Killing Eve (2018– )
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Now that we have my initial impressions out of the way, here's what I will say:
I am so impressed with this show. I'll be honest, I wasn't expecting to like it, but, boy, does this first episode impress. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
Something about this show has me oddly hooked Something about it leaves me wanting MORE! I love the music choices, the acting is superb, and so is the directing. All excellent.
Another thing: this show has some odd sense of humor and I LOVE it! I found myself laughing, and that was the last thing I expected.
Several times, I thought to myself: OMG why am I laughing at this right now? I'm a terrible human being!
Perhaps the best part of this is show's cast is seeing that Sandra Oh finally got the role she deserves. She kills all of her scenes -- just like everyone else -- but it's clear to see she sticks out from the rest of the cast. -I was so happy when she appeared on one my most favorite shows last year, "American Crime," but her appearance was less than a guest appearance. (I bet that was due to the budget cuts and reduced season length, which ultimately led to season 3's different set up that many hated but I personally loved.) For that reason, though, I was disappointed in not seeing her as much, but she still amazed me and did so great with Regina King. I've been missing "American Crime" so much, and I think this show can fill that void in some aspects. Oh is just amazing.
Speaking of Oh, I started watching this solely because she's in it. And I am so pleased it's actually an awesome show.
I'll surely be sticking around for this one. I'm even happier to know that there will be a season 2 because I'm interested in seeing where this is going.
I give "Killing Eve" an 8.5/10.
As a Russian-speaker though - I have to say the respective parts were not good, because if you're gonna have non-Russians speak the language - do some better research and make it sound more authentic. There was some lines I couldn't even understand what they were saying in Russian. If you translate the script from English to Russian literally - that's very amateur. We don't say "Konstantin who?", we say "Which Konstantin?" - it's basics that could be covered easily and would add a better quality to the show.
As for Eve, not such a brilliant situation. We all know Sandra Oh from Grey's Anatomy where she played a weird emotionless brilliant surgeon. However, here Eve was made too soft, too homey, too wifey, too naive for my taste. And her acting is far more boring.
Otherwise, the cast is great scenery is great, and I appreciate that Moscow was not shown as a poor dump, but a place where rich and powerful people live as well, with luxurious places to go, etc, which is really closer to the truth nowadays.
I would recommend to anyone!
The only comparable ones, that come to mind, is Michael Caine's portayal, in the absolutely brilliant, original Get Carter, and of course, Anthony Hopkins' Hannibal Lecter in the Silence of the Lambs. There haven't been any such comparable portrayals by a female-until now. Villanelle kills it (pardon the pun).
I noted that Jodie Comer, an exceptionally and uniquely beautiful woman, has eyes that are spaced relatively far apart. I'm wondering if that was a deliberate consideration when she was cast, because my first thought was that I was reminded of a lizard, or bird of prey. Villanelle has as little mercy, or compassion, as either.
The scene captured in the trailer-where she is in the ice cream shop, exchanging gazes with the little girl, was breathtaking in ways beyond what she does to the child when she walks out. In the lead up, when she is sitting across the room from the girl, it's clearly communicated that this is not a normal woman. The first instinct for most of us, upon meeting the eyes of a child in that circumstance, would be to smile. She does not-until she's reminded to do so by her observation of the man behind the counter. Of course; a sociopath is incapable of sentiment or affection. They can only fake it. She could not, until reminded by the man. In the end, walking out, she cannot help but follow her true nature.
She's clearly capable of anything.
She's a monster, but a beautiful, charismatic and extremely compelling one. All the more so, when we find out that she's an assassin, and an extremely skilled and resourceful one. So much so that she's apparently the "go to" killer of her employer, whoever it is. One gets the clear impression that she's not only indifferent to taking human life, she does it with almost gleeful and cruel nonchalance. There's no actor, male or female. that I've seen who pulls that off like Comer.
It becomes clear that Sandra Oh's Eve hides the scores of demons and trauma that she's clearly carrying with that flawless dry humor and wit of hers. One wonders if those demons are in part what makes her so relentless and driven. That she pulls off her character so effortlessly (so it seems) is a tribute to her underappreciated skill as an actor. It's for those reasons that virtually any other actor would have been well overshadowed by Comer's performance. Not a chance here.
I'll be stunned and disappointed if she-along with Comer-do not become bona fide stars now.
At the end of the first episode, with Vellanelle's already impressive body count-and ruthlessness-showcased to full effect, and with she and Eve (her prospective nemesis and muse) having inadvertently crossed paths, I can't even imagine what is to come between these two very damaged, and very powerful women.
As a member of the male gender, I'm already hooked.
1) Series started out good, and interesting. With promise.
2) But halfway through, it starts to fall apart. (The writers' fault? The head writer's fault? A poorly conceived "show bible"? A decision to just wing it after the first 4 episodes?)
3) Why should we care about any of these characters? We don't. That's one problem. If Villanelle killed Eve (which of course won't happen), I wouldn't care, wouldn't feel sad. And if Eve killed Villanelle, same. Wouldn't care.
4) Sandra Oh is a good actress, but I hate her character. Her character is too weak. And, she's an MI5 agent for chrissakes. So I don't buy her characterization. Maybe she's just miscast here.
