Showrunners 022: I Want To Smell Like a Roman Centurian

Killing Eve Season 3 is now underway, with our main protagonist Eve & Villanelle continuing their cat and mouse game. Does this season work? And how does it compare to the previous seasons? We invite you to watch the episodes with us during the week 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 3 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 – Finally, Killing Eve is indeed back. Everything we loved about the show, they had saved for this episode. Loved it.

Parul – Mostly good. A little disappointing.

Randy – Nothing new, not too many surprises


Recap: What happened in the previous episodes: 

  • Eve finds out Villanelle is alive; Villanelle finds out Eve is alive
  • Villanelle is ordered to mentor a new assassin to prepare for management, but she ends up killing him
  • Eve asks Carolyn for help to find Kenny’s murderer
  • Constantin finds Villanelle


5 commandments for Eve

  1. Inciting Incident: Thumb Drive is opened
  2. Progressive Complications TP: Villanelle is in town and tells her she’s not here for her (she also confronts Eve on a bus, they kiss and fight – which we are distracted by.
  3. Crisis: Does Eve snap out of her depressive trance and tell Julian what she knows? 
  4. Climax: She uses the clue Villanelle gave her to figure out that V is on a mission
  5. Resolution: Doesn’t get to Carolyn on time; Eve shoots Charles the accountant. Eve returns home confused and defeated, returning to find V’s creepy gift. 

Parul: So this episode is tricky for me, it’s disappointing because Eve is a step removed from the thriller storyline. The Turning Point Complication is when she realizes that the Twelve are after someone else – Carolyn. And the crisis is lame – how do I get hold of Carolyn?  – which she does but too late. It’s only by the ‘mercy’ of Villanelle that Carolyn isn’t shot. Eve’s storyline instead focuses on her inner turmoil – Morality.


5 commandments for Villanelle: 

  1. Inciting Incident: Villanelle took the baby of her last assassination to prove to herself that she can take care of things.
  2. Turning Point: Dasha offers her a new job which is in London.
  3. Crisis: Shall Villanelle return to the city in which she will be tempted to seek out Eve and possibly kill her even though she loves her somehow OR shall she refuse the job offer and lose the power she seeks to attain?
  4. Climax: Villanelle returns to London
  5. Resolution: Villanelle completes her job, but she had to return into Eve’s life as well – which will have consequences.


Thoughts about the Global Story

Randy: So, I think Eve is losing it more than we’ve seen before.  I think the show has lost its edge.  I wasn’t really worried about Carolyn dying, especially when they didn’t show the kill shot.  Also, The kill with the piano tuner was neat, not sure I understand the whole baby scene unless they are trying to link that to Villanelle looking for her family.  I agree the Eve and Villanelle scenes are good and what kept the series fresh, however in the past these scenes were integrated with the plot.  I almost think that the other 12 assassins should have been sent after Carolyn, and the Eve vs Villanelle scenes should be integrated.  

Mel: I am so glad that Villanelle is back in Eve’s life. It seems like Villanelle is now trying to prove her worth. She failed as a keeper, and maybe getting the baby is her form of lashing out. Maybe she thought she could raise a kid to be the next amazing assassin, and not start with something that is doomed right from the start.

And she lashes out when she thinks that a perfume could give her power. I thought this was also a funny scene. She says: 

“I want to smell like a Roman Centurion coming across an old foe who once hurt her greatly, but the centurion comes back and is now an Emperor”

And then my husband said: Oh, so she wants to smell like Russell Crowe in Gladiator.

But anyway, Villanelle wants to prove to everyone how powerful she’s become – even though she’s just returned to be a serial killer. She’s not yet a keeper, she just pretends. She thinks she’s an Emperor who will conquer everyone – but I guess this sets her up for a great worldview – disillusionment story – which will probably make her lash out again since she’s a psychopath.

