Monday, 23 April 2018

Killing Eve 1x03 Don't I Know You Review: "Never Confront An Assassin In A Club. It Won't End Well"

Rest in peace Bill. You were far too pure for this world.

On tonight’s episode of Killing Eve, the body count continued to rise in more ways than one, as did Eve and Villanelle’s fascination with each other, and the first cracks in Eve’s marriage began to show.

The first death of the honour came at a visit to a kink clinic. Considering how easily 50 Shades of Grey took the world by storm (something I still to this day don’t understand) kink clinics existing shouldn’t be so bizarre to me. On a trip to Paris last year we passed a whole street lined with adult shops and more on the tour bus, and occasionally people do comment on the circuit in Berlin. Unfortunately for the Chinese Colonel the nurse ‘treating’ him this time around is Villanelle. So we already know this dude is completely and utterly screwed.

None of us know exactly how we’re going to exit this world, but death from balls being clamped? Well it’s certainly an interesting way to go.

His death is immediately on the team’s radar, with them immediately jumping to the conclusion that Villanelle is responsible. But what’s really got everyone concerned is the fact Villanelle has used Eve’s name to carry out the act. It tunes the team into the fact she’s as aware of them, and Eve’s investigation, as they are of her. Eve is slightly troubled by this news, but still wants to continue with the investigation, which means taking a trip to Berlin.

When they arrive at the kink clinic, Villanelle is also there. Watching them in the near distance, sat down drinking coffee. It’s a true testament to just how cocky and confident in her abilities she is, that she believes that she can pull something like this off without being caught. Whilst Bill and Eve are talking to the authorities, Villanelle slides in and steals Eve’s suitcase. Eve’s taken by surprise at this, not because someone’s stolen her belongings, but because she knows Niko is going to be unhappy.

The show has been subtle so far in laying the crumbs of cracks in their marriage. Whilst Niko is perfectly happy with his life both at home and in his job, Eve isn’t. She’s gotten her wish at work, being moved from the boring desk job to fighting crime on the front line. Carolyn made a comment in an earlier episode about how it would be better for Niko to think she was having an affair, as a cover for the dangerous work that she’s doing. Obviously he doesn’t think that, but he does know there is something Eve’s not telling him, and that she has a bit of a spunk to herself. She’s slightly dismissive in him, their home life, attention solely on her investigation and catching Villanelle.

When Niko finds Eve preparing to go away yet again he sarcastically questions whether she’s leaving him, and whilst they’re playful enough at first, the tone does dramatically change. Eve can tell there’s something up with Niko but he refuses to say. They may kiss, but it’s not a nice, loving kiss, and Niko soon silently walks away leaving Eve to theoretically stew on the moment, but instead her head is thrown straight back into the case.

Konstantin is soon paying Villanelle another visit to inform her what she already knows; Eve is in town and she’s investigating Villanelle’s latest piece of work. Konstantin immediately notices Eve’s suitcase on Villanelle’s bed which she manages to talk her way out of, as Konstantin has a more pressing concern on his mind; why does Eve think Villanelle’s latest kill was her? Villanelle once again tries to play it off, lying that she doesn’t even think of Eve.

They’re soon interrupted in their chat by Villanelle’s latest acquaintance, who on this occasion is a woman. To make everything that much weirder, Villanelle pretends to be afraid of Konstantin in the woman’s presence and then gives her some of Eve’s clothes as a gift. Scenes like this are supposed to me weird, leaving us wondering what on earth is going on & most importantly what the heck we’re watching. In any other show I would probably be questioning just where exactly the writers are going with a scene like this, and what exactly is being smoked in the writers room.

But it’s been clear since the first second of the premiere that Killing Eve isn’t just any other show. It’s got dark undertones to it. A humour that is unmatched by any other show. The writing digs deep into other places wouldn’t even contemplate going, and scenes like this don’t even raise an eyebrow. We don’t even question Villanelle’s sexuality or the meaning of hooking up with both men and women, because it’s clear that just like her kills, her acquaintances are another toy to play with. She’s having fun with both her job and her sexuality.

Bill and Eve’s meeting with their Chinese contact doesn’t exactly go well. It’s not clear whether either side knows more than the other, but the Chinese contact does have the hots for Eve and asks her out for a drink. Though she is reluctant at first she does eventually agree to it, and it sparks the beginning of the end for Bill.

