Mentoring Authors One Scene at a Time – Thriller/Military/Non-Fiction/SF/Fantasy
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Recap of Episode 1: “Nice Face”
Summary of Episode 2: “I’ll Deal with him Later”
This week we will discuss the 5 Commandments of episode 2 of Amazon Prime’s Killing Eve.
When Eve is fired, her computer files are scrubbed and Carolyn discovers that Eve has independently been putting together a file about assassinations conducted by women killers. As Carolyn asks Eve about those files, Eve tells her she used to study criminal psychology and she’s just a fan of those kinds of women, and that’s something that makes Eve such a great and truthful character. Confronted with the question of why Eve says that this new female assassin has style and is not slowing down and that’s what interested Eve.
Speech in Praise of the villain – end of the last episode:
“We think she has been operating for 2 years, highly skilled, across ten countries, and she is starting to show off”.
“She’s outsmarted the smartest of us all, and that’s why she deserves to kill whoever the hell she wants to as long as she’s not killing me”.
The Inciting Incident happens when Carolyn offers Eve a job, because she is just perfect for leading a secret task force dedicated to finding the unknown assassin. Eve is perfect because she is deniable.
The difference in power is evident here as well, because Eve is very inexperienced and has very small assets to bring to play, and Eve is like the perfect assassin with a lot of experience and training, as well as assets from her higher bosses.
This is a Causal Inciting Incident due to the fact that the character Carolyn offers Eve the job.
This inciting incident is really powerful because the viewer has already seen the abilities of the Assassin and the instincts of Eve and they are anticipating a confrontation between the two. This incident places Eve on the direct path to hunt down Villanelle.
Eve is offered the job
Melanie and Parul:
The Turning Point of this episode is when Bill tells Eve that she has no evidence for any of her theories which causes her to think outside the box and wonder about the CCTV from the Vienna assassination. This is Revelation Turning Point as it’s a piece of information that Eve remembers while in the bathroom.
The Turning Point might be when Bill questions Eve, making her question herself.
The Crisis Question which occurs early in the episode is whether she will take the job or not. Unfortunately, there really is no question or debate by Eve whether she will take the job, so it’s not presented as a real Crisis Question.
Parul and Melanie:
The Crisis Question whether she is the right person for this job
Eve accepts the job
Parul and Melanie:
Eve decides she is the right person
Eve takes charge and starts making decisions, leading the team.
Parul and Melanie:
Eve realizes that she might have met the assassin already
The episode begins when Eve is hired in her dream job to track down a female assassin. By the end, the task force is analyzing information, gathering intelligence, and Eve thinks that she may have met the assassin before the hospital killings.
In this episode, yes we have more tension and more assassinations. But if you go deeper, holy crap, it’s more than that. We have interesting innovations in the genre. We have an assassin dressed in a pretty pink dress looking like a naughty girl on a couch while being interviewed by Constantin and his psychologist. Constantin says that his people (these master villains) are worried that she is not fit for the job because she messed up the last one – it didn’t look like a suicide, it looked like an outright massacre. When they interview her they ask “Do you wonder about the people who hire you?” To which she replies, ‘I respect their privacy”. “Have you been feeling stressed recently?” and she replies, “I had a heavy period last week, but other than that, I’m Okay.” It is hilarious and terrifying in equal measure. They show her a photo of a man being hanged and a dog being hanged, trying to get a reaction and she pretends to cry but the cry turns into a crazy laugh. Then they show her a picture that she drew and ask if she still has dreams of Anna, and damn she is rattled but recovers though we see a chink in her armor – Love is her kryptonite. Eve doesn’t see this but we, the audience see that this woman is highly unstable. And despite being told to go have a normal life, she can’t help herself, she likes to be productive and kills the target. These killings once discovered will add pressure to Eve – every death reveals Eve’s failure to capture Villanelle. The tension rises at the end when we discover Villanelle’s reaction to Eve’s photo. It looks like this is getting personal.
We could say when Carolyn meets in the inciting incident scene with Eve and Eve tells Carolyn that this female assassin outsmarts everyone and since she deserves to kill whoever she wants, that this is a speech in praise of the villain, but it also shows how much Eve is intrigued by that one particular female assassin. And like in a love story, Eve does not want to get hurt. So she tells Carolyn, as long as the killer is not killing Eve, she doesn’t care anymore. She tries to pretend it at least. But we can tell by every word that Eve says, that she cares a lot. Throughout that episode, Eve is pursuing her theory that she is right, that there is a female killer. And since Eve does not find the picture of the nurse she met in the bathroom in the employment files, she realizes she has already met the killer.
For the love story, we had the obligatory lover’s meet scene in the first episode, but only at the end of episode two, we find out how both women react to the realization that they are each other’s hunt and prey. They remember the bathroom – there was chemistry in the hospital bathroom, and now they know, they will see each other again. Somehow, it’s inevitable.
The shock on Villanelle’s face when she sees Eve’s picture and Eve’s reaction when she realizes she’s met Eve – it’s like the aftershock of having a great kiss or being a daze about someone. I just love how the director combined that wind orchestra music together with the switching moments of how each one of those two clever women comes to understand they have already met but didn’t know who the other one was. There was chemistry in the hospital bathroom, and now they know, they will see each other again. Somehow, it’s inevitable.
In this episode, we see Eve come into her own. She is hired to lead a task force to search for Villanelle. She is now her former boss’s boss. She takes charge and gives direction to her team, and even has to soothe Frank’s ruffled feathers since he is no longer the boss. Eve has never led anything like this before, but she takes to it like a champ. This is her gift. Eve is a leader. This is where she has always imagined herself.
I can’t believe how ill-prepared Eve is for her job. And how badass Villanelle is. Can you think of other shows that have protagonists that at first just don’t seem like the right person for the job?
Randall: Citizen X, Spies like Us
Melanie: Depends on how you define the job. By being the fool who has to do it because no one else wants to or seems fit – like being expendable. Or by their experience or motivation. Looking at Silence of the Lambs, it’s Clarice Starling. No seasoned detective but an FBI trainee. Or Rick Castle in the television series called Castle. He’s a writer who is allowed to join in the investigation, even though he gets into a lot of trouble for just not having gone through any police training. The same goes for Lucifer but who simply doesn’t care if he crosses the line, because he is just so full of himself. It’s Jack Ryan, too. He’s a desk jockey, but still, he’s thrown right into the action.
Parul: We like the rags to riches, the rapid ascent of the hero to something more powerful. Luke Skywalker isn’t prepared at the start of Star Wars and Bloomkvist is a journalist and isn’t ready in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo to play dirty and evade killers. Not being ready is either part of the beginning hook or part of the progressive complication.
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Next week we’ll Discuss the 5 Commandments of the Beginning Hook of Killing Eve.
Story Grid References:
Books, Movies, Television series:
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Read these articles for more information about the 5 Commandments of Storytelling and the Editor’s 6 Core Questions from the book The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne.
For an example of how these techniques are used, read Jane Austin’s The Pride and the Prejudice with annotations by Shawn Coyne.
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