Showrunners 020: Killing Eve is Back, Villanelle is Back! Killing Eve Season 3 Ep 1

Killing Eve is back!  For the next two months, we’re going to ask you to watch the episodes with us and then tune in to the podcast as we discuss what worked, what didn’t work, and why.

When the 3rd season is over, we’ll have a summary episode where we talk about the 6 core questions and release our foolscap.

Reminder: Please watch the TV-Series Killing Eve Season 3 Episode 1 before you listen to the following episode. We not only give away spoilers, but we talk about the global story and it’s just more valuable for you if you know what we are talking about because we reference a lot.


Initial Observations

Mel – Without Eve in her life, Villanelle returns to her old self.

Parul – I no longer look at Constantine

Randy – Villanelle is back killing in her unique way, and the trailer shows some other scenes which look interesting, to say the least.  I’m in.

5 Commandments for Eve – Thriller

We see the hero in their ordinary world. Eve is now living in New Malden, England. She buys junk food, wine, the plastic bags break, and is totally messed up. And she works in a kitchen as a kitchen hand.

Inciting Incident: We see that Eve has survived, she has a scar on her back. 
Turning Point: Kenny shows up at her place, and he wants to tell her about a lead about Frank’s and Fat Panda’s death, but Eve denies the hero’s call to adventure and tells Kenny she doesn’t want to hear anything about it anymore. Because last time it almost got her killed
Crisis: Does Eve listen to Kenny and follow the leads for the twelve OR will she not investigate with him?
Climax: At first she is reluctant to, and when she comes to see Kenny, it’s not to help him research, it’s to hang out with his friends for drinks. 
Resolution: Kenny is dead. And how she looks up there, she suspects he’s been killed.

Value shift: Life and Death and Damnation all over it.


5 commandments for Villanelle

Inciting Incident: Her old mentor Dasha appears at her wedding.

What is an inciting incident? It’s the ball of chaos that shifts the state of normal, the equilibrium. When does this happen in the episode? When Villanelle sees her former handler and starts attacking her? I’d say so. It’s comical,but it’s a shadow of how Villanelle operates.

Turning Point Progressive Complication: V. receives an offer to return to her job and become a keeper
Crisis: Take the new job in Girona or miss out on the chance to return to her old lifestyle which not only included money (like she gets in that marriage now), but also the thrill and excitement of murdering people
Climax: Kills the woman in Girona and makes it look like a previous murder of the guy in the first scene that she might have killed
Resolution: Villanelle is happy again. She did her job, and that woman was untouchable. She feels power.


Inciting Incident of the Global Story

Mel – Kenny’s death might be the inciting incident of the entire story. 

It would not work if it was Eve accidentally messaging Kenny to get the ball rolling. Because a coincidental inciting incident for a thriller this good and an ongoing story would not work.

Even without Kenny and Eve’s meeting before, Kenny would have been killed for what he was investigating. And Eve would have found out about it, which would have led to making the decision if she wants to follow up on finding his murder or not.

Parul – I absolutely agree. Kenny’s death might give Carolyn and Eve a reason to go after the 12. 


Thriller: 

Obligatory Scenes

An Inciting Crime Indicative of a Master Villain:
YES. Death of woman in Girona is staged to look like another murder. And we have Kenny’s death.

Parul – In Season 1 the death of the woman would be indicative of a master villain. At this point, we’ve seen it all before. Here, Kenny’s death is more masterful, they are obviously tracing EVERYTHING that links to them. They are ruthless villains/ scary MOFOs.


Conventions:

Crime: villain, victims & crime needs to happen early on in the story
two killings in the first episode: Woman in Girona and Kenny.

The crime must give a hint of what the McGuffin of the villain is
Villanelle wants everyone to know that she’s back. She is looking for the thrill again. Moreover, the 12 are desperate for Villanelle to come back, why? What have they planned? Their urgency to get her back reveals that they are not slowing down.

Extraordinary smart antagonist (murder and psychopath) and extraordinary investigator but antagonist has more power
Eve’s life is hell, but Villanelle’s life is great.

