REVIEW: Killing Eve, S3 Ep1 – Slowly Slowly Catchy Monkey

Killing Eve, S3 Ep1 - Slowly Slowly Catchy Monkey

Killing Eve returns as both the spy and the assassin deal with the aftermath of their “bad breakup” last season while new players are introduced and a beloved character meets his maker.

The first episode of the third season, while still stylish and well-acted, does not have the same bite as the previous seasons. It’s too early to tell but this may be attributed to several factors such as the change of show runner to Suzanne Heathcote and the fact that this is the third season so the plot needs to find (or contrive) ways to maintain the tension between the two leads. It’s a tricky balancing act because Killing Eve will need to keep them apart and then find a way to bring them back together. And after the events of the last two seasons, the latter will be a bit of a stretch. But for now, let’s just enjoy the brilliant performances, the beautiful locations, and the bop-filled soundtrack.

Season premieres are always about setup so that was exactly what went down here, which is a slight disappointment considering the show’s reputation for breaking the mold. We catch up with the main characters while some new ones are introduced. Villanelle is off getting married to a rich Spanish woman, Eve is slogging away at a Korean restaurant, Konstantin is still hanging around London, and Carolyn has to deal with her authority being taken by “Whitehall warrior.” Kenny quit his job at MI6 and is now working as a journalist at a website called “The Bitter Pill.”

Killing Eve, S3 Ep1 - Slowly Slowly Catchy MonkeySince the characters are all split up, it’s their interactions with the newcomers that make the episode interesting. The most notable addition to the cast so far is Harriet Walter as Villanelle’s former trainer, Dasha, a formidable Russian athlete who we met in the flashback that started the episode. At the sight of her old mentor, Villanelle goes into a rage (at her own wedding) but given her relationship with Konstantin, the assassin clearly expresses affection through violence.

After they reconnect and almost trade blows, Dasha asks what it would take to bring Villanelle back to work with the Twelve and the latter shows her ambition. She wants to become a Keeper, and though what this means is not immediately clear, Dasha’s reaction and remark that this would be “even higher than Konstantin” is enough to show that Villanelle is aiming for quite a promotion. As a preliminary test, Villanelle is given a job which she executes with her usual efficiency though this kill is not as inventive as her previous work. The spices were an interesting touch but otherwise, Villanelle has been more creative in the past. Not sure if this is a reflection of Villanelle’s lack of originality or the show’s struggling for it.

Another new character is Steve Pemberton’s Paul Bradville, a man who clearly gets on Carolyn’s nerves. It’s a treat to see Pemberton join the Killing Eve cast given his amazing work as a member of The League of Gentlemen. There are sure to be clashes between him and the formidable spymaster before the season is out.

Eve has gone into hiding, turning her back on MI6 and choosing to work in the kitchen of a Korean restaurant. She still over-indulges in junk food as a way of dealing with her stress. And she occasionally visits poor Niko, who’s now stuck in rehab and understandably very upset with her. She’s not coping particularly well, and Kenny shows up to point this out to her. She realizes that he is one of the few true friends she still has and so takes him up on his offer to hang out after work.

Killing Eve, S3 Ep1 - Slowly Slowly Catchy MonkeyPoor Kenny never stood a chance. He was getting so much focus and screen time in this episode so it was pretty obvious that his number was up. As likable as he is, Kenny was never going to be indispensable in a show so female-focused as Killing Eve. And given that one always expects some bloodshed on the show (not including Villanelle’s targets), he was the most obvious victim and his death will clearly be the trigger that brings Eve back into the shadowy world of spies and assassins where she must eventually cross paths with Villanelle once more.

Looks like your shift at the Korean restaurant is over, Eve.