This thriller is so pulverising it wouldn’t even let up on the shocks between runs. All that acclaim thrust Jodie Comer onto the chat-show circuit where, out of character, she spoke pure Scouse. Her accent sliced through the more familiar actory tones – in a profession that’s supposed to be quite public-school these days – like a knife would one of her victims.
It was an accent as strong as Liverpool’s Champions League-winning defence, as manager Jurgen Klopp’s teeth (OK, they’re probably implants but you know what I mean). Unless, of course, Comer was back in character and this was yet another cunning disguise after jumping from Russian to French to Italian and back again. You wouldn’t put it past Killing Eve.
Who last night expected, even by the drama’s extreme standards, that Villanelle, having befriended the lad in the next hospital bed, would go on to snap his neck? Maybe, though, we should have expected it; perhaps we’re out of practice.
She’d got the poor fellow to steal for her. He allowed her to wear his clothes, a fantastic Roy Lichtenstein onesie. He said he wished he’d died in the car smash which killed his parents but, cripes, I’m not entirely sure he meant it. Maybe his plight prompting her only display of tenderness thus far in a relentless killing spree had unnerved her. You can’t be showing any weakness if you’re one of the small screen’s most sardonic psychopaths.
Villanelle was in hospital because at the end of series one MI6 operative Eve (Sandra Oh) had stabbed her. She’d been out-psychopathed. And as series two resumed the pair’s pan-European, psycho-sexual cat-and-mouse, as Eve wiped the blood from her blade and bolted down the back-stairs, the song on the soundtrack went: “It’s not you, it’s me.”
It’s not Villanelle who’s the nut-job, it’s Eve. Maybe. Before she killed him Villanelle tried to explain their relationship to her fellow patient.
“Women don’t stab,” he said.
“I know, it surprised me too. But she did it to show how much she cared about me.”
“Sometimes when you love someone you will do crazy things.”
Series one was scripted by Phoebe Waller-Bridge who’s since moved on to Fleabag: The Stage Version and James Bond. Blood drips down the Killing Eve titles in homage to Bond’s opening credits and we can fantasise about the 007 franchise adopting some of this show’s fearlessness, weirdness, groovy music and way-out gear, to say nothing of it being dominated by women.
Villanelle’s pop-art get-up, then Eve scrabbling in a sweet shop in need of a sugar-rush, put me in mind of the 1960s Batman TV series and its fabulous day-glo colours but of course the violence was comic-book. Here there are no “Kerr-Pow!” captions. The nightclub filleting of Pargrave in series one will live long in the memory. Nothing of that order yet but there are seven more episodes.
Thankfully, with Emerald Fennell taking over the writing, there is still the humour. Funniest moment last night was Eve, severely discombobulated, back with a knife in her hand and aimlessly chopping up a mountain of vegetables, ignoring boss Carolyn (Fiona Shaw) trying to reach her on the phone, then so desperate to talk to someone, anyone, that she answered a cold call: “Yes, thank you, tell me about your windows, Armando – tell me everything about them.”
Eve can hanker for dull domesticity all she wants – “What is it that people do ‘at home’?” asked an incredulous Carolyn – but her nemesis had just cleaned her wound with a down-and-out’s vodka and will soon be up to her old tricks again.
BBC1, Saturday, 9.15pm