REVIEW: Killing Eve, S1 Ep1 – Nice Face

Killing Eve, S1 Ep1 – Nice Face

Killing Eve sets up an intriguing game of cat-and-mouse as it introduces the main players: Eve Polastri, the determined MI5 agent, and Villanelle, the glamorous assassin.

Killing Eve, S1 Ep1 – Nice FaceThe show is a refreshing take on the thriller genre, not least because it features two female leads. Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag) has written a complex plot with compelling characters who are relatable (except Villanelle, of course), and who speak with realistic dialogue. All the familiar elements are there: the rogue cop who is the only one who has a clue about what’s going on, uncooperative authorities, the serial killing psychopath, disguises, and multiple international locations.

And yet, Killing Eve distinguishes itself through its writing and its characters. One reviewer has compared it to other crime dramas with female detectives like The Fall, Top of the Lake, and Happy Valley. I’d say this is closest to The Fall, but the psychopath is a woman and trained assassin.

Killing Eve, S1 Ep1 – Nice FaceAnd the show works largely because the two leads are women, which makes people react in different ways. Eve isn’t taken seriously by her colleagues at MI5, except for Another woman, Carolyn Martens (Fiona Shaw), who notices her potential and later recruits her as a spy. She also makes a comment about how female spies are usually perceived: “They usually think we’re having affairs before they believe we are secret agents.”

People don’t suspect Villanelle because she looks young, beautiful, innocent, and her victims learn only too late how deadly she can be. She uses people (mostly men’s) perceptions against them and she succeeds.

As the main detective, Eve is more cheerful than her male counterparts. She is happily married but bored with her job and she spends her time researching female serial killers, fascinated by their methods, even morbidly so. When a sex-trafficking politician is reported murdered, she suspects the killer is a woman and conducts her own, illegal investigation into this. She doesn’t know who she is up against and so ends the episode surrounded by four dead bodies. But it seems that only she is on the right track and by the end, she might regret getting involved in this dangerous game.

Killing Eve, S1 Ep1 – Nice FaceVillanelle is established as a psychopath from the get-go: fake-smiling at a child in Vienna and then throwing her ice cream at her, watching sadistically as an old lady struggles down the stairs, and playing dead when her handler comes to visit. She lives a very glamorous life, with a large flat in Paris, filled with a number of luxurious items all bought with the big payments from each assassination job.

She is cool, efficient, and manipulative, a very scary person to go up against. But, as Martens tells Eve, Villanelle is starting to show off. Pride cometh before the fall.

Killing Eve has already been renewed for a second season and from the looks of this first episode, I’m not complaining.I look forward to seeing how these two women are going to chase each other through the twists and turns of this exciting story.