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Killing Eve Episode 3.01: “Slowly Slowly Catchy Monkey” Review

Killing Eve is back, marking its return with a sombre, reflective, and shocking episode titled Slowly Slowly Catchy Monkey.

Killing Eve carries on its tradition of changing female lead writers between seasons. This new season sees Suzanne Heathcote take the head writer reigns from Emerald Fennell. Regardless of who’s at the helm, expect Killing Eve to retain its signature sleek and glamorous style.

The costumes are still gorgeous, the musical beats are dramatic and effective, and the show’s captivating shooting locations remain the envy of most other TV series. But above all, what defines Killing Eve is its combination of dark humour and sensuality.

The show, even at its most brutal, finds ways to remain funny. The program’s writers excel at drawing comedy out of the most mundane and absurd situations alike. The signature sense of humour is still there, but the sensuality has given way towards a coldness, a bitterness, and a desire for its characters to escape. You can see this shift in the characters’ behaviour in the premiere. Even though I want to see a return to the sensuality, the reason for the show stepping away from this element makes sense right now.

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The chemistry between Eve (Sandra Oh) and Villanelle (Jodie Comer) is what makes this show unique. The characters’ dramatic tension is the life and blood of everything that happens. Despite the series many delightful accoutrements, Killing Eve lives and dies based on the chemistry of its two main stars.

The series featured an unexpected twist of the knife at the end of season one and a shocking bullet at the end of season two. I have no idea if the writers will use another weapon to close out season three, but now that Eve and Villanelle have almost killed each other, their relationship has moved beyond obsession and attraction. It had to evolve.

You see the change in Villanelle reflected in how she kills. While the episode opens with her short-lived marriage in a delightful palace, the most telling moment is when she takes on a contract killing job. It’s a cyclical act – even if it’s not the most exciting – and it’s the most rational way for Villanelle and Eve to become tangled in their sticky webs once more.

Villanelle’s first kill is a political target, but the killing lacks the finesse and ingenuity of her trademark style. It’s blunt. It’s obvious. And it’s everything that she is slowly becoming as she grapples with Eve’s effect on her. Villanelle is becoming what she accused Eve of being before she shot her: boring. She alleged that Eve was only interesting because of her. Now Villanelle is falling into that pattern herself. She grew dependant on defining herself in relation to Eve. Now she can’t summon that inner spark that drew Eve’s attention in the first place. That addictive feeling provided a warped sense of self. No wonder she now resorts to pulling ladders and killing people with jars.

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Eve is exhausted. She still has fabulous hair, but almost dying has reshaped her perspectives of what she wants and who she wants to be. She craves the tedium, the isolation, the simplicity of folding dumplings one after the other. It’s the monotony that she ran away from, but in that escape, she lost Bill (David Haig), Niko (Owen McDonnell), and nearly her own life. It’s a difficult pivot for the character, so even when Kenny (Sean Delaney) brings her tantalizing information about the Twelve, Eve shuts him down.

There’s a beautiful little relationship between Eve and Kenny, two socially awkward misfits who are obsessed with things most people would run away from. Eve and Kenny helped each other grow. Kenny helped Eve recognize that she was losing her sense of identity to Villanelle and Carolyn (Fiona Shaw). Eve helped Kenny realize that he had to stop defining himself through his mother and grow into his own person. There’s more to it, of course, but that’s the most important thoroughfare.

Kenny had finally found a space where he could start building something for himself, away from MI6, away from his mother (although the two of them could still share a pleasant fish and chips dinner). He was growing and adding a sense of independence to his awkwardness and kindness, our poor beloved Kenny. The Twelve cut that growth short. It makes sense that Kenny’s research forays that took place without the protection of his mother’s office would result in his death. But it still feels unfair and profoundly sad watching Eve process finding the body of yet another friend lost to the dangerous nightmare that she calls her life.

Notes and Questions:
+ Eve texting Kenny with pictures and emojis of toilet paper is a great little character moment and in hindsight, all the more tragic.
+ Kenny coming to check in on Eve is the sweetest thing.
+ New Character Spotting: Mo Jafari. On a personal note, I would just like to note that the actor playing him, Raj Bajaj, is exceedingly hot and therefore has my undivided attention this entire season, no matter what he does.
+ Hugo suing MI6 is bold but also quite rational.
+ Why have the Twelve ratcheted up their brutality? What was Kenny so close to finding?
– The opening sequence was overwrought, and so far, Dasha (Catalina Cazacu/Harriet Walter) feels one-dimensional.

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Relatable Content:
+ Carolyn’s expressions at being told off by less competent supervisors.
+ Eve’s shopping basket at the Korean market largely being split between noodles and four bottles of red wine.
+ Kenny’s favourite work snack was Haribo gummies.
+ The state of Eve’s apartment.
+ When your friend knocks on your apartment door and tells you, “I think you could do with some people.”
+ Eve: “I’ll have a drink, but if there’s some sort of organizing fun or game session, I’m out.”

Outfits: 2
+ Villanelle’s wedding suit is giving the gays everything they want. The hints of lace were a nice touch.
+ Carolyn’s casual wear for unpacking. We stan.

RIP, Kenny. At least you are now one of the internet’s new boyfriends!

 

 

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