Thursday, June 04, 2020

Becoming Eve

See, I told you it was bananas. Spoilers ahead, obviously. What an interesting, unpredictable, at times wildly uneven, at times wildly ambitious and always wildly interesting ride we had with this season of “Killing Eve.” I also think it’s safe to say the subtext of Eve and Villanelle’s attraction and dare-I-say love for one another has become firmly maintext. There’s no question, these two are in a relationship that neither knows how to fully process or how to fully quit. Call it love, call it obsession, call it mutual understanding. But Eve and Villanelle are intertwined in ways neither are willing to walk away from despite everything that has happened.

What I found most riveting about Season 3 was the yin-yanging Eve & Villanelle's humanity. As Villanelle grows more empathetic (for a psychopath), Eve becomes more psychotic (the look in her eyes as she crushed Dasha). Villanelle realizes she doesn’t want to kill people anymore and Eve realizes she can kill people. Like it was a JOURNEY this season. And it ends like one of the great romances, our heroines standing apart yet still together on a bridge.

As queer watchers of this show, seeing the subtext become canon in ways beyond just sex was satisfying. (I mean, don’t get me wrong - I’d like to see some sex too.) I realize it could have left some straight viewers confused, but to us gay gals we’ve read all the signs. So then to see Eve and Villanelle slow dance in that retro music hall was something out of a classic movie. Well, until Eve had to go kill that other assassin who insisted on wearing sensible clothes with good range of motion.

When they spot that elderly couple serenely dancing beside them and Eve asks, “Do you want to be like that?” and Eve replies, “Not anymore.… We’d never make it that long. We’d consume each other before we got old.” HELLO. Way to U-Haul each other’s entire relationship before it’s even started, Eve. And “consume?” So gay. So, so gay.

Yet you can see the growth, like when Eve tells Villanelle, “When I try to think of my future, I just see your face over and over again.” Because instead of consuming her, Villanelle releases her. She gives her the option to leave her and never turn around. Yet neither can truly take it.

The scene brings to mind the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, also used brilliantly in “Portrait of a Lady on Fire.” They’ve each been granted what they thought they wanted, yet they cannot follow their own rules. They must look back. I’ve watched that scene quite a few times (you know, along with the slow dancing), and each time it’s thrilling to see two actresses of Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer’s quality say so much without saying anything. I mean, damn.

That clever Phoebe Waller-Bridge and her successors gave us another love story when we were expecting an espionage assassin thriller.

I think what I’ve always loved about this show (besides the brilliant acting and gorgeous outfits and stunning European locales) is that I really have no fucking idea where the story is going. I mean, I understand its basic narrative arcs and how Eve and Villanelle can’t quit each other. But what exactly will happen? No clue. I had no idea Caroline would kill Paul (I mean, he was a slimeball who deserved it, but still). I have no idea if Konstantin can be believed (well, actually, no - he can’t). I have no idea what’s next for Eve and Villanelle (a cozy flat in Central London with a great view?)

Granted, the season left many threads both hanging an unpulled. Like poor, poor Gemma Whelan (who you no doubt know and love as Yara of “Game of Thrones” and Marian on “Gentleman Jack”) was given precious little to do but whine and look concerned. But, to be honest, this show has always slacked when it came to secondary characters. In fact it has barely bothered to develop or keep them around between seasons - except for Kenny which, well, you know.

And then there’s the Konstantin question. Did he kill Kenny? (Signs point to yes.) Did he steal that $6 million from the 12? (Signs continue to point to yes.) Did he kill Dasha? (I rewound several times to see how, but it feels implied.) Why would Caroline spare him? (Look, it’s hard to kill an ex, OK.)

In the end, I think “Killing Eve” is about what happens when two people who can see things in each other that no one else can finally find one another. It’s not always healthy, it’s not always pretty, often it’s dangerous. Next season I would like to see the writers fully commit to Eve and Villanelle’s relationship. What started out as cat-and-mouse is now two wolves who have somehow found one another.The show is always most electric when it allows their dynamic to play out. May we watch their dance, slow or fast or awkward or beautiful, continue.

1 comment:

Voo said...

just saw this, OMG I love this show so much, and I found it cuz of you - so so good, cant wait for season 4, also really hoping we finally get to explore their relationship!