Eve and Villanelle Put Their Relationship to the Test in ‘Killing Eve’ Episode 5 (RECAP)

Killing Eve Ep5
Spoiler Alert
Photo Credit: Robert Viglasky/BBCAmerica

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Episode 5 of Killing Eve Season 2, “Smell Ya Later.”]

There is a running question throughout Killing Eve of whether Eve (Sandra Oh) wants to be with Villanelle (Jodie Comer) or wants to be Villanelle, and the frustrated MI6 agent begins to explore both options in the latest episode. She puts herself into a deathly situation which forces her to confront the complicated feelings she tries so desperately to suppress.

Eve shares more in common with Villanelle than she would probably like to admit; both women are prone to boredom and are continuously chasing the next high. When her interrogation of The Ghost (Jung Sun Den Hollander) proves fruitless, Eve isn’t so much frustrated because she can’t crack the case but because the whole thing leaves her unmoved. “I wish she was more fun,” Eve laments of the mundane assassin. “She kills people for a living; you’d think she works in accounts.”

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While there's no way the relationship would work out, it's fun to watch... and it's even a little fun to root for.

It’s a weird complaint, but it echoes Villanelle’s current disinterest as Konstantin’s (Kim Bodnia) “gun for hire,” something which Eve calls “a little basic b**ch” for the flamboyant killer. Eve is right; not even beating a man to death while going through a car wash tunnel is enough to satisfy Villanelle’s urge for excitement – now she passes the time by getting into staring contests with living statue street artists (“You told me to get a hobby,” she tells Konstantin).

It’s no surprise then that Eve finds a way to bring Villanelle into her current investigation. After recognizing that The Ghost is petrified of Villanelle (who she refers to as “the demon with no face”), Eve suggests using the feared assassin to get her to talk. However, her plan is ludicrously dangerous; she wants to put a hit out on herself so that she can confront the Russian psychopath and introduce her to The Ghost. As Kenny (Sean Delaney) says, it’s a “crazy idea” and a sign that Eve’s obsession is clouding her rational thought.

Killing Eve Ep5

Parisa Taghizadeh/BBCAmerica

As much as Eve protests that it’s all about the job, she clearly gets a kick out of being back in Villanelle’s orbit. There is even a perverse sexual element to it as seen by how turned on she gets after Villanelle has a funeral flower arrangement sent to her doorstep. There is this dark impulse deep within Eve that only Villanelle seems to awaken, and that fact is something which excites and repulses her in equal measure.

The question is, could Eve do what Villanelle does? When The Ghost asks her if she wants to join the female assassin club, Eve scoffs that she “doesn’t have the stomach for it.” But is that true? She doesn’t even squint when a photo of a mutilated corpse pops up during psychopath expert Martin’s (Adeel Akhtar) shoddy slideshow presentation. And we know she has a capacity for violence, given that she stabbed Villanelle last season, even if she did appear to regret the decision immediately. Eve ponders this question herself as she contemplates pushing a man in front of a moving train. She doesn’t, obviously, but the thought of whether she would even be capable of it crosses her mind.

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Bodnia also addresses the lack of another career choice for his character Konstantin.

Villanelle, meanwhile, battles her own murderous conundrum. Faced with assassinating the woman she loves (or at least thinks she loves), Villanelle enters a period of mourning, even hiring the hotel room service boy to stroke her hair while she sobs (which should be a service all hotels provide to be honest). It’s fascinating to see a woman who usually shows no remorse over her slayings be so conflicted when it comes to killing Eve. And even though she eventually agrees to the kill, we have to wonder if she ever intended to go through with it.

The meeting between Eve and Villanelle is wrought with tension and odd sexual energy. It’s the first time they’ve come into contact since that fateful encounter in Paris, something which Villanelle is still expecting an apology for, though Eve is not in the mood for saying sorry. The two women are testing each other in a sinister game of chicken. Villanelle adopts her usual showmanship, dressed in funeral-black, a veil covering her face, while Eve plays it casual, hoping not to show her fear.


Parisa Taghizadeh/BBCAmerica

Villanelle appears flabbergasted when Eve reveals the whole thing was a ploy. “What if I shot you?” she asks. “You wouldn’t,” replies a defiant Eve before calling Villanelle’s bluff and swallowing the pills supposedly intended to poison her. But Villanelle pulls the double-bluff, feigning horror at Eve’s pill-popping and causing the agent to let her mask slip momentarily. “It’s a joke! You’re too easy,” Villanelle laughs as Eve throws up in the sink.

Eve takes Villanelle to meet The Ghost, who she has locked up in a shipping container in the middle of a forest. “Are you sure this is legal?” Villanelle asks as if she suddenly cares about ethics. She makes a good point though because while Eve may not have Villanelle’s cold-hearted killer instinct, she certainly isn’t opposed to using nefarious tactics to get what she wants. Does hiring Villanelle to torture The Ghost make her any better than the person doing the torturing? Certainly not in the eyes of The Ghost, who calls Eve a “monster.”

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Villanelle has a variety of weapons in her arsenal; guns, knives, even hairpins... and a razor-sharp wit.

Even though Eve’s plan works in terms of getting The Ghost to reveal who hired her (turns out it WAS the son, Aaron Peel, which feels a little underwhelming), the consequences of bringing Villanelle back into the fold could be devastating, particularly for her marriage, which Villanelle seems deadset on destroying. The assassin tells Niko all about her Paris rendezvous with his wife and how she stabbed her. “You would think I was the bad guy…” she quips.

Villanelle was almost starting to believe Eve had forgotten about her; now she thinks they’re “colleagues” – and it’s mostly Eve’s fault. Her infatuation with Villanelle and her desire not to “die of boredom” caused her to make a deal with the demon. There is no going back to coffee runs and paperwork anymore.

Additional Notes

-“You look like someone stuck a mustache on some fudge,” is the most perfect description of Niko.

-Jess (Nina Sosanya) brings up a good point about how Carolyn seemingly has no issue with putting Eve into these life-threatening situations. “If you aren’t doing the boring stuff… it means someone doesn’t want a paper trail.” Also, the fact Carolyn was with Konstantin staking out the Eve/Villanelle meeting suggests there is a lot more going on.

-Between her funeral dress and the preppy Oxford student look, Villanelle was killing it in the outfit department this episode.

Killing Eve, Sundays, 8/7c, BBC America and AMC