'Killing Eve' Season 2: What's Carolyn Martens' Connection to The Twelve?

The former head of the MI6 Russia desk—and an impeccably sharp dresser—Carolyn Martens is Eve Polastri's boss in the off-the-books investigation of the assassin Villanelle in Killing Eve. Toward the end of Season 1, it became clear that her interest in The Twelve was not quite as adversarial as she made it seem.

Is Carolyn working with The Twelve? How does her warm relationship with Konstantin and the Russians factor in? Those answers still aren't entirely clear, but here's a recap of everything the show's told us so far. (Be warned, spoilers ahead through the second episode of Killing Eve Season 2.)

killing eve carolyn the twelve konstantin
Can Eve trust Carolyn Martens? Is she working for The Twelve, or against them? Parisa Taghizadeh / BBC America

Wait... who are The Twelve, again?

In the world of Killing Eve, The Twelve are a shadowy international organization that employs assassins, including Villanelle. They're first mentioned in the fifth episode of Season 1, "I Have a Thing About Bathrooms." When Eve and Carolyn take MI6 mole Frank to a safe house, he tells them he is being paid by The Twelve. They offered to pay for his (late) wife's cancer treatments and his children's school fees.

"They're interested in the big picture," Frank says, adding that he assumed they were standard Russian government agents in search of "a little inside gossip… they just wanted to know everything and anything."

Frank also offers some unique insights into Villanelle's role in everything: "There is a sequence, a pattern to these kills… they're destabilizing from the ground up" in order to create chaos.

Later on in that episode, Villanelle breaks into Eve's house, and they briefly talk about The Twelve. "Do you know who you work for?" Villanelle asks. "If you went high enough, I think you'll find we work for the same people," she says cryptically. (It's tempting to see this as a reference to Carolyn, but at this point there's not enough evidence to jump to that conclusion.)

killing eve carolyn moscow
BBC AMERICA/Sid Gentle Films Ltd 201

What are Carolyn Martens' links to Russia, Konstantin and The Twelve?

Carolyn has worked for MI6 since the 1970s, when she was a field agent in Moscow. Judging from her warm relationships with her old Cold War buddies, Vladimir and Konstantin (AKA Villanelle's handler who reports to The Twelve), she had a pretty swell time out there. It's all a bit too chummy for Eve's liking, and she's immediately—and rightfully—suspicious of her boss.

During their highly memorable trip to Moscow, Eve asks Carolyn what The Twelve might be after. Carolyn either doesn't know or feigns ignorance while doing her makeup in the taxi, responding with, "We're certainly rolling up to something. I can feel it in my buttocks." She's obviously more excited by the prospect than anything else, and Eve's just confused by it all.

Later, we learn Carolyn was romantically involved with both Vlad and Konstantin at different times. In fact, Konstantin and Carolyn joined forces to pin some short of shady plutonium deal on Vlad, way back in the day. Poor Kenny, Carolyn's son, even discovers a box of love letters his mom exchanged with Konstantin. (Maybe old Konnie is Kenny's real dad? But probably not.) Anyway, the thing that gets Eve fired—temporarily, anyway—is giving Carolyn's love letters to Vlad. Is Carolyn merely mad to have lost out on a well-placed source, or is there more to it?

killing eve season 2 the twelve strangle
Working for an international assassin ring sounds glamorous and all, but it really has its downsides. Nick Wall / BBC America

What's the role of The Twelve in Killing Eve Season 2?

In the Season 2 premiere, Eve confronts Carolyn about The Twelve and Konstantin. Carolyn cooly responds by asking Eve what happened between her and Villanelle in Paris. Neither wants to answer those questions directly, so it's an "agree to disagree" kind of moment.

Clearly Carolyn still has something to hide that's at odds with her clandestine MI6 work. What's more, we don't really know how much oversight MI6 has over Carolyn at this point. She might have gone rogue and we have no way of knowing yet.

Last week's episode of Killing Eve, "Nice and Neat," brought The Twelve back into the fray. When Villanelle is stuck at Julian's house, she manages to get hold of the phone during a moment alone, calling her emergency contact with the organization. "It's Cher Horowitz. I failed my driving test," she tells the mysterious gent on the other end of the line. (It's a reference to the 90s high-school romcom classic, Clueless, and presumably a code phrase for "get me out of here!")

Once Villanelle does away with Creepy Julian, she sees an older red Volvo station wagon flashing its headlights at her. Despite the festering wound in her side, her expression suggests she's reluctant to get in the car -- and for good reason. When she clambers into the passenger side, she meets Raymond, her new handler (like Konstantin in Season 1). He's none too happy that Villanelle contacted them on an unsecured line, and informs her that she--just like Eve in last week's episode--is officially un-fired. When she refuses to play along, Raymond chokes her, telling her she'll be on "a very tight leash" from now on.

The final scene of "Nice and Neat" is also a bit of a jawdropper. Turns out Konstantin—presumed dead after being shot by Villanelle in the Season 1 finale—is still alive and chilling out on the sofa in Carolyn's posh London couch. So The Twelve used to employ Konstantin, then tried to have him killed. Did Carolyn know? Either way, it's clear the pair are still close.

killing eve konstantin alive
Turns out Konstantin is still alive -- but who's he working for? Can Eve truly trust him or Carolyn? Nick Wall / BBC America

It's clear by the end of "Nice and Neat" that Twelve are still active. But who is their next target? Will Villanelle defect? Are The Twelve giving orders to the Villanelle copycat who's been active recently in London? Is Konstantin working for the Brits now? Here's hoping the third episode of the season, "The Hungry Caterpillar," serves up some juicy revelations.

Killing Eve airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on BBC America and AMC.

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