5) Sandra Oh's motivations change, depending upon what the writers want her to do. She wants revenge for her partner being killed, but meh, next episode, she doesn't even remember that. WTF? This happens a LOT in the remaining episodes. And then, in the season finale, despite having a gun on Villanelle several times at different points, she never shoots her. She's "conflicted" or she just doesn't have the courage. OH, but wait! At the very end, she is able to push a knife into Villanelle up close & personal. Bullcrap. Someone who cannot shoot another human, CANNOT knife them offensively. Ever. Psychology 101. Or Criminology 101. Epic fail by the writers.
6) Too many character motivation issues for much of the cast. For example, Sandra and Kenny discover Carolyn in prison interrogation room with Villanelle (in video footage), in season finale, but then they NEVER ask her what the heck that was about. And why she was there. HUH? Oh, okay, they must be saving that for Season 2. Pulllease.
7) Last half of the season just fell apart, because essentially this series is built on a "house of cards" premise / storyline, that doesn't really hold up to any scrutiny. So now that Eve and Villanelle have "met" and had an initial confrontation, we're supposed to be excited with anticipation to who are The 12? And the raison d'etre for The 12? And what The 12 are trying to accomplish? Frankly, I don't give a crap.
8) If you had just been knifed and were able to pick up your gun and shoot at Eve, who's now taken refuge around the corner of a refrigerator, are you telling me you wouldn't take 10 extra steps to just shoot her, before leaving for wherever Villanelle went? Of course you would. But we're supposed to believe that despite Villanelle firing the gun at Eve, she opted to leave the apartment, leaving Eve alive. A psychopath that feels nothing for anyone, is going to leave Eve alive? Makes NO sense, except to continue this "cat & mouse" game into Season 2. What horrible writing for the second half of this Season. I won't be watching it further.
Cook dinner for a murderous assassin who breaks into your apartment? Sure!
Chase a murderous assassin into a dark nighclub unarmed? Why not!
Walk up to her unarmed & expect her not to shoot? Certainly!
But if these scenarios sound good to you, then you'll like this totally unrealistic show about the most inept bunch of MI-5/6 staff you've ever seen, complete with plot holes through which you could drive a truck. Otherwise, watch something infinitely better like "The Game".
The failure to conclude the primary plot point - the pursuit of an evil, psychopathic killer by a smart, wily, unconventional investigator - ruined the series, which had built up to it with seven intriguing, thrilling episodes. Leaving open the fate of Villanelle is simply lazy writing; quality writing in the detective-pursuit genre involves a beginning, a middle and an end, which wraps up the plot points raised in the previous sections.
Viewers deserved a resolution. Who wants to watch another eight hours of a conflicted investigator pursuing a pathetic, heartless killer?
I know the writers can claim they simply were capitulating to the mores of television by providing a cliffhanger that will bring back viewers for a second season but that is no excuse for leading us to a concluding confrontation and then leaving us hanging.
Eve's complete obsession with Villanelle, as a woman, just didn't wash, and her panic upon stabbing her also made no sense.
This was built up and presented as part detective-pursuit drama and part character study. In failing to deliver a conclusion on the former it left viewers to concentrate on the latter. If I had known that in advance I would not have watched.
I have no idea what Killing Eve is all about, not that that is necessarily uncommon in many "spy" programmes, in fact it is almost obligatory. The original "mcguffin" of trying to find the assassin has now morphed into finding "The 12", the shadowy organisation that is the stock mcguffin of every James Bond movie and its ilk from time immemorial. Mcguffins are OK but they have a purpose, which is to provide a reason for something interesting or at least visually arresting to happen, even if that something is as predictable as a car chase, an explosion or some other form of deering do. This Killing Eve fails to do, labouring under the misapprehension that a liberal dollop of quirkiness is sufficient reward for the audience.
No offence to Sandra Oh but I have never warmed to her as an actress although presumably many have. Perhaps that is more a reflection of the roles she has played than her acting ability but she always appears to look like a stunned mullet to me. To my surprise I think she does a good job as Eve, although her role is a thankless one. She doesn't actually seem to do anything, she is largely an observer whose main task is, I gather, supposed to be some totally unfathomable sort of fixation for Vilenelle, so basically a human mcguffin without which the whole "premise" would fall apart. And therein lies the (largest of many) problem, because this presumed and inexplicable fascination is simply unbelievable, for both parties. Sure, some sort of tension and competitiveness between the "Cat" and the "Mouse" is standard fare in this type of story, for example Sherlock Holmes fascination with Irene Adler or Professor Moriarty. But these are battles of wits whereas the whole Eve/Vilenelle thing is just some sort of random and baseless construct concocted by the writer to support a house of cards.
Jodie Comer seems to have a ball playing Vilenelle and she does an outstanding job of pulling off a difficult, if not downright ridiculous, character. If the genre of Killing Eve is indeed a "black something" then the line between what is just black and what is unacceptably evil is a very fine one, and it only takes one facial expression to tip from one side to the other. Regrettably, presumably under instruction from the director, she overdoes her smug smile to the point that if I see it one more time I will hurl something large and heavy in the general direction of the television screen. Not only is it an exceedingly tedious cliché it is destroying the whole character of Vilenelle, for while we may put our morals temporarily to one side to tolerate the depiction of someone who is indifferent to killing most of us draw the line at taking outright pleasure in doing so.
At the end of Episode 1 I was yet to be convinced. At the end of Episode 2 I was hooked. At the end of Episode 3 I was totally over it. I have watched up to Episode 7 only because my wife wanted to. I really have no interest in the fate any of the characters, or in the "story" such as it is, and I presume that Villenelle will turn out to be Caroline's daughter, or something of that ilk. But I really don't care.