BBC America’s ‘Killing Eve’ first framed itself as procedural: a show about assassins and the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service that attempts to take them down. More than that, though, the show tangoed through an elaborate cat-and-mouse game between Jodie Comer’s assassin and Sandra Oh’s MI6 agent. This season, that game evolves for the better, and our weekly coverage will keep an eye on how this show’s transforming, and it (along with those kills) is only growing bolder with the passage of time.
This week’s Killing Eve episode, “Management Sucks,” takes its title from a Villanelle declaration when she realizes that being a keeper-in-training isn’t all that she’s cracked it up to be. This takes place during the episode’s central showcase of assassin-clowns — move over, Stephen King’s Pennywise — but there’s another clown (more of a jester, really, and he’d better hope that he keeps the powers that be happy) maneuvering in the background. That would be Kim Bodnia’s Konstantin, who we first got to know in his capacity as Villanelle’s handler, though he’s also a father figure to her, even after she tried to kill him. It’s one hell of a bond that these two have, so we’ll talk about Konstantin, but we should probably get on with this literal clown business first.
Worst clown ever, or the best?
Maybe a little bit of both. However, there’s no time to dwell on details when another killer clown is not-so-killer after all.
Oh, Felix. We hardly knew him, and Villanelle already couldn’t stomach how he botched what should have been a simple kill. Yet it’s not as though Villanelle wasn’t warned. Dasha (Dame Harriet Walter is so good in this role) attempts, during a spectacular conversation, to warn her charge of the downside — “watching someone do a worse job than you sucks” — of not being on the assassin frontlines. Will Villanelle decide to continue pursuing career advancement? She loves the perks of being a star player, although there’s something inside her that’s dissatisfied, and she’s chasing something.
That’d probably be acceptance and love (even sociopaths need affection), and although Villanelle still thinks that Eve is dead at this point, she’s clearly still hung up on the ex-MI6 agent. Despite some real talk from Dasha on how assassins can’t do date nights or normal relationships. I don’t think Villanelle will settle for this, but the matter’s clearly left wide open for now. One thing we do know for sure, thanks to this conversation with Dasha? Villanelle’s maker loves the spice kill, which she views not as one-upmanship but as “a hallmark to Dasha.” However…
Who else is clowning around? Konstantin, who (sadly) isn’t juggling three phones this week, but he’s still quite the player. Later on in the episode, he reveals that he’s still been working for the Twelve, but he’s clearly still all up in the M16 business, so essentially, he’s lurking about everywhere, in plain sight and otherwise. First up, he’s annoying the hell out of a boozy Eve at Kenny’s funeral service.
Eve’s not about to be charmed by Konstantin praising her as a “walking miracle” and remains convinced that he isn’t thinking about anything else than his own goals. And naturally, he’s insisting that Kenny killed himself, but Eve knows damn well that the poor young man must have been taken out by The Twelve. Before we can hear any more about that subject at the funeral, Carolyn’s daughter, Geraldine (Gemma Whelan), lets the audience know that Konstantin’s been hanging around family events for a long time. Not only that, but Konstantin the Trickster later “bumps” into Geraldine outside a shop and feigns an act of kindness by giving her that bus magnet from last episode. Geraldine’s apparently the kind of person who wants to believe in the kindness of “strangers,” and she’s so touched by the gift — which contains a damn microphone because of course it does — that she completely falls for this skeevy smile.
This encounter takes place after we saw Konstantin meet with a mysterious party (representing someone higher up in the Twelve, no doubt, although we don’t see the messenger’s face), who’s instructing him to stay in London. I imagine there’s more on this to come, but the bugged-out magnet does the trick later on in the kitchen where Eve reveals that she’s game to help Carolyn figure out who killed Kenny.
In lovelier and more genuinely heart-warming moments, however, Konstantin’s reunion with Villanelle was everything that I hoped it would be.
There’s a nice little war of words going on between these two, and Konstantin’s winning this round. Villanelle should have known that Eve was still alive because (as Konstantin knows first hand) she can’t manage to actually shoot and kill someone that she loves. Their father-daughter relationship also leads to some jealousy on Villanelle’s part here, given that she takes a shot at his family, and he chides her for being sloppy enough to not make sure Eve was dead. That’s part of why he’s so amused at the idea that Dasha claims to be helping Villanelle become a keeper — a higher status than both Konstantin and Dasha — but one can sense the competitiveness that’s oozing from his words. He wants Villanelle back under his wing, so let the games begin there.
A few loose ends here:
– What should we think of Carolyn’s new boss? He doesn’t seem like a good guy, though we don’t know too much about him yet, other than him (quite obviously) shutting Carolyn down at every opportunity so far.
Well, maybe Carolyn does need a few days off.
– In better-boss land, Kenny’s editor, Paul, did a swell job of getting Eve onboard an investigation after calling her out for obsessively keeping hold of his phone while still attempting to justify not doing any leg work. Perhaps Carolyn will need to thank Paul for all of his insight later down the line. That is, if Eve and Carolyn can get to the bottom of the murder business before the Twelve catches up with them. Thanks to Konstantin’s bugging of that fridge magnet, the race is on for next week.
BBC America’s ‘Killing Eve’ airs on Sundays at 9:00 PM EST with simulcasting on AMC.