Monday, 30 April 2018

Killing Eve 1x04 Sorry Baby Review

No matter how good a show you are, everyone is entitled to have a slightly off episode and that’s what ‘Sorry Baby’ was for me. To an extent that ending with Eve and Villanelle setting eyes on each other again somewhat makes up for the overall lacklustre nature of the episode and ‘Sorry Baby’ did its job in setting up the build blocks for the second half of the season.

The first mistake this episode made was making it all about saving Frank. Since he was first introduced he’s hardly been a sympathetic character, what with lying about evidence just to get rid of Eve. Sure she was overstepping the boundaries of what her job was, but Frank didn’t like her because she was a woman, and having him speak at Bill’s funeral? Well, I was joining Eve in rolling my eyes.

Whilst she’s feeling devastation over losing her partner, and blaming herself for him dying, Villanelle is also in a bit of trouble. For reasons unknown at this stage Bill was off limits, and killing him has got her well and truly on the naughty step. Konstantin takes her off from active duty, and instead decides that she’s going to be paired with two other assassins for a mission in England. Villanelle isn’t the type of person who likes taking orders, let alone being forced to work in a team which she makes blatantly clear, and when said team contains her ex? This isn’t going to end well.

Grieving for her partner, Eve is even more resolute that she’s going to find Villanelle. Her husband Niko on the other hand is a bit more cautious.

I know Carolyn suggested in the beginning it would be better for Niko to think Eve was having an affair than knowing what she was actually up to, but I think it speaks a lot about where the characters are at that when Niko approaches her to talk about Bill, she automatically assumes he’s accusing her of having an affair and states that he was only ever a friend. Nothing in his body language suggests he was going to accuse them of being something more, and nothing in their interactions has ever suggests Bill and Eve were something more, so why does she automatically go on the defensive?

Niko only wants to know how Bill died, and Eve immediately goes quiet. He goes on to point out that Eve looked him in the eye and essentially lied about the work she was doing, and he wants her out of it before she ends up dead. His concern is completely understandable. No-one wants their loved one to be in harms way.

Unfortunately, Eve isn’t at all receptive to his concern and claims their life is the only thing that Niko has. It is a low blow. They both know it’s a low blow.

Eve was bored stupid in her previous desk job, yearning for more from life. She now has that in the excitement of getting wrapped up in a serial killer, trying to figure out Villanelle’s next move before she makes it, and working out what exactly makes her tick. Her home life with Niko is comfortable. She knows that he loves her, will always be there for her and at the end of a hard week trekking the globe for answers on Villanelle, she can come home to her nice, cosy house, and Niko will be there. He is more than happy with the life he has, being a husband and a teacher, and that is perhaps the issue. Niko is comfortable with his life whilst Eve isn’t at all. Where someone else would see Eve’s comments and call her out on it, Niko simply accepts them as being the word of a grieving woman, says everything is ok and excuses himself. In an episode full of crumbs for the future, this is an important crumb to take notice of, because their marriage woes are going to get worse.

Villanelle meanwhile finds it rather strange that they have no idea who on earth their target is. One of our darling assassins explains they’ll be told on arrival, whilst Nadia reveals they just know they’re there to kill a member of the British Intelligence Agency. Immediately Villanelle’s mind goes to Eve, but considering we’re only 4 episodes in? That’s obviously not going to happen anytime soon.

At home Eve is going through the suitcase that has been returned to her, and after a little look through, realizes that it’s full of very expensive items that she hasn’t bought herself. When she comes across some of Villanelle’s special perfume and a note expressing apologies? Eve immediately realizes who has returned her suitcase. Unfortunately Niko chooses this exact moment to walk in and try to make peace with his wife, and Eve snaps at him to get out.

Eve meets up with Kenny and Elena the next day, very much in police mode. Villanelle has gone to the trouble of buying extremely expensive clothes, all in Eve’s size and I just can’t help finding this funny. Kenny is on hand to point out the blatantly obvious that it isn’t good Villanelle knows where Eve lives, and Eve utters one of the greatest lines in television history;

‘Don’t write your address on a suitcase, it gets stolen by a psychopath’

This show just does dark humour so damn well and it’s absolutely delicious. Elena thinks Eve should take some time off, but Eve is full steam ahead and they’re soon returning to the officer, where Eve wants them to go through clothes designers in Berlin to see if any of them recognise Villanelle. Kenny then informs her that he’s found a small financial discrepancy; someone is being paid a specific amount of money at specific points in the year, which lead to a prep school. Eve’s eyes are immediately lighting up and she’s soon rushing back out of the office.

She meets up with Carolyn and after a bit of a winded story, reveals that both of Frank’s kids go to the school in question so he is obviously the one getting the money. They’re a bit behind on this lead though as Villanelle, Nadia and the assassin that doesn’t matter are already in the middle of the country, on their way to Frank’s house to kill him.

Villanelle and Nadia are once again coming to blow, and if it wasn’t obvious from their first encounter that they’re the exes, it should be blatantly obvious here. Nadia is angry with Villanelle for abandoning her previously. Villanelle had her reasons, and still cares for her ex, judging by the fact she doesn’t want her to get hurt. This is probably the first time we’ve really seen a chink in Villanelle’s armour. Continuing to have his own short fuse assassin who doesn’t matter is soon threatening to kill one of them if they don’t behave.

