Killing Eve – How to Destroy a Character

The incredible thriller drama returned for a second series recently. Here’s how the tables turned and why it’s not necessarily a bad thing. (Contains spoilers!)

Since being recommended the show, I have been a massive fan. The show’s writer, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, failed to captivate me with her other show, Fleabag – even though I can understand the appeal – I was impressed by the first series of Killing Eve.

When I heard that the second series was not written by PWB, I was a little disheartened, to say the least. However, within the first episode of the second series, I was not disappointed. The quality of writing was certainly on par with the first series and I have to commend Emerald Fennell (the head writer for Series 2) as she managed to keep all of the brilliant Phoebe Waller-Bridge-isms which are mainly made up fantastic dry humour one-liners from Fiona Shaw’s Carolyn.

Copyright BBC.

On the topic of Carolyn, I should point out that the show began to fall apart half-way through. There seemed to be an increasing number of inconsistencies in the characters of Eve and Villanelle. Carolyn was the only character who stayed true to Series 1 and stayed consistent throughout Series 2.

I have no problem with character destruction in stories. Not every story has to have a happy ending; not everybody has to come out alive. I only have a problem with it when the characters are not done justice by their deaths. By the end of Series 2, Eve has turned into Villanelle. Her obsession with female psychopath murderers has got into her head and she is finally pushed over the edge by Villanelle into murdering a man with an axe.

This sort of makes sense. Sort of. Eve was always heading that way but, in order to make room for that story arc, her husband, Niko, had his story pushed to the side. By the end of the second series, I had pretty much forgotten about him. So had Eve, apparently. This is my biggest problem with the series. There are several points in the show where Eve switches between being totally in love with Niko and not giving a toss about their marriage. Sometimes in the same scene. She will be praising him and thanking him for being such a good husband, only to immediately mug him off and refuse to talk to him.

Eve, if you want to be a terrible wife, then BE A TERRIBLE WIFE. But at least choose. You simply cannot have a character that both cares and doesn’t care in the same moment. It ruins that part of the character and also made me not care about Niko’s story.

Copyright BBC.

Let’s talk about Villanelle herself. She is still her usual self for the majority of the series. My main issue comes from when she is eventually recruited by Eve to help solve a case. I really, really hate this. You spend an entire series of television building tension and danger between two characters, only for it to be completely diffused with no real consequences in the next one. This only works if the two feuding characters have a common enemy and they are forced to work together. I didn’t get that impression. Eve completely changed her mind – again – about catching Villanelle and decided to basically forgive her for everything so they could work together.

Villanelle seems to be the only character actually calling Eve out for her selfishness. Eve Polastri goes from a mysterious badass in Series 1 to a selfish emotional wreck in Series 2. Again, I have no problem with destroying characters, but this was not done well.

Also, the only real consequence of all this is Villanelle getting all moody at the end and actually killing Eve. Hopefully that means we’ll get a new load of Villanelle being terrifying with a different companion for Series 3.

Featured image Copyright BBC.

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