It’s been a long, cold winter without our favorite depraved duo, but the wait for Killing Eve season two is nearly over.
In anticipation of the series’ next chapter, which returns April 7, EW spent two days on set in London. While our hair is full of secrets, there are a few good tidbits that we’ve been allowed to share, much of it courtesy of series producer Elinor Day. She filled us in on at least a little of what to expect from season two — including dead tech moguls, new MI6 mysteries, and a collaboration that’s been a long time coming.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What can you tell me without having to kill me?
ELINOR DAY: [Laughs] Well, I suppose the big difference is that while series one was very much a cat-and-mouse chase, in series two we’re really exploring different facets of the relationship between Eve and Villanelle. And so — I’m so aware of not giving spoilers! — there’s quite a different dynamic this time, obviously, because of everything that happened with the stabbing in the [season 1 finale], which we do pick up from immediately in terms of time.
It’s really interesting…one of the things we learned in our research is that with psychopaths and narcissists, anything that happens to them, they tend to see it as evidence that the person who did it to them is obsessed with them. So in some ways, Villanelle sees the stabbing as a really good thing — an affirmation of Eve’s obsession or indeed love for her. And because these two women are very much circling each other for the first half of the series, you have a kind of push-me, pull-you of how they’re coming back toward each other — what signals they are giving each other and how the other one is playing with those signals, that they’re not immediately answering them, and that it kind of drives them both mad.
How much circling are we talking about?
Well, one of the big new ingredients in this series is that there’s a new case with new principal characters of this family who are called the Peels, Aaron and Amber Peel. And at the very beginning of the season, along with the repercussions of the stabbing, a murder has occurred of a man who has developed and owns this extraordinary data tech company.
Eve has her professional life where she’s constantly saying “I can manage her, I can handle her, I’m in control,” and yet we the audience know and we see behind the scenes with her personal life that she is wanting to bring Villanelle in totally for her own reasons. So it’s actually a really dangerous game she’s playing, and she’s not telling the truth to anyone — herself, [her MI6 boss] Caroline, Nico her husband, anyone.
Are you still following novelist Luke Jennings’ source material this season plot-wise?
We’re not following it at all anymore because all those storylines were used up relatively early, and because the tone is so different. They’ve been wonderful as this starting point and inspiration and, obviously, they supplied Villanelle all her background, and Eve — who was originally an Englishwoman, so already that character’s been changed quite significantly.
So it’s not like Game of Thrones‘ staff waiting for George R.R. Martin to turn in his pages.
[Laughs] Absolutely not. Luke is very much a part of the process and he comes to all the read-throughs — he reads the drafts when they’re ready so he knows what we’re doing and he gives it his full blessing, but that doesn’t actually affect what he then goes on to write. Because by now the tone of the show has become so precise to itself, particularly with the slightly anarchic comedy and the extent to which these two women are kind of rocking it.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge seemed so responsible for the tone of the show, with the way she shaped the characters as a writer and producer. Now that she’s moved on, what will her replacement Emerald Fennell bring?
Emerald wasn’t on the first series at all, but she’s been writing for a long time and also she’s very good friends with Phoebe, and there’s no doubt it’s got all the same humor. But Emerald is also her own person, so she definitely hasn’t tried to do an imitation of Phoebe, because that would be really limiting and might become a pastiche.
Why is it that Eve is so convinced that she alone understands and can “fix” Villanelle, or at least crack her?
We took advice from a criminal psychologist who was fascinating. He said the mistake everyone makes is, you meet a psychopath and you think they’re a person so you add traits on to them — selfish or violent or whatever. But that’s completely the wrong way to look at it. He says you have to take it all away because they’re not quite fully human. They’re missing empathy, they’re missing all these things which we take for granted, and the danger is you think “I can heal them! I can cure them!” It’s like having a lion, a wild animal in your sitting room. You can tame it for a little bit, you can keep a psychopath interested and feed them treats, but they will eat you eventually. [Laughs]
And, of course, the really fascinating thing which has always been at the heart of the show is that Eve is not listening to any of that, because it’s always been at least in part an exploration of herself that Villanelle brings out in her, this dark side that she’s kept latent.
In the first series, there’s this moment where she keeps a letter opener on her desk, and she stabs her leg a little bit just to see what that feels like. And, in a way, that’s almost like the start of something, which we take all the way through here — that she can’t give up on what it means to break all the boundaries, to allow herself to live out some of her darker thoughts and fantasies and just to go towards that energy. In a way, that’s the whole point of the show. You’ve got one [character] who’s always doing the wrong thing, and Eve who’s starting to flirt with it, and unless we continue to like them, we haven’t got a show. And I think we walk that line in a good way.