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‘Killing Eve’ season 3 recap – episode 2: ‘Management Sucks’

(Courtesy of Des Willie/BBC America)

"Management Sucks"

April 19

Directed by Terry McDonough

By Jane Nguyen

April 21, 2020 5:11 pm

Warning: spoilers ahead.

Fresh meat joins the game of cat and mouse – and they’re not clowning around.

Last week’s return of “Killing Eve” explored a shaken Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) navigating her life after the chaos of season two’s finale, but this week offers a new slate of characters. Sunday’s episode presented Eve’s return to her former detective spirit and the entrance of Kenny’s sister, Geraldine (Gemma Whelan) and his boss at Bitter Pill, Jamie (Danny Sapani). Alongside fresh characters, the familiar dynamics between Eve and Carolyn (Fiona Shaw), as well as Villanelle (Jodie Comer) and Konstantin (Kim Bodnia) brought a playful dynamic.

Despite these new circumstances, characters and the recent loss of loved ones, it appears that these individuals have failed to learn from their mistakes and are en route to repeat them this season.

[Related: ‘Killing Eve’ season 3 recap – episode 1: ‘Slowly Slowly Catchy Monkey’]

Kenny’s death has been horrifically signed off as a suicide, but there’s comfort when Eve reacts to his death with the same vengeful spirit she had for Frank. Eve’s newly reignited motivation to investigate the Twelve exposes her unhealthy coping mechanisms and a revived lack of faith in authority. It’s soon revealed that she secretly took Kenny’s phone from his desk and strikes a deal with Kenny’s boss to exchange the phone for information.

But when Eve storms out from what appears to be the beginning of a season-long partnership, Jamie calls her out on her attachment to the investigation and inability to work with others. Hopefully with his detached and upfront demeanor – Jamie could potentially serve as Eve’s compass back to an investigative life without Villanelle in the remaining episodes.

On the other hand, Kenny’s sister Geraldine enters the picture as a more naive, trusting character in the series. She emanates the same positive energy as Kenny, but – due to her lack of involvement in the investigations – proves to be an easy target when she unwittingly brings Konstantin’s wire into Carolyn’s home.

The bug overhears Eve proposing to investigate the Twelve with Carolyn again using Kenny’s findings and information on his phone. The scene marks the return of Eve and Carolyn’s working relationship and the writers’ fear of taking risks to explore new relationships.

But it’s Shaw who brings the best of her character to the table in these moments as she expertly balances Carolyn’s denial of grief and her struggle with her loss of power. Shaw achieves this with subtle character movements that embody Carolyn’s irreverent spirit while grieving – after all, who else can eat sandwiches alone in her car at work while blasting sad, orchestral music.

Speaking of old habits dying hard, Villanelle’s return to the Twelve turns out to be a challenge for her. Now that she wants to move up the ranks, she is forced to play their games to prove she’s capable of control. She’s tasked with mentoring a new assassin recruit, Felix (Stefan Iancu), and through him the essence of her feelings and relationship with Eve are explicitly stated.

[Related: Movie review: ‘Tigertail’ offers intimate look into family relationships across generations]

It’s revealed that Felix had also fallen in love with someone and had killed for him, but was rejected as a result. Commonalities between the two aside, Villanelle does not hesitate to kill him and their shared target when Felix fails to meet expectations at a birthday party when they’re disguised as clowns.

Though a comedic moment, Villanelle’s actions raises doubts regarding her ability to rise to power if she continually chooses to fulfill her own whims. If she continues the way she is, there’s a strong chance that she’ll always be clawing for power and end up being murdered once she, or someone else, loses patience.

But if there is one character who always manages to play the long con, it’s Konstantin, and he characteristically returns to Villanelle’s life by surprising her at her apartment. He informs Villanelle that Eve is still alive and reveals that he never stopped working for the Twelve. Enraged, Villanelle kicks Konstantin out, but hints of their playful relationship shine through. While this rapport sometimes comes off as drawn out, it provides fun banter while still moving the plot forward.

Overall, episode two of “Killing Eve” answered some questions but failed to provide a driving mystery. Despite the new introductions, the plot treads on thin ice as writers continue to drag out the dealings of the Twelve without adding anything but characters. Hopefully, these new personalities will ramp up tension and bring new information to the table, especially since a fourth season has already been given a green light.

Here’s to the rest of this season’s writing biting off a bit more to deliver the franchise’s promised intrigue.

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Jane Nguyen
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