What We’re Watching: Killing Eve

By Katie Gowrie

Despite being late to the party, after hearing about this show from EVERYONE, I finally decided to get on it and watch the first season of Killing Eve.

This show has a strong Canadian cast of heroines at the center of it. Sandra Oh plays the obsessive British intelligence officer Eve Polastri, who’s determined to capture the Russian assassin (aptly named) Villanelle. Eve is bright and not afraid to take on challenges, but she’s also realistically human. At first I wondered if her character was inconsistent, but over the course of the show we realize that her fixation on capturing Villanelle doesn’t leave her without fear. She’s determined to see her mission through, and protect her friends along the way, but she’s still afraid of the woman she’s taking on and aware of what Villanelle’s capable of.

Jodie Comer’s portrayal of Villanelle is pretty brilliant. (She also played Elizabeth of York in the The White Princess; add that one to your list!) She manages to convey the complexity of a psychotic assassin seemingly effortlessly—a woman who is as intelligent and self-aware as the spy chasing her. The whole killing-people-for-hire thing might make Villanelle seem unrelatable, but her sense of humour connects her to us. She knows her own desires and won’t be controlled as she pursues them.

With these two at the forefront, we get a new take on the cat-and-mouse detective story. A laugh-out-loud British spy thriller is bound to be entertaining, but what makes the series stand apart is how it subverts the genre a bit by putting women at the helm. There are strong secondary characters in the mysterious and forthright Carolyn Martens, head of the Russian section of MI6 (played by Aunt Petunia!!!!!! Ahem, Fiona Shaw) as well as in Eve’s bubbly but sharp assistant, Elena, who is unfailingly loyal to her boss.

There are no Bond men getting the girl or hardboiled male detectives investigating a never-ending slew of brutal crimes against women. Most of Villannelle’s targets are men, and she kills them in a variety of ways. But she certainly does it in style. I practically foamed at the mouth anticipating the beautiful clothes each episode, which she carries off as easily as her numerous accents while bounding around Europe’s posh cities and charming countrysides leaving death in her wake.

If you like quirky dark comedies led by strong and complex heroines (there’s also a solid line about periods delivered perfectly that had me laughing out loud), check out Killing Eve. Season 2 is already out!

What are you watching and loving? Share with us in the comments below!