Killing Eve Season 3 launches tonight, bringing us back into the dangerous world of Eve (Sandra Oh) and Villanelle (Jodie Comer)—and what a chaotic world it is! It’s OK if you’re having trouble remembering all of the finer points of the series so far. Not only did Season 2 wrap up in May of last year, but we’re in the midst of a global pandemic that can make recalling even the simplest of information difficult.
In other words, we’re going to catch you back up with what you need to know heading into the Killing Eve Season 3 premiere… because, when we can make things easier for ourselves right now, we should. Here’s everything you need to remember about the Killing Eve story so far.
Killing Eve Season 1 Recap
We first meet armchair detective Eve Polastri at the beginning of Season 1 when she is working as a deskbound agent for MI5. Eve’s considerable talents are being ignored due to the patriarchy, but not for long! When she figures out that the talented assassin (quit sounding so impressed, Eve!) taking down big players around Europe, is clearly a woman herself (duh, dudes), she finds herself a new job with much larger responsibilities and way higher stakes.
Enter Carolyn Martens (Fiona Shaw), the dry, no-nonsense MI6 spy with a resume (and list of exes) that would make James Bond blush. She plucks Eve and her boss/work husband Bill out of cubicle land to join the secret team she’s forming to look into the assassin, who turns out to be our Villanelle. Kenny, who turns out to be Carolyn’s son, is also on the team, doing all things tech and generally being a sweet cinnamon roll.
For the bulk of Season 1, Villanelle goes around killing a bunch of people, including Eve’s boring, sexist former boss Frank, who turns out to be a double agent who was also working for The Twelve, the shadowy secret organization that employs Villanelle. We also meet Konstantin, the Russian teddy bear of a man who serves as Villanelle’s handler/father figure/Russian double agent. Who’s side is he really on? The world may never know.
But it isn’t all deadly perfume and other fun gifts with Villanelle. (Well, mostly it is.) When Eve, Villanelle, and Bill all converge on Berlin following another one of Villanelle’s extra murders, Villanelle kills Bill in a crowded club. Eve is there and can’t stop it. That’s when things get real, and also when Villanelle becomes scary and shitty, rather than just a manic pixie murder girl who takes out creepy and/or corrupt people.
Many things happened at the end of Season 1, including Konstantin and Carolyn both seeming shifty and flirty AF, but the most important development is that Eve and Villanelle have a romantically-charged altercation in Villanelle’s gorgeous Parisian flat and, just when Villanelle thinks they will kiss (girl, same), Eve stabs her and everything changes.
Killing Eve Season 2 Recap
Season 2 picks back up right where Season 1 ended, with Villanelle hoofing it from her Parisian flat after having been stabbed in the heart—whoops, stomach—by Eve. She survives, but The Twelve are not happy with her, sending along a new handler named Raymond, whom Villanelle hates. Konstantin, who Villanelle tried to kill in Season 1, is not only alive, but convinces Villanelle to quit working for The Twelve and to go into freelance assassining with him.
Meanwhile, Eve has returned to London and is having trouble processing what she has done. Naturally, she shares nothing with long-suffering husband Nico. She fears Villanelle may be dead, but, when MI5 hires Konstantin and Villanelle to crack (aka torture into talking) “The Ghost,” a new assassin who has been posing as a cleaner to get close to her targets, Eve is forced to work alongside her crush/the woman she maybe tried to kill that one time.
Things get even more intense when Villanelle is hired by MI5 to go undercover to find out more about a billionaire psychopath named Peel, a longer and arguably more emotionally-intense mission that eventually takes Eve and Villanelle to Rome. Villanelle uses Eve’s feelings for her to manipulate her into storming into Peel’s home and therefore blowing up the mission.
Villanelle then kills Peel for Eve and, when Villanelle’s former handler from The Twelve Raymond shows up, Villanelle manipulates Eve into killing him for her – eventually – with an ax to the dome. It’s all very surreal, darkly funny, manipulative, and weirdly maybe erotic for Villanelle? In short, very Killing Eve.
For a hot second, it seems like Eve and Villanelle are going to run away together as murder girlfriends, but Eve has a change-of-heart (or returns to herself—however you want to read it), and tells Villanelle she can’t go with her. Villanelle shoots Eve, leaving her to die in some picturesque Roman ruins. Now, they’re even?
Other Important Killing Eve Characters
Eve’s husband Nico started off the show as a sort of floppy-haired Polish take on #husbandgoals but he’s been wearing out his welcome ever since. Eve started lying to him pretty much immediately, as foreshadowed by Carolyn suggesting it would be better if Nico thought Eve were having an affair. Why not both? In Season 2, Nico really stepped up his frustration factor by flirting with a fellow teacher at his school, taking time apart from Eve, and meeting Villanelle. While Villanelle knew Nico was off-limits (Eve would never forgive her), his flirtatious colleague was not. Villanelle pretended to be another teacher and egged her on in her flirting, spied on them during a field trip, and eventually murdered her in front of Nico, severely traumatized him in the process. Poor, Nico.
Known as The Panda, this Chinese colonel is the reason Villanelle went to Berlin back in Season 1, where she killed him in a sex shop. Eve investigated his death on-site which is how Villanelle got her luggage and wore Eve’s scarf, which Bill recognized, prompting him to follow her and eventually costing him his life.
Zhang’s other importance? He’s how the team figured out Frank was a double-agent working for The Twelve. After his death, Eve got ahold of Cayman Islands bank statements Zhang had uncovered while moonlighting as a hacker. The statements included millions in payments to a Chinese double agent, who was by now dead. Oh yeah and also a British account. That money eventually led to a prep school in Sussex – where Frank, Eve’s old boss, sent his kid.