Review: Killing Eve

It’s a tale we’re all familiar with: spy and assassin caught up in a cat-and-mouse chase, each becoming ever more obsessed with the other as their paths bring them closer – or are we? We’ve all seen plenty of thrillers like this before, but this one comes with a refreshing twist: both leads are women.

This addictive new series from the mind of Phoebe Waller-Bridge (creator of Fleabag and Crashing) was masterfully created, with such great detail in each shot that it makes you want to savour every moment of the show. The story follows Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh), a government agent who harbours a not-so-secret obsession with female assassins, one in particular named Villanelle (Jodie Comer).
Recruited by MI6 to track down the mysterious Villanelle, Eve’s somewhat dreary London life is turned upside down, as her world and Villanelle’s collide.

At its heart, Killing Eve is about the relationship between these two women, how it unfolds, and how it threatens to destroy everyone around them. Of course, central to this are the outstanding performances from Oh and Comer, both of whom bring equal measures of humanity, wit and morbid fascination with each other to their roles. Oh is warm, down to earth, and very likeable as Eve, bringing a slice of normality and pathos as a foil to Villanelle’s ruthlessness. Comer, on the other hand, is captivating: charming, glamourous and often terrifying as Villanelle. She achieves the impossible task of winning over the audience – making us sympathise with a psychopath. The style and grace with which Villanelle effortlessly dispatches her targets (one kill involving a hairpin) utterly transfixes the audience, so much so that when push comes to shove, we almost don’t want her to get caught.

The dry and dark humour that punctuates the scenes, often at the worst moments, is what gives this show its classic Phoebe Waller-Bridge stamp. It’s often at moments of high tension that snarky one-liners are delivered, forcing the audience out of the situation and giving them a chance to see how bizarre this whole world really is. As funny and human as it is clever and exciting, Killing Eve is
definitely one to watch this autumn.

Ananya Sriram

Image: [The Australian]