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killing eve 4.1.1
Photo: Anika Molnar/BBCA

Television

‘Killing Eve’ season 4 episode 1 review: Next exciting action star, Sandra Oh?

On tonight’s Killing Eve, Villanelle and Eve are on different paths.

When we last left Killing Eve, the series’ main pair agreed about how toxic they were for each other and planned on parting ways. However, only after a few steps, both couldn’t help but turn around leaving their relationship up in the air. What kind of ending is in store for the two of them? We’ll soon find out as the final season kicks off this evening.

“Just Dunk Me” begins with a mysterious motorcyclist on the warpath in Russia. When the assailant approaches Konstantin, who is now a small town mayor, you half expect Villanelle to be under the helmet with another grievance for her handler. Imagine the surprise for everyone when it’s revealed to be the titular character.

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It’s been quite the evolution of Eve Polastri and she’s really levelled up in the season four premiere. This hardcore version is a far cry from the former MI5 pencil pushing analyst we were introduced to. I had an initial reaction of shock and admiration as she shot Konstantin straight through his hand without hesitation. Definitely a good and quick way to draw viewers. She has always been capable on the cerebral aspects of the spy game. Brilliant, good instincts, and even manipulative but when threatened, she seemed out of her league.

With this intimidating bad ass side, she is more complete and a bigger danger to the Twelve on Killing Eve. Her smarts and patience lead to her first glimpse at Hélène, as well as the next assassin recruit. The Twelve have taken so much including her husband and Kenny, Eve feels she has nothing else to lose. The care-free attitude is reflected in her brazen pursuit of the bad guys and even her relationships. She uses her coworker, Yusuf, for intel, training and other physical means (sexual) to take out her aggression. Except for being a woman, Eve has become your typical action star.

Killing Eve has run several parallels between the two leads in the first two seasons and that continues with the latter half of the series. In season three, Eve tried to leave the espionage life behind and even worked in a restaurant to lie low but was eventually pulled right back into it. Villanelle also tries to leave her old life behind in season four turning to religion. Although her motives are more to prove that she isn’t a monster anymore.

killing eve 4.1.2
Photo: Anika Molnar/BBCA

Much of the dark humor of the episode comes from Villanelle’s story, especially when it’s clear her faith is merely a ruse to show Eve she’s changed. You can’t help but sympathize with the character because it’s a genuine attempt to be good albeit more selfish reasons. In addition, bad things always seem to follow her as she prepares for a baptism and rebirth such as accidentally killing her hosts’ cat.

When rebuffed by Eve, she has a more sincere crisis of faith and implores God to show her he is real. When she’s about to relapse and kill again, Villanelle shows remorse and is able to revive her would be victim. In a twisted way, maybe she has turned over a new leaf exhibiting compassion and empathy. Right on cue, a version of Jesus appears before her but it’s curious to see how he will guide her considering it’s a Villanelle Jesus. It could possibly be more devil than angel on her shoulder.

Elsewhere on Killing Eve, Carolyn also feels the pull back into the spy game while working an embassy desk job. She too is looking for revenge on the Twelve and wants to know who ordered the hit on Kenny. The more things change, the more they stay the same as circumstances cause her to reteam with Eve to take down the shady organization. It’s a partnership where their goals are in line rather than for camaraderie. More intriguing is her turning to an old, unexpected source for help that can jeopardize her standing in MI6.

The episode has some great camera work throughout. Director, Stella Corradi, frames stunning shots with good use of the background. To play w/ Villanelle’s new found faith, there is plenty of religious imagery. Giving the assassin her own crown and angelic wings in different scenes are a nice touch. Also, in the fight between Eve and killer in training, Pam, the disorienting motion of the camera captures the physical and dizzying state of Eve after the scuffle.

The season four premiere has a lot of set up but develops an interesting new normal for its two main characters and places us on a collision course with the Twelve.

New episodes Killing Eve are released Sundays on BBC America.

killing eve 4.1.1
Killing Eve S 4 E 1 Review: 'Just Dunk Me'
The season four premiere has a lot of set up but develops an interesting new normal for its two main characters and places us on a collision course with the Twelve.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
Sandra Oh is convincing as her one woman army against the Twelve.
The dark and twisted humor with Villanelle "finding" religion.
The camera work to complement the themes and action.
Much like any premiere, a lot of set up for the upcoming season.
8
Good

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