According to the show’s new head writer, the most important takeaway from the second season is that no one is safe.
The clue is in the title, we suppose.
Killing Eve is a show about one woman’s psychopathic obsession with, well, with killing Eve. The first season ended with what felt like a fight to the death between Eve (Sandra Oh) and Villanelle (Jodie Comer) before Eve brutally stabbed her nemesis. The show ended with everyone believing that Villanelle had perished.
We know now, courtesy of trailers and interviews with Comer that Villanelle did no such thing. But the jeopardy of that first season and the high stakes of the fight between the two heroines inspired Killing Eve’s new writer Emerald Fennell to ensure that the new episodes were imbued with that same sense that either Villanelle or Eve (or both) could die in any episode.
“I never wanted that thing that you have often with famous thriller characters, which is, ‘They’ll all be fine!’” Fennell said to Variety. “I think it’s really important to say, ‘OK, well if this is a fight to the death, and demonstrably it is with what happened last [season], no one should feel safe.’”
Fennell said that she took a leaf out of creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s book on that front. It was Waller-Bridge, after all, who sent Eve’s beloved boss Frank to an early grave in season one, with some help from Villanelle. “The brutality of that and the face that you never look away from it,” Fennell mused. “There is a sense that both of them [Eve and Villanelle] are getting into stuff that’s properly deadly.”
Following Fennell’s logic, in season two of Killing Eve which of the two main characters might not be long for this world? Is it going to be Eve, reeling from the consequences of her actions and learning that violence comes with a bill she might not be ready to pay? Or will it be Villanelle, on the world’s worst comedown from believing she was immortal and realising that she most definitely isn’t?
“What the fuck does Villanelle do when her power’s been taken away?” Fennell mused. “And what on Earth does Eve do the moment she’s done something completely unfathomable? I felt very strongly about seeing that immediate fallout.”
Villanelle spends most of season two injured from the stabbing and recovering from her wounds. “In any other thriller it would have been about getting Villanelle back to her sexiest point again,” Fennell said. But in Killing Eve, it’s about her coming to terms with not being as strong and capable as she once was.
Villanelle’s injury gives her a pretty serious handicap when it comes to the question of making it through to the end of the season. But then again, at least all her faculties are still knife-sharp. The same can’t be said for Eve, who is struggling with the moral and ethical ramifications of her actions.
“What do you do when you have got blood under your fingernails and are in Paris and you’ve got to get home,” Fennell explained.
Eve’s mood, she says, was inspired by at time when Fennell was living in Paris and would spend mornings “hungover, let’s say, and maybe full of a bit of remorse.” For Eve, stabbing Villanelle brings on “the worst hangover ever.”
“This is the morning after you’ve done something unforgivable and you have to go home and face the music,” Fennell said.
Who would you back in this fight? Villanelle, grievously injured but still wily as ever? Or Eve, physically strong but mentally broken? We can’t wait for the second season to premiere so that we can find out the answer.
Killing Eve season two will air in the US on BBC America from 7 April and in the UK later this year.