BBC America’s Killing Eve is an intense ‘cat and mouse’ series filled with twists

Sherlock. Moriarty.

Graham. Lecter.

Luther. Morgan.

These are just a few names of detectives and the serial killers they have become obsessed with. Now, thanks to BBC America’s Killing Eve, we can add two more name to the list: Eve Polastri and Villanelle.

Adapted from the Villanele novels by Luke Jennings, desk jockey Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) is bored with her job as an assistant of security for MI5 in London. She has a pretty good life – happily married to a wonderful man (Owen McDonnell) who adores her and colleagues who trust her instincts and genuinely care about her, but Eve still feels like something is missing. That’s where Villanelle (Jodie Comer) comes in. Villanelle is a psychotic assassin who is pretty damn good at her job. She shows no sign of empathy to each kill. Instead, she is cocky regarding her skills and ignores a lot of requests from her superiors. Let’s be real. She’s going to do whatever she wants because she gets the job done.

After Polastri is tasked with finding Villanelle, the two embark on a obsessive relationship of cat and mouse, but the cat may be Villanelle. When the two finally meet onscreen, there is a tension between the two – one of mutual respect but also the need to capture each other.

Eve is obviously intrigued with Villanelle’s mind and understanding why Villanelle is the way she is, but Eve is no Sherlock. She stumbles and her obsession puts her and her colleagues at risk from a killer who is way smarter than her. Though Villanelle could easily take Eve out, the two share some sort of admiration. It could be the fact that no one has ever tracked Villanelle down before and since she is extremely vain, the idea of attention could be the reason. Enough so that Villanelle has a lover role-play as Eve.

The series, written by Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge, gives us both a female protagonist and antagonist, allowing the focus of the show on the females. The men on the series do play second fiddle to the female characters, including Eve’s husband and Villanelle’s handler, Konstantin (played by the underrated Kim Bodnia). They are important to the story, but the relationship between Eve and Villanelle dominates our attention.

Individually, the characters are interesting. Comer’s portrayal of the cold-blooded serial killer is not at all a stereotype or trope of female Russian assassins. Instead of always being cold and cunning, Comer portrays Villanelle with a little silliness and carefree attitude. Villanelle’s arrogance is also shown in her kills and when she describes them to her boss. There are moments in the series where I don’t recognize it being the same actress when she is luring her victim to their doom and when she is back to her normal Parisian routine.

What is lovely about Oh’s performance of Eve is the fact that the character is a woman dealing with a mid-life crisis. The character is feeling stuck in her mundane life. It’s not that it’s a bad life. She’s just bored. Eve’s obsession with serial killers and wanting to feel like she could change the world is the only thing keeping her going. Eve becomes so enamored with the idea of catching the killer, that this is the only thing that matters. Oh seems to have perfected the neurotic sort of character that is determined to win. The character can be annoying at times, but it is due to her obsession that causes her to be this way. At one point, she is willing to risk the lives of two colleagues in order to capture a glimpse of Villanelle.

With female-driven series Orphan Black no longer in BBC America’s lineup, Killing Eve is the perfect addition to continue the fill the need for women empowerment and stories to be told.  The show is intense and filled with so many twists and turns that will leave you at the edge of your seat. There are also moments where you get a sense of sexual tension between the characters, which I approve of highly.

Killing Eve premieres on Sunday, April 8th at 8pm on BBC America.

* Nerd Reactor was given seven episodes of the series.

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