Killing Eve producer drops big hints about 'emotionally rocky' season 3
If you can’t be with the one you love… put a bullet in her back? That seems to be the philosophy of wildly unpredictable international assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer), who did not respond kindly to being rejected by Eve (Sandra Oh) when she asked the MI6 agent to throw their murderous rampage through Rome aside and run away with her to points unknown. At the end of the season 2 finale of BBC America spy thriller Killing Eve, Villanelle fired back at the person who had surprise-stabbed her at the end of the season 1 finale (“sorry, babe x”), and, well, these psychic and physical wounds continue to pile up. When season 3 resumes the action on Sunday at 9 p.m., viewers will find that Villanelle is alive and well in Barcelona, and that Eve is alive and, well, living somewhere as a cook, and that Carolyn (Fiona Shaw) will do battle with her daughter. Want more intel? Let’s interrogate Killing Eve executive producer Sally Woodward Gentile.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What's the very first thing that pops to your mind when you think of season 3?
SALLY WOODWARD GENTLE: When I think about season 3, I think about how much more we learn about all of our four main characters, Villanelle, Eve, Konstantin (Kim Bodnia), and Carolyn. We are going to be let in a lot more to them as individuals that we have been let in before.
What superlatives would you ascribe to season 3?
It’s the most personal season — and the most emotionally rocky season.
Villanelle is trying to gain control of her new life in Barcelona and move past what happened. What more can you say about where we find her — and Eve — six months later?
Both of them are completely rocked by what they mean to each other and also probably how potentially deluded they were about how they were perceived by each other. But also what you have with Villanelle at the end of season 2 is she's really been double-crossed by the Twelve. Konstantin has completely played her. Carolyn has completely played her. Probably the only one that hasn't played her is Eve. But also, she completely believes that the Eve is dead, and what do you do if you're completely rudderless and you’re Villanelle? Where do you turn to if you don't exist as a person — you've got no identity — because that's the only reason how you managed to be spirited out of Russia and do the job that you do? So she's got no way to make any money or to live. But she's also an incredibly bright woman who's very resourceful. And also just because she has a very different outlook on life and different way of behaving to other people doesn't mean that she's not constantly searching for something, and I think she's trying to define who she is. Now she’s lost the only family that she has, which she thought was the Twelve and Konstantin.
And then Eve, on the other hand, she allowed herself to be suckered by believing she was doing something good in roping in Villanelle to help her. And probably her ego was big enough that she believed that she could do that, because nobody can control Villanelle. So what has that done to her psyche? Where has it left her? A woman that had been led to believe that she was the brilliant human being that she was, as a younger person, failed miserably. That's where we leave the both of them — rocked and trying to work out what really defines them. Who they are.
Villanelle could have pumped more bullets into Eve if she truly wanted her dead. It seemed like perhaps she didn’t care; she was angry that that she didn’t want to run away with her, and she acted out like a petulant child and wanted to wound her, consequences be damned. What were her intentions there?
I think the intention at that moment she really did think, “Well, stuff you!” I think there was an emotional button that just slipped. I don't think it was that petulant. I think that she probably did mean to kill her. But if somebody will say to her later in the [season], “You really need to check closer if you're intending to kill somebody with a gun.” I mean, her track record of guns is not great. [Laughs] We can assume that that's not one of her greatest skills. She tried to shoot Frank Haleton [Darren Boyd]. I mean, admittedly she was shooting with her left hand, that didn't work. She tried to shoot Konstantin. That didn't work. She’s not great with a gun.
What's one word you would use to describe the vibe when Villanelle and Eve actually wind up back in the same room?
Konstantin hinted to Villanelle mentioned at the end of last season that she might have a family member or two that's still alive. How does that come into play this season? Will we learn more about Oxana?
We know very little about Oxana. We know what we have learned either from documents that Eve has unearthed, or from the very little that has been revealed by Konstantin. She also doesn't really know what happened to her family. She's only had it relayed to her by a third person. And I think that we know is that everybody has been lying to everybody else and it's all been about control and manipulation. That really hurt Villanelle’s ego, to discover that she wasn't in control at the end of season 2. People, including Konstantin, had withheld information from her and if there really are family members still alive, that’s quite a few people might have something over her. She doesn't like to have her ego wounded and that is really going to play on her, particularly if she's in a space where she is trying to define who she is now.
And where do we find Konstantin?
Well, his daughter, Irina [Yuli Lagodinsky] is not dead. He's also somebody who has been spinning a lot of different plates and we've seen him get away from near-death situations before. But at some point, surely everything’s going to catch up with him.
Eve quit MI6 after being manipulated by Carolyn, but she’s back in a room with her. What developments can viewers expect in that relationship?
Carolyn put her life at risk. She put her in a situation with another agent that became incredibly compromised, to say the least. She is probably responsible for the spiriting away of Hugo's body — or wounded Hugo. Are you ever going to trust Carolyn again? And yet, she's a woman who Eve aspired to be for so long and had, initially, enormous respect for her and then continued grudging respectful for. It’s a very complicated relationship. Was that by the book? What was [Carolyn] really up to? So I don't think they can help but be drawn back into each other a little bit because they'd been bonded — also Carolyn knows how obsessed Eve became with Villanelle and also how much she stepped over the line in a very dramatic way at the end of season 2.
Niko (Owen McDonnell) was left in a precarious position the last time we saw him.
What can you hint there?
He really doesn't have a good time. [Laughs] Poor, old Niko. Is he ever a match for Eve? Eve genuinely believes that he is. Maybe he realizes that he's not, and that she's not the woman that he married. Or maybe she is the woman that she married but he really didn’t see who she was. He's left in a really, really miserable place, but he's not dead. Miserable but not dead.
What cryptic clues can you drop about the mission that involves Villanelle and a mystery gentleman dressing up in clown outfits?
The question is, who is complicit and why are they complicit in her disguise? What are they up to with her?
Is this one of the best outfits of the season?
Well, she's always got amazing outfits. She's got other outfits, which are more subtle, but I think equally striking. And then she's got other outfits which are as unsubtle as that one. [Laughs] She also just looks amazing. You can't really put Jodie in anything without her looking pretty amazing. Even though she's sort of chameleonic, she always looks incredible. It's probably Villanenelle’s worst nightmare to go and have to interact in an empathetic and entertaining way to a bunch of overprivileged small people. So that’s quite fun to watch.
We also saw a picture of Eve chopping meat. Any context?
She's not going to go back to MI6. Niko, bless him, is in a poor way at the end of season 2. So, where does she look to turn up and to work? I suppose it's also about, to a degree, about family and belonging and identity. So it keeps that theme a little bit. She's a very, very bright woman who is good at whatever she decides to turn her hand to…. Is she cutting meat in that photograph or is she making dumplings?
It’s raw meat.
She’s also very, very good at making dumplings. And Sandra turns out to be incredibly good at making dumplings — and at butchering, actually.
Jodie mentioned that there are some really some cool twists and turns within the kills this year. Is the kill game elevated or a bit different this year?
I think they have more personal resonance this year. I'm trying to get through each kill in my head. I mean, there's one which I adore, which I think is probably the best kill we've ever done. They continue to be inventive, but you take Villanelle to extraordinary places emotionally in this season. What impact does that have on her kills? It's quite interesting to watch.
Can you leave us with a cryptic reference to your favorite kill?
Tiptoe through the tulips.
I’m sorry — one more time?
Tiptoe through the tulips. You said it had to be cryptic!