Management Sucks is perhaps the quietest episode of Killing Eve, set in the aftermath of Kenny’s (Sean Delaney) shocking demise. It wallows in its grief and allows its characters to do the same. As usual, the episode features moments of sharp comedy throughout. But this chapter mostly envelops itself under gray clouds and sits there, contently.
It’s reminiscent of what Killing Eve underwent after Villanelle (Jodie Comer) stabbed Bill (David Haig) to death in a German nightclub. Bill’s murder made Eve (Sandra Oh) realize how dangerous the path she was embarking on could be and Kenny’s murder makes her realize just how entrenched she on her current path, no matter how far she tries to run away from it.
That general state of helplessness is pervasive throughout the episode, and it resonates most strongly with Carolyn (Fiona Shaw). For Killing Eve to work beyond the initial premise of a sexy cat and mouse chase between Eve and Villanelle, the show must build up its secondary characters lives, motivations, and complexities so that they matter to the audience.
Carolyn was introduced as a legend, the woman who ran the Russia desk at MI6 and was the toughest cookie to crack. And here, in some part due to her own mistakes, she is left without a great deal of power and at the worst time she could have experienced powerlessness.
Villanelle takes a stab (pun intended) at learning management. The theoretical idea, or as Dasha (Harriet Walter) frames it says that she must learn how to manage other people if she wants to be worthy of being a Keeper. She gets her first recruit, a gay nineteen-year-old named Felix (Stefan Iancu), who is responsible for committing mass murder because his boyfriend was being bullied. Well, a theoretical boyfriend – someone he loved and who didn’t love him back. Felix and Villanelle briefly bond over that knowledge. But that doesn’t stop her from putting a bullet through the back of his head for “improvising.”
Several of Carolyn’s initial efforts to contact Eve and speak with her about their unfortunate circumstances fall flat. But Eve, in spite of her many misgivings, can’t let this one go. She needs to know what happened to Kenny, who was responsible, and her interactions with the staff at Bitter Pill exacerbate and solidify that. It is at first Carolyn’s turn to make sure that Eve understands that she is tired, wrought, and misses her son’s smell. That this isn’t a loss in the field that galvanizes her. Eve understands, waiting for Carolyn to agree before she starts to talk about the thumb drive Kenny kept at his work, the one now in police custody – information that is quietly trickling down to Konstantin (Kim Bodnia) through a neat little bus magnet.
The joy of watching a story unfold is to see characters adapt. A Villanelle who was as stylish, loud, and exuberant would be thrilling right now, but shallow. An Eve who was ready to jump back into her line of espionage work would render her experience at the end of season two meaningless.
The same goes for Carolyn, and if the show wants to move beyond how formidable and cool, who she is, the tragedy of her loss and the consequences of her actions have to register in a way that forces her to overcome them. Placing her in a position where she has a power-hungry wanker decimating her authority just when she wants to know who is responsible for her son’s murder is organic and offers emotional depth.
Killing Eve Notes and Questions:
+ Love the new credits.
+ Can I have Villanelle’s Barcelona home? God, that looks gorgeous
+ Carolyn on a farm? Want to see that!
+ “It’s good to have many lovers. Keeps you limber.” – Exercise tips from Dasha.
+ “Just so you know, I’m kind of a big deal in this industry.”
+ Dasha is growing on me.
+ Mo (Raj Bajaj) continues to be unabashedly attractive.
+ Hello, Danny Sapani!
+ I love Gemma Whelan’s Geraldine and can’t wait to see more of her.
+ “Couldn’t we be sad and listen to good music?”
+ Eve repeatedly forgetting which doors are push and which ones are pull.
+ Villanelle’s expressions of disdain and condescension.
+ Villanelle, like all students and non-profit workers, also hates receipt reimbursements.
+ Carolyn sitting in a car and eating sandwiches.
+ Carolyn describing sleep or mediation as “[the] thing where you close your eyes and breathe” is equally sad and hilarious.
+ Eve being unable to look away from the curiosity of true crime photos and stories.
+ Characters on this show laughing way too hard at inappropriate moments is always relatable.
+ Carolyn’s white coat is fabulous.
+ Villanelle’s floral blue dress is peak Barcelona chic – can I get that in a blouse form and pair it with light clementine pants?
+ Villanelle’s pyjamas – all she would need is a thin sleep robe that cascades behind her like a gown, and it would be the best bedtime ensemble outfit in history.
+ And Villanelle’s sundress! That would go great with a brown belt around the waist and some mocha leather pumps.