Monday, 7 May 2018

Killing Eve Episode 1x05 I Have A Thing About Bathrooms Review: "Dinner Date"

There is a reason why this episode was so hyped by critics (including myself). It was an absolute marvellous piece of television from start to finish.

Eve and Villanelle finally came face to face, not once, but TWICE. We were treated to more sharp dialogue, some answers, another gruesome death and the reveal at the end that yes! Somehow, Nadia managed to survive being run over by a car. Now Villanelle has to return to the Russian prison from whence she came from to make sure Nadia doesn’t tell her side of what happened.

To start from the beginning, because there was sooooooo much to unpack. ‘I Have A Thing About Bathrooms’ picked up exactly where ‘Sorry Baby’ left off. Elena and Frank were cowering in the car, screaming for Eve to drive as Villanelle closed in.

But she couldn’t. She just had to get out of the car and attempt to talk to her. It’s complete and utter madness, I should really be screaming at Eve not to be so foolish, but instead I’m as transfixed as her. Their first encounter with each other was that bathroom scene in the premiere. Under the guise of being a nurse, Villanelle dished out some helpful hair tips, that Eve thought was nice enough until she returned to the ward and discovered a massacre had taken place.

Shortly after that she realized the nurse was not the nurse she claimed to be, but instead Villanelle. Ever since then, Eve’s been pretty determined to catch her and Bill’s death has only amplified that. Eve and Villanelle are both fascinated with each other for different reasons. To have an off the books Police operation so interested in her work, and more specifically a Police person of sorts trying to unravel her life, discover what makes her tick, why she does the things that she does etc?

Villanelle really likes that. She gets off on knowing that someone is thinking about her that much, and she’s more than returned the favour. The hair advice, watching from afar, stealing her suitcase, spying on her in a shop, bugging her room, attempting to follow her onto a train, dressing a woman up in her clothes for a sex game, apologizing for killing Bill and being somewhat concerned that her assassin team had been sent to kill Eve? If this wasn’t basically a cat and mouse game between a psychopath and member of law enforcement, we’d be forgiven for thinking this was all just foreplay building to them eventually falling in love.

Eve got out of the car and Villanelle came to a stop. Eve attempted to talk to her, and Villanelle responded by threatening to kill herself. As Eve screamed out begging Villanelle not to, we can blatantly see she’s once again getting off on this. She enjoys being face to face with the subject of her affections so to speak, and knowing that despite the fact she’s killed Bill, Eve still doesn’t want her to die. It’s also a clear case of someone once again underestimating Villanelle. Given how much she knows about her, Eve should’ve known Villanelle wasn’t actually going to pull the trigger. But she’s as transfixed as we are watching this unfold, and wherever Villanelle is, common sense goes out the window.

And just to really hammer home the point that she’s completely f-cking with her, Villanelle kisses her gun, aims it at Eve and deliberately doesn’t shoot her. Eve is shook, Villanelle disappears without a trace, and Eve is left to comprehend what on earth has just happened.

Following this is without a doubt the funniest scene of the episode and what I’m going to call #brownsaucegate. Eve and Elena take Frank to a cafĂ© on the motorway, so they can all recover from their near death experience. Given he had to not only run, but cry at the same time with a serial killer chasing him, Frank’s not really in the mood for talking and just wants to fill his stomach. Elena and Eve though attempt to press him, over why exactly Villanelle was trying to kill him and his contact with her organization.

Eve doesn’t believe with three assassins they didn’t say a word, but all Frank can think about is his brown sauce. He’s soon texting his mother-in-law to keep his kids safe whilst Eve is cascading his actions for getting mixed up with this organisation in the first place, but Frank still needs his brown sauce. He even pleads with them to be allowed to go off and get some more, and I feel like this scene isn’t supposed to be as funny as it is, but dark humour and finding humour in the mundane is what this show does best.

Frank is soon taking off to a safe house, and of course as soon as talk once again turns to the assassins, he’s having an anxiety attack. So to try and get some answers out of him, Carolyn resorts to desperate measures; she gives Frank a reassuring hug and affirms that everything will be ok. Again this type of scene just wouldn’t work on any other show.

