Eve Polastri is a middle aged woman working for the UK authorities, whose conspicuous passion in studying woman psychopaths, constantly seems to spillover onto the investigations that fall outside of her purview, never helping her case with the, understandably annoyed superiors. One such voluntary endeavour has her chasing a slick assassin who has been on a murdering spree, with admirable suave, Villanelle. Villanelle treats her life like a videogame with cheat codes. She goes around killing people with utmost indifference and flaunts her coldness in the arrogance of never being caught. It is Villanelle’s fambouyant arrogance and Eve’s fascinating determination that attract the women to each other in more ways than one. It is between this alternating fascination for each other, the writing produces some extraordinary faceoffs.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge shook up the world of television from a limbo of sameness and unwarranted populist campaigns of shows that were designed exactly for that and has imbued television with a fresh classy offering with Fleabag, which is essentially her show, for she created, wrote and started in it. Another masterful series she parallely created is Killing Eve. Killing Eve is a completely different world from the one Fleabag inhabits. It is mostly the same city but style, conflict and characters and removed from the laid-back tragedy of Fleabag and are more visually and cinematically articulate with their grief. Phoebe’s conquest on modern television to subvert, otherwise, genre pieces into cocktails of artistic vitality places her above several other genius creators of television shows. In the hands of a mediocre creator, this show would limit itself to its thriller aspects but Pheobe injects the thrilling proceedings with a sting of dark humour.
The Kinetic and invigorating writing style alternates between thrills and comedic punches that catch you off-guard every time, with you finding yourself gasping at the brilliance at display. No creator has ever owned a series like Pheobe does. Her pulsating irreverence is all over the show.
Sandra Oh‘s portrayal of Eve is that of a clumsy, yet an annoyingly smart and determined woman. Jodie Comer plays her nemesis, Villanelle. She is a headstrong, young lady forging ahead in style, with utter disregard to her employer or her arch nemesis Eve. Both actors have expressive faces. Especially, Jodie Comer uses her facial expressions beautifully, in deceptively conveying her mental state. The character is written with a sense of empathy and depth that she surprises you with sporadic emotional moments that only brew within her eyes, the tears never rolling down. She oozes charisma and charm and straps on a mask of vulnerability when it serves her. Eve, however, does not mind shedding a tear. She breaks down in several moments of anxiety and anger and Sandra Oh handles these vulnerable moments with great sensitivity. It is Kim Bodnia who stole the show for me. It is his unpredictability that keeps you guessing and keeps the fait of his employee, Villanelle, hanging. The writing of these characters is both tender and tantalizing. The characters are effortlessly fleshed out through different episodes. Exposition is done with such panache and nonchalance that one slips into the lives and minds of these characters before one realises it.
A sequence in Episode 4 is laced with thrilling overlapping moments, directed and edited with feverish excitement. This is the episode that crowns the show with its brilliance. As the stinging humour fizzes out in later episodes, the plot deepens and the complexity of the proceedings transforms into a hampering convolution. From being a cat and mouse chase between the mercurial Villenalle and the determined Eve segues into a personally motivated political conspiracy, which never seems as important and pressing as the singular antagonist Villenalle. This shift in focus from the antagonist to a collective conspiracy filters out the bubbling excitement within.
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Just when the show slides below excellence, the two sprearheads revive the sharpness of the show. The showdown between the meek but determined Sarah and the apparently invincible Jodie, is laced with jolts of dark humour that make you shift in your seat. Humour erupts in moments most unexpected and you wonder at the improbability of a laugh when a man’s pleading for life but you do laugh, anyway.
The use of music in the show is terrific. The choice of songs adds a peculiar yet strikingly appropriate flavour to the characters and their idiosyncratic selves. Killing Eve is a classy criminal. The crime it commits is to hijack your senses and take you on this insane journey. No creator has ever owned a series like Pheobe does. Her pulsating irreverence is all over the show. It is a show that boasts of great acting performances, stylish filmmaking but what crowns everything is the sharpness in the writing that cuts through several of its opponents and registers itself as one of the best TV shows.