This week’s bottle episode of Killing Eve proved we’ve been getting the familiar adage about going home again all wrong. You can, go home that is, but that visit might end with fiery explosions and a dash of matricide. “Are You From Pinner” raised the stakes on a show that often plays its wide variety of increasingly gruesome murders for fun, forcing Villanelle to get personal with her victim for the first time in, well, ever.
How will this latest kill change her going forward? Let’s investigate.
The Mother Of All Murders
Villanelle’s making a hometown visit which, for her, means breaking and entering into her estranged family’s home in the middle of bumf*ck Russia. She meets some cousins who think the world is flat and gives us a reaction GIF that we can mentally catalog for future family get-togethers.
(No Uncle Tom, 5G wireless didn’t create the pandemic. Quit drinking bleach, goddammit!)
Anyway, Villanelle gets a mixed reaction to her surprise drive-by. Her brother’s clearly happy to see her — he’s the gentle, caring sort who sleeps in the barn and beats up old couches to exorcise his anger. Her young half-brother just wants to test her knowledge of Elton John’s culinary habits. Weird? Sure, but his obsession with the British icon gives us this look, so … worth it.
But it’s Villanelle’s mother, Tatiana, whose opinion she really cares about. Villanelle has a very loaded relationship with the woman who gave her life, then tossed her out like yesterday’s garbage. She’s cold and stern but everyone here seems to love and respect her, something Villanelle can’t reconcile with because she blames her mother for all of the bad that’s happened in her life. Maybe that’s true, maybe not, but it dredges up some dark memories for both women. Like suicides and burning orphanages dark.
A turning point comes when Villanelle, who continues to suspect her mother of putting on a maternal act to hide her more abusive tendencies, discovers her half-brother Bor’ka beating himself after Tatiana told him he embarrassed the family with his entry into a local baking competition. Harsh? Yes, but now we’re really interested in a Russian version of The Great British Bake Off where overbearing mothers berate child bakers over dense cakes and weak-peaked meringues.
After a day at the fair, while the rest of the house sleeps, Villanelle and Tatiana have it out. What begins as a cry for affection on Villanelle’s part ends with Tatiana demanding she leave, claiming she does not fit with this new family of hers. Sheesh… tough crowd for a harmless tomato joke.
Tatiana claims she sent Villanelle to the orphanage because she saw a darkness in her, the same darkness her father saw. This is a particularly deep cut for Villanelle, who views her father as a hero-like figure in her life, despite his unexplained absence. So, Villanelle reacts accordingly, accusing her mother of being the darkness and coming to the conclusion that yes, she needs to kill her.
It’s a particularly brutal way to bury the hatchet, but Villanelle’s not done yet. She sends Bor’ka to the barn where her older brother, Pyotr, sleeps, then sets the family’s home on fire, burning her remaining relatives in their sleep and covering up her mother’s murder.
There was growth in Villanelle’s decision to spare two of her family members, but if she came to Russia looking for closure or acceptance, she found neither. In fact, this murder might be Villanelle’s most personal yet, and it’s not something she’ll be able to bounce back from easily. After seasons of hinting at her need for family, to wipe out any semblance of one she might have had left feels like a turning point for the character, and the show. She’s just as broken as her counterpart, Eve, and that desperation and loneliness might provoke both women to indulge in their worst tendencies. But for now, we’ll simply feel bad for our doe-eyed psychopath. We all know how tough it is to go home again and really, who among us hasn’t quietly sobbed on the train ride back while listening to “Crocodile Rock?”