Showrunners 021: Management Sucks! Killing Eve S3E2

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 – This episode did not work for me and I’ll add the why later on.

Parul – Strangely, I really enjoyed this episode, and I was really disappointed when the series ended.

Randy – I get it, they had to have an episode where the two protagonists both know that each other is alive, but it was kind of slow and even the Clown assassin kill scene didn’t catch my attention much (Villanelle is above that).  But they have all the players in a position to make something exciting happen next episode.  Remember, wasn’t it episode 3 that Bill got killed last time?


Recap: What happened in the first episode: Slowly Slowly Catchy Monkey?

Eve is alive. She accidentally messages Kenny and he shows up at her place. He wants to tell her about a lead he’s been following about Frank’s and Fat Panda’s death, but Eve doesn’t want to deal with the 12 anymore – because it almost got her killed last time.
The episode ended with Eve coming to Kenny’s workplace, but he falls off the roof behind her and is dead.

Villanelle meets her old mentor Dasha again who offers her a job and the prospect of her old life again – the glamour and the excitement of killing. Villanelle kills a woman in Girona and she’s all happy again. 


What did we assume would happen after having watched the first episode? 

Short version

Let’s look at Eve’s global character development over the last seasons.

  • Eve in Season 1: She was very naive in thinking she could take on a serial killer because she studied the psychology of female assassins
  • In Season 2, Eve’s selfishness is becoming a lot clearer. Her goal is not to stop Villanelle anymore, but she wants to be with her. Even if that means sacrificing her marriage.
  • So whenever we have a story about Worldview Education or Maturation, at one point or another the character falls into their all is lost moment. And they have to change their way of thinking to embrace better-suited goals or value what’s important to them.
  • Sometimes a story ends negatively for the protagonist when they’ve reached disillusionment – like in the case of Eve. And this sets them up to want to redeem themselves.
  • She needs to finish what she started in episode 1: stop Villanelle.


Long Version: 

Let’s look at Eve’s global character development over the last seasons.

I’d like to start us off by talking about our expectations for how the story would continue after having seen the first episode.

I was especially looking into the Morality-Redemption storyline for Eve. Now, why did I think that Eve’s internal genre has changed from Worldview to Morality?

Okay, so let’s look back at Eve from Season 1. She was very naive in thinking she could take on a serial killer because she studied the psychology of female assassins. She had to learn the hard way that she may have the skills to track Villanelle down, but when they are face to face, Eve can’t kill her. It’s not in her nature. 

In Season 2, Eve’s selfishness is becoming a lot clearer. Her goal is not to stop Villanelle anymore, but she wants to be with her. Even if that means sacrificing her marriage. Eve’s blind belief to think she could change Villanelle to the better moves to justified belief because Villanelle is working with her to catch this other serial killer: The Ghost. But Season 2 ended with the moment that everything Eve had believed in and everything she had done for Villanelle turned out to be false. Eve fell right into her all is lost moment and she got shot by the woman who even turned her into a murderer. So whenever we have a story about Worldview Education or Maturation, at one point or another the character falls into their all is lost moment. And they have to change their way of thinking to embrace better-suited goals or value what’s important to them.

Sometimes a story ends negatively for the protagonist when they’ve reached disillusionment – like in the case of Eve. And this sets them up to want to redeem themselves. Eve has to learn she can’t be selfish anymore. This had led to her murdering someone, losing her job, endangering others, a failed marriage, and almost losing her own life. So the first step Eve took was trying to get as much away from her old life as possible – working in a kitchen. But that will not be the way how she can ever redeem herself. She needs to finish what she started in episode 1. Stop Villanelle.

So in the last episode, I expected that two more obligatory scenes of the Morality Genre would need to be shown: 

  • The Protagonist expresses inner darkness with an overt refusal of the Hero’s Journey call to change: Carolyn tells Eve that she doesn’t believe that Kenny killed himself. And she shows her a picture of the murdered woman in Genova – telling Eve Villanelle is back. But Eve denies. She does not want to investigate anymore.
  • The protagonist’s refusal of the call complicates the story and the call comes a second time but in a different form. Eve didn’t want to work with Carolyn again, but Kenny’s boss wants to investigate Kenny’s death and Eve joins them.

