“Honestly,” says Eve, “it feels like I’m losing my mind a little bit.”
And girl, same. The mindblowing arrival on the scene of a somehow-not-dead Konstantin in the last moments of last week’s Killing Eve is where we start off this episode, as Eve (and we, the audience) try to wrap our heads around his miraculous survival. For a guy who was shot quite seriously, quite recently, he looks no different at all.
Konstantin has been placed in witness protection, his family sent to a safe house in an unknown location. This is the price he paid for his (over)involvement with Villanelle, a lesson he tries to impart to Eve. She’s like that children’s book, he says, the one about a worm that eats everything. Eve is incredulous.
“The Very Hungry Caterpillar?”
That’s the one! And we have our title! But Konstantin isn’t kidding: the emptiness inside Villanelle is a black hole that will swallow everything, especially the people who earn her weird, destructive brand of affection. He encourages Eve not to cultivate it, to encourage its opposite instead: “Hate is something she understands. It’s manageable.”
But will Villanelle let go? She’s in London now, for another hit — this one a man named Greg Richardson. She strangles him with his own necktie by trapping it in an elevator door (insert obligatory Thank-God-It-Wasn’t-Casual-Friday joke here), then meets up with new handler Raymond at her new hotel, which is far less swank (and far more covered in the semen of strangers) than her old digs. Raymond tells Villanelle to stay in her room.
She doesn’t, though. She has shopping to do! Calls to make! And glitter pasta necklaces to craft, because Greg Richardson isn’t her only target.
Poor Niko, you guys. First, he gets served an omelet in bed when he would have much preferred to scramble his wife’s eggs (if you know what I’m saying); then, Eve forgets about the cocktail party at the school where he teaches for the third year in a row. And because Eve has inexplicably continued not to tell him that he might be in danger, when she spots an ominous apple on the desk in his classroom, her (over?) reaction causes him to accuse Eve of making everything about her. Which, in fairness, she kind of is, and when Niko tells her to go home and returns to the party with the co-worker who’s obviously and openly thirsting for him, Eve has no one to blame but herself. (Well, okay, and Villanelle, who has been flitting around the party in her pasta necklace, sowing discord like a hippie Iago— but she’s a psychopath.)
Meanwhile, the MI6 team has been confused by Villanelle’s latest murder, which is far less flashy than her usual fare but still a bit too weird to be the Ghost. A lipstick surreptitiously dropped by Villanelle in Eve’s purse helps her make the connection: it’s a deep red shade called “Love in an elevator.” It also leads to a disturbing realization: Villanelle was right behind Eve! Like, Joe-Biden-hair-smelling distance! And she had no idea!
Knowing Villanelle must still be in London sends Eve into a panic, and as per usual, she goes rogue. Her plan involves leaning on Konstantin to learn where Villanelle might be hiding, but she needs leverage in the form of information to trade: she wants to know where Konstantin’s family is, and orders Kenny to hack the MI6 database to figure it out. But Kenny says no, and the most terrible thing happens: Eve scolds and yells at Kenny, in the most gratuitous act of indecency this show about a serial killer has ever seen. (Sidenote: Can we get a content warning on this stuff the next time? Murder is one thing, but this is too much, like watching someone abuse a puppy.)
Armed with her ill-gotten info, Eve makes a deal with Konstantin. But Konstantin, quite the rogue himself, is playing both sides. He beats the MI6 team to Villanelle’s hotel, where their reunion is fabulously weird: she runs at him with a knife raised high, and he braces himself for a stabbing that turns out to be (aww) a hug. With little time to waste, he offers Villanelle a deal: a new career as a freelance assassin, with him as her handler. By the time Eve shows up, and senses Villanelle’s presence behind a closed door in the hotel hallway, both Villanelle and Konstantin have flown the coop. To sum up: Eve went behind Carolyn Martens’ back, alienated her husband (again), and abused poor, blameless Kenny, and achieved jack squat. Her punishment is to abandon the hunt for Villanelle entirely and focus instead on Alistair Peele and the mysterious new assassin on the scene.
Will Eve give up? It’s possible; she doesn’t even seem to know why or what she’s chasing at this point. But Villanelle isn’t the kind of girl you love and then leave, as Eve discovers when she starts to apply that deep red lipstick and finds herself tasting blood. Buried in the tube, perfectly positioned to cut on the first swipe, is a razor-sharp blade. Is it a parting gift, like the stab wound in Villanelle’s side? Or is it just one cut, in what’ll ultimately be a death by a thousand?