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'Killing Eve': Two Women. Two Sides of the Same Coin. Both Caught up in Something Much Bigger

A tale of a thrilling cat and mouse game between the sensational, sadistic and psychopathic assassin Villanelle and her powerful pursuer MI5 agent Eve. As both women draw closer and closer to each other, they find themselves increasingly entangled in a web of deceit, danger and death at the hands of their superiors... till they finally meet. (May Contain Spoilers)

Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) and Villanelle (Jodie Comer)

A TV series, written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, that approaches femininity in an entirely refreshing way that tantalises the tastebuds for more; if you just dare yourself to dive into episode 1 available on the BBC iPlayer. You'll be met with a mysterious woman sitting in an ice-cream parlour in Vienna; being stared at by a snotty little child across the way. From the very beginning you can tell this woman is different, as she attempts to smile at the child, being met with a dirty look. She already has established herself as not having the maternal gene; that a woman is just supposed to innately have. She charms the girl by mimicking the male shop attendant's reactions; only to throw her ice-cream all over her before leaving. This impulsive, childish, and carefree nature is alluring yet disturbing; when set in a woman that rebels against commonplace femininity and common gender associations. In fact, this killer often uses her femininity as a weapon against her prey; who don't even see her coming due to being labelled just another pretty woman in a crowd. In that crowd though hides the assassin, Villanelle (Jodie Comer, Star of the Show), who is a hired gun by a sinister organisation called "the twelve," that like our assassin, hides in the shadows waiting to strike against powerful and famous VIPS all over the world. Maybe she's tired of the cycle of death she delivers perfectly over and over, never getting tired of the sick and twisted pleasure she gets from watching her targets' last dying breath. However, Villanelle slowly comes to the realisation that she needs a new challenge.

Enter Eve Polastri (the fabulous Sandra Oh), an unconventional MI5 agent almost chained to her desk work, mirroring Villanelle's need for a new challenge. She has a fixation with female serial killers; and how a woman could become a killer in the first place. Eve finds Villanelle's methods of execution "cool;" which immediately establishes her as different and quirky. Due to her extraordinary observant nature, ability to think outside the box, and insane risk-taking; she seems to be the perfect investigator to take on Villanelle's case. Eve soon gets the chance to escape the boredom of office work, with the help of an unlikely ally in the third female lead, the enigmatic and eccentric Carolyn Martens (Fantastically funny Fiona Shaw). As head of Russian operations division of MI6, Carolyn wants an untraceable team set-up to hunt down the rogue Villanelle. Where everyone dismisses and limits Eve's extraordinary abilities and intelligence; it takes another woman in leadership to encourage and spot her talent. This leads Eve to take on more responsibility and leadership, as she's put in charge of the unlisted MI6 team, and begins the search for the infamous unseen assassin.

Eve's obsession with Villanelle sees her lose many of her positive male influences in her life; including her husband which takes more of a traditional wife's role in their relationship. Also her former boss at MI5, Bill Pargrave (David Haigh, excellent in the role), who's supportive yet dismissive of Eve's brilliance. However, he meets a terrible end at Villanelle's hands in a nightclub, to be stabbed many times in a dark, crowded place and left to die in front of Eve. Bill's death was a stark warning to anyone who underestimates Villanelle based upon her feminine form and looks. In that scene where she chillingly grins at Bill, before delivering his death, we see her psychopathic nature come to the fore, with her glee at the prospect of violently killing Pargrave. Villanelle is manipulative, abrasive and dangerous. She continues to stalk Eve throughout most of the series, revealing a deepening obsession with her investigator too. Villanelle is brazen as she even steals Eve's suitcase, to gain a better understanding of her. She overtly criticises her drab choice of clothing; and participates in fantasies about Eve with another woman whom she makes wear the clothing. She's obviously attracted to Eve; and makes no effort to hide this throughout the series. Although, Villanelle has always had a preference for women, despite being bisexual, and takes feminism to the extreme by preferring to castrate her male victims. She represents an unbridled form of feminism; and playing with the idea of what would a woman who has no restraints (psychologically or physically) be capable of doing in society.

As the hunt goes on, things become clearer that despite both women being powerful and intelligent, they are still pawns in their own organisations, as they're betrayed by those closest to them. Perhaps hinting at women still having a glass ceiling which they can't push beyond; in what's still a man's world in many ways. As they get closer and closer to each other they begin to form a deeper bond; with Eve being drawn to the danger and challenge of Villanelle's work, and Villanelle being drawn to the normality and routine of Eve's everyday life. There's a point where both can't go beyond; and as they draw closer to crossing the line which divides lover and enemy, things begin to really heat up. Villanelle is the more male destructive and demanding side; to Eve's feminine and fragile half of the relationship. Both of these halves finally cross paths in Villanelle's lavish French apartment in Paris; where Eve delivers on her promise to 'find what she cares about and kill it', by destroying her collection of expensive champagne and designer clothing. Both women have a candid conversation about how they feel about each other. They both appear to let their guards down, after Eve following a long sprawl of  danger, death and destruction left in Villanelle's wake across many countries. They come face-to-face and... I'll let you find out for yourself, but the finale is nothing short of epic. It also provokes a question about the title itself "Killing Eve," as it's more clever than you first think.

 Waller-Bridge's involvement guaranteed a different and witty tone to the series from the beginning. Also the involvement of the band Unloved with their tracks being implemented throughout was genius. All of the acting, writing and directing made this show a triumph in terms of re-defining women's roles in this spy thriller. Moreover, Killing Eve ignited excitement for the audiences at home; watching a revolution come to life on the screen for the first time in a long time. TV history as it should be.

Read next: 'Pound'
Shauna Graham
Shauna Graham

Hi there!

I'm a creative writer/ journalist who wants to focus on the arts in this little part of cyber space. I'm a classic movie buff, gamer and reader in my spare time; so I feel I could really add a more unique tomboy perspective here.

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'Killing Eve': Two Women. Two Sides of the Same Coin. Both Caught up in Something Much Bigger
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