Whilst Villanelle and Nadia are tricking their way into Frank’s house, having a piece of his mother’s pie, and realizing his call home where he claims to be busy with work is actually him being wise to the fact they’re there, Eve, Elena and Kenny are still in London, still trying to piece the pieces together and it’s just really boring. ‘Show don’t tell’ is the classic rule of scriptwriting, but here I think it’s taken a bit literally. We didn’t need a scene of Kenny informing them that Frank is off in the middle of the countryside. We didn’t need a scene on the village in question ‘Bletcham’ being as English a village as you’ll find. We didn’t need a scene of Kenny informing them that he’s keeping an eye on Frank’s calls and messages. This same piece of information could’ve been relayed if it really had to be whilst Eve was on the wrong traveling there.

In the car talk quickly turns to Kenny’s feelings for Elena, and I just don’t care. All of it feels a heck of a lot like filler, as the show takes its sweet time in reaching the conclusion of this episode. Villanelle and Nadia report back to assassin who doesn’t matter, and Villanelle is completely bored out of her mind. She knows exactly how this process works; make contact with the targets family, have the target then make contact and after that you wait. Unfortunately her two partners aren’t as wise to this as her.

Because she’s working with absolute amateurs, when Frank does indeed surface, instead of being ready in the car to follow, assassin who doesn’t matter tries to get a shot that is obviously not going to happen. They’re soon chasing Frank through the countryside whilst he’s on the phone with Eve, and Nadia is failing to get a decent shot and wasting bullets in the process.

Forcing Villanelle to work with two other assassins is obviously Konstantin’s way of teaching her a lesson. If she can’t be trusted to follow the rules, then she can’t be trusted to do her work along, and needs a team to babysit and make sure she falls in line. It’s just completely unfortunate that the team is led by a guy who thinks he knows best when he obviously doesn’t, Villanelle is the most trained and skilled one out of all of them, and she’s having to go against her natural instincts to follow orders from a man who doesn’t like being told what to do by a woman.

Which also raises an interesting storytelling point. So far every man that Villanelle has come across has underestimated her to their peril. In Italy the grandfather was too busy thinking she was a sweet birthday present to even contemplate her as being a threat. Her neighbor thought she was a poor, sweet, innocent girl who needed to be protected from the big bad man and his curiosity killed him. In the office, the man was trying to appeal to the so called emotional instincts that women are supposed to have when you start talking about family and how much you’re loved. In the kink clinic, well the Chinese businessman knew exactly what he was signing up for, and with Bill? He came across a curious young lady on a platform, followed her believing that he was completely in control of the situation and at the last moment realized he’d actually been played.

All of these men in one way or another underestimated what Villanelle was truly capable of. Even Konstantin underestimates her at times, thinking she’ll abide by his orders just because he’s given them, when time and time again she’s proving she has no respect for rules. Assassin who doesn’t matter obviously doesn’t like having another girl in his ranks. She and Nadia have some previous history, so their arguments are not fighting over him which is what most men like, and he really doesn’t like someone who is smarter than him. Instead of trying to work together all equal as a team, he’s too busy reasserting his authority and that’s what makes the whole plan go south.

When they have Frank in the middle of the country, Villanelle is having to listen to assassin who doesn’t matter’s orders. She ends up going the wrong way, which gives Frank enough time to hide and then instead of just going up to the car to kill him, they’re instead shooting from a distance and run out of ammo. This of course leads to Villanelle and assassin who doesn’t matter having a stand-off, which leads to Nadia outing herself as Villanelle’s ex when she calls her by her real name, they’re all pointing guns at each other and when Villanelle appeals to Nadia, it does the trick and assassin who doesn’t matter is dead.

Villanelle wants to forget all about Frank for now since as far as she knows, he’s long gone. Her and Nadia are back in the car being relatively cute, but when Nadia goes round to the back, Villanelle runs her over.

I’m still not sure all these weeks later why exactly she does this. Is it because she’s so fearful of being betrayed, she has to get in their first? An automatic reaction to a situation? I don’t know but Nadia is soon out cold on the ground (obviously! She’s been run over by a car) and Frank is soon outing himself as he makes his bid for freedom. Villanelle tries to shoot at him but having wasted all of the ammo, and with the car dying, she’s forced to chase after him by foot.

Frank runs through the field to meet Elena and Eve with Villanelle close behind. He does live to see another day as Eve and Villanelle’s eyes fall onto each other. Eve & Frank make it back to the car where Elena and Frank are telling Eve to drive, but she’s too mesmerised by Villanelle to be able to do so and the episode ends with a gunshot ringing out in the air.

‘Sorry Baby’ was an ok episode, but it just wasn’t as good as the previous 3. Some scenes went on far too long, the plot moved forward rather slowly and it just wasn’t as compelling in its storytelling.

Thankfully though episode 5 is much better and every show is allowed at least 1 bad episode.