Killing Eve is Everything You Need and More
Hello friends, blog readers, geeks far and wide! Today we are gathered here to celebrate a very important show. A show that is so insistently tense that it might as well be mainlining adrenaline directly into my veins. A show that represents relationships between women in all their strange and amazing multiplicity and complexity. A show that is smart and funny and idiosyncratic and bold. A show that, above all, provides a showcase for the brilliance of Sandra Oh, an actor so gifted that every tilt of her head conveys ten different emotions.
The show is Killing Eve, and as you can see, I’m only slightly excited about it. Based on the Codename Villanelle novella series by Luke Jennings, and adapted by the inimitable Phoebe Waller-Bridge (the mastermind behind the brilliant Fleabag and Crashing), Killing Eve follows the intersecting lives of two women who are each enmeshed in a plot to pursue each other. Sandra Oh’s Eve is an American transplant living in London, a bored MI-5 officer who has outgrown her role and whose innate curiosity and intellect ensure that she will always crave something more than the cozy, tidy life she has constructed for herself. Portrayed by Jodie Comer (equally amazing in a diametrically opposite way in the groundbreaking series My Mad Fat Diary), Villanelle, on the other hand, is an immensely talented assassin and diagnosed psychopath with a mysterious backstory. When Eve catches onto Villanelle’s trail of seemingly disconnected kills, she finds herself propelled down a quest to apprehend one mercurial, enigmatic, highly dangerous, and absolutely irresistible target – Villanelle – who, in turn, becomes equally obsessed with her dogged pursuer.
There is nothing easy in the relationship that develops between Eve and Villanelle. Fraught from its inception, stretched to the brink my their actions, it still manages to spark with a kind of palpable energy. Scenes with the two of them are kinetic and electrified, as impossible to pin down as they are to resist. Just as Eve and Villanelle cannot resist their mutual obsession, so too is the viewer implicated in their mesmerizing dynamic, unwilling to look away even when we know we should.
It is important to note that, from its very first episodes, the show has been wholeheartedly embraced by the queer community. Deftly sidestepping the pitfalls of queerbaiting, homonormativity, and (perhaps counterintuitively) queer demonization that so often befall mainstream television, Killing Eve presents a central relationship that is unmistakably queer even as it defies easy categorization. Stripped of the trappings of a traditional onscreen relationship, the show still manages to depict a red-hot core of infatuation that not only gives what could have been a stale cat-and-mouse game a palpably fresh urgency, but also expands the possibilities of what queer representation in television (and beyond) can look like: intimate, thrilling, complex, and provocative.
If you, like me, geek out about queer representation, about espionage, about people with British accents typing very quickly on keyboards and referencing CC-TV, or about Sandra Oh being the lead in one of the best TV series of our time, please allow Killing Eve to change your life. You won’t regret it.