As the saying goes, “desperate times call for desperate measures,” but it hardly seems like Eve Polastri and Project Manderlay are desperate. Killing Eve Season 2 Episode 4, “Desperate Times,” brings about the speedy apprehension of The Ghost.
For someone who was supposed to be undetectable, it seems way too easy for Eve to put the pieces together. And yet, that’s the ironic thing about the episode.
There’s a very dark tone to “Desperate Times,” especially when Eve and Jess go visit Aaron Peel and he gives them a little speech about how intelligence is over because companies like his own more information than M16 and the Pentagon combined.
The idea of information being bought and sold can be very scary, but exactly what is behind Aaron Peel’s company doesn’t feel like a threat. This can, of course, be the most dangerous threat of all, but the Killing Eve fans have no way of gauging how much.
Now that The Ghost is apprehended exactly what’s going on at Peel’s company feels inconsequential, and it’s almost a shame.
There is an irony in how Eve puts the pieces together. Despite the Peels owning so much information, they can’t save everyone who is dying around them. Eve needs to put the pieces together to solve the puzzle. The software may help find The Ghost, but Eve, Kenny, and Hugo need to give it parameters.
I once had a math teacher who said that a calculator is only as smart as the person using it, and that’s the same vibe I get from this. Aaron Peel’s company has the information, but they don’t have a sequence in which to put together the finer details.
So maybe intelligence isn’t completely dead after all, Aaron, because Eve just saved your life.
Eve’s home life is also getting more tenuous. On Killing Eve Season 2 Episode 3, “The Hungry Caterpillar,” we saw how Niko reacted when he felt Eve’s job was consuming their lives. The introduction of a new security guard he didn’t know about doesn’t help that dynamic.
Niko’s behavior is really self-centered. He knows that Eve likes her work with MI-6. He even encouraged her when she got the chance to work for Carolyn. Eve didn’t plan on an assassin playing an obsessive game of cat and mouse with her, and he’s making it out to be all her fault.
Would he have rather Eve let him eat a murder apple? Or get attacked when she wasn’t home?
Eve’s job is dangerous and they do need protection. It may be an adjustment, but it’s one that Niko is going to have to get over.
Villanelle and Konstantin are in Amsterdam this episode working on a contract. The Red Light district performance feels like the old Villanelle. She’s back to showing off, but behind a mask, and this new approach doesn’t feel right for Villanelle, however creepy the pig mask is.
Yet, Villanelle’s boredom is also very clear in this episode. One of the things that’s so intriguing about Villanelle is the expression on Jodie Comer’s face after she kills someone, and the mask hides it. However, she also makes it clear that she’s not enjoying these contracts in her exchange with Konstantin. There may have been nothing to show.
KONSTANTIN: How did that feel?
VILLANELLE: It didn’t feel like anything. Is that what it’s going to be from now on? Scorned wives and scumbags?
KONSTANTIN: Why do you care who they are?
VILLANELLE: I don’t care.
Villanelle might not care about who she kills, and that may be the problem. This murder wasn’t just about her killing for the fun of it, it was about her pleasing a scorned wife.
With The Twelve, she got a mark and that was it, the rest happened in the shadows. She didn’t get a reason or a motive with those murders, whereas she had to get more information about her mark before she completed this job. She knew exactly why his wife wanted him dead.
Remember, this is the same woman who chased one of her marks through an empty office building and when asked why she was doing this answered, “I have absolutely no idea.” She is in it for the hunt, not as some avenging agent.
The deeper Killing Eve gets into Season 2, the more it feels like Villanelle has detached from the work itself. Afterall, the parameters in which she kills have changed. It’s more about survival than fun, and Villanelle is so childlike that I think she prefers it to be fun.
Villanelle, is also missing Eve. Part of what makes their story so compelling is that they are worth adversaries of each other. They play a game of cat and mouse, but the always manage to escape each other’s clutches, even when they get close.
Season 2 has been different because Villanelle isn’t in control, and she hasn’t been since she left the hospital on Killing Eve Season 2 Episode 1, “Do You Know How to Dispose of a Body.” Even then she was injured and not thinking straight.
Now that she’s freelance with Konstantin, she’s still being lied to and her letters to Eve are being intercepted by Carolyn. The tables have turned and she’s none-the-wiser, which has me worried about Eve.
In the past, when Villanelle’s lovers have turned on her, they typically end up dead. The scene in the bathroom where Eve is crying after her intoxicated sojourn are the scenes of a character that has hit bottom. Her smirk towards the end of the sequence must mean that she’s plotting something, and I bet it involves a return to London.
She’s desperate to return to London, to get back to the same geographical space as Eve, and I don’t think anyone is going to stop her from doing that.
“Desperate Times” ends before we can get any answers from The Ghost, but the final scene with Eve in the interrogation room putting her hair up is powerful and an interesting way to bookend how Eve’s going to approach this new assassin.
The first time Eve interacted with Villanelle was when Villanelle told her to wear her hair down. Setting it up now, feels maybe like closing a chapter? I can’t really be sure. The reading of this scene will change depending on how the interrogation goes in next week’s episode.
Overall, “Desperate Times,” definitely feels like the series is getting back to its roots, but it’s going to have to push through to deliver the same energy that it did in Season 1. The show has gone to great lengths to hit a reset button and going too far back into their old ways will get stale and tired easily. The only way to go is forward.
- Speaking of quenched passions, Eve is also out of her element this episode, that’s not lost on me. She wants to pursue Villanelle. She finds The Ghost uninteresting. It simply doesn’t hold the same level of appeal for her and that’s made Eve carry herself differently these last few episodes.
- Knowing that The Ghost has a medical background made me wonder if at some point The Ghost and Villanelle will come face to face and The Ghost would slip her something.
- Not a fan of Eve and Hugo. The scenes where they get dinner are intriguing. (One should always eat when they’re trying to find an assassin and it’s one in the morning). However, I don’t see them as a ship with staying power. As a way to trigger Villanelle and make her jealous, maybe.
- Meeting Carolyn’s boss Helen, who seems to angrily eat Pringles is very relatable.
- Villanelle’s reaction to someone wanting to take a photo of her for Instagram is another relatable moment.
What did you think of this episode of Killing Eve? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Killing Eve airs Sundays at 8/7c on AMC and BBC America.
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