At the end of Killing Eve’s first season, Eve made quite an impression on Villanelle — and into Villanelle — by plunging a knife into her stomach while the two lay in bed together, intelligence officer and assassin in an uneasy and unholy alliance. Villanelle (Jodie Comer) ultimately fled the scene with a serious injury, leaving Eve (Sandra Oh) with WTF PTSD, and viewers with oodles of questions. Now, after nearly a yearlong wait, answers begin to arrive in the form of the eight-episode season 2 of BBC America’s critically beloved spy thriller, which debuts on Sunday.
The most pressing mystery to be answered involves the whereabouts of the wild, wounded Villanelle. “Where is she?” says Oh. “Never far.” Teases Comer: “Closer than you think.”
Killing Eve made a killing in the curiosity department by staging a highly cunning and stunning cat-and-mouse game in season 1. A weighty question hanging over the show is one of balance: Keeping these two characters separated builds anticipation toward another) showdown, but it can lead to frustration from impatient fans eager for them to share the screen. So, what kind of balance will season 2 strike?
“Well, you’re going to see them together,” Oh tells EW with a chuckle. “You’re going to see them together, eventually, because that’s a big part of the show. You’ll see them try to be together — and I’m going to leave that as open as possible. And you’re going to see how they try to control their own dynamic, which may be successful or may not be successful. You’re going to see that throughout the whole series.”
Villanelle’s reaction to Eve’s blade is the catalyst for where this thrill ride/kill ride will zag next. “What is fascinating and what is explored is… what that action created between them — whether it’s what the audience expects it to be or isn’t,” Comer tells EW. “That ignites something.”
They foster mutual fascination, and each of them carries perhaps an idealized version of the other, but what happens when reality enters the fray? Do they understand each other as well as they think they might — and how will that impact their actions? Oh answers with a question of her own before thinking globally. “I’ll ask you: Have you ever had a bad relationship you couldn’t leave?” says Oh. “That is just the whole answer for the whole show. It’s also the fertile ground of great romance. Just exciting storytelling. What you’re talking about everyone is trying to figure out within their own personal relationships — and we can go bigger into the geo-political: How do we be together? What I’d like to think that the reason why they’re so drawn to each other is that ultimately they want consciously — or I think, mostly unconsciously — they want to grow.”
Villanelle’s greatest obstacle for growth — besides, you know, the act of murder, over and over and over — is herself. “She sees something within Eve that she is desperate for, but the person who she is gets in the way of that,” explains Comer. “What I think — as well with what happens at the end of [season 1] — her emotions are something we explore. If she has any or what. I feel like there’s moments where you think you know her and she has some humanity and then you go, ‘Oh no, we really don’t.’ But there is something that she’s finding within herself because of the connection she’s made with Eve, that Eve ignites in her but I don’t think she can quite grasp it. She’s unsure of what’s going on within her mind and her feelings.”
That journey of discovery will surely leave behind a trail of bodies. Last season featured Villanelle offing her victims in all sorts of clever ways — an S&M encounter gone horribly wrong; a lethal sniff of perfume — and this season promises some colorful kills as well. “That stays true to the style and the personality,” says Oh. “How she decides to do the deed is very character-based.”
“She thinks of herself as an artist,” furthers Comer. “She knows that she’s good, but she wants to be impressive, she cares about what she does, and she has attention to detail. It’s not something that she takes lightly. It’s something that she’s passionate and serious about, and she’s a showoff. She wants to show off.”
And the clues that she leaves behind are coded and loaded. “She wants Eve to find her,” says Oh, “and the way that she kills, it’s a clue, but not only is it a clue, it’s like, ‘I’m sending you this gift! I’m thinking about you, babe!’ And that’s absolutely how Eve takes it.”
Your first of eight gifts arrives Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on BBC America and AMC.