drastic or lethal happens again. Sure, there have been plenty of disruptions to her operation so far. Many people have died on her watch. But now, she can boast that this special team actually captured one of the assassins. It's all because of the observations that Eve has made in a short amount of time. She understood that Ghost was a woman who could go unnoticed by the elite of the world. No one would initially suspect her as being a killer. They just wouldn't care about her at all. That left them vulnerable to attack. But she also chose to act in a way that wouldn't lead to detection. That has impressed the leaders of the Twelve. She isn't working for them but they wanted Villanelle to act in a similar way to her. Of course, Villanelle is all about calling attention to her kills. She kills a man in Amsterdam in front of a crowd of spectators. She could never adjust to doing this job in the same way that Ghost does. But can Eve change up her tactics in order to apprehend the new assassin she has been tasked with capturing? She appears to do so here. She understands that Ghost doesn't like blood and operates with a medical knowledge of drugs that can fool the public into believing the deaths were accidental. The team is only now starting to piece together that a specific company is being targeted by Ghost. The team doesn't know why the Peel family is so special or why Ghost is targeting them in this specific way. Those answers seem likely to come in the next episode. Right now, it's just uplifting to see Eve get this victory even though the audience fundamentally understands that it's only a rush of excitement for her. Her conversation with Hugo is very telling. He has frequently proven to be a guy only interested in sex. He claims it's the only interesting thing in the world. Eve may not be willing to define her relationship with Villanelle in that way even though it is a significant component of their attraction. This is a difficult and confusing time for everyone. Niko still wishes to believe in the fundamental good of his wife. He doesn't know everything she has done for MI6 or to Villanelle. He understands some of the basics. He knows it's not normal to have a security guard watching over their family. But he doesn't know if Eve is even capable of returning to the woman he married. She doesn't know either. Right now, she is running on this high because it's more exciting than anything else in her life. But that may only get her so far as well. When she's looking in that mirror at the end, she may just be thinking about Villanelle instead of the actual killer about to be brought into the room. Villanelle is doing the exact same thing. So even though Ghost promises to interrupt so much, there is only so much she can do to change the fundamental nature of the series - though she has been an insightful complication to the proceedings so far.