Updated: Oct 12, 2018
Hands up, who else couldn’t get enough of Villanelle? The nation’s favourite psychopath has kept us enthralled throughout the series: poison hairpins, ruthless executions and more surprisingly, a cutting sense of humour. Not your usual female assassin, there were no seductions, no archetypal hard-girl-with-a-soft-side acts and no over-sexualisation. Thank you, Phoebe Waller-Bridge. The male gaze is so prevalent across the small screen; it felt like a quiet feminist revolution watching Jodie Comer slash, stab and shoot her way through the series without having to endure any cleavage or leather. Instead, we rejoiced in frilly tulle, crisp collars and silk scarves. Why can’t psychopaths wear pink?
Refreshing costume choices weren’t the only standout. Romance was brushed aside, gendered power dynamics were thrown out and imposter syndrome didn’t rear its ugly head once. Just like The Bodyguard, women were allowed to be bloody good at their jobs and make confident decisions on their own terms, whether or not the outcome was positive. Although commentator Daisy Goodwin has argued that strong female protagonists only airbrush the realities of institutionalised sexism, Phoebe Waller-Bridge sets a precedent for women’s roles on screen. Killing Eve normalises female power on both sides of the moral compass, making female MI6 agents and assassins feel completely natural in a world where male producers are still adamant there will never be a female Bond. Clearly they haven’t seen Sandra Oh at work.
At its heart, Killing Eve is an epic spy drama, but the character studies and comedy make it so much more. As the cat and mouse relationship between Eve and Villanelle spirals out of control and the challenge to catch each other becomes a shared obsession, there isn’t even a hint of hubris, ambition or jealousy as you might expect. It’s their mutual respect for each other that leads to the final scene, but their respective duties that ultimately forces Eve to act and Villanelle to flee. It’s this complex balance that runs through both characters, that mixes tension with tenderness, which makes Killing Eve such an exceptional series, and the follow up so hotly anticipated.