Konstantin has ordered Villanelle to keep a close eye on Eve, and in her world, that means stalking her as she’s going shopping (which Eve somehow doesn’t notice) and following her onto a train platform. That’s an action that Bill does notice. He’s immediately curious as to what exactly this young woman’s game is. He doesn’t know enough about her to know that she is the killer that they’re looking for, but he’s got enough suspicion to stop her following Eve onto the train.

In all of this, Eve realizes the reason Niko was so off was because she’d forgotten a dinner party that they were attending. Eve cannot believe she forgot, and that Niko didn’t remind her, and he immediately points out it had been in the diary for months. He’s soon distracted by the dress in the background that Eve’s bought for her drinks. Eve says it’s just a work thing and is soon distracted by Bill turning up. The two of them talk about Bill’s relationship arrangement, and share some fun banter over whether they’ve ever found each other attractive. They both answer with no, but this type of friendly dialogue and character building is the exact thing that comes when a character is going to be killed off.

Emotionally connecting us with a character we haven’t really thought about that much, because you know you’re going to kill them off and want the audience to feel that extra tinch of sadness when they are killed is an emotionally manipulative move that writers have been pulling off since the first story was typed. By now we can all recognize the signs of it, but when it’s done well, it doesn’t stop us feeling that devastation.

Rather stupidly it has to be said, Bill continues to pursue Villanelle on his own. He’s noticed the scarf she’s got, the intense way she’s eyed Eve at the station, and his suspicions are growing with every passing minute. Villanelle is more than aware she’s being followed and Bill doesn’t do a great job of hiding it when she turns round to face him. But he’s still sticking close to her and follows her all the way into a nightclub.

Eve at her dinner gets Bill’s message and rushes to join him, much to the upset of the Chinese official who does quite blatantly have the hots for her and is enjoying the position of knowledge he has over her. Eve manages to call his bluff and get some interesting information out of it before her exit.

In the club, Bill is still on his own and trying to find Villanelle amidst the crowd. Considering they have an in-depth profile of Villanelle, it’s extremely silly of Bill to be in the Club believing that she is the prey that’s being hunted and not the other way round. It’s also extremely stupid that considering he is chasing after a potential suspect, he’s not tried to call anyone else for back-up. Sure the investigation is off the books, but Villanelle has killed someone in a foreign country. Chinese officials covering it up or not, the police would still be able to provide some form of back-up so Bill’s not dealing with a deadly killer himself.

When he finds Villanelle in the club, she turns and looks at him with a devilish smirk. She continues to eyeball him like a cat that’s got the cream, and Bill’s face slowly turns as he realizes this is exactly what she’s wanted. Too little too late he tries to make an escape and ends up paying for it with his life, as Villanelle stabs him to death on the dancefloor.

Everyone in the club is too busy immersed in the music to even contemplate the scene that’s unfolding before them. The way in which the scene is filmed is quite well too. The show takes full advantage of the club’s dim lighting, to render us somewhat blind to what exactly is going on. We have the heightened music and the tension in the scene as our only real lead as to what’s unfolding. Even when Eve walks into the club and hits the dance floor, she just like everyone she’s surrounded by is somewhat blind at first to what’s happened. All she thinks she sees is Bill dancing in the crowd, and it takes her a few seconds to realize he’s actually lifeless and slowly bleeding to death. Eve screams out in horror, but finds it impossible to reach Bill. There’s basically a mountain of people between them, and as hard as Eve tries to push her way through the crowd to reach her dying friend, it’s just not possible.

It’s hard to describe exactly how but ‘Don’t I Know You’ was different in tone to the first 2 episodes, and I mean that in the best way. Information was still thrown at us, but not so much in the information overload as the first 2 episodes. It was moving the story forward and hinting at a wider mythology to the one we were previously working with, and we weren’t having to deal with characters having conversations over information that we the audience already knew. Villanelle continued to add to her body count in even more strangely imaginative ways. More crumbs have been laid as to Eve and Niko’s marriage woes, and through using Eve’s name as her cover and stealing her suitcase, we’re continuing to see just how deep Villanelle’s obsession with Eve runs.