We’ve all been there. Loving a show’s first season only to be disappointed by its second. This scenario only becomes heightened after a show like Killing Eve came out of almost nowhere. Add to this its network, BBC America, had only one previous prestige show – Orphan Black – where most of the attention went to its star Tatiana Maslany, it appeared the network was headed back to obscurity. But they had an ace up their sleeve with a late debut of Eve and its star Sandra Oh finding a new level of stardom in a leading role. It found a legion of fans—and more when the first season was made available of Hulu. With a show that had no expectations for its first season they were extremely high for their second. But fear not, there’s no sophomore slump.
BBC America only made two episodes available for press. And in an effort not to give away too much of the plot, Killing Eve based on the Villanelle Series picks up seconds after the season finale ended when Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) stabbed Villanelle (Jodie Comer). The first two episodes deal with the aftermath of the stabbing as Eve grapples with the shock and quasi-guilt of almost killing a person unable to tell anyone. Meanwhile, Villanelle fights for her very survival as everyone is chasing the sociopathic serial killer. The second episode ends on a cliffhanger only a non-streaming series could; leaving fans and this critic wanting to know what happens next.
Oh is still great, if not better, than she was in the first season. Grappling with a possible homicide and the fear of being chased while needing to find a serial killer who just happens to be obsessed with you is not an easy balancing act. Oh proves a master juggler able to handle with ease the lighter moments while Eve still is trying to put the puzzle together and her characters guilt is not easy to pull off. For her efforts for Eve’s first season Oh received an Emmy nomination making history along the way as the first Asian actress nominated for Best Drama Actress. Earlier this year she won both the Golden Globe and SAG Award. Should Eve continue with the same quality of its first two episodes, Oh will easily make history as the first Asian actress to win an acting Emmy and after six previous nominations she’s long overdue!
Comer still proves to be a scene-stealer as the genius psychopath assassin Villanelle. Spends the first two episodes fighting to live and doing so in the most interesting ways. Her lies are so believable it’s amazing how, even with a stab wound, she’s still the smartest person in the room. Villanelle’s interactions with her hospital roommate are some of the best in the first episode especially – when she is explaining how her girlfriend (Eve) stabbed her to show her how much she cares. Comer has been largely overlooked snubbed at the Emmys, Golden Globes and SAG Awards in favor of her more well-known co-star (and that they compete in the same category).
Regardless of how great both Oh and Comer are, the real star of Killing Eve is its whip sharp dialogue; not a dramedy, it’s equal part funny and dramatic balancing both in a cat and mouse game. The audience never knows who’s chasing whom. Even without show creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge writing either of the first two installments (she received an Emmy nomination for Best Drama Writing last year for the pilot episode), Eve finds a way to keep the pace enjoyable with the tension heightened. Eve could’ve stumbled without Waller-Bridge penning an episode for season two but the series is as smart and clever as ever. It helps that Eve is based on a series of books so the writers did not start the second season after exhausting all of the “based on” material. Some fans of Eve will tell you that the first two episodes of the first season were not their best as they spent most of their time setting up the chase. This is where more episodes would have helped with a review, as I’m sure the first two of the second season will not be amongst the most buzzed about as fans want to see Eve and Villanelle interact more. But Killing Eve and its stars are on their way up and here’s hoping they live up to their first two episodes and the hype.
The second season of Killing Eve begins airing on BBC America Sunday, April 7th.