REVIEW: Killing Eve, S3 Ep5 – Are You From Pinner?

Killing Eve, S3 Ep5 - Are You From Pinner?

Killing Eve delivered a special Mother’s Day episode as Villanelle reconnects with her biological family in her motherland.

The episode was a change of pace for the show as it centered completely on Villanelle’s journey and it was the first time that Eve did not make an appearance and neither did other characters like Konstantin, Carolyn or Dasha. This was an intriguing dive into Villanelle’s origin story although in the end, it did not reveal too much and was more of an amusing interlude than anything else.

The season has been building up the idea that Villanelle wants to better understand herself through her family so she makes the long journey to a farm house in Russia to find the surviving members, her mother Tatiana and brother Pyotr. It was an awkward homecoming for Oksana given that she had been told her family had died in a car crash while they had been told that she had died when the orphanage she was staying in had burned down (and she had apparently started the fire because, of course.) She had a moment of panic just before seeing her mother again but the latter seemed initially overjoyed to see her long-lost daughter.

Killing Eve, S3 Ep5 - Are You From Pinner?Though we know that Oksana is fluent in Russian, she chooses to communicate with her family in English and it’s fortuitous that most of them are able to speak the foreign tongue with relative ease. One character explains this as Oksana’s attempt to seem interesting but it doesn’t quite ring true nevertheless. Clearly, the Killing Eve team made this linguistic choice for the benefit of the audience and probably of Jodie Comer too who probably would have struggled had she had to do the whole episode in Russian.

The episode then shows the rest of the extended family and their eccentricities. Oksana’s mother had remarried and so has a new husband and a couple of step-sons. The younger boy, Bor’ka, an avid Elton John fan, develops an immediate bond with Oksana as she regales him with tales of her travels. Pyotr seems genuinely happy to be reunited with his sister while it becomes clear as the episode progresses that Tatiana’s warm welcome was a temporary reaction. The rest of the family doesn’t seem too keen on Oksana’s return but they tolerate her for a while.

Killing Eve, S3 Ep5 - Are You From Pinner?And the episode does have a hilarious performance of “Crocodile Rock” that comes out of nowhere. That and scenes from the village annual festival that Oksana enjoys immensely, winning at all the games, of course (including dung slinging.)

But as with all families, darkness lurks beneath the surface, and since this is Killing Eve and this is Villanelle, death is inevitable. The more time she spends with them, the more Oksana realizes how messed up her family actually is. Pyotr takes out his anger issues on a sofa while Bor’ka starts to self-harm allegedly because of something Tatiana told him.

Later on, when Oksana paints her face with tomato sauce and puts on a grotesque show for her mother, Tatiana’s true feelings for her daughter are revealed. After a seemingly tender moment when the mother gently wipes her daughter’s face, Tatiana then tells Oksana to leave and to take her “darkness” with her. Tatiana also admits that she had always feared her child’s violent tendencies and even Oksana’s father felt the same way, even if Oksana herself believed her father to be the more supportive parent.

Killing Eve, S3 Ep5 - Are You From Pinner?Given Tatiana’s shady behavior and the unreliable perspective of Oksana for this episode, one cannot be sure of how much Tatiana’s influence may have corrupted her child. But Oksana insists that her mother admits that they have the same darkness and that she is truly “her mother’s daughter.” But Tatiana is adamant and, with a sigh of regret, Villanelle says that she needs to kill her.

This time, the murder isn’t shown explicitly. There is only a glimpse of Tatiana’s lifeless body on the floor of the house. Villanelle spares two of the “good” members of her family, telling Bor’ka to go to the barn and giving the boy enough money to go see Elton John’s farewell tour. Pyotr is also safely sleeping in the barn and wakes up to see the house in flames with the rest of the family inside. As eager as she was to confront her past, Oksana leaves it with a seemingly heavy heart.

Fortunately, Killing Eve does not provide easy answers to Villanelle’s origin, even in an episode that explores her roots. After all, much of Villanelle’s appeal as a character lies in her mystery, and to explain her psychopathy simply by showing a troubled family past would be a disservice to the character. There were clearly some signs of “darkness” in her childhood but the show only makes these one factor into Villanelle’s development and not the definite source of her villainy (pun intended.) There’s way more to Villanelle than just a problematic family and it’s the life she’s led after she left Russia that has actually been more instrumental in her development.

Jodie Comer delivers one of her best performances as Villanelle/Oksana, and that’s saying something considering how consistently strong she has always been on Killing Eve. She was able to balance Oksana’s chaos and vulnerability, especially with the scenes with her mother, and though one cannot quite sympathize with her completely, one at least has a sense that this particular killing was deeply personal to her. The closing scenes with her trying to distract herself with music while on the train were powerful, especially when she opened her eyes, revealing some genuine tears. How this latest murder will shape her and influence her decisions as the season progresses will be something to see.