There are many reasons to love Kill Eva: heart-pounding action, razor-sharp writing, stunning fashion, the incomparable treasure that Sandra Oh is. I personally watch Kill Eva for his nuanced and in-depth study of weirdness.
The series revolves around the rise of a highly skilled – and highly unstable – assassin named Villanelle and MI6 agent Eve Polastri who is looking for her. As the show progressed, the relationship between Villanelle and Eva changed from a chase relationship to a much more interesting, obsessive one.
At first, I was concerned that the hints of weirdness that I saw in season one were just another form of queerbaiting. For those who don't know, queer baiting is when TV shows, films, or books suggest that characters are gay to cast a spell on LGBTQ + fans, but never take a full stand or do the actual representation work.
But the longer I watched Kill Eva (and then watched and watched again), the more I was convinced that the weirdness that I saw on the show went beyond the terrifying relationship between Eve and Villanelle and was a fundamental part of the show itself.
"The story of the seemingly heterosexual woman who falls in love with a strange woman is as old as time and it is refreshing to see her on TV."
Throughout the series, the show raises questions – and occasionally answers – to some very real strange concerns. How do you present yourself, for example, in an authentic and safe way in the world? Sometimes it can be dangerous or at least tiring to go against the grain when it comes to clothing or presentation.
This idea of masking or passing is best represented by Villanelle, who quickly changes from invisible to eye-catching. This is particularly evident in her shocking, head-turning, eyebrow-cloakroom. Her clothing style jumps from hyper-male to hyper-female to indefinable, and the same goes for her gender representation. Although Villanelle uses her / her pronouns throughout the show, in a way she represents the epitome of non-binary. . . minus all killing and psychopathy.
But Kill Eva does not end with one form of representation: it examines many types of weirdness. There's Villanelle's exaggerated, breathtaking display, but there's also Eve Polastri's repressed, buttoned (literally) more attributable version.
In the first two seasons we get to know and love Eva for her joke, her humanity and her humor. And during that time Eva was married to a man. However, as the seasons go by, we find that Eva is obsessed with more than just Villanelle and has trouble getting used to this attraction. Already in the third episode of the first season, we see how Eve begins to question her sexuality. Coming out can take years, sometimes a lifetime, and see how a character begins to understand its attraction to someone he never thought would appeal to me to the core.
The issues of weirdness and questions are formulated by the figure Bill bald. "I just fall in love with someone I fall in love with," says Bill before asking Eve the question. "Have you ever been interested in women?"
The story of the seemingly heterosexual woman who falls in love with a strange woman is as old as time and it is refreshing to see her portrayed on TV. The truth is that sexuality is variable and can change over the course of a person's life.
In the course of the second season Kill Eva continues to raise questions that I think are very strange, including the question "what is sex?" In season two, episode seven, Eve and Villanelle share an intense scene. Eve has sex with her colleague while she listens to Villanelle masturbating. When watching this scene, the audience can ask: Whoa. Did you just have sex?
In queer relationships, the question "What is sex?" it's not always easy. It is based more than anything on communication and mutual meaning-building. The same applies to Eve and Villanelle in their complicated and extremely strange relationship.
"There is often a misunderstanding that queer relationships act as a kind of utopia. Since both (all) partners are not straight, the relationship is completely the same."
Finally – yes, I promise to come to a conclusion – I count Kill Eva as an actual representation because it plunges into the darker side of queer relationships: the presence of power dynamics and the potential for abuse. There is often a misunderstanding that queer relationships act as a kind of utopia, so that since both (all) partners are not straight, the relationship is completely the same. Of course, this is not true. All sorts of factors can lead to power imbalance within a relationship: ability, internalized homophobia, fatphobia, age, height and weight, race, socioeconomic status, cis-ness, and more. Unfortunately, queer relationships are not immune to abuse, gas light and harassment patterns.
The relationship between Eve and Villanelle shows this all too clearly: whether in Eva's violent stabbing of Villanelle at the end of the first season or in Villanelles MANY harassments that culminate in her manipulation and attempted murder at the end of the second season.
But that's exactly why I like to watch Kill Eva: It is not an ideal strange relationship, but an exaggerated version of a real relationship filled with all the questions, confusion, treachery and instability that so many of us have to deal with in our daily lives. It offers a dramatic stage on which I can observe my own questions and fears. If that's not the point of fiction, I don't know what it is.
With the explosive premiere of season three (which included a gay wedding and Jodie Comer rocked a great suit), I can't wait to see what new and exciting questions will be raised in the future.