I was more than a bit astonished when MI6 rookie Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) stabbed professional assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer) at the end of Killing Eve's first season. Luckily, my favorite psychopath and fashion victim managed to flee the scene.
Season 2 of the Emmy- and BAFTA-nominated drama starts 30 seconds after that. Eve is also running away from Villanelle's very chic apartment, and she's still shaking because of what's happened. The camera follows Eve as the not-yet-full-fledged-spy descends the stairs of Villanelle's Parisian apartment building. Eve's still trying to understand what she did to Villanelle and why.
She gets a phone call from her boss, the always impeccably dressed Carolyn (Fiona Shaw), and ends up at the Gare du Nord buying an unhealthy amount of candy while waiting for her return train to London. Oh's performance as Eve mechanically eating blue-colored marshmallows out of a red and white striped paper bag should be enough to win her another Golden Globe. And an Emmy too.
Meanwhile Villanelle is having a tough time. She's injured and in pain. Broke. She's been betrayed by the object of her obsessive desire. She can barely make it to the hospital, and once there fears someone might find her. And that's nothing compared with the fashion crimes her dire circumstances force her to commit in the first two episodes of Season 2.
There's something to be said about the outfit Villanelle wears running away from the hospital: white clogs and boys' pajamas decorated with bright blue and red pop art themes, accessorized with a leather briefcase. She'll end up stealing more awfully uncoordinated garments from a laundromat and will don a shapeless pale blue granny gown that not even she can carry off.
Only two of the eight season 2 episodes were available for review, and I felt bad for Villannelle the whole time. Having sympathy for a murderer didn't necessarily feel weird, because the show is trying to bare more of her soul and explain how her twisted moral compass works.
You'll probably feel for her too. Especially when she has to wear those hideous clogs for the first time. Let's just hope she has some big fashionista moments going forward.
New showrunner Emerald Fennell took over writing duties from Killing Eve creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who's been busy with the second season of her other show, Fleabag. But Fennell seems to know what she's doing and has down to a tee Killing Eve's enticing mixture of dark humor, sexual tension between the two main female characters, absurd comedy and international spy-thriller thrills.
But while the show is full of quick banter between its cast of weirdos, it still doesn't know what to do with Eve's very nice husband, Niko Polastri (Owen McDonnell). He's basically a decent guy. Just not a very compelling one. It might have something to do with him being the only "normal" person in the whole show.
This season deals with Eve and Villanelle's cat and mouse relationship and Eve's inept style (a running joke) or inability to work a remote during a presentation. But that's not all. It also comments on Villanelle's apparent (but false) lack of empathy. And it introduces a new female assassin, who's the complete opposite of Villanelle: meticulously discreet. Instead of making a spectacle of every one of her crimes, the new killer knows how to become someone nobody pays attention to. She'll pose a new challenge for Eve, and it makes me wonder what might happen if and when she meets Villanelle.
Fast-paced, quick-witted, funny and sexy, Season 2 has just the right amount of irony and satire to counterbalance the darker themes that come with a show about a textbook psychopath turned professional assassin and a brilliant yet insecure woman having a harsh midlife crisis. And bonus: It takes place in Paris and London and is set to the melancholic, sultry tunes of indie pop bands Unloved and Cigarettes After Sex.
Season 2 of Killing Eve airs in the US on Sunday on AMC and BBC America. In Australia the show is set to premiere on ABC and ABC iview on Monday. There's still no release date for the UK, but it's expected to air sometime this summer.
Originally published March 25.