Villanelle and Carolyn collaborate in Cuba.
Courtesy AMC/BBC America.

The first three episode of Killing Eve this season have been (to put it kindly) a slow burn. But this week, things are heating up. Gird your loins, everyone, for severed body parts, a trip to Havana, and a new assassin on the scene: this is "It's Agony and I'm Ravenous." 

We open with Eve (Sandra Oh) and Helene (Camille Cottin), not in collaboration, but in competition: a not-so-friendly race to see which of the women can locate wayward member of The Twelve Lars Meier first. To each her own: Eve, who is a spy at heart, leverages Yusuf's (Robert Gilbert) investigative skills to track down a recent photograph of the elusive Lars, which then leads her down a rabbit hole into the archives of a Parisian photographer who used to take pictures of young Cold War revolutionaries.

Helene, on the other hand, just springs Villanelle (Jodie Comer) from prison and gives her a "personal" assignment.

Kim Bodnia as Konstantin - Killing Eve _ Season 4, Episode 4
Credit: Anika Molnar/BBCA

Villanelle's plotline is the meat of this episode, so before we follow her to her next murder-for-hire, let's check in with Konstantin (Kim Bodnia) and his newest assassin trainee. Pam (Anjana Vasan), who fast-tracked her career path by impulsively offing her brother last week, has traveled to Brighton with Konstantin to begin learning the ropes. But when he gives her an initial assignment — to push a random woman off the pier and into the sea — she balks.

"She hasn't done anything," Pam says, and then goes catatonic when Konstantin tries to pressure her. It's unnerving. On the one hand, yes, all of the women Helene recruits as assassins are slightly off  (we've all met Villanelle!); on the other hand, Pam really does seem like she's a whole other level of weird.      

Meanwhile, Carolyn (Fiona Shaw) has arrived in Havana, where the Russian agent who had his toes severed and shoved up his nose has been transferred to a safe house for interrogation. (His feet are heavily bandaged, but the condition of his face suggests that this man's little piggies all went up his nose, whether there was room for them there or not.) Carolyn makes one abortive attempt to interrogate the man, but things really go sideways when she steps outside and is immediately kidnapped by Villanelle.

A personal assignment, indeed!

To be honest, I really thought for a moment that this was going to be how it ended for Carolyn: clubbed to death with a wrench by an impeccably beach-chic assassin. But either Villanelle's heart wasn't in this one, or she was too intrigued to kill Carolyn after the woman told her that they had met a long time ago, back when Villanelle was a child. The story she tells involves a young Villanelle taking revenge on a girl who wronged her by cutting off circulation to one of her fingers while she slept, so that it turned black and had to be amputated. Is it true? Who knows: what's important is that Carolyn gives Villanelle what neither religion nor therapy could deliver.

"Why waste your time being good, when you could just be good at what you're good at?" she asks.

It's just a fun coincidence, of course, that Villanelle is very good at interrogating recalcitrant men who have information Carolyn wants. Within the hour, Carolyn has her answers, and Villanelle has a sense of purpose … and a few more severed fingers for her collection. 

Anjana Vasan as Pam, Kim Bodnia as Konstantin - Killing Eve _ Season 4, Episode 4
Credit: Anika Molnar/BBCA

It's tempting to imagine that this might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship for Carolyn and Villanelle, but only if you ignore that this entire show is (among other things) one big cautionary tale about trying to play svengali to a psychopath. And in case you hadn't gotten that message the first hundred times, here comes the Pam plotline to remind you once again. Back in Brighton, the assassin-in-training spends her afternoon at the seaside carnival — and then calls Konstantin to say she's been mugged. She hasn't, of course; this is just how she gets him to wait for her at the sea wall, where she runs up and pushes him in. When he emerges, he's laughing, but she gives him a warning: "Don't underestimate me."

And yet, even if this Carolyn-Villanelle thing is already doomed to end badly, it's still a great vibe while it's going on. The two women head to a restaurant where the now-deceased Toes-in-Nose Guy told them they'd find Lars Meier, where they play truth or dare until their man makes an appearance. When he does turn up — looking quite fabulous in a salmon-colored suit — Carolyn does a double take.

"I thought you were dead," she says. Carolyn knows this man! Which is to say, she knows him the same way she knows every attractive male former spy of a certain age: biblically. 

Unfortunately, Lars makes a run for it and escapes before Villanelle can catch him. (On the bright side, maybe this means the show — and more importantly, its costume department — will stay in Havana for another week.) And at least for now, the collaboration between Carolyn and Villanelle will continue.

As will this thing, whatever it is, between Eve and Helene. In the final moments of this episode, Eve finds herself at Helene's house once again. And once again, we're left to wonder: what is going on here? An attraction? A seduction? A midlife crisis? An offbeat form of sexual LARPing? It's supposed to be sexy, clearly — but as with so many Killing Eve setups, this one ramps up the sexual tension to eleven but then slams on the brakes well short of any actual sex. (In this case, it starts with Eve shaving Helene's legs while she luxuriates in the bathtub, and ends with the two of them eating soup after they discover that the tub isn't big enough to accommodate both of them.) This time, Helene and Eve debate which one of them is getting off on all this intrigue. 

"You love this, don't you," Eve says. "It delights you."

"I think it delights you," Helene says.

But nobody looks delighted! Mostly, everyone looks confused. And when Eve kisses Helene, twice, deeply, on the lips, nothing is cleared up. Is this all just strictly business? Is there even a little bit of pleasure mixed in? Maybe next week, we'll get some clarity. For now, all that's left is to roll the credits.

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