Season 3 of Killing Eve is as clever and funny as ever, but the lacklustre plotlines leave viewers wishing for more.
The season starts out showing the drastically different directions that Eve and Villanelle’s lives have gone in, six months after the dramatic second season finale in Rome. We see Villanelle in Spain, about to get married to a mystery woman and are introduced to Dasha, the former assassin who trained Villanelle.
Contrasting with the lavish wedding scene in Spain, Eve’s life is looking far bleaker. After leaving her job at MI6 and becoming further alienated from her husband, Eve is working at a Korean restaurant in London.
One of the highlights in the early episodes of the season is the subtle exploration of Eve’s Korean heritage. From the conversations between her colleagues at the restaurant and the scene in the Korean grocery shop, it is nice to learn a side of Eve separate from her obsession with Villanelle and her former work.
There is a great scene following Eve’s visit to the grocery store where her shopping bag breaks and its contents spill over the busy London streets. It provided a dreary metaphor for Eve’s life and sanity falling apart alongside her career and marriage.
But despite some of these early-season moments, one of the season’s biggest weaknesses was the lack of character development for Eve.
On the other hand, viewers got to see Villanelle’s character developed and humanised through brief pauses in her psychopathy. The season’s fifth episode, “Are You From Pinner?” sees Villanelle returning to her family home in Russia.
This episode is one of the best of the season. It was somewhat disconcerting to see Villanelle valuing the connections with her family, and heartbreaking to learn about her fractured relationship with her mother.
The normalcy of this episode, in Villanelle’s classic sibling interactions with her brothers Pyotr and Bor’ka leads viewers to thinking that her family could be her redemption. Perhaps this will be an episode without death?
The final scenes of this episode reveal the psychopathic likenesses between Villanelle and her mother – only her mother appears to have suppressed this side of her, while Villanelle has embraced it. Upset at her mother’s rejection, Villanelle kills her and then blows up her family’s home, only sparing her brothers.
This season is a real “two steps forward, one step back” moment for Villanelle, who becomes conflicted between continuing her life as a killer and escaping it for a normal life.
Jodie Comer’s excellent portrayal of Villanelle is a constant throughout the season. Comer displays her incredible acting diversity as she switches between accents, languages and the many different characters Villanelle plays on her assignments for the Twelve.
Another standout this season is Fiona Shaw whose portrayal of the brutally sarcastic and emotionally withdrawn Carolyn is a delight to watch. After the shocking episode 1 death of fan-favourite Kenny, Carolyn’s son, her daughter Geraldine is introduced.
But why was Geraldine there? Her distant relationship with her polar-opposite mother made for some hilarious lines delivered by Fiona Shaw, but her presence didn’t add much to the season. The season needed less Geraldine and more Eve.
As the season progresses, we finally begin to learn more about the Twelve and the involvement of Kenny, Konstantin and Villanelle. Konstantin alleges that he attempted to recruit Kenny into the Twelve in order to save him, but Kenny accidentally slipped and fell off the building to his death.
This was a somewhat unsatisfying revelation after viewers were led to presume something far more sinister had gone on. Even Carolyn seemed disappointed and in disbelief.
The show’s ability to combine otherwise terrifying scenes with impeccable comedic timing is unmatched. Such an example is in the aforementioned scene in the final episode where Eve, and later Villanelle, interrupt Carolyn’s intended revenge on Konstantin and Paul for their involvement in Kenny’s death.
The final moments of the season between Eve and Villanelle are beautiful, but slightly disappointing. Their relationship is clearly a slow burning one, filled with confusion and obsession, but the apparent lack of its progression may be disappointing for viewers.
Nevertheless, those final moments of the two being unable to properly part their separate ways indicate a little bit of hope for a potential real relationship.
Perhaps viewers can accept that the third season of Killing Eve was somewhat of a filler and set-up season, and that we should maybe anticipate a more exciting fourth season.