Since it’s premiere last year, I have been praising Killing Eve. In just eight episodes, the show was able to create one of the most dynamic relationships on television and yet only have it’s two main characters together for a handful of moments. Killing Eve brought something new in term of the cat and mouse story. With that, it also created opportunities for it’s two leading ladies to shine brighter than ever.
We’ve known Sandra Oh was a good actress for a long time. She shined bright as Christina Yang for years on Grey’s Anatomy but in Killing Eve she found a vehicle to propel her to the forefront of best actress discussion. After being robbed of the Emmy for her work on the first season, she made history when she won the Golden Globes for best lead actress in a drama series. That was the first of many awards that Oh would get during the award season for her role as Eve Polastri on the show.
But behind all of that stood Jodie Comer. If Oh stood as the front runner of the show for the awards, it was also because of the fact that she was known in the US and had the name recognition attached to her brilliant performance. Comer, on the other hand, was a relatively unknown actress for the US audience. And so her ascension was slower.
The work she did in season one was monumental. She made everyone fall in love with a psychopath. An assassin who if she had been played by anyone else would have been the villain of the story. And much of that was on the writing from Phoebe Waller-Bridge but a lot of it also is linked to the way Comer portrayed her. The faces she pulled when Villanelle was talking or even the way she acted like a child without speaking. It was all non-verbal thing that helped craft a complicated character.
The idea of an unlikable man has been around since Tony Soprano. But that role has mostly been occupied by man. With Killing Eve, that idea is turned on its head. And that unlikable man is a woman. But even comparing Villanelle to other characters is impossible because we’ve never seen a character like her. She’s the femme fatale that with her great beauty can fool anyone into thinking she is innocent when she is the most dangerous person in any room but she is also a childish character who acts like an only child who hates not getting everything she wants.
Season two has developed even more on that idea. And Comer has risen to the challenge. I remember watching episode four of the second season and right after texting Andres to tell him that I was now certain Jodie Comer was going to win an Emmy for her performance this season. And since then, we have seen so much more from her. From Villanelle getting feelings for the first time, to Villanelle switching accent four times in less than a minute, to Villanelle giving one of the most powerful monologues in the show, Comer has risen to the challenge every time. And it’s been wonderful to watch.
Villanelle could have been a one-note character. She could have been the typical Russian assassin that we are so used to see on our screen. But instead, Killing Eve decided to do something different. And yes, the writing is part of it. But I think they struck gold when they got Jodie Comer for the role. Because she brought something that even the writer probably didn’t think was possible. Her facial expressions are pure genius and I have watched so many with her saying it’s just her normal face and what she always does. Villanelle might be completely different than Jodie, but some Jodie found it’s way into her and for that, I am so grateful.
Killing Eve is already renewed for a third season and if season two explored what happens when a psychopath starts feeling things she doesn’t know how to deal with, I can’t wait to see what season three has in store and what Comer has in reserve for us.