Monday, April 13, 2020

Did They Kill "Killing Eve?"

If you were looking forward to the return of Killing Eve-- who wasn’t?-- you are going to be disappointed. So says Jen Chaney in her excellent New York Magazine review, and, from having watched the first episode, I am obliged to agree. 

What was once a charming tale of a comely female assassin has turned into a tedious shadow of its former self. Initially, the show, under the first showrunner, Phoebe Waller-Bridges, felt like an acting competition. Sandra Oh against Jodie Comer. An experienced actress against a talented youth. 

As it happened, Comer was so far superior to Oh that the show runners have tamped down the competition and the interactions between the characters in favor of mindless violence.

You might have noticed, but the feminist matriarchy in Great Britain has decided that best way to push its empowerment agenda is to show women committing violent, vicious crimes. So much for the healing power of empathy. In truth it does nothing more than show us that women can pretend to be strong and empowered, to take as well as to give life. 

At the least, the show introduced us to a great acting talent in Jodie Comer. As of now, that’s about all that’s left. And even that has been diminished by poor writing.

Now, Chaney, believes that the show has failed because the new showrunner-- a new one each season-- by name of Suzanne Heathcote is simply not up to the job. Thus, in place of an engaging set of relationships, we get a series of gruesome murders that are noteworthy only for their gruesomeness. According to Chaney, Heathcote was chosen because she is a woman. 

It’s wonderful that different women are getting this opportunity and being encouraged to pursue their own visions. But inevitably, it leads to a show that, season to season, lacks consistency and has lost the idiosyncrasy that originally defined it.

As of now, we have all seen the show’s first episode. Yet, Chaney has seen five of the ten episodes, so she is ahead of us. She suggests that the show is going to explore Villanelle’s psychology, and yet, that seems to me to be an error. Villanelle is not a human being. She is not even an attempt at portraying a human being. She is an action heroine, a fictional character who belongs in a cartoon.

Now, Chaney notes, the storytelling has lost its edge. The competition between Eve and Villanelle has been erased from the screen. The true loss is that Villanelle has been flattened… because if you try to humanize an action heroine you will lose her reason for being. You will turn a nearly invulnerable heroine into a vulnerable person.

Some viewers may be intrigued by a Villanelle origin story, but the mystery around her, the completely inexplicable nature of her psychopathy, is what always intrigued me and, certainly, what intrigued Eve, especially in season one. While Comer remains fascinating to watch — the way she carries herself with simultaneous intimidation and utter irritation while dressed in a clown suit in episode two is a gift — Villanelle as a character has been flattened by the contradictory storytelling.

To Chaney, the fault lies in the writing and the showrunner, a woman who obviously did not understand what made the series work:

In season three, it feels like a sense of imagination has been replaced with one of shock, the equivalent of how one feels upon seeing a body suddenly fall from the sky. Killing Eve still knows how to startle us, and for some that may be plenty. But I wish it could still astonish.


n.n said...

Eve was planned because she's not viable, a "burden". #WickedSolution

That said, establishment of the Pro-Choice, selective, opportunistic "secular" religion served to weaponize girls and women. Keep women barefoot, available, and taxable.

Sam L. said...

I have not seen this show, this being the first I've heard of it now, and now I never will.