REVIEW: Killing Eve, S2 Ep7- Wide Awake

The penultimate episode of Killing Eve saw Villanelle off on a glamorously dangerous mission with Aaron Peel while Eve embraced her dark side.

The deeper both of them get into this investigation, the more insidiously it affects their lives. Villanelle manages to fascinate Aaron Peel enough to earn herself an invitation to Rome while Eve and Hugo follow to continue surveillance on the sinister tech genius.

Killing Eve S2E7 CSometimes it seems that Villanelle has met her match in the creepily enigmatic Peel, who exhibits similar psychopathic tendencies and an inability to relate to the people around him. But where Villanelle prefers to surround herself with all the people she cannot understand, Aaron prefers to observe them from afar, as evidenced by his disturbing network of CCTV cameras and his spending hours watching Villanelle go about her day. While they do have their similarities, Aaron is a controlling and abusive man and his survival is a credit to Villanelle’s self-restraint. But there’s only so much control this assassin can take.

Eve, on the other hand, is struggling with the realization that she does have a sinister side to her, one that might even be her more authentic self. She is fiercely jealous of Villanelle’s connection with Peel, something that amuses Villanelle to no end. She acts clingy and slightly possessive, much to Villanelle’s delight. This season of Killing Eve has been criticized for losing some of the tension between the two leads when the story made them work together but this episode is proof that this new dynamic still has some spark to it.

Villanelle makes her intentions towards Eve clear, by dragging poor Niko back into the mix. It’s disturbingly cute the way she threatened him to give her his shepherd’s pie recipe because she knew Eve liked it. And then, because no Killing Eve episode is complete without some bloodshed, Villanelle murders Gemma, sparing Niko only because Eve would “never forgive” her if she hurt him (given the way Eve is going these days, I’m not sure she would be that upset.) Is it strange that I don’t care about Gemma’s death? Killing Eve may have desensitized me to the murder and violence so much that I don’t mind seeing an admittedly annoying character killed off.

Carolyn continues to act cryptic, insisting that Peel is not to be killed and reminding Eve of her responsibility with the mission. Kenny tries to warn Eve against going to Rome but the latter cannot help but follow wherever Villanelle goes.

Killing Eve S2E7 CThe voyeuristic relationship between the two becomes even more intense in this episode as Eve listens in to all of Villanelle’s interactions with Peel, at first as part of surveillance, but later on for their mutual pleasure. Hugo calls Eve out on their less-than-professional relationship but Eve denies it. She later sleeps with him as a reaction to Villanelle’s undoubtedly seductive late night murmurings. He thanks her for this unusual “threesome” though he seems genuinely hurt by her dismissive manner. But she’s crossed a line and there’s no turning back.

The most poignant part of the episode was Eve’s brief consultation with the psychopath expert, Martin, revealed more about her current evolution and relationship with Villanelle than any of the prodding from the people around her. She admits that she feels “wide awake” and that this darker, more dangerous version of herself might be closer to who she truly is than the façade of convention she has been projecting all her life. It’s freeing but also terrifying, and she needs to learn how to deal with this new way of life.

But there is nothing shocking about Eve’s transition to darkness. This was clearly the trajectory her character would take from the very beginning of the series, if a fascination with a serial killer wasn’t a big enough red flag, there is everything else Eve has done since then. Others argue that Killing Eve was able to effectively portray a main character’s descent into madness as opposed to the highly rushed and controversial fall of Daenerys Targaryen.

With one episode left this season of  Killing Eve, we will see if this strange mission will succeed or if the combined destructive personalities of both Eve and Villanelle will somehow lead to more chaos.