In a bid to “do its bit” during the coronavirus pandemic, BBC Three made the dreams of many fans come true when they pulled season three of Killing Eve from its intended summer slot and dropped it into iPlayer on 13 April 2020.
But, with so much hype around it, could ‘Softly Softly Catchy Monkey’ ever hope to live up to the heady expectations of TV addicts?
Here’s what you need to know. And, fair warning, this article contains spoilers for the season three premiere of Killing Eve.
What happened in Killing Eve’s season three premiere?
A lot, to put it bluntly. Let’s break it down by character, shall we?
Viewers got a shock at the beginning of the episode when they learned that Villanelle (Jodie Comer) was getting married. In fact, we kick things off at her actual wedding to a rich Spanish woman (one who owns “great shoes”, as well as a luxurious mansion house with a pool) and listen to Villanelle’s uncomfortable bridal toast.
It goes something along these lines: she’s a fan of her new wife’s extraordinary wealth and… and that’s it, really. Then, she begins inappropriately musing about her very bad breakup in Rome – that’ll be Sandra Oh’s Eve, then – and soon winds up on the subject of her unfortunate ex.
“I’m so much happier now she’s dead, she smiles, to a room of shocked faces.
It soon becomes apparent that there’s an unexpected wedding guest to contend with, though. And no, it’s not Eve: it’s Villanelle’s former trainer and handler Dasha (Harriet Walter). After a spectacular brawl – one which reduces Villanelle’s new bride to noisy tears – everyone’s favourite assassin is lured back to the killing fold.
How? Well, she wants to be made a “keeper” (senior-level assassin stuff), and Dasha assures her that she can make sure this happens.
And so, just like that, our newly-wed decides to uproot and head off on a job, just to make sure she’s “still got it”.
Eve isn’t dead, surprise surprise. Instead, she’s now back in England – New Malden, if you want to get specific – and working in a restaurant kitchen.
She lives alone, swigging red wine like water and living off a diet of instant noodles. She occasionally visits her husband, Niko, who is in rehab (and who isn’t a big fan of hers, unsurprisingly) but, for the most part, she’s utterly isolated. And she likes it that way, until she runs into…
Ah, Kenny (Sean Delaney). We learn, just as Eve learns, that Kenny is no longer working with his mum at MI6. Instead, he’s a journalist, working for a “boss with integrity” – one whom allows him to write about whatever he wants.
He’s one of the only people who tracks down Eve and checks in on her, reminding her that she has friends if she needs them. And he tantalisingly dangles some information about the Twelve, aka the mysterious organization pulling many of the strings on the show, before her, too.
Eve, though, informs her pal that she doesn’t want to get involved with the Twelve ever again, reminding him it almost killed her last time. The duo squeeze hands – an unexpected moment of tenderness, which warmed the cockles of this writer’s heart – and that’s it.
Because, yeah, you better believe that’s the last time the pair ever see each other. As we see towards the end of the episode, Kenny is alone in the office (on a weekend! Such a strong work ethic!) when he discovers some… well, some incredibly important files.
As if on cue, Kenny then hears noises in the elevator and rushes to investigate. And, when Eve drops by later, she discovers that his body has been dropped off the roof.
That’s right: they killed Kenny, the bastards! We just need to figure out who those bastards are…
Poor Carolyn (Fiona Shaw) isn’t having the best time of it. As a result of her irresponsible and unauthorised actions over the past series, she’s lost her authority – and her office – to smarmy “Whitehall warrior” Paul Bradville (Steve Pemberton).
As of the end of the season three premiere, though, she has no idea that her son is dead. And we have a feeling that it’s this which may finally, finally push her over the edge. Hell hath no fury like a mother who’s lost her child, and revenge is a dish that’s best served cold.
Could this shared loss be what brings Carolyn and Eve back together? Or will the former blame the latter for Kenny’s death?
Only time will tell, we guess.
Was the Killing Eve season three premiere any good?
It was a slower pace than previous seasons, sure. And it definitely felt the lack of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s razor-sharp wit. However, the season three premiere of Killing Eve was still uproariously good fun, with gorgeous fashion (Villanelle’s wedding outfit is a total chef’s kiss moment), plenty of heart, great dialogue and gasp-out-loud moments.
Sure, it took its time to get rolling, but it did a great job setting up our key players and explaining how the events of season two have left them shaken and scattered throughout Europe. Which ties have been irreparably cut, which relationships need closure, and which characters still have a chance at happiness.
And, judging by that shock death at the episode’s end, we have a feeling that this series is going to pack a serious punch as the story continues to unfold.
What did Killing Eve fans have to say about the season three premiere?
Nothing but good things, actually.
“How DARE BBC iPlayer only upload the first episode of Killing Eve and leave me like that?!?!?!” tweeted one diehard fan. “I’m suing.”
“Shit,” said another. “I was absolutely in no way prepared for that.”
“I wonder how many international viewers went on to google ‘New Malden’,” tweeted one.
One more, criticising the negative press around the show, tweeted: “I’ve only seen one headline saying it was getting boring watching Villanelle kill nice people. I didn’t read on. I’m not interested in what they have to say. A show becomes popular and the press try to drag it down. How original.”
Another said: “I just watched Killing Eve season three episode one. I AM SHOOK!”
“OMG loved it. First episode already got the tension of series one,” added another.
The majority of viewers, however, were fixated on the loss of Kenny. Think strings of broken heart emojis, a ton of “NOT KENNY!!!” posts and the odd fan theory about how, y’know, he’s probably not dead really.
“As if he’s really dead,” said one, ignoring all the conclusive evidence to the contrary. “As if.”
“Honestly, I feel like Kenny isn’t actually dead and he’ll make a reappearance towards the end of the season,” read another equally hopeful tweet.
Hmm. Unfortunately, we won’t know anything for sure until the next episode airs. Roll on the second installment, already.
What else is going to happen in Killing Eve season three?
Well, Carolyn is going to get some serious (and much-needed, quite frankly) screen time.
“Obviously Kenny’s death will have a huge impact on Carolyn, and causes her personal and professional life to intertwine in a way we haven’t seen before,” head writer Suzanne Heathcote told Variety.
“It was really about that for me, how the personal and the professional are merged together in this season. That’s always been the case to a degree, but this is personal because it’s Kenny. And there’s no getting away from that.”
In the coming weeks, audiences will also meet Carolyn’s daughter Geraldine, played by Game of Thrones’ Gemma Whelan, and learn more about the dynamic between Villanelle and her new handler, Dasha. Eve and Niko’s rocky relationship will be explored in detail, too.
Then there’s Konstantin (Kim Bodnia), who once again appears to be playing all sides. And let’s not forget about Villanelle’s newly-estranged wife, either.
All in all, there’s plenty of reasons to keep tuning into Killing Eve, not least of all the fact that we’re currently in lockdown and desperately in need of diversion.
With that in mind, then, we’ll meet you on the couch for episode two, yeah?
Images: BBC Three
Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.