So we see, they have delivered those two obligatory scenes even though the second one was rather weak as they used Julian to tell Eve that Kenny had highly sensitive information on his phone. This was meant to be a revelatory turning point, but …

  1. Why would you tell someone how valuable something is when you want it for yourself. Maybe Jamie is manipulating Eve to work for him. Not sure yet. 
  2. Eve is an investigator by nature. She should have known herself – after what Kenny told her – that he was investigating the 12 and that’s reason enough to think there might be some clues on his phone. She doesn’t need to be told that there is.

Randy – I am expecting more action.  We had Villanelle getting back into the killing and she seemed happy, but we only have one kill (two if you count Felix, which I don’t feel she has got reprimanded for that yet).  So this was just a filler episode, not something we are used to in the Killing Eve series, and I hope it doesn’t happen often.  Historically, the writers have been really good intertwining the action and the revelations.


5 commandments for Eve:

Inciting Incident: Eve discovers that people think Kenny killed himself OR it is that Carolyn asks Eve if they can chat, (which is a shadow request for her to be in her team again. Bear in mind that later Eve tells her ‘I’m not on your team’.)
Progressive Complications: 
Kenny’s love interest, Kenny’s boss and colleague trying to solve the murder, Villanelle is alive and active, Eve has Kenny’s phone but can’t break the password
Turning Point: Eve finds out that Kenny had a secret thumb drive that is in the possession of the police
Crisis: Shall Eve investigate Kenny’s murder with Jamie Hayward, or should she approach Carolyne 
Climax: Eve approaches Carolyn.
Resolution: Carolyn and her start to talk, not knowing they are being listened to by Constantine.


5 commandments for Villanelle:

Inciting Incident: Villanelle has to train a new assassin and prove her management skills if she wants to be a keeper for the twelve
Turning Point: Felix messes up the kill
Mel: Konstantin tells Villanelle that Eve is alive.

Crisis: Does V. intervene OR does V prove her management skills or return to normal hasty action
Climax: She intervenes, 
Resolution: V. kills both the target and Felix messes up the management job. She finds Constantin in her apartment and tells V. that Eve lives; we haven’t seen the consequences of killing Felix yet.  (Management is watching other people do things worse than you could)


Thoughts about the Global Story

Mel: It’s not clear yet how Kenny’s murder and Villanelle resurfacing in Girona are connected. Eve may investigate Kenny’s death but she doesn’t choose to look into Villanelle again. Investigating Kenny’s death will probably lead back to the 12, but then Eve has to decide again if she wants to continue or not as soon as Villanelle comes into play. That means we get another Hero’s Journey call to change and to redeem herself by finally trying to stop Villanelle – but I guess they will leave that open for another season, so this season now will be about introducing the 12 and straying further away from Eve’s and Villanelle cat and mouse game – what we loved so much about the show.

Randy: I agree with Mel, except that V. is linked to the 12, especially if she actually does get promoted to management, so I think we will see that eventually.  There are two targets for Eve now, the person who actually killed Kenny and the 12 who Kenny was researching.

Parul: All the key players are on the back foot. Kenny is dead, Eve is traumatized and Carolyn can’t work. This is perfect for the 12. While we don’t know much about them, and I don’t think it would hurt to know more, there are two key moves/ dialogues that made me more fearful of the twelve and their ability to know all, to shapeshift. Constantine managed to give Carolyn’s daughter a souvenir with a bug – how long has Constantine been working for this family? She is fond of him as an uncle figure, and he has no qualms exploiting this. Also, Constantine tells Villanelle that he has always been working for the 12. I wasn’t scared of him in Ep 1, but now I worry he’s more vicious than he’s letting on. He doesn’t have blood directly on his hands but… would you want to bump into him on the street? This family man is a strange breed and like Villanelle he’s a shapeshifter, you can never ever trust him.


