Thursday, 4 June 2020

Killing Eve Series 3

Eve It To Griever

Killing Eve Series 3
UK/USA BBC
Eight Episodes 13th April to 1 June 2020


Warning: Spoilers on this one.

It’s funny... I’ve heard a lot of complaints about the third series of Killing Eve. People seem to think it’s lost it’s edge or is deathly dull and even my mother, who avidly watched the first couple of series with my father and I, stopped joining us after episode two of this third season. I can kinda understand the drop off in attention in some ways... this series possibly doesn’t match people’s expectations of what this one might have been in terms of the somewhat hollow but still quite strong statement of Villanelle being rejected by Eve and shooting her in the back as an end of season cliffhanger last year.

That the title character would survive was never in doubt but while the simple resolution to this where Eve (Sandra Oh) and Villanelle (Jodie Comer) meet on a London bus as Eve passionately kisses and then head butts her it’s, alas, not par for the course for this particular series in terms of dramatic resolutions. Truth be told, that’s about the only time Eve and Villanelle share screen time together until the last episode... which is kind of a shame because, while both the first two series kept the sexual/killer tension between the two strong by keeping them apart for most of the running time, it’s almost like the writers couldn’t think of anything else to do except keep them apart even more this year and... rather than bringing the ‘distance relationship’ to life, it just kind of drains the show of any real punches this time around.

Not that it hasn’t got a lot going for it... I just think people were expecting something different to what they got.

This one starts off with an episode which, on the aftermath of Eve surviving her wounds, Kenny (Sean Delaney), who worked for his mother and Eve’s boss Carolyn (Fiona Shaw) in the last show and who has quit the bureau to take a job at as a trainee journalist at a magazine, befriends Eve and is her only contact with her old espionage life... which she does not want back. However, when Kenny takes a fatal dive off a roof at the end of the first episode, all the players come back as Eve and Carolyn try to find the killer who they assume is a member of the mysterious but deadly ‘Twelve’, who Villanelle works for. That being said, Carolyn is still under my suspicions as being the ultimate leader of The Twelve so we’ll see how that goes in the next series, I suspect.

Meanwhile, Villanelle has a new and deadly set of bosses but wants to quit her assasin’s life and do something else, preferably with Eve but neither of them are that sure of each other, obviously. Hence the brutal head butt on their first, brief meeting. And, it’s all a bit familiar but with less at stake, it seems to me. Eve has to reconcile with the fact that her husband just doesn’t want her around anymore, after the way events played out for him last series and, though he gets a pitchfork through his throat for his trouble (he survives, it seems)... as a last ditch attempt by Villanelle’s employers as a frame up job to make it look like Villanelle has killed him, in order to drive a wedge between them... the whole thing seems a little less dramatic as, I suspect, most of the audience has probably written off Eve’s husband as a source of interest at this point anyway.

That being said... the whole cast are stunning. Especially Sandra Oh, Jodie Comer, Fiona Shaw and Kim Bodnia (as Villanelle’s former director Konstantin, who’s having his own troubles this series). There’s even a staggeringly interesting ‘Eveless’ episode where Villanelle finds her lost mother and then, as one might expect, kills her. To be honest though, the whole series does feel a bit like padding. The producers were already making series four, I think, at the same time as this one so the whole thing feels like much more of a fine tuning of the main players in the cast (and the setting up of a ‘big boss’ danger character for Villanelle to have to contend with in the next series) so that a dramatic resolution to the show may, if they don’t go for series five, be a possibility. It’s not dull, in other words but, at the same time, it’s not packing the punch of the previous two. Also, the end of the very last shot this year is something which is really easy to see coming. I new exactly where the credits would start rolling as the sequence started and, frankly, that’s not much of a cliff hanger either, in all honesty.

So there you go... a short review for a short series. Back in the 1970s the first three series combined would have made up the episode count for just one series so I don’t when or why having such short numbers of episodes became the norm here. Doctor Who and Sherlock are guilty of such minimalism too. Who the heck is controlling these budgets? However, Killing Eve is, as far as I’m concerned, one of the jewels in the BBC crown and although this third series may be a little sluggish in terms of character resolution or the thrills and spills of previous seasons, I think it’s still an absolutely necessary watch for fans of Killing Eve and, hopefully, the writing will pay dividends in the fourth season when, presumably, things that have been planted this year come to fruition. So, you know, maybe give it a go.

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