What I love most about Killing Eve, other than the sexual pining, is how any assumption you have is usually wrong. That’s often portrayed within Villanelle and Eve’s dynamic too, as just when they think they have one another figured out the other throws a curveball.
Season one was mainly represented as a game of cat and mouse. But who was the hunter and who was the prey? Well, what if neither was the prey? They both wanted each other just as desperately and there were countless times where they could have ended it, but where’s the fun in that? A line in season two sums it up perfectly when Hugo asks Eve “do you like watching her, or do you prefer being watched?”. “Both” is her response.
When they meet in Villanelle’s apartment in the season one finale, Villanelle is already a very different person to who she was when we first met her. She does the one thing you’d never expect, which is let her guard down. The moment she does, the moment she lets herself be fully present with Eve, Eve catches her off guard. The stabbing isn’t just vengeance for Bill, it’s a power move. Villanelle underestimated Eve and that sets up a brand new dynamic for season two. Now, in season three, Eve manages to catch Villanelle off guard once more.
In season three, Villanelle believes she holds all the power. I mean if you’d shot someone in the back and left them for dead, you’d probably feel the same. The last time the two of them spoke, Villanelle exposed her vulnerability like she never had before, only to be rejected. How do you return from that? You can’t stay fragile forever, you need to regain control. So it’s inevitable that she would have built that wall back up, because vulnerable is not what she’s been trained to be.
She tells herself she’s over Eve and gets back to work. But when she finds out Eve is still alive, all of that work starts to unravel once more. The power Eve once held over her returns and it’s clear that Villanelle loves it, because she loves her.
What I adore most is that Villanelle firmly, even egotistically, believes she still has Eve in her pocket. After being rejected she believes there’s no hope there, so she returns to the confident and controlled state that she used to live in. The perfume scene is a nice touch, because her overconfidence is overwhelming. But you don’t need that scene to see it. It’s in the pantsuit that you know she would have carefully picked out to wear for their reunion. It’s in her powerful stride as she makes her way over to Eve on the bus. It’s in the cocky “hi, Eve” that she probably rehearsed endless times before arriving. She’d have guessed how Eve was going to react, which allows her to stay composed. And just as she gets Eve where she wants her, and essentially asks her to smell the confidence that she’s basking in, Eve does the one thing that Villanelle could never have anticipated. She kisses her. And when she does, Eve takes back every ounce of power that Villanelle had been building up.
Just like that, the game changes once more. Eve officially has nothing left to lose now, which makes giving in to her feelings effortless. In the last scene of episode 3, you see her slowly give in again. She listens to Villanelle’s voice reply in her ear and at first she rejects it, but as it continues to play she can’t stop herself. She needs that voice, she wants it repeating her name. They need each other and maybe soon they’ll both admit that they do.
One things for sure, that balance of power is never going to level between Villanelle and Eve. They both have the ability to completely undo one another and eventually, I think we’ll see them give themselves to each other completely as Killing Eve progresses.