KILLING EVE (S3E4) “Still Got It”: The Worst Birthday Ever

From the first season, Killing Eve has never been afraid of killing off its characters in the most gruesome and creative way possible. But aside from Bill (David Haig) in season one, most of the casualties do not exactly have an important role in the story. Their deaths usually only serve to make a point of how dangerous Villanelle (Jodie Comer) is, nothing more. But with Kenny’s (Sean Delaney) tragic demise at the season three premiere, and now Eve’s (Sandra Oh) estranged husband Niko (Owen McDonnell) this week, it seems like the stakes might change this season. No one is safe. Probably not even Carolyn (Fiona Shaw), who last week was so close to getting shot by Villanelle. But if that’s the price of making the show exciting again, then we should be willing to pay it in full.

The End of the Moustache

Unlike the previous three episodes, ‘Still Got It’ is told in a different style. The timeline is non-linear, and the title cards who usually inform the location of where the scene takes place do not make an appearance either this week. Instead, the episode focuses on the individual arcs of the show’s major characters. And it starts with Niko. The last time we heard from him last week is when Eve visited the mental hospital where Niko is being treated. Eve’s shocked when one of the nurses tells her that Niko has checked himself out and probably moved to Poland, leaving London and his wife for good. And Niko is indeed in Poland, living his best life as a breadman while refusing to reply to all of Eve’s text messages.

KILLING EVE (S3E4) "Still Got It": The Worst Birthday Ever
source: BBC America

The first few minutes of this episode are the most relaxed the show has ever been, though we can all guess that when something this comfortable happens, it only means that things are about to go really wrong. But before we know what that thing is, we go back to Eve, who’s still shaken by Nico’s sudden departure and her reunion with Villanelle. Afraid of sleeping at her own apartment after the teddy bear situation, Eve is crashing at the Bitter Pill office. At this point, it’s obvious that Eve has reached her nadir. She’s messed up and not thinking straight. And instead of trying to resolve her issues, she goes straight to investigate Kenny’s death and its possible connection to The Twelve.

Oh, and to make things even worse, it’s Eve’s birthday — not that anyone seems to care, except Villanelle, who sends her a birthday cake in the form of a red bus where they shared their first kiss last week. But Eve knows better that when Villanelle sends her stuff, something sinister and dangerous usually goes along with it. So instead of sharing the cake with the Bitter Pill crew, Eve takes it at the rooftop and throws it Kenny-style. This whole scene with Eve may not be integral to the main arc of the episode. But through Oh’s astonishing facial expression that goes from fear to paranoia to regret, the show allows us to access the struggle that Eve is battling inside of her, with one side being traumatized by Villanale’s reappearance, and the other being excited again to be reunited with her.

KILLING EVE (S3E4) "Still Got It": The Worst Birthday Ever
source: BBC America

The problem with Eve is, unlike Villanelle who goes wherever her desire tells her to go, Eve rarely follows what she actually wants. And that’s been eating her from the inside. “What do you want from me?” Eve asks the teddy bear that Villanelle sent to her in last week’s episode. But it’s clear that the question she’s been asking is not just the one she speaks out loud, but rather what does she want for herself? Is it Villanelle, an assassin who sparks the fire inside of her? Or is it Niko and the boring marriage Eve clearly suffers from? But of course, Eve is Eve at the end of the day. Instead of following her desire, Eve goes to find Niko in Poland after she receives a selfie from him.

What she doesn’t know, however, is that the person who’s been texting her is not Niko. It is actually Dasha (Harriet Walter), who’s been assigned by one of The Twelve higher-ups (Camille Cottin) to drive a wedge between Eve and Villanelle. And she does the assignment by killing Niko right in front of Eve, hoping that the “still got it” note she’s left at the rake she uses to kill Niko would make Eve believes that it is Villanelle who’s responsible for his death. It is a smart move by Dasha, but it could also backfire if Villanelle realizes what she has done to Eve, the woman that she’s obsessed with. How Niko’s death will affect Eve and her relationship with Villanelle is still unknown. But it’s safe to bet that it will be the foundation of the second half of season three. And even if it’s not, at least seeing Dasha being her diabolical self this week with Walter showcasing how great of an actor she is, is already a treat of itself.

What’s the deal with Konstantin?

Dasha isn’t the only one who gets the job done this week. Carolyn, with her tenacity, finally receives the respect back from the agency. And it begins with her getting her office back, wherever it is. Though she only appears for a brief moment and it feels just like a filler, her scene with Geraldine (Gemma Whelan) is enough to inform us of the dynamic between this mother and daughter. And both Shaw and Whelan are able to make the most out of their small appearances with two phenomenal performances.

KILLING EVE (S3E4) "Still Got It": The Worst Birthday Ever
source: BBC America

It is Konstantin (Kim Bodnia), however, who gets a lot of screentime this week. First, he goes to meet her daughter Irina (Yuli Lagodinsky) in Moscow for an unclear purpose. Then back in London, he pays a visit to Bertha Kruger (Rebecca Saire), the wife of the accountant who’s killed by Villanelle in episode three, telling her that she should go to a safer place and forwards him the email that her husband sends her the minute before he dies. His last stop is in Barcelona, where he tells Villanelle that he will track down her family if she’s willing to do an off-record job for him, which is killing Bertha, who’s staying at Lyon, France at the moment. Villanelle being Villanelle, says yes without thinking further. And of course, she does the job really well, killing Bertha using a hose after the two spends a fun cat-and-mouse game in a beautiful garden.

It’s fun seeing Konstantin for the first time doing dirty work and being the puppeteer we’ve been led to believe of him for three seasons. And Bodnia, either when he shares the screen with Lagondinsky or Comer, does a terrific job at showing how dangerous and manipulative Konstantin is underneath his sweet exterior. But the problem is, we still don’t have any clue to what Konstantin’s main goal is. Everything about him and his connection with the labyrinth of financial crimes that might also have a connection to The Twelve remains the biggest enigma. And since the show is always reluctant to give us any kind of context, it’s actually getting pretty exhausting to even try putting the puzzle pieces together.

The strongest episode of the season so far

Still, when compared to the previous three episodes, ‘Still Got It’ is by far the strongest installment of season three. And it’s not just because of Niko’s bloody demise or the extraordinary performances from Oh, Bodnia, and Walter. But also because it sets up where Eve and Villanelle’s arcs will be heading in the second half of the season, which we all hope will end up in a very exciting place.

What do you think of the episode? Will Eve be able to bounce back from Niko’s death?


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