Sunday, May 24, 2020

REVIEW: 'Killing Eve' - Villanelle Plots Her Escape While Carolyn Lashes Out in Unpredictable Ways in 'Beautiful Monster'

BBC America's Killing Eve - Episode 3.07 "Beautiful Monster"

Carolyn is frustrated with the lack of progress in the investigation and is taking it out on those around her. Meanwhile, Eve is focused on Villanelle and finds a clue to her whereabouts in the most unlikely of places. Villanelle and Dasha work together on a kill. The pressure is getting to Konstantin.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides 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.

"Beautiful Monster" was written by Laura Neal and directed by Damon Thomas

Are these characters really as lethal as they so often proclaim themselves to be? In the first two seasons, it was easy to answer that question. The stakes were constantly elevated so that the characters and audience were always on edge about what would happen next. This season has added some uncertainty to the proceedings. Yes, it started off with a bang. Kenny was killed. The people investigating really aren't any closer to solving that murder either. Since then though, it's almost been miraculous to see how many characters have escaped dire circumstances. That has been a part of the show before. Villanelle survived being stabbed. Eve has recovered from being shot. That is a quality being amplified further here. Dasha is struck with a golf club by Villanelle and stomped on by Eve. She survives. Konstantin has a heart attack before being able to retrieve the money he stole from the Twelve. He survives. It's mostly just meant to be tragic and ironic that Dasha and Konstantin happen to end up as roommates in the hospital. Their injuries are absolutely serious. They are two pivotal figures who shaped Villanelle into who she has become as an assassin. However, it's starting to seem as if she needs to have a personal connection in order to feel motivated into killing. It's no longer fun or easy for her to just be given a name. That made it more clean though. No one was questioning her skills when she operated in that way. When things are more personal for her though, she is also more sloppy. She shot to kill Eve. She failed. She hits Dasha in order to escape the life she now feels confined in. Dasha survives. Life seemingly won't let Villanelle escape. Sure, she seemingly succeeded in killing her family in Russia. But that was also a moment of catharsis where she understood that some people deserved to die while others should live. Sure, she should not be able to make that decision. That's what continues to make her a lethal presence in this world. However, that's her character arc for this season. In striving for something more, she is tearing away the armor that has made her unique and efficient within an organization that demands perfection. There is always someone in the Twelve who proclaims to be able to do things better than Villanelle. She may no longer be worth all the trouble. In fact, Villanelle and Konstantin's actions may only expose the truth about this operation. Konstantin did steal from them after all. He feels the walls closing in. He can't even escape to Cuba with Irina. She is just as cold and callous to the world as he is. She learned those manipulative instincts from him. And yet, she can't buy into the world as it is currently happening to her. It's just an overreaction meant to teach her a lesson instead of being an actual punishment with lasting complications. She is young and impressionable in that way. But she still killed her mother's new boyfriend. That's a troubling sign of what she is capable of. Moreover, Geraldine gets to have her confrontation with Konstantin. In that moment, she feels empowered because she gets to react exactly how she feels she should be able to. She wants the same from her mother. Carolyn can't give that to her. She can put on a show. But that's largely a way to appease what Geraldine expects from this evolving situation. It's not how Carolyn actually lets out her emotions about Mo also being killed because he got too close to the truth about the Twelve. The stakes of this world are still quite high. But there are also only a select few characters the audience truly cares about at this point. It's not significant to see Mo's life end tragically. There isn't uncertainty in that either. That's because it's not Villanelle or some other character the audience recognizes who is responsible for it. Instead, it's a newcomer whose image isn't tarnished by expectations. With the main ensemble, it's important to track the emotional arcs to see if they pay off by the end of the season. It's becoming clear that Villanelle is doubting her life as a killer while Eve is giving into those murderous impulses. It's a change for the core dynamic. Is it exciting though? Does it track with what Eve's meandering and one-note arc has been this season? It's mostly lackluster in ways where big things are important but without the emotional resonance to truly make them land in a powerful and unpredictable way.