The flaws of this episode – What didn’t work

  1. Passive protagonist: Eve. She’s shown again at her worst (smoking and drinking at the funeral and not doing anything). We’ve already seen how her life is messed up, but they showed it to us all over again.
  2. Passive Eve turns to a Passive Carolyn who gives up because she says her hands are tied. But Carolyn was the one who had started this unofficial investigation into Villanelle in the first season, and now Carolyn just gives up? That’s out of character.
  3. Repetition of Scenes: We’ve already seen a funeral scene (Bill), and once again we get a tour through one of Villanelle’s high priced amazing apartments. And Villanelle has to prove herself again by having to work with someone (But she does dress so well!).
  4. No exciting killings in this episode. Even looking like a clown didn’t bring back the excitement about Villanelle’s craziness. (Randy: agreed!)
  5. This episode could have been tighter, scenes could have been cut, and changed with others who do contribute to the main story. So maybe they should have just combined the first and the second episode into one, cut out all the repetitions, and we would have a more fast-paced intro to the new season.


Obligatory Scenes for a Thriller

Inciting Crime indicative of a master villain and there must be villains:
This is shown in the killing of Kenny, who is the obvious victim.  But the crime of the master villain, aka the 12, remains to be seen in all its glory.  We know that the 12 orchestrate death around the world for a specific goal, but we don’t know that goal yet.  I hope that we will find out through Kenny’s research more about the 12 and what they have done and are capable of, maybe even who some of them are.  As we mentioned in the last episode, for this season to work, the writers really need to have a good speech in praise of the villain about the 12.

Parul: A few hints at the power of 12, look at the grand house they buy Villanelle, PLUS if they have managed to keep the snake charmer Constantine, then there is something insidiously sinister about him


Conventions for the Thriller Genre

Crime: villain, victims & crime needs to happen early on in the story
The man at kid’s birthday party, although it seems like this was only done to include killing and bring in some humor, but it backfired because it wasn’t strong

The crime must give a hint of what the McGuffin of the villain is
Villanelle wants to be a keeper, that’s why she has to teach that young guy how to kill. But being a keeper is not really what Villanelle wants, so it’s not her MacGuffin.
Parul: this is the true weakness of the series. We still DON’T know what the hell the villain wants!

Crime needs to get personal
Every moment of Eve’s tortured expression tells us that the crime (from Season 1), has made this personal to Eve. 

The antagonist in a thriller is a human monster
Villanelle, and Constantine too.

Clock
Jamie Hayward puts Eve under pressure when he tells her that as long as she doesn’t give him the phone, time passes without them being able to solve Kenny’s death. But again, not strong enough.

Randy – I don’t see a clock yet, except the same one that was in the first season, if they don’t stop the 12 then people die, maybe people they love.


The Morality Genre within this episode

Morality – Redemption.

No conventions, other than showing once again the protagonist at her worst.

And those two scenes about the call to change were in it, but I’m not sure if they won’t be repeated again too.

The Protagonist expresses inner darkness with an overt refusal of the Hero’s Journey call to change:

Carolyn tells Eve that she doesn’t believe that Kenny killed himself. And she shows her a picture of the murdered woman in Genova – telling Eve Villanelle is back. But Eve denies. She does not want to investigate anymore.

The protagonist’s refusal of the call complicates the story and the call comes a second time but in a different form.

Eve didn’t want to work with Carolyn again, but Kenny’s boss wants to investigate Kenny’s death and Eve joins them.


What can we expect in the next episodes?

  • Randy: Once again – speech in praise of the villain.  More killings from V., hopefully back to her stylish methods and no more clowns.
  • Parul: They have to keep the tension for both the minor Love Genre, Morality Genre but more importantly innovate in the thriller genre.


Question: What were your favourite scenes?

Randy: The end, when Vl says “if I killed everybody who betrayed me, there would be nobody left”.

Mel: There wasn’t really a scene at all that I liked. I think the moment when Eve threw the beer can away.

Parul: I quite liked Carolyn’s teary moment in the car – the humor and restraint is understated and unpinned with British humor

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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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