The season three premiere of Killing Eve last week was quite a letdown. Not only did it struggle to recapture the sass and thrill of the first two previous seasons, but it also failed to push the plot forward. What’s offered was just the reintroduction of the characters as they were put to the same position as in season one, and a brief bloody climax that would seem to be the main focus of the season. Besides the marvelous performances from the cast, episode one was not a promising start. And sadly, the second episode this week still does not show any much of an improvement.
Everyone is grieving
‘Management Sucks’ opens with Eve (Sandra Oh) who is mourning the tragic death of his number one confidante Kenny (Sean Delaney) by sipping wine and smoking cigarettes at a bus stop. While there, a mysterious man (Danny Sapani) disturbs her by suggesting that she needs to go electric after one of her cigarettes drops into a puddle. He also tells Eve that she’ll be drunk before Kenny’s service even ends. Feeling annoyed, Eve calls him a dick blatantly. It’s later revealed that this man is actually Kenny’s boss at Bitterpill, and his name is Jamie. We still don’t know what his role is to the main story of the season, but it’s safe to bet that he will be at least integral to Eve’s investigation of Kenny’s death, or even might have something to do with it.
While Eve wears her grief like a coat, Kenny’s estranged mother and former boss Carolyn (Fiona Shaw), on the other hand, looks oddly unaffected by her son’s death. She remains very calm even after her other child Geraldine (Gemma Whelan) encourages her to express her grief. Given how apathetic Carolyn has been all this time, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that she’s able to repress the emotions within her. She still goes to work the next day as if nothing happened. But later on the episode, Carolyn starts to show a new, vulnerable side of her that we haven’t seen before. At one moment, she even gets teary-eyed in front of her new protege Mo Jafari (Raj Bajaj) in her car while listening to opera music and eating a sandwich.
The episode smartly doesn’t play this scene as if it’s such a big deal in Carolyn’s life. In fact, everything remains very understated, complete with Carolyn’s signature subtle humor. Still, it’s obvious that Carolyn is actually struggling to make sense of Kenny’s death and her own grief. And Shaw wonderfully showcases the deep regret and confusing feelings that Carolyn is having without needing to make it flashy. Her delivery when Carolyn says “I can’t solve it. I can’t investigate it. My hands are tied. It’s my son. And I can’t drop it,” to Mo is done perfectly. It’s just a testament to how complex her portrayal of Carolyn is.
Unfortunately, Carolyn’s intention to investigate Kenny’s death off book and pull Eve back again as her team will seem like another repetition from what season one and two had already done. She will put Eve in Villanelle’s (Jodie Comer) radar once again, and her mysterious tie with Konstantine (Kim Bodnia), and possibly with The Twelve too, will just lead to another murky season if there’s no development or new tricks to this bigger conspiracy. Everything is still up in the air right now, but here’s hoping that the showrunner Suzanne Heathcote will put more focus to unveil who The Twelve and what their deal actually is.
Villanelle and her new routine
Meanwhile, in Barcelona, Villanelle still has no idea that Eve is well and alive. She puts herself back to work and does everything that her new handler Dasha (Harriet Walter) tells her to do, hoping that it will help her to achieve her goal of becoming a keeper. After successfully killing her first victim of the season last week, Villanelle is assigned to guide a new assassin. She’s reluctant at first, but she eventually comes to it. This new assassin is named Felix (Stefan Iancu), and he leaves a great impression for Villanelle immediately after he confesses to her that he killed the whole family of a guy who bullied his boyfriend back then, followed by him telling her that it hurts to love someone who doesn’t love you back.
Not long after, the two dress up as birthday clowns to do Felix’s first assignment. Villanelle informs her that he needs to be clean and clinical when he does the killing. But unfortunately, Felix’s method is far from what Villanelle suggests: it’s messy and leaves a lot of marks. Instead of slashing his throat with a small cutter that Villanelle already prepares, Felix chooses to bang his head on the floor, which Villanelle doesn’t approve of at all. Villanelle eventually gets the job done herself, killing both the target and Felix with a gun. “Oh, management sucks,” she groans while she pulls the trigger.
There isn’t much happening to Villanelle’s arc this episode besides this bloody moment with Felix and a few banters with Dasha. But Comer‘s performance and the show’s lavish costumes, as well as her explosive chemistry with Walter, remain to die for. What really propels Villanelle’s story forward, however, happens at the end of the episode where she’s awkwardly reunited with Konstantin at her new house. Konstantin tells her that she shouldn’t trust Dasha, especially after what she’s done to her. But we do not know what that means, or if Villanelle’s new relationship with Dasha will affect Konstantin and the main plot. What we do know is that Villanelle finally learns the truth about Eve, a revelation that throws her into a state of multilayered feelings. A single tear is dropped from her eyes. A mix of pure shock and elation is also shown through Comer’s phenomenal display of emotions.
The calm before the storm
Much like the season premiere, ‘Management Sucks’ doesn’t offer anything new and exciting to the series. Everything remains lukewarm and just feels like a setup to another familiar path, nothing more. But perhaps with Villanelle now fully aware that Eve’s alive, and Carolyn and Eve begin to investigate Kenny’s death, the next episode will be the storm that we’ve been waiting for after too much calm.
What do you think Villanelle will do to Eve next episode? Let us know in the comments!
The first two episodes of Killing Eve season three are available to watch on AMC and BBC iPlayer.
Does content like this matter to you?
Become a Member and support film journalism. Unlock access to all of Film Inquiry`s great articles. Join a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about cinema – get access to our private members Network, give back to independent filmmakers, and more.