Sunday, March 20, 2022

REVIEW: 'Killing Eve' - Eve and Helene Explore Their Passions as Carolyn Follows a Lead to Cuba in 'It's Agony and I'm Ravenous'

BBC America's Killing Eve - Episode 4.04 "It's Agony and I'm Ravenous"

Eve struggles to identify her lead in The Twelve, until she has a breakthrough. Villanelle gets her mojo back - she decides to be good by embracing what she's good at: killing! A Twelve torture victim leads Carolyn to Cuba where she discovers an old acquaintance and decides to go rogue.

"It's Agony and I'm Ravenous" was written by Kayleigh Llewellyn and directed by Anu Menon

Villanelle was in jail for about eight minutes. Helene knows exactly what Eve did. She immediately undoes it. The show wanted the satisfaction of such a climatic action without examining its true consequences. Instead, Eve created a big moment. One where she was clear and decisive. That's her stance this season. And yet, it doesn't stick. Helene still has access. It's not until the end Eve even becomes aware of the present threat from Villanelle. She was done with that particular story. They could no longer repeat the same behavior over and over again. Someone needed to break the pattern. Eve did exactly that. The world won't allow her that peace. Moreover, Villanelle is growing more confident with her identity as a killer once more. She can resist the urge to kill. If she likes someone, it then becomes hard for her to follow through on the order. That's basically only true with Eve and Carolyn. They are the only people she won't kill. It's because they inspire something new within her. She can aspire for more because they challenge her to look beyond these conventions. Carolyn believes it's silly to think of oneself as fully good or evil. It's not some binary understanding they've each had from birth. Villanelle has to focus on being good at what she's good at. She has always been a killer. Carolyn has long walked around with that certainty. In fact, her past with Villanelle is much more storied than the audience was previously led to believe. Carolyn saw Villanelle in the orphanage when she was young. All of this may simply be nothing more than Carolyn pleading for her life. She knows how to manipulate Villanelle. She knows she hasn't truly become a born again Christian. Villanelle has doubts. Carolyn just has to exploit them to her benefit. In the end, she ends up much closer to Lars than Eve and Helene do. She too is making her own decisions about what causes she should be loyal to. She has already left one foreign service operation. She breaks away from Vlad now too. She supports Villanelle. That's an active choice. One that is freeing while also terrifying. Carolyn has always operated with that mystique. She collected the benefits of the information already gathered by these intelligence services. It all requires a much more personal touch in order to reckon with the true scope of the mission. That has always been clear to Eve. And now, it has infected everyone else in this quest to expose the power at the top of the Twelve.

Of course, it's all made more complicated by the personal seduction of these characters. They tease each other in playful ways. It's a way to examine power and control in their dynamics. They each have to reveal how aware they are of their surroundings and the ongoing mission. Helene operates more mysteriously and cryptically than Eve does. And yet, that's the burden of her being the newest addition to this narrative. She was revealed as the next level of management within the Twelve. She still isn't anywhere close to the top. She sees power and delight in being able to give overlooked women a purpose. That drives her. She can ensure Konstantin continues his work. Pam is a new case for him to manage. He doesn't know how to do so. She will question his orders. She doesn't like how he behaves. They aren't going to be friends any time soon. However, no one should ever underestimate Pam. She is the true wild card. She may have only just become a killer. That desire has been awakened and she will handle things her way. That's the context through which this entire story has been told across four seasons. It's all an investigation into who gets to wield power and how they choose to use it throughout the world. Eve and Villanelle are continually given opportunities to disrupt each other's lives. Helene has stepped into that role as well. Eve always has to push her. She must dig herself in deeper to show how she too can manipulate the passion that flows through these dynamics. It's Eve knowing she doesn't have the time to play things subtly. She has to make big, bold actions. That's the only way this wicked organization can be exposed. Their killers have always embraced such flamboyancy. One man was tortured by having his toes cut off and shoved up his nose. Villanelle extends that trauma by moving onto his fingers. It's absolutely gruesome and barbaric. He dies just to point Carolyn in a new direction. One that doesn't even provide meaningful results beyond revealing a man from her past is still alive. It's such a colorful world they live in. They all pursue different interests as well. They aren't motivated by the simple things that seemingly dictate how the world functions. They look elsewhere for that personal satisfaction. Embracing it can all be the latest attempt to manipulate a situation to their benefit. It's seductive and passionate. That doesn't make it healthy. It simply creates the ever growing sense of dread over how this must inevitably end horribly.