TV obsession: Killing Eve


Killing Eve is a TV series written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. And it’s amazing!

I haven’t been hooked on a TV program for a while. The latest BBC dramas seem so predictable that my attention span is rarely able to last an episode. But Killing Eve is a very different proposition and commands attention.

For a start, it has the best, most disruptive female characters ever. Not only does it pass the Bechdel test, all the characters subvert stereotypes at every turn.

The premise: Sandra Oh’s character, Eve, is a detective on the hunt for Villanelle, a serial killer played by Jodie Comer.

Eve is relatable. In the first episode she goes into a work meeting hungover, awkwardly tries to eat a croissant without rustling the bag and blurts out inappropriate responses. She then makes an important observation that none of her peers have noticed. As I said, relatable.

Instead of the maverick male detective who pops up in so many stories, Eve isn’t arrogant or obnoxious. She’s simply smart and obsessive about solving the case. She has an uninspiring but settled home life. Her long-suffering husband is the one concerned with domestic matters, hosting dinner parties and worrying whilst she travels the world taking part in dangerous adventures. It’s refreshing to see such a realistic depiction of a relationship, where the woman is the one central to the action.

Villanelle, on the other hand, is a young woman with a stylish Parisian apartment and a casual disdain for human life. She’s living the millennial dream but with more murder. She isn’t relatable but she is a fascinating character. Her dastardly deeds are carried out with a disturbing, playful humour. We see her having fun, travelling the world, not being scared of anything because she is the scariest thing out there.

This is a serial killer who would have an awesome Instagram account.

You start out somewhat horrified by Villanelle’s actions but end up rooting for her. If there was a female Bond, Comer as Villanelle would be an exceptional choice. There are several joyous moments where she eliminates men who underestimate her without breaking a nail. Don’t call her ‘pumpkin’.

It’s difficult to assign a genre to Killing Eve. It’s a tense thriller and a dark comedy all at once. The best scenes have an absurd edge. Characters can be both fearing for their lives and ruthlessly sarcastic. The writing is exceptional. I liked it even more than Fleabag.

And in these times, it feels so important to see female characters who aren’t victims.

“As women, we get the message about how to be a good girl – how to be a good, pretty girl – from such an early age. Then, at the same time, we’re told that well-behaved girls won’t change the world or ever make a splash. So it’s sort of like, well, what the fuck am I supposed to be? I’m supposed to be a really polite revolutionary?”                                  Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Happily the gods of iPlayer have made Killing Eve available all at once so there is no waiting between episodes. And it’s been commissioned for a second series. Enjoy!

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