Must Watch: Killing Eve
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the genius behind Fleabag (which you also should 100% watch if you haven’t seen it), brings us a story of assassins, champagne, queer romantic tension and huge pink dresses in this incredible representation of the female gaze. Killing Eve follows Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh of Grey’s Anatomy) as she trudges through her mundane job at the UK government. We quickly learn that Eve has a special interest: female assassins. She happens to be so interested and so good at researching them that she is brought on by MI6 to hunt down an infamous assassin that the world’s spy agencies are yet to fully identify. The show then follows Eve as she gets ever dangerously closer to the object of her abjection (or affection?) Villanelle (Jodie Comer).
The show is hilarious and wonderfully extreme, and shows the whirlwind of what happens when a ‘normal’ person is thrown into a totally abnormal situation. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a spy? Daydreamed about missions and saving the world? Well, Killing Eve brings a lovely dose of reality to what that actually might look like in our time.
What I loved most about the show is the palpable female-gaze that is ever-present throughout. I heard someone saying that Villanelle had been compared to a James Bond type character. But, the point is, she is distinctly not any type of character we have historically seen in male-centric spy stories. She has no guilty conscience, she has a very practical mindset, she loves money and nice things (all she has in her fridge is expensive champagne). She loves nice clothes, especially pink dresses, and wants to have sex with many people, especially women. She is both a stereotype and a complete alien at the same time. Waller-Bridge makes a point that Villanelle is whoever she wants to be and does what ever she wants to do. That might be wearing a huge pink dress, or that might be killing five people at once - who knows! Waller-Bridge also includes her famous dark humour, and she draws an interesting line between hilarity and heartbreak (e.g. the nightclub scene for anyone who’s watched it…).
To see two women leading on screen, and to see different aspects of queer representation, is exciting and necessary. I watched it all in a week (you can binge the box set on iPlayer if you want) and have been left thinking of it for weeks after, even rewatching the first episode a few times. It shows that women can be represented in whatever way we want, whether that’s having honest imposter syndrome in the MI6, saving the world and having amazing hair, or whether it’s being a queer, femme, multi-lingual psychopathic assassin.
So, if you haven’t yet watched the BBC series Killing Eve, stop all other series’ your watching and watch it right now!
Illustration featured: Mary @ryabtseva.art