Killing Eve: The season 1 binge recap
Killing Eve will return for its second season on Sunday, April 7, kicking off a brand new chapter in the mutually obsessive game of cat and mouse between MI6 agent Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) and globetrotting assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer). But if you don’t have eight hours to dedicate to a refresher course before the big premiere, our binge-recap of season 1 is here to catch you up — all the erotically-charged espionage in eight easily digestible capsules.
Episode 1: “Nice Face”
Everyone, meet Eve Polastri! She’s a happily married, hard-working, croissant-loving desk jockey at MI5 whose supervisors (mostly) tolerate her bizarre fixation on female murderers. When a politician is killed under strange circumstances in Vienna, Eve is sure that it’s the work of a prolific lady assassin— and sets out to prove it to her doubting co-workers by finagling an interview with the sole witness. Unfortunately for several side characters, Eve is right; super-assassin Villanelle is real, and she’s spectacular. After dispatching a target at his birthday party (with a bespoke hairpin to the eyeball!), Villanelle travels to London, and kills the witness and two guards to cover her tracks. Eve is fired for her unauthorized activities. On the bright side, she calls her boss a “dickswab” before she leaves… and becomes a SPY.
Episode 2: “I’ll Deal with Him Later”
Having been recruited by MI6 bigwig Carolyn Martens (Fiona Shaw) to continue her investigation in secret, Eve recruits some of her favorite former coworkers, Bill Pargrave and Elena Felton, to join her team. Meanwhile, the alluring Villanelle continues enthusiastically murdering folks — to the dismay of her handler, Konstantin, who’s having second thoughts about having recruited a volatile psychopath as an employee. After Villanelle concocts a deadly perfume to do away with a target (and accidentally murders her boyfriend in the process, whoops, oh well), she gets busy researching the woman hunting her — just as Eve realizes she was face-to-face with her prey back at the hospital.
Episode 3: “Don’t I Know You?”
Villanelle murders her a Chinese colonel in Berlin at a sex hospital for masochists. (What was she doing with that clamp? Use your imagination, buddy!) She also uses Eve’s name as her alias while doing it, a ballsy (ha, ha) move that immediately lures Eve and Bill to Berlin to investigate the crime. Villanelle is just as obsessed with Eve as Eve is with her; while Eve is distracted, the assassin steals her suitcase. Meanwhile, Eve prepares for dinner with a Chinese informant, and Bill reveals to her that he knows Berlin well from his long-ago glory days as a cool gay dude — a charming backstory that savvy viewers will instantly recognize as a classic TV prelude to something terrible happening. And something terrible does! Bill spots Villanelle lurking in a subway station and follows her to a nightclub, where she brutally stabs him to death.
Episode 4: “Sorry Baby”
While Eve and her team are reeling from Bill’s death, Villanelle is punished for going rogue. “If you can’t play alone, you’ll have to play with your little brothers and sisters,” Konstantin says — and sends her to England, where she’s assigned to work with assassins Diego and Nadia. (Of note: Nadia and Villanelle clearly have some, ahem, history together: romantically, but also professionally.) Their target is none other than Frank Haleton, Eve’s terrible former boss, who has been acting as a mole inside MI5. It’s a race: can Eve and her team save Frank before Villanelle and her team take him out? Frank flees into the English countryside, while tensions rise between the team of assassins. Diego is an idiot, Nadia is too easily manipulated, and in short order, Villanelle is once again working alone — just the way she likes it. Frank makes it to the safety of Eve’s car, but Villanelle is close behind. She raises her gun, and…
Episode 5: “I have a Thing About Bathrooms”
The full extent — and weirdness! — of Eve and Villanelle’s mutual obsession becomes fully obvious in the first scene of this episode, as Eve exits the car to meet cute with the crazy gun-toting serial killer. She holds out her hands. Villanelle makes eyes at her, then runs away… but shows up at Eve’s apartment later to chat. It’s a long, weird, intimate confrontation in which Villanelle (real name: Oksana) eats all Eve’s leftovers and steals her phone — which contains the location of the safe house where Frank is being kept. By the time MI6 can get there, it’s too late. Villanelle has killed Frank, and, uh…
“Just say it,” says Carolyn Martens.
“She chopped his knob off,” Eve says.
Episode 6: “Take Me to the Hotel”
For once, Villanelle has left a job undone: Nadia, her fellow assassin and ex-lover, is still alive and being held in a Russian prison. Konstantin sends Villanelle to finish Nadia off, but here’s where things get tricky: in addition to being a handler for the mysterious organization known as “The Twelve”, he’s also Russian intelligence and a friend of Carolyn Martens’. Soon, everyone converges on the prison: thanks to Konstantin, Carolyn and Eve are allowed an interview with Nadia. They offer her a deal in exchange for information, but Eve becomes suspicious of Carolyn’s connection with the Russians — and Villanelle kills Nadia before she can reveal the truth.
Episode 7: “I Don’t Want to Be Free”
Eve, now suspicious that Carolyn is a double agent, goes rogue in search of Anna, Villanelle’s former English teacher (the one whose husband Villanelle killed and castrated, in what would become her signature move.) Soon, it becomes clear that Villanelle had a mutually obsessive relationship with Anna — not unlike her relationship with Eve! Meanwhile, Villanelle is sprung from prison by The Twelve and set up with a new handler and a new target: Konstantin. She murders the new handler, then heads to Konstantin’s house to kill him, too, but he escapes. Eve, returning to the team’s makeshift Moscow headquarters, discovers footage of Villanelle from inside the prison where Nadia was murdered. She was in the visiting rooms with a surprise guest: Carolyn Martens. OH MY GOD.
Episode 8: “God, I’m Tired”
Villanelle kidnaps Konstantin’s daughter and arranges a trade: she hands over the kid, Konstantin and Eve give back the cash and passport Eve found in Anna’s apartment. Konstantin is shot and killed in the ensuing confrontation, and Eve is fired — but not deterred from pursuing Villanelle back to her apartment in Paris. There, the women confess their complicated feelings for each other. But just when it looks like they’ll finally hook up, Eve stabs Villanelle in the gut. Villanelle shoots at her, then vanishes, leaving Eve to begin the hunt anew in season 2.
Killing Eve season 2 premieres Sunday, April 7 at 8 p.m. on BBC America.