‘Killing Eve’ Season 2 Gets Off to a Relentlessly Suspenseful and Wickedly Clever Start

The first two episodes of Killing Eve Season 2 are full of compelling twists and wrinkles, but it's the sly feminism at the heart of the show's cat-and-mouse game that makes it all so infectiously fun.

The show's second season premiere—“Do You Know How to Dispose of a Dead Body?”— picks up a mere thirty seconds after the cliffhanger finale of Season 1. Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) has just stabbed the couture-clad assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer) in the stomach after sneaking into her “chic as s--t” Paris flat. Villanelle fires a pistol, sending Eve scuttling to the kitchen, yelping with remorse for having hurt the object of both her investigation and obsession. Eve returns to the bedroom to help Villanelle, only to find she's vanished.

Much of what happens in the premiere consists of pieces moving back into place, but it nevertheless makes for a lively hour. Eve returns to London, where she continues to trail Villanelle alongside MI6 hotshot Carolyn Martens (Fiona Shaw) and her son Kenny (Sean Delaney). Villanelle ends up in the hospital, hell-bent on getting to the U.K. to find Eve, who she now refers to as her “girlfriend.” The second episode, “Nice and Neat,” steps on the accelerator a little harder, finding a still-injured Villanelle in a serious case of stranger danger as Eve tackles a new case: the mysterious death of a London tech-industry scion.

KE_201 Eve Flees Villanelle's Apartment
The second season of "Killing Eve" picks up right where the Season 1 cliffhanger left off, with Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) fleeing Villanelle's (Jodie Comer) apartment after stabbing her in the stomach. BBC America

Eve's a wreck for days after leaving Villanelle's apartment. For all her fascination with female assassins, she would be a terrible one, and now she knows it. She somehow makes her way to the train station, where she scarfs about 20 euros worth of pick n' mix candy, snapping out of her thousand-yard stare only to glare furiously at a nearby kid who's watching her eat. She's later mistaken for a junkie at the bar, as she incessantly prods the palm of her hand with a ballpoint pen in a futile effort to calm her nerves.

These scenes showing Eve processing the fallout of her Paris trip rapidly move from the profound to the ridiculous and back again, making the second season premiere a perfect example of why Oh's work on Killing Eve has drawn such wide praise. She makes Eve's outlandish circumstances and jumbled emotions somehow relatable and easy to parse. Is Eve just attracted to Villanelle, or does Eve kinda-sorta want to be like Villanelle? Or both? Did she stab Villanelle for revenge, or approval? None of that's entirely clear yet—to Eve or to us—but watching all the possibilities flit across Oh's face is alternately laugh-out-loud funny and fascinating, particularly in the episode's quieter moments.

KE_201 Eve security Gare du Nord
In the second season premiere of "Killing Eve," Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) realizes she has a bloody knife in her pocket just before passing through the security checkpoint at the Gare du Nord rail station in Paris. BBC America

Villanelle starts off this new arc just as we remember her from the last one: cool in every sense of the word. Despite her injury, she evades the killers sent to her apartment by her former employers, a shadowy cabal known as The Twelve. She then steals a bottle of booze from a dozing wino to santize her wound before making her way to the hospital. It doesn't quite go according to plan, and by the second episode, Eve and Villanelle seem to have reversed roles from when the show began. Now it's Villanelle's turn to be the one out of her element and making all the wrong moves. (She's even forced to wear Crocs—how the mighty have fallen!) Meanwhile, Eve's become more poised as an investigator, confidently striding alongside Carolyn as they tackle a new case, rather than awkwardly jabbering in her wake as she once did.

Even as they move in different directions, there's at least one thing Eve and Villanelle have in common: a knack for playing innocent and tweaking gendered expectations to get away with things they probably shouldn't. One of the most memorable examples of this in Season 1 came when Villanelle got past a cringing security guard by brandishing a tampon, then murdered a woman in the bathroom. Season 2 opens with a wild loo moment of its own, when Eve ditches her shoes and bag at the security checkpoint at Gare du Nord, realizing she still has the bloody switchblade in her pocket. She races to the toilets and chucks the knife in the feminine hygene disposal bin. Returning to security in a flurry of flustered apologies, she tells the unimpressed security guy she ate “a bad oyster.” He glares at her, but lets her pass without so much as a patdown. While Killing Eve's fondness for thumbing its nose at feminine stereotypes lets its characters move in unexpected directions, it wisely avoids relying on this trick as the solution to every problem, as in “Nice and Neat,” where Villanelle finds herself in a very creepy situation after she picks the wrong target for her womanly wiles.

KE_201 Villanelle in hospital PJs
Villanelle (Jodie Comer) has to borrow some clothes from her new friend in the hospital in the Season 2 premiere of "Killing Eve." New episodes come to BBC America and AMC at 8 p.m. on April 7. BBC America

Killing Eve kicked off its inaugural season as an intriguing riff on some of the greats of the spy genre—Eve a rumpled paper-pusher in the vein of John LeCarre's George Smiley, Villanelle a cunning charmer who wouldn't be out of place across from James Bond at a baccarat table. But the show has since evolved into something wholly its own, in large part due to stellar writing and the consistently impeccable performances of Oh, Comer and Shaw. How will Eve and Villanelle's paths cross next? We can't wait to find out.

Killing Eve Season 2 airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on BBC America and AMC, beginning April 7.