‘Killing Eve’ Season 2 Threatens to Get Wilder and More Dangerous

Obsession becomes an even more dangerous game in the second season of AMC’s BBC import, Killing Eve.” Sandra Oh proved outstanding as MI5 agent Eve Polastri when the series first grabbed audiences, infusing a great action heroine with charming humor. But even this show fell to a trend that’s been affecting several big series, namely the loss of its original showrunner. Creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge has departed to focus on another series, and now the reigns are taken over by Emerald Fennell for season two. Fennell is also an actress who happens to be playing Camilla Parker Bowles in the upcoming season of “The Crown.” But here she proves she also has the makings of an efficient producer, keeping the tone of “Killing Eve” as tense and funny as it was during its first round.

Last season ended with a potentially deadly clash between Eve and the psychotic Villanelle (Jodie Comer). In the season two premiere, “Do You Know How to Dispose of a Body,” Eve is reeling from the encounter, during which she stabbed her nemesis and is unsure if she managed to kill her. She flees the bloody scene in Paris, looking away while a SWAT team takes down some unfortunate neighbor in the building. Before boarding a plane back to England she goes to a candy store, loads a bag with sugary coping snacks and gets rid of any weapons on her person. But Villanelle is indeed alive and is taken to a hospital where she plots sweet revenge. She makes friends with a fellow patient, Gabriel (Pierre Atri), who is terribly scarred from a car crash that also left him orphaned. While Villanelle tries to find the right disguise the escape the hospital, Eve is trying to convince her husband Niko (Owen McDonnell) that everything is fine. Of course everything is not fine at all, Villanelle is affecting Eve’s very personality. She’s also called over by her old boss, Caroline (Fiona Shaw), who lets her know MI6 still needs her.

As tends to happen with some season premieres, “Killing Eve” slows it a bit down after all of the mayhem of the last finale. Fennell and director Damen Thomas split the story so both Eve and Villanelle get some space. With our main heroine the dark humor and drama are now focusing on how chasing after her psycho enemy is shaking up her own inner self. She wanders down a park, wondering if she has done away with Villanelle, a man is proposing to a woman but Eve simply blurts in front of them, “I think I killed her.” In one of the episode’s best scenes she sits at an airport bar, lost in her thoughts and a woman sitting nearby immediately assumes she’s an addict, going so far as to recommend a twelve-step program because, “it takes one to know one.” At home Eve sulks in the bath and Niko can only watch in frustration, eventually demanding answers Eve just can’t give. She also goes through weird mood swings, chopping vegetables for a chicken dinner that isn’t even in the oven and then dancing along to “Kids in America.” Last season’s intense hunt for Villanelle has left a lasting impact and now Eve seems to be going through some kind of mirroring effect, where she starts to emulate some of her prey’s insane traits. She’s not going completely insane, but the stress and obsession with Villanelle is infecting her in ways she might not even realize. Sandra Oh again proves she’s a fantastic lead in this show, balancing the slapstick nature of Eve with the moodier, introspective moments.

Precisely because Eve is going through a crisis, Villanelle is the one offering more direct, comic relief as she grows frustrated over the lack of good disguise options at a hospital (a doctor’s coat is just not stylish enough) and kind of bonds with Gabriel. But Villanelle is a psychopathic killer at the end of the day, this is confirmed when Gabriel starts to weep over his scarred appearance and Gabriel helps, but snapping his neck. Did she put him out of his misery to help or to get some peace and quiet? With a character like her we can never tell. So far we haven’t gotten the kind of gruesome moments typical in season one, like when Eve found victims of Villanelle strewn in a hospital room. But we’re merely at the beginning of this new round. There is a hilariously gruesome moment where Caroline brings Eve to a morgue to display a specific corpse that could hold close to Villanelle’s whereabouts or plans. Fast food seems to be the preferred method to get over the smell. “Killing Eve” is full of that sort of wicked humor the British excel in.

When things get serious Caroline brings Eve back into the fold of MI6 and Villanelle does manage to escape. The stakes are being raised for Eve because this season could also be her undoing emotionally. Not to worry longtime fans, it is quite clear that Fennell gets this show and its tone. We are in for another intense ride, where the suspense is killer and the humor appropriately bloody.

Killing Eve” season two premieres April 7 and airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on AMC.