Killing Eve Season 2 Episode 7 Review: Wide Awake

Villanelle and Eve's voyeurism takes on a new layer and a new psychopath takes center stage as Aaron Peele takes Billie to Rome

This Killing Eve review contains spoilers. 

Killing Eve Season 2 Episode 7

The back half of this season has more to prove than the front, since it has committed to this more domesticated, servile, workaday version of Villanelle. This episode didn’t put those concerns completely to rest, but did a better job addressing them than the previous two. And with Kenny’s warning about Rome, it rekindled the promise that Eve has so much more to fear than just Villanelle, a direction where I hope the true heat of the season finale will lie.

This episode makes it clear that Killing Eve sure as shit knows how to keep the body count up. If you asked me at the end of the previous episode, I never would have predicted that we’d see Gemma dead at the end of this episode, but that’s mostly because I didn’t plan to see her at all. I didn’t particularly think we’d see Niko’s time when it doesn’t directly concern Eve. The key question here is not whether Villanelle killing Gemma is shocking or even interesting, but whether we care. Will it be enough to make Eve realize that things have gotten out of hand? Would literally anything make her finally realize that she has crossed so many lines? I’m not convinced that there’s anything, other than seeing Villanelle literally stab directly into Jess’s pregnant belly in broad daylight.

I don’t love the idea that Aaron Peele has eclipsed The Ghost, but his cold, removed menace is an excellent way to refocus on the unpredictability of a psychopath as well as an abusive, powerful man. Peele’s an inscrutable, hateable foil for Villanelle. Aaron Peele does every creepy thing from a romantic comedy that we’re supposed to think is cute: he orders her food (“that’s presumptuous” hard agree, V), flies her to a foreign city, buys her clothes that are somehow in her size.

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It doesn’t take long for things to escalate into more classic abuse, like controlling what she eats in a more direct way, making her spit out food he doesn’t like. Of course he doesn’t stop at buying her nice clothing, he watches her try it on like a human doll and demands that she wear it the way he likes, as though fashion is a problem with a correct answer. (How dare he criticize Villanelle’s fashion choices, even if she’s under cover!)

read more: Everything to Know About Killing Eve Season 3

Aaron Peele even keeps “Billie” from accessing her birth control, which is abuse. For the record, birth control pills have a variety of uses beyond contraception, so even if she didn’t need them for sex (which is not his call – this is still classified as abuse by experts) she might well need them for other reasons. Beyond that, daily birth control pulls don’t become fully effective until you’ve been on them for three months and skipping doses reduces efficacy, so even though they’re not sleeping together, if she were to go back to London and sleep with someone else, she’s at greater risk for an unwanted pregnancy. It’s always surprising to learn how few men know these basic facts about birth control, thought Peele strikes me as someone who would know all of this, making it all the more sinister. Given everything that’s going on, this context is both necessary for the show and a PSA.

Peele’s voyeurism adds a strange new level to new level to Eve and Villanelle’s sexy surveillance dynamic. Villanelle clearly knows there are cameras there and worked her blind spots with the bread, yeah? Hugo has no idea how right he is when he makes that legitimately dejected comment about the threesome. V could just as easily be speaking to Peele or Eve when she speaks out loud, but of course they each think it’s just for them. The show seems to be asking us, is Eve really special? Is she any different from Anna, Nadia, or any of Villanelle’s marks? She seems to be taking more of a normal, girlfriend-like interest in Eve – wondering how she’s doing, trying to get her favorite recipe. But so much of the electricity is gone, and as a viewer I rarely feel that fascination, that magnetic pull that told me Villanelle would do anything for Eve.

Kenny’s warning and Carolyn’s hawk-like interruption were the perfect pin-prick reminder that Eve is still fundamentally treading in a world she does not understand. Carolyn has made it clear that this operation is Eve’s responsibility, and there’s little room for error (“I hate to be strict but she really mustn’t kill anyone.”) Who knows whose side Konstantin is playing on (other than his own) but it’s hard to imagine him double-crossing Villanelle unless he had to do so. The therapist added another wrinkle – the fact that Carolyn ignored his recommendation doesn’t feel like rebellious swagger as it might have in the first season, but rather a sign that she doesn’t have Eve’s best interests at heart.

Other notes

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“You don’t know if you’re telling the truth or not?” “Not really?”

After all that, Villanelle didn’t kill the women from the shawarma place, she just slept with them – feels like a squandered thread on both ends.

Eve leaves a no-chill number of voicemails for V during the lunch date

It’s interesting that once the counselor asks Eve direct questions she answers them honestly. Maybe she wants help after all?

Villanelle’s best looks: amazing navy and white silk robe with tigers, the silver shirt under the pink fluffy coat.

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Hugo seemed genuinely worried about Eve and genuinely hurt.

The foreign language version of feminist anthem “You Don’t Own Me” was perfect song choice for this episode

Villanelle is so extra, putting the word “FRAGILE” around Gemma’s neck

Rating:

4 out of 5