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Eve and Villanelle begin their lives without each other and a shocking death.
Photo: Laura Radford/BBCA

Television

Killing Eve Season 3 Episode 1 Recap: ‘Slowly Slowly Catchy Monkey’

Eve and Villanelle begin their lives without each other and a shocking death.

[SPOILERS FOR KILLING EVE AHEAD!]

The Story So Far

Last season, Eve and Villanelle worked together on an op looking into a secret weapon being sold by a rich tech heir. Things go awry when the Russian assassin kills their subject. They don’t realize they’ve been manipulated by their boss and handler until later and choose each other instead of their respective sides. However, the pair have a falling out and Villanelle ends up shooting Eve and leaving her for dead.

How Villanelle Got Her Groove Back

After Eve broke her heart, Villanelle finds her rebound in a Spanish woman named Maria. The couple decide to marry and at the reception, they have an unusual wedding crasher who Villanelle instantly recognizes. When she tackles this old woman, all hell breaks out and needless to say, the marriage doesn’t last long.

The woman is a Russian gymnast named Dasha, who happens to be the woman responsible for making Villanelle such a great killer. She is hoping to recruit her former pupil for her employer. In exchange for bringing her back into the fold, Dasha will no longer be exiled and can return to her country of birth. Villanelle agrees as long as she is made a Keeper. Not much is known about the position but it’s a higher rank than both Dasha and Konstantin.

The first target is a political agitator/shop keeper in Girona, Spain. Villanelle disguises herself as a delivery woman to get close and pushes her mark off a ladder before delivering the deathblow. Getting back to work rejuvenates her as it lights up her eyes and puts a sadistic smile on her face. She even pays homage to Dasha by recreating the scene from one of her mentor’s first kills. The assassin then walks away with a little more pep in her step.

Eve and Villanelle begin their lives without each other and a shocking death.
Photo: Nick Wall/BBCA

The Fallout from Rome

Though Rome was considered a success, it was still complicated and messy. So much so, that Carolyn receives close oversight from MI6. No longer will she be able to run unauthorized operations with impunity. Her new babysitter is an old colleague and formidable foe named Paul.

Meanwhile, after his deal with Carolyn, Konstantin is spending his days in London. Even though his daughter is away from him and may not like her new living situations, at least he knows his family is alive. Recently he’s been ignoring calls from his former spy associates. One evening, he receives a note in his food delivery saying “Time to go fishing” in Russian.

Eve and Villanelle begin their lives without each other and a shocking death.
Photo: Des Willie/BBCA

Back to Civilian Life

Of course, Eve’s not dead. Her name is in the title. We find her embracing her Asian side, shopping in a Korean grocery and working in a restaurant making dumplings and performing food prep. Her life is a far cry from before with little excitement. She’s also more estranged from her husband as Nico had a mental breakdown after Villanelle murdered his friend last season and stays at a psychiatric ward. But no matter how hard she tries, she’s reminded of her previous obsession, Villanelle. Whether it’s the tenderness and scar where she was shot or the simple chit chat between cashiers about Rome being a city of romance.

Eve isn’t the only one who left MI6. Kenny is now a journalist at the digital media outlet, Bitter Pill, where he researches the causes of declining seahorse populations. Maybe it’s this boring subject matter that causes him to look back into his files on “The Twelve”. Though he tried to move on by deleting them, he recovers them to do his own investigation.

Although they no longer work together, Kenny and Eve do keep in touch and one evening hanging out, the former brings up the secret organization and what he’s uncovered since they left MI6. Over her life in intelligence, Eve doesn’t want to hear it. That group made her lose her job, her marriage and almost her life. Before he leaves, Kenny invites his friend out for drinks the next day but is dismissed.

While at work by himself, Kenny hears a suspicious noise and goes to investigate. Eve changes her mind and heads to the Bitter Pill office to meet her colleague. She finds the office empty and goes looking for him. She tries his cell one last time while behind her, a body falls off the building and crashes down below. Eve rushes downstairs and finds Kenny’s lifeless body in the parking lot.

Eve and Villanelle begin their lives without each other and a shocking death.
Photo: Laura Radford/BBCAmerica/Sid Gentle

The Verdict

Last season, Villanelle had said the most interesting thing about Eve was her and this episode personified that line. The assassin’s storyline is the more entertaining of the two leads. Sure, she suffered after breaking up with Eve but she more easily rebounds when brought back into her “normal” life of contract killing. It’s such artistry to see her work and her ability to pivot and improvise when opportunities come up. Originally, she planned on stabbing her target with box cutters but changed her mind once her mark climbs up a ladder.

It’s also intriguing to explore Villanelle’s relationship with her new handler, Dasha. She is definitely a colorful personality and when we first meet her via flashback, she brutally assaults her boyfriend since she considers him a distraction from becoming a world class gymnast. It’s inferred that Dasha and Villanelle have a deep history. I’m curious how that dynamic will be portrayed on the screen and how it will compare and contrast with Villanelle’s previous handler, Konstantin.

Conversely, Eve takes the return to her normalcy a bit harder. She is a hot mess and is still recuperating physically and mentally from being shot. Other than the shocking ending, there isn’t much happening with her. It’s sad to see a beloved character like Kenny die but as the producers have stated, it would take a big event, like witnessing the loss of a close friend, to make Eve jump back into working with MI6.

‘Slowly Slowly Catchy Monkey’ suffers from pacing problems and moves sluggishly for most of the episode. It serves more as setting up the season as it catches up with the main players and how things have changed since Rome. I would have preferred the premiere to hit the grown running rather than begin as a slow burn. Maybe the surprising death of a well-liked character can jump start things moving forward.

Killing Eve S 3 E 1: 'Slowly Slowly Catchy Monkey'
Is it good?
Pure artistry to watch Villanelle make her kills.
Introduction of a new, intriguing character in Dasha...
But the heartbreaking loss of a beloved one.
Except for a few bright spots, mostly suffers from sluggish pacing.
6.5
Good
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