Killing Eve on BBC America is one of the best new shows of the year and one that shouldn’t get lost in the shuffle.
It can be easy to lose sight of certain shows. Killing Eve should most definitely not be one of those shows. It’s one that should be watched as close to airing as humanly possible. That’s not in a foolhardy attempt to avoid spoilers for it, but because it deserves that kind of fervent audience.
Killing Eve follows Eve Polastri (played by Greys Anatomy alum Sandra Oh), an American-raised MI5 worker that, perhaps more than anything else, holds onto one firmly held belief: there is a female assassin operating throughout Europe that is getting increasingly confident.
This belief is intensified as a new report comes to her attention. Recently, a man was murdered in front of his girlfriend and the killer’s identity is unknown. Eve recognizes it as the work of a female assassin. Eve’s job is to assign protection for the girlfriend, which she does, but also works to get to the bottom of the assassin.
She’s right, of course, and there is a female assassin out and about. Her name is Villanelle (Jodie Comer) and she is most certainly a sociopath. A lot of what makes Villanelle work as a foil for Eve is almost entirely Comer’s performance. She displays an equal level of curiosity and emptiness in her eyes that another actor might not be able to pull off as well.
One of the most important things that the series gets right is that she is not an anti-hero. As her name suggests, she is very much the bad guy of the story, even as we’re silently rooting for her. She’s all too charming and sometimes she manages to make you forget that she is completely out of her mind. That’s fortunate because the other times we’re absolutely in terror of her.
Soon enough, Eve and Villanelle’s paths cross as the MI5 operative is going to interview the girlfriend at the hospital and bump into each other in the bathroom in a nice, but telling meet-cute. It’s a nice moment because afterwards Eve walks out to a complete massacre with the girlfriend, guards, and nurses dead and blood soaked.
It’s a terrifying scene that cements one thing: despite how charming Villanelle can be, she is an unfeeling maniac that will kill anyone she pleases. This is a fact that is reiterated again and again as the episodes carry on.
After the hospital debacle, Eve is fired from the MI5 but is secretly hired by a covert department of MI6 to track Villanelle down.
One of the biggest indicators of what Killing Eve is capable of comes from the third episode, where the hunt takes Eve and her MI5 boss Bill (David Haig) to Berlin to investigate the death of a Chinese colonel at what can only be described as a sex clinic and Villanelle is there waiting for them.
— Killing Eve (@KillingEve) April 26, 2018
Before long, Bill starts to recognize Villanelle trailing Eve and decides to follow her into a loud, noisy nightclub. It’s a sequence filled with so much tension and foreboding energy that you’re just waiting to see where it will go wrong (because of course it will).
When it does, it shifts so perfectly and elegantly where the lighting changes and Comer’s face is silhouetted and framed resulting in perhaps the most chilling shot of television in some time.
It’s rare to find a show that feels completely effortless in everything it does, but Killing Eve is that show. It manages this wonderful blend of wit, humor, and smarts while also being terrifying and engaging.
Killing Eve airs Sunday nights on BBC America