Killing Eve Sans The Male Gaze
Killing Eve, a 7-episode drama series released in 2018, is one of the best shows I have seen in a long time. The show follows Villanelle, a beautiful and insane assassin and her counterpart- Eve that works as a profiler for MI6.
I was insanely glad to see Cristina Yang …I mean Sandra Oh, grace our screens again. After I stopped watching Grey’s Anatomy, I looked forward to when I would next see this amazing actress and she did not disappoint in this show at all.
Villanelle and Eve are a dynamic duo, two women who at first glance seem like polar opposites. Villanelle viciously and beautifully murders a man in the first episode; meanwhile, Eve is stuck at an office, complaining about her job, her boss, jokes with her coworkers and in one hilarious scene decides she is too tired to have sex with her husband after first suggesting it. While Villanelle is living a glamorous and dangerous life all over Europe, Eve is stuck in London frustrated with the drudgery of her life, a job that she has no passion for and endures an uneasy, yet affectionate, relationship with her husband.
Soon after, Eve shows her true colours as an extremely smart and daring investigator when she has to hunt down Villanelle. Simultaneously, Villanelle strips away her veneer of a cold and calculating albeit hilarious assassin. Killing Eve creates such compelling female characters who, for the first time in my personal TV history, exist outside of the male gaze. Eve and Villanelle along with the two other reoccurring female characters, Carolyn and Elena, are not tied down by stereotype.
Eve is clumsy and tactless at times while also being composed and sexy. Villanelle is dangerous, erratic yet capable of feeling a deep need for love and acceptance. Carolyn and Elena are Eve’s boss and coworker respectively and both of them possess diverse character traits. The women in the show are highlighted in every episode not only because they are the main cast but because the writing for the show makes their evolution a central plot. Often in TV shows, we see female characters that are doomed to repeat the same mistakes because of the narrow set of traits they are given. The women are often type cast and any significant change or insight to their personalities only comes after long periods of time.
Killing Eve over the span of 7 episodes constantly shifts the narrative and pulls a new plot from under us- always keeping us on our toes. At the same time it makes it a point to shine a spotlight on the main characters reiterating the fact that these characters are complicated and stumbling through it all, that each obstacle is an opportunity to glimpse into the unique inner world of the person.
All the male characters play supporting roles in the explosive relationship between Villanelle and Eve, Eve’s husband Niko, is left frustrated and hurt when Eve decides to pursue her passion of solving crime and catch Villanelle. Bill her coworker and ex-boss becomes a support system for Eve and helps her take charge. Villanelle’s handler Konstantin who at first is a main part of her life is torn from his place after events take a dramatic turn.
Killing Eve is beautifully written and produced. The way the storyline unfolds and the intimacy that is portrayed on screen is an absolute joy to watch. In addition, the locations that the scenes are filmed in are so visually pleasing. The second season deserves all the hype and its highly anticipated status.