Frank does eventually start spilling, and the crumbs that have previously been spread around are starting to form the base of something. Frank’s motives for getting caught up in all this are still based upon greed, I have absolutely no sympathy for him, and his attitude towards Eve is still quite sexist. His only regret is the fact his life has now been placed in danger, with no remorse for the fact that Bill actually lost his life.

We also get some other interesting revelations this episode. Firstly the confirmation of Villanelle’s real name aka Okcaha, second that she’s supposed to have died in prison 4 years ago, and finally that she was in prison for chopping a guys private parts off. Suddenly that killing at the Belgium kink club is looking less like a strange coincidence of circumstance and more like an actual signature in how Villanelle likes to kill. Kenny’s reluctance at revealing exactly how Villanelle killed the first guy is again mildly amusing, whilst Eve is just putting all the pieces together.

This then leads Eve to return home, open up her suitcase and take a sniff of the perfume Villanelle gave her and rubbing it on herself. She’s then taking a second look at the rest of the stuff previously given to her, with the lyrics ‘there’s something about you’ playing in the background.

Which is another point to touch upon. This show is brilliant with its humour, reading of the situations, and digs into characters and stories in a way that hasn’t been done in a really long time, but it also uses music superbly. The trailers in the build-up to the show’s premiere selected perfect tracks to accompany perfectly edited clips all put together seamlessly, and the show has carried on that trait. These days music tends to be used in the background of scenes just to give us something to ponder whilst a scene is transitioning, or a character is looking really sad. There’s not a lot of thought that goes into it, apart from which song is potentially less expensive licensing wise or who can we give a bit of promo to. Killing Eve breaks that trend. Every song featured in an episode is featured for a reason. It’s completely specific to the tone of the season, and is used to say what words in a script can’t. As someone whose two greatest passions in life are writing and music, I completely appreciate what the show is doing here.

This does of course all build up to Eve and Villanelle’s confrontation in the house. Eve is still wearing the clothes Villanelle gave her, and basically minding her own business when she catches Villanelle sneaking into the house. Villanelle asks her not to run, but when you’re dealing with a psychopath? You’re gonna run. Eve manages to lock herself in a room, but can’t open the window, and her screams for help are completely pointless. All whilst Villanelle is calm as a duck saying she’s not going to hurt her. As Eve contains to hopelessly look round, Villanelle continues to order her to open the door, warning she’ll break it if Eve doesn’t.

Villanelle is very much good on her word as she does indeed break the door down. The two minutely struggle as Villanelle continues to appeal for calm, whilst Eve is screaming for her life, and Villanelle shuts her up by pushing her down into the bath and pouring water on her. And as if this couldn’t get even more bizarrely amusing, Villanelle explains she simply broke in to have dinner with Eve.

Half of Killing Eve’s draw is its two lead actresses Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer. For Jodie this is probably her best ever work as she perfectly encapsulates all of Villanelle’s 5 billion emotions, constantly leaves us second guessing ourselves and basically pulls things off that no-one else probably could. I’ll again say that I’ve watched her in many a drama over the years with ‘Thirteen’ probably being the pick of the bunch, but most people know her from ‘Doctor Foster’. Sandra Oh meanwhile just plays Eve perfectly. She makes the quirky humour work in a way most American actors wouldn’t be able to, and this show really wouldn’t work without these two in the roles.

Continuing to prove herself an extremely concerned assassin, Villanelle notices Eve shaking since she is still very much wet, and tells her to change into dry clothes. She’s also not fussy about what exactly they eat. And just to top it off, Villanelle then decides to lend a hand to Eve changing her clothes and remarks on how nice her body is.

As Eve again questions just why exactly Villanelle is in her house, she attempts to spin a web of sympathy about how she’s trapped in the life she’s in, doesn’t want to do it anymore and is sorry for killing Bill. However unlike everyone else who buys into her act, Eve completely sees through it and calls Villanelle out on it. Villanelle almost sees pleased that Eve can see through her so easily, and she probably is. It really only adds to their obsession with each other. Whereas everyone else she encounters underestimates and believes she’s some poor little girl who needs to be saved, Eve sees Villanelle for being the brutal, unrepentant sociopath that she is. And when Eve calls Villanelle by her real name, she’s taken aback for a moment obviously not expecting that. Some may claim killing Bill was the first mistake that Villanelle made, because it just made eve more determined to catch her.

