TV

The ‘Killing Eve’ Kill Of The Week: Death By Spice

Killing Eve is back and deadlier than ever.

The show’s season three premiere kicked off with a couple of gruesome deaths, and some plot. There was plot, guys. In fact, this show often finds creative ways to combine character subtext with stylish murder sequences, and it’s about time we acknowledge that, which is why we’re going to be breaking down the best kills of every episode this season. Who committed them? How were they done? And what clues can they offer for the story moving forward? We’re about to find out.

Consider us your digital crime scene investigators (who rely entirely too much on GIFable aids).

The Spice Kill

“Slowly Slowly Catchy Monkey” began here …

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That’s a young Dasha, training at a facility in Russia. We know she’ll go on to become Villanelle’s trainer and handler, but for now, she’s just a young woman with fanboys lurking off the mat, ruining her concentration and causing her to misstep on her landing. If you’ve seen any spy movie involving beautiful young Russian women, you know they always begin their careers in espionage with exceptional athletics, which seems to be the case here. We learn Dasha was plucked from her impoverished existence because of her skill, and she could easily be thrown back in the gutter if she disappoints.

That last bit is crucial to understanding why Dasha later went full Tarantino on that poor boy making puppy dog eyes at her. Dasha is ruthless and willing to sacrifice anyone to achieve her personal endgame. She’s also a legend, a particularly sadistic assassin who likes to leave ingenious calling cards, like a dusting of chalk for her dead lover to choke on.

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This death scene felt raw, like the work of an experienced killer, but it also hints at Villanelle’s own messy return to her life of crime. When Dasha pulls her from civilian life — and a particularly lavish wedding — she baits her into working for the Twelve again by weaponizing her own career. Dasha was an original, her jobs are still being studied by professionals, she’s considered the best. And she knows how that will dig at Villanelle, whose ego and delusions of grandeur often influence her behavior.

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Which is how we get to the spice kill. Villanelle is sent to eliminate a spice shop keeper… for reasons. (Really, where’s the logic behind these assassinations? Is Morgan Freeman’s character from Wanted running this charade?)

Dressed in a delivery uniform with a pixie cut, Villanelle makes a delivery to a store on a busy street in Girona. She sells an imaginative sob story about a sick grandfather, gaining the woman’s sympathy. When she climbs a ladder to retrieve a spice said to help with heart problems, a glassy-eyed Villanelle simply nudges her off, causing her to fall presumably to her death.

Except, the shopkeeper isn’t dead, and she attacks Villanelle from behind. It’s a shocking moment for fans who’ve seen the assassin in action dozens of times. She’s impulsive and prone to improvising, but she’s rarely sloppy. She’s forced to beat the shopkeeper with a jar of spice in much the same way that Dasha ferally attacked the boy in the locker room decades earlier. It’s brutal and visceral and unorganized, which might point to a weakness for Villanelle this season. She’s been out of the game, she’s being roped back in by a woman who serves as an unwelcome reminder of her past. She’s becoming emotional when it comes to her jobs, staging a scene by sprinkling paprika over the woman’s dead body before muttering, “Untouchable,” and referencing Dasha’s earlier comment.

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If anything, this first directive hinted at Villanelle’s instability, her uncertainty over what she wants in life: does she want to retire to the Italian countryside with a rich wife, become a handler like Dasha, usurp her mentor’s legacy, or get back with Eve?

Villanelle, like young Dasha, feels like she’s on the ropes a bit, being forced to find a way to survive in a world that won’t let her find her own agency. If she were smart, she’d reconcile with her wife (?) and find a private island to stow away on, but Villanelle is ruled by her greed, her hunger for more, and this kill proved that what she really wants is to become more powerful than her makers. And she’s willing to execute anyone she has to in order to do it.

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BBC America’s ‘Killing Eve’ airs on Sundays at 9:00 PM EST with simulcasting on AMC.

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