REVIEW: Killing Eve, S2 Ep4 – Desperate Times

Killing Eve S02E04 A

We’re halfway through the second season of Killing Eve and the fun continues. Villanelle and Konstantin are based in Amsterdam for their new partnership in freelance assassination while Eve throws herself into the search for the Ghost, trying to convince her colleagues that she is not obsessed with Villanelle. Meanwhile, Carolyn has some game of her own as she reports to her superior (who you may recognize as Madame Hooch from the Harry Potter films) that everything is still going according to plan.

Killing Eve S02E04 CThis episode features one of the most creative Killing Eve murders so far, with the assassin dressing up as a prostitute in Amsterdam’s red light district, donning a pig mask and a traditional Bavarian dirndl in pink. She murders the man in plain sight, acting like this is all part of a show, even as she hangs him upside down and stabs him, in full view of a group of mesmerized tourists.

She takes inspiration from a painting she sees during a visit to a museum, called  “The Corpses of the de Witt Brothers” by Jan de Baen, which, according to Vulture was  “a gruesome portrait of a true event: the 1672 lynching of two aristocratic Dutch politicians, Johan and Cornelis de Witt, and the display of their mutilated corpses.” Naturally, the painting appealed to Villanelle’s sadistic instincts, and she hopes that her elaborate murder will be enough to get Eve’s attention once more, since Konstantin manipulates her into believing that the MI6 agent is no longer interested.

Killing Eve S02E04 DNot that Eve isn’t interested but she needs to keep her job and to distract herself from thoughts of Villanelle. She and Jess continue the investigation into the Peel murder when other bodies appear, all people associated with the late Peel. They pay a visit to his son’s company, a spot-on example of a tech startup complete with “hip” young employees and water in mason jars. Killing Eve makes some sharp social commentary even in subtle ways.

Eve later has an intriguing, late-night chat with Hugo, who has so far proven to be an annoying sex-obsessed straight white guy, but who is able to get honest answers from Eve about her reasons for taking the job. He even tries to initiate a kiss, one that I’m not sure Eve would have refused, but they were interrupted by developments on the case.

Killing Eve S02E04 BShe proves just how good she is at understanding the mind of a killer by analyzing the patterns in the Ghost’s murders. She notes that this new assassin is not only discreet and subtle but also, clean and strangely compassionate. She makes her murders appear natural or accidental and tries to keep them as painless as possible, hinting at some significant medical knowledge. This is enough for Kenny to track down the Ghost, who Eve confronts as the former brings her kids to school.

Villanelle’s plan to get Eve’s attention fails, through no fault of hers, as Carolyn intercepts the postcard she sends to Eve with the painitng of the de Witt brothers (written during that moment from the trailer where a woman approaches her because her outfit was Instagram-worthy). Carolyn then sends Jess to investigate the Amsterdam murder, throwing Villanelle into a frenzy of emotion with disappointment, despair, and desperation.

In her grief, she goes for a wild night of drugs in a seedy bar and almost murders a girl who cut in line for the bathroom. Killing Eve has so effectively desensitized us to violence that such a thing does not seem so outrageous and, honestly, we’ve all had murderous thoughts about people so rude. Konstantin steps in to take her home and she wakes up in her own vomit and stares at herself in the mirror and breaks into tears, a rare moment of vulnerability.

The episode ends with Eve looking into a mirror as well, putting her hair up (because Villanelle loved to see her with her hair down) and preparing to interrogate the new assassin. It will be interesting to see what she is like when faced with her prey, even one not as flamboyant as Villanelle.