Bring in the clowns.
Villanelle went full Joker in the latest episode of Killing Eve, donning a particularly stylish clown suit to murder some poor schmuck at a kid’s birthday party. Of course, there was more to the job than just balloon animals and kill shots. Villanelle’s got ambition, and her latest assignment was meant to prove she could handle more than just offing randos whenever the call came.
She… didn’t do so hot. Let’s browse the crime scene to figure out why.
The Clown Kill
Villanelle spent most of this episode bargaining her way to the top. Between meetings with her mentor Dasha and a surprise visit by her former handler Konstantin, she was constantly reminded of the power people still hold over her. So, to grab a bit back for herself, she demands a promotion. And some damn boundaries from these Russian squatters.
What Villanelle really wants — besides good water pressure and an apartment with high ceilings — is to be a keeper, a position higher up than both of her managers. If you’ll recall, Keepers are the only ones within the organization that know the true identities of the mysterious Twelve, so that title change would grant Villanelle an unbelievable amount of power. But first, she’s got to prove she’s management material. Enter: Felix, a string-bean with a homicidal streak. He killed some a**holes for bullying his boyfriend, managed to take out a few family members in the resulting car crash, and voila, he’s now an assassin-in-training.
And he’s lucked out because Villanelle really is the best. Just ask her.
The two bond over their abysmal love lives, and we get a rare glimpse into Villanelle’s emotional turmoil. It’s easy to forget she’s a murder-happy sociopath when she’s so obviously broken up over the way things ended with Eve.
Because the kill is taking place at a children’s birthday party, Villanelle and Felix must dress the part. The part here: Pennywise, but make it fashionable.
Villanelle is just here to supervise, which means she gives Felix some useful advice about what area of the throat to slit first before sending him on his way. Meanwhile, she inflicts traumatic memories that will forever be associated with clowns and the art of balloon-shaping on some poor youngsters.
Things begin to take a while, so Villanelle heads inside, only to find Felix scrambling in a pool of blood on the bathroom floor, trying to beat his mark to death. It’s not the clean, easy kill Villanelle was hoping for, and Felix doesn’t improve the situation when he explains the reason for the mess.
Villanelle quickly shoots the mark in the back of the head, ending the pair’s struggle, and it seems she might let Felix off the hook for his first mistake on the job. We hope she will, because Felix is clearly a troubled kid who shouldn’t be in this line of work, and he seemed to share a bond with Villanelle earlier in the episode. But this is the same woman who tried to murder the love of her life just one season earlier, so yeah, she shoots Felix too and leaves someone else to handle the bodies. That “someone else” will probably be the kids. Worst. Birthday. Ever.
It’s the silly-yet-macabre murder we’ve come to expect from this show, one that seems to delight in uncomfortable juxtapositions, but there’s more to this scene than just Villanelle’s iconic clown outfit. We’ve witnessed the character begin to make moves, laying out exactly what she wants and accepting the path she has to take to get there. Is she motivated by the need for more power? Does she want to know the identities of The Twelve so she can assassinate them? That was her plan in season one after all.
But just as quickly as she begins to form a tangible goal, she sabotages herself, letting her impatience, ego, and apathy get the better of her. The fact that she can so easily dispose of Felix proves two things about Villanelle’s character. First, she’ll sacrifice anything and anyone to get what she wants. Whether that’s the freedom to live life according to her rules, a doomed relationship, or a way out of a mandatory babysitting exercise. Human life means very little to Villanelle and that’s been a constant for her character since the show’s first season. What’s more interesting is the fact that she can so easily give up on her own goal. Obviously, she failed this test which will probably make becoming a Keeper that much harder — if it’s even possible at this point. Villanelle had a chance to prove her worth, her maturity, her readiness to become more than a hired gun, and she quite flippantly threw it away the moment things weren’t going according to her plan. She’s selfish, obviously, but is that lack of foresight going to be her downfall this season? We’ll have to wait and see.