Parul: The Climactic moment was weak – they should have allowed Eve to make a comeback and at least try to save the day. Compare this to Season 1 where we saw Eve racing to get to Frank or Bill. But here, it’s by phone, and Eve plays a more passive role. Villanelle is back and is exerting dominance over Constantine which is great. But we’re no closer to truly understanding the master villains. I think that there was an opportunity to unpeel the layers of the Twelve. They could take us down dead-ends, show us double-crossing agents, etc. 


Obligatory Scenes & Conventions for a Thriller

Speech in praise of the villain – there is a speech in praise of the 12 in this episode, but it’s weak and it’s nothing we don’t already know.

Villain’s MacGuffin – we don’t know what the 12 want, why they killed Kenny;  I don’t think Villanelle is the Villain here, not with the way the current plot is going, and if she is, then she should have killed, Kenny.

Parul: I agree, I think that Villanelle remains the shadow villain here, the lightning rod for the bad side, but we urgently need to understand who the Twelve are. 


Morality Genre

Mel: In a Morality-Redemption Story, the protagonist couldn’t live with himself anymore for all the things they recognize about their own life, so that they want to make a change to redeem themselves again.

But this WANT to change is tested multiple times by incidents that make it even harder for them to stay on their path of redemption. They are tempted to return back to the way it was or to stray from their moral code.

Because doing what’s morally right is no walk in the park. 

And they keep being tested.

Like Eve.

She was a mess in the first one and a half episodes. But she came around and even decided to work with Carolyne again to do the right thing for her friend Kenny and find out more about his murder.

This was a first big step for her to redeem herself after having been so selfish in the past two seasons.

But this episode challenges Eve tremendously.

Villanelle is back.

Villanelle presents the convention of a seemingly impossible external conflict. She’s Eve’s love interest and she’s a psychopathic serial killer.

Villanelle is also the ghost from Eve’s past who torments her – literally. And she steps back into Eve’s life and is really testing it out if Eve will be capable of putting the needs of others ahead of her own self to follow her path of redemption.

And because it’s Villanelle, Eve will have lots of trouble to follow her new path. She might express her inner darkness again – when it comes to her affections for Villanelle. And that mistake will lead to another, the even bigger challenge to finally do what’s morally right.

Parul: I love the morality storyline, but it should be against a stronger Thriller storyline, it shouldn’t dominate this episode which it did. We spent more time in Eve’s sadness than in her heroic actions, and that’s a shame. 


What can we expect in the next episodes?

Parul: There has to be a twist. Someone that we know that we already see must be involved with the twelve. We have to have something more than just ‘oh look it’s the twelve let’s take them down’. 

Randy: I’m not sure I can predict what will happen, which is good and bad.  As far as I can see, so far the show isn’t meeting many of my expectations and I’m afraid I’m going to be disappointed.  However, I guess the writers might be able to turn it around and reach an inevitable and surprising end.  I hope so.  So I predict more Eve and Villanelle interaction, Eve stepping it up and becoming less of a victim.

Mel: I stay with the Morality-Redemption story. In this episode, we got a clue about who is the foil for Eve. That is a convention of the Morality Genre and it means there is a character who embodies the ideals and attributes opposite of Eve. This character exists to show the viewer the other path Eve could have taken.

And maybe that character is Carolyn. She tells Eve in this episode that it isn’t fun to use the people you once loved. And I wonder if this is a clue that Eve will have to use Villanelle to get to the 12 – which will be unimaginable hard – but also in alignment with the Morality Story – because that would mean Eve has to sacrifice herself for the greater good = which is stopping the Twelve.


What were your favorite scenes?

Randy: I like the perfume scene.  Other than that, I didn’t have many favorite scenes.

Mel: It’s so crazy. I couldn’t decide in the last two episodes which scenes I really liked because there were none. But this episode had too many that I can’t decide between them. I guess I go with Villanelle who asks the perfumer to make her a perfume that makes her smell like she got power, and then she forces Eve and Konstantin to smell her new perfume.

Parul:’I want to smell like a Roman Centurion’ – that remains my favorite scene. It’s classic Villanelle. Awkward as hell, aggressive, and hilarious.

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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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