I don’t agree with that in the slightest. From the moment Bill stopped her getting on the train, Villanelle knew exactly who he is, what she wanted to do with him, and given she knew he was Eve’s partner, she knew how much killing him would devastate her, as witnessed with the sorry note. She killing Bill because he was onto her, but also because it’s what she does. This conversation between her and Eve is her first real screw-up. She’s more than aware Eve probably won’t buy her lies, but she isn’t prepared that Eve will know about the real her. Which is why she then comments that Eve is pleased with herself, because she is.

This is the first time she’s ahead of Villanelle’s game. Going on to reveal she knows all about where Villanelle really came from, that someone broke her out? It’s all getting to Villanelle. She’s used to putting on a show and basically basking in her different personas. Being forced to face who she actually is, what she’s lived through, where she’s come from? It’s not something that anyone really wants to be reminded of, but especially not an assassin. You don’t just get into this line of work and become as good at is as Villanelle has on a whim. You do it because where you originally come from is so completely devastating, that being an assassin for hire, watching the life drain out of people’s eyes, and basically having others lives in your hand is therapeutic. Which is completely and utterly messed up, as is Villanelle. Eve then goes on to praise Villanelle for being exceptionally bright, determined, hardworking and an extraordinary person, who has had something happen to her. And then Eve ends things by asserting she knows Villanelle is a psychopath, which Villanelle warns she should never say because it upsets them.

There’s just so many emotions in this exchange. It’s the first time Villanelle is truly letting her guard down, so to speak allowing herself to feel and be vulnerable. Eve isn’t looking at her as the psychopath she is, but just an ordinary girl sitting in front of her who has obviously had a bad life. There’s no anger, no sympathy from her. Just stating the obvious and looking at Villanelle almost softly.

Villanelle then confirms she’s not here to actually kill Eve, but is simply watching her. Yet another crumb to the shows overall mythology. Eve then realizes that Villanelle doesn’t actually know the reason why she’s killing the people she’s killing. Villanelle then throws another spanner out there by claiming if Eve looked high enough, she’d find they worked for the same people. Is that nother game or does it have an element of truth?

Eve continues to press Villanelle, wanting to understand why her method of killing is what it is, and again notes that something bad must’ve happened to Villanelle, before asking why she killed Bill. And of course when Villanelle simply declares Bill was slowing her down, Eve sees red and the two get into a fight where Villanelle easily overpowers her. Villanelle then realizes Eve is wearing her perfume which she’s again flattered by, and of course as Eve is promising to find what Villanelle loves and kill it, Nico arrives home.

Villanelle does decide to let them all live another day, sauntering out the house, whilst Eve pays a visit to Carolyn. Interrupting a dinner party, Eve also discovers that Carolyn is Kenny’s mother. She explains what’s happened at her house, and they realize that Frank is going to next be on Villanelle’s hitlist.

That is indeed correct as she makes it to the safe house before them, takes out the guards, toys with Franks and then takes great delight in murdering him. Eve is soon on the scene with the backup, and is left to stew on the scene that has confronted her. The next day meanwhile, Villanelle returns home where she's cooking up sausages and Konstantin pays a visit.

He wants to know exactly what happened out in the country. Villanelle spins him a story he doesn’t at all believe, proclaiming useless assassin screwed the operation up. Konstantin knows she's lying and Villanelle tripping over details doesn't help her case, but I doubt she'll be sent on anymore missions soon that involve working with others. Instead Konstantin shocks her by revealing that Nadia is indeed alive, and back in the Russian prison from whence they came.

Next episode Villanelle shall indeed be off to said Russian prison, to make sure Nadia can't tell her side of the story to anyone else. It's not something that at all thrills her, in fact she actually appears scared to go back and face her past.

You can catch all of that next Sunday at 8pm on BBC America & it is certainly an intriguing episode.