This Killing Eve review contains spoilers.
Killing Eve Season 3 Episode 3
Killing Eve has reached the point in its lifespan where it can use our expectations as viewers against us, and “Meetings Have Biscuits” is an excellent example of how to do so effectively. Two of the biggest stand-out moments, Villanelle on the bus and using Carolyn as a red herring for the episode’s second kill, rely on fans knowing the show likes to teases us when it comes to seeing #Villaneve together and is willing to kill off our faves. Somehow, giving us the real thing in one case and faking us out in another both have the same effect: keeping the audience on our collective toes.
When Villanelle appeared on the bus, it felt like time slowed down as I waited for the telltale sign that Eve had drifted off on her ride home. But it never came, and Killing Eve showed us how sometimes the best way to be coy is to simply deliver exactly what we’ve been waiting for, suddenly and unflinchingly, instead of withholding. Even better: Eve’s violent reaction to Villanelle kissing her. We’ve been waiting for an all-out brawl for so long and it was the perfect reason for our drab, listless Eve to wake the hell up. Meanwhile, the soundtrack (a cover of The Kinks’ “This Strange Effect”) was tempting us to think we would still get the old Eve: “You’ve got this strange effect on me and I like it…and I like the way you kissed me. Don’t know if I should…that’s why I feel good.”
Villanelle killing Sergei goes the other direction by legitimately making it seem (if only for a moment) like Carolyn Martens was dead before revealing the truth. Yet the move doesn’t feel cheap or like a fakeout, regardless of how it might seem on paper. After Kenny died, it truly feels like anyone could die, and putting Carolyn (whom the show has positioned as a third lead more with each season) in literal crosshairs was a startling reminder of that fact. After the obligatory punch-pulling on Eve’s death, the writers needed to do something to remind us of the stakes. Coming within inches of taking away Fiona Shaw is certainly a way to do it.
The world of Carolyn and Bitter Pill came together properly, and the palpable animosity between Carolyn and her son’s boss is absolutely life-giving. More of Carolyn swanning around like a boss, please. I could watch her do eccentric things like take meetings from the bath all season long, especially considering how easily Fiona Shaw slips in so much characterization in a brief line like, “It’s not fun using people you once loved.”
Speaking of Carolyn, she’s increasingly one to watch from a fashion standpoint, including her red “date night” top in this episode. Dasha continues to bring it 80s-style/normcore with her head-to-toe power-clashing animal prints. Villanelle’s many great looks include those gold shoes, her Fruit Stripes Gum/90s Kate Spade-looking dress with dramatic sleeves, obviously the overalls and double-breasted grey suit, and the fabulous wide leg yellow high waisted pants look. Finally, shout out to Eve rocking her drab season 1 office look again. It’s not a great look but I’m feeling nostalgic.
My biggest struggle with this episode is the way that it does two things, both centering around the painfully long exposition dump on the mystery with Twelve and who killed Kenny. First, the audience is asked to remember a relatively small one-off character, Panda, to a startling degree. It can make the world feel more real to bring back up old characters, even dead ones, but most will recall little more than that Panda was killed in the sex shop back in season 2. Second, this episode becomes about labyrinthine financial crimes to an unprecedented degree.
Both of these are uncharacteristic of the show, asking the audience to step out of the stylish, fun mode that we’re used to and start parsing a confusing mess of information to decode the main events of the central mystery. Racing to figure out what Villanelle and Eve are each (separately) up to and watching them try to beat one another at their own game is one of them most fun parts of the show. But without a basic understanding of what’s going on, the audience is largely on the outside of the game.
If Killing Eve is to become more reliant on exposition, one-and-done characters from its past, and – perhaps the worst offender – understanding financial crimes, it’s going to need to get a lot better at delivering them to us.
– Yes, Villanelle did steal an entire baby and Dasha literally threw it in the thrash. How many more times will they allude to Villanelle and Eve settling down, white picket fence-style, only to turn it into, well, something more grotesque?
– Eve telling someone else about self-control is W I L D
– I would watch an entire prequel series about a young Carolyn Martens (and I guess Konstantin) and all her spy exploits and Cold War Boyfriends.
– “Don’t talk about Stalin! He’s strictly third date!”
– Villanelle is back on that perfume train: “I want to smell like a Roman centurion whose coming across an old foe, who in battle once hurt him greatly, who since then the Roman centurion has become emperor and is now powerful beyond measure.” “Maybe something woody?”
– Creepiest use of the song “Teddy Bears’ Picnic” ever!
– Is Eve afraid to get on the bus now?
– They’re really owning this pink poufy thing this season.