Crime needs to get personal
Death of Kenny, who is Eve’s only friend at this moment

Red herrings
Villanelle is putting the red powder over the woman in Girona she just killed making it look like a past murder (boy in the locker room with the lime powder)

The Hero’s object of desire is to stop the villain and save the victim.
This is a given since Eve is an investigator and that is her goal. The victim might be Niko because he has already suffered a lot, but also many more that will be killed when Villanelle has taken back her old job. 

The antagonist in a thriller is a human monster
Psychopath Villanelle. The woman in the store wanted to help Villanelle’s supposedly sick granddad, and Villanelle kills even the good people. She doesn’t care at all about humanity. Moreover, the level above Villanelle – Dasha, talks about her kills as something to be admired. We don’t actually know anything about twelve yet.

Clock
There will be more victims. The only clock we have are in the two scenes when Kenny hears suspicious footsteps and noises, and Eve arrives and can’t find Kenny. At this moment, we want her to find Kenny before it’s too late.


Morality

Morality – Redemption.

In the last two seasons, Eve was selfish pursuing Villanelle.

Season 3 literally starts with her being in her own personal hell. She’s no one. And there’s no thrill left and her marriage fell apart.

And realizing that Niko has given up on her ever coming around, she wants to redeem herself. This scene might be the turning point for her internal development.


Obligatory Scene:

A shock (negative or positive) upsets the hibernating authentic self of the protagonist.
Niko tells Eve he deserves more than her. 


Conventions:

The despicable protagonist begins at his worst.
Eve was almost killed by pursuing her selfishness in the last two episodes. She has lost Niko’s love, her job, and her purpose.
The former team are all suffering. Kenny is working as a journalist, Carolyn is being sidelined, and Eve is working in a job that brings her no joy. She is a shadow of her self. 

Mel: I also do think since the inciting incident of the global story is negative for Eve, the end will turn out positive for her. She will either be externally or internally rewarded, but I guess she will redeem herself but lose someone. Maybe even Niko. Or be killed herself, after all, the series is called Killing Eve.

The inciting incident for Villanelle, which is getting her amazing and exciting job back, was positive. So I guess since she starts off happy and Eve devastated, that the tables will turn completely.


5 Commandments for Eve – Morality

Inciting Incident: Kenny shows up at her place, and he wants to tell her about a lead about Frank’s and Fat Panda’s death, but Eve denies the hero’s call to adventure and tells Kenny she doesn’t want to hear anything about it anymore. Because last time it almost got her killed.

(Could be that this is already the obligatory scene of the morality genre when the Protagonist expresses inner darkness with an overt refusal of the Hero’s Journey call to change).

Turning Point: Niko tells Eve that he deserves more than her. Eve realizes she’s not good enough for Niko anymore.
Crisis: Eve wants Niko back and she wants to prove to him that she can be better for him. She wants to prove her love for him, and the only way this can work is if she catches Villanelle once and for all. So her crisis is: Accept her miserable life as it is and stay alive or risk her life trying to redeem herself. It’s a moral choice. Choosing selfishness or sacrificing oneself for somebody else.
Climax: Eve wants to meet with Kenny but still not investigate. She may at least want to see if she can help him.
Resolution: Kenny is dead which could be the protagonist’s refusal of the call complicated the story and the call comes a second time but in a different form = Kenny’s been killed.


What can we expect in the next episodes?

If Eve indeed wants to redeem herself, then this time she has to make a better decision when it comes to Villanelle.

But this won’t be easy, after all, she still has feelings for that psychopath – as shown by Kenny’s question if she still thinks of … and she answers about Villanelle first instead of Niko. 

So she has to face her demons – literally Villanelle to redeem herself. This time, she has to make a better decision when it comes to this psychopath so that she won’t drag everyone down with her.

And we think it might get more political for Villanelle if she wants to move up in the ranks of the 12 by becoming a keeper.

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The Story Grid

Story Grid Book

If you want to learn more about writing a story using the Story Grid methodology, go to the Story Grid Webpage to find free videos and articles on how to implement the methodology.

These articles contain information about the 5 Commandments of Storytelling and the Editor’s 6 Core Questions from the book The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne. They also give details on obligatory scenes and conventions for specific genres, such as the thriller, love story, war story, crime story, and more.

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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