On very rare occasions, a TV series careens into the world with a first season that’s so on-the-mark that one’s left wanting for more but also fearing that pushing further could serve a disservice. Why ruin an extremely good thing, right? That’s how I’ve already felt this year about Netflix’s Russian Doll, and here we are with last year’s example, BBC America’s Killing Eve. In my mind, the first season of this exquisitely executed series could have ended satisfyingly with the bloody finale — you know, the whole stabbing thing. That went down after MI6 spy Eve (Sandra Oh) discovered the flat of crafty assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer) following their cat-and-mouse game. We could have been left to wonder how and to where Villanelle escaped and whether Eve goes back to her mundane existence, only to forever speculate on what might have been.
This series could have even pulled this off without leaning upon the heavily-suggested air of romance between the two women because, ultimately, Killing Eve is a procedural. It’s also a twist on the classic, Heat-esque story of the detective and criminal who grow obsessed with each other because they’re drawn to something that’s missing in themselves. Of course, the series is so well-executed that people have interpreted the “coupling” in many ways. Perhaps Eve and Villanelle could have reunited, either on a professional or more personal basis (oh, the latter would be such a volatile relationship), but a lingering mystery would have been permissible on a storytelling level.
We’re all aware that the realm of entertainment generally does not practice graceful exits as a rule. Few networks or studios can resist continuing a successful project, so we’ve definitely got more Killing Eve. This presents the danger of a letdown after that first-season high. Yet since we’re dealing with a procedural structure, there’s plenty of cushion here for both main characters to continue navigating within the relatively secure framework that already exists. Obviously, neither will be able to resist orbiting each other as their stories continue, so the goal of a second season would be to add something new and different while still remaining faithful to the darkly comedic, playfully fatal tone that was the big first season draw.
I am pumped up to reveal that Killing Eve still burns as brightly in season 2 as during its debut. That is at least the case with the two episodes that screened for the press, which pick up “30 seconds” after Eve discovers that Villanelle has fled the scene. From there, they head in opposite directions. They’re also both struggling to cope with what has just happened after an enormous build-up that led to the bloody encounter. That final meeting included Villanelle confessing that she “really liked” Eve, and we see the immediate aftermath of the actual outcome. Eve struggles with PTSD. She comes unglued, at times, with her hands lingering over a knife while preparing dinner and falling into crying fits.