Sunday, May 31, 2020

REVIEW: 'Killing Eve' - Carolyn Confronts the Men Who Have Thrown Her Life Into Turmoil in 'Are You Leading or Am I?'

BBC America's Killing Eve - Episode 3.08 "Are You Leading or Am I?"

Konstantin makes a break for it. Carolyn might have finally found what she's looking for. Eve and Villanelle try to work out what the future may hold for them... together or apart.

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 season finale of BBC America's Killing Eve.

"Are You Leading or Am I?" was written by Suzanne Heathcote & Laura Neal and directed by Damon Thomas

This is the first season that doesn't end with either Eve or Villanelle bleeding out after being injured by the other. That change is significant. It instead closes on the idea of what these two actually want from each other moving forward. This season has purposefully kept them apart. It was frustrating because their stories as individuals weren't necessarily as strong as when they are together. That was more apparent with Eve because she was just aimlessly wandering around the narrative. That was disappointing. It was an odd decision. Villanelle's was much more concise. It was building to the point where she questions if she wants to continue killing people. That was a staggering development. One that could only come because things got insanely personal for her. In the end, Eve may be the only person in the world who doesn't see her solely as a monster. Eve and Villanelle can have that frank conversation about the monstrous instincts within them and how they frequently encourage each other's worst impulses. They lash out because it feels good to give into these obsessions. All season long their allies have warned that they were too close to each other. It was a concept that was often told instead of being seen onscreen by the audience. It relied on the passion present between them in past seasons. That made it spark when the two eventually did come together. In fact, it almost comes across as comedic hijinks during this finale. Carolyn is surprised when Eve walks through the door alongside Villanelle. But she also understands immediately that Villanelle isn't too far behind. Carolyn has absolutely had the clearest and strongest story this season. She is such a peculiar and complex character. Geraldine apologizes for what her expectations of a mother are based on societal images instead of judging Carolyn for who she actually is. Carolyn doesn't care about any of that. She has her own reactions to the world. She won't compromise her values or confide what she is truly feeling. She is essentially sending her daughter away in order to keep her safe. She doesn't express it in that way though. Instead, she keeps her walls up and presents herself as cold and heartless. She does so as a form of protection. A way to make the best of what this situation has become. She can no longer have her daughter around. There is too much going on. She can't risk losing someone else close to her. Geraldine sees the excuses and cover stories being made. She presses for the truth. She still craves that from her mother and Carolyn just isn't willing to give that to anyone. She makes strange and unexpected decisions. It's so enthralling to see her holding Paul at gunpoint. She has all the power in that moment. She has exposed him as a mole within MI6 and has learned that Konstantin is responsible for Kenny's death. Sure, it makes absolutely no sense that Bear would wait this long to check his secret security footage to see if it could offer any clues as to what happened to Kenny. Bear's obsession with his snacks has been his predominate characteristic. In fact, the entire Bitter Pill team was mostly a bust this season. They presented as a new team to help Eve investigate the Twelve. They could only go so far with that. Carolyn has all the resources to make a difference in the world. She does that here. She kills Paul and has it covered up as a suicide. She lets Konstantin go. He can escape with the money he has stolen. Carolyn also operates with the clarity that it may be pointless to hope that anyone can take down the entirety of the Twelve. Instead, it has to be appreciated that she exposed a mole within the British government. That means her operatives will no longer be compromised. That is a success. It helps protect the organization and improve their work moving forward. Eve still holds onto the idea that there is this massive conspiracy that has to be unraveled and exposed. Everything operates with such extreme stakes with her right now. It's easy for Carolyn to no longer see any good uses for Eve or Villanelle. They may still confide in each other though. They can't ultimately walk away. They turn around which suggests that all of this will continue. It's not healthy in the slightest. And yes, it's built entirely on work done in previous seasons instead of what the story this year hoped to challenge and question about the main characters. Carolyn went on that whirlwind adventure. Villanelle did as well. Eve's journey faltered into a one-dimensional mess. That's unfortunate. It means a significant part of the show this season just didn't work. The agency and purpose was gone. That can be revived. That hope still exists. This ending offers something new while also confirming that these characters really shouldn't remain invested in everything that has been important up to this point in the narrative. There is essentially no hope that their actions can change the world. As such, they have to just focus on themselves for a little while. That would be excited if the show can actually commit to that kind of intense focus on these characters and how dependent they are on one another.