The Story Analysis series is intended to offer a different take on film and TV appreciation above a typical review. The idea is to break down the stories into their components in order to understand them better. It is also an intellectual exercise on my part to help me to develop my logic capabilities. Thanks for indulging me!
Killing Eve is a highly acclaimed British black comedy-drama spy thriller that debuted in 2018, with three seasons broadcast so far.
The story revolves around two lead characters viz. the Russian assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer) and American expat MI5 investigator Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) and their very unorthodox cat-and-mouse relationship.
I have serious problems with Villanelle as she strikes me as a Mary Sue.* Villanelle is pretty much untouchable throughout this first season and she basically does (and gets) whatever she wants. Thus, it was very difficult to engage with this character as I was unable to emphatize with her whatsoever.
However, the opposite is true for the titular character Eve. Although some of her choices and decisions are suspect, at least I am able to understand her as these flaws help me to identify with her character.
Perhaps it is a creative choice to portray Villanelle, who is a serial killer, in a completely unsympathetic manner. Also, it provides an intriguing contrast between the two characters and that needs to be acknowledged.
Despite its ostensible spy thriller scenario, the series comes across as fanciful rather than realistic, paying lip service to the genre trappings. Thus, the plot itself is ridiculous at times, especially the numerous times Villanelle is able to escape any consequences for her crimes.
Now, every single reservation I held in the previous two paragraphs would seem to be justified by the tone determined for the series. Black comedy. One might argue that the series is a satire on the whole espionage genre and should not be taken too seriously. One might even claim that Killing Eve is a twisted romance and that would not be too much of a stretch. Edgy and irreverent are stylistic assets that make the series highly unique.
Another strength that the series possesses are the top class performers as both Oh and Comer are delicious in their roles and they look like they are enjoying themselves as well! Honourable mention also to the respective spy bosses viz. Fiona Shaw as Carolyn Martens (MI5) and Kim Bodnia as Konstantin Vasiliev (Villanelle’s handler) provide a certain gravitas to the series to balance the insanity of the lead actors.
In the final analysis, the positives outweigh the relatively minor grouses. If nothing else, Killing Eve is unpredictable and keeps the viewer guessing as to what might happen next. Now to watch Season 2! Lemme know what you think over at the Power of Pop Facebook page.
… still there’s more …
* a generic name for any fictional character who is so competent or perfect that this appears absurd, even in the context of the fictional setting.