As I said earlier in my review of the Amazon Prime Video series Hunters (https://www.celluloidtales.com/post/hunters-a-lot-of-freshness-yet), I am not a fan of films or series that have "Save the world from evil/catastrophe" written all over it. I'm what I would like to call myself an intellectual. I am more interested in the character arcs, the motivation behind their actions and the mind games that the characters play with others and themselves. I don't like the mindless, cars-flying/blasting action films. Naturally, I was sceptical about watching Killing Eve when one of my action-connoisseurs suggested it.
Nevertheless, I took it upon myself to watch the series. I had watched a couple of episodes in his place earlier. The premise intrigued me. It is about a bored MI6 agent who is bored with her job and obsessed with female assassins. This assassin kills influential people around her world. Wait for it. In freelance. The MI6 agent (Sandra Oh playing the titular Eve) is the one who is obsessed with the killings and thereby, the killer.
The series, as you have guessed by now, is a cat-and-mouse game. A well-explored and even exploited device used in thrillers. The difference here is brought by the writer Phoebe-Waller Bridge (of the Fleabag fame). It is an adaptation of the Villanelle novels by Luke Jennings. This series is fresh on so many aspects. Each season has a different set of directors for each of its episodes. The screenwriter for each season is also different. Hence, what we get to see is the myriad and exciting interpretation and the on-screen manifestation of the various shades of each of these characters.
The creator has taken this very basic genre and metamorphosed it into a high-profile, bloody world tour. Just like any other web-series, this too follows a structure. Each episode of every season starts with a murder - mostly by Villanelle. Then we cut to Eve (Sandra Oh, Cristina Yang of the Grey's Anatomy fame). She shows one of the following emotions - bored, thinking and bored. You get the idea? She is a whip-smart MI6 agent who thinks that her intelligence is being subjected to gross injustice doing a desk job. When these two intelligent women meet from the opposite poles of the law - the result is exhilarating.
The writing is taut and respects the intelligence of the audience. Generally, crime-thrillers attempt to explain a lot using flashbacks. It's a good thing. You should do that. But you should not explain every single instance. That makes it stupid and boring. The writers seem to be well aware of this and leave a lot unexplained. This doesn't mean that it is a mind-bending Nolanesque series. The creator has deliberately left some things unsaid - for instance, even after knowing that one of the characters is a double agent, Eve doesn't kill or hurt him. There is no flashback or voice-over explaining her actions. It is all left for us to figure out. And with the way the characters think, these loose ends make for some delicious explanations.
After watching this series - this too is one of my fastest, finished it in just over a week - I was left with one feeling. When else have I watched a film/series that took me around the world (except for the Mission Impossible and the James Bond franchises) splattered with blood and yet I was smiling and enjoying every bit of it? The music is definitely a huge plus for this series. Written by David Holmes and Keefus Ciancia, the score is largely bits and pieces of songs from an album. Every scene has only the most appropriate score and the climaxes (small ones between scenes and the large ones towards the end of an episode/season) are well complemented by the songs. The music is, fresh, intense and there is never a dull moment in the background score.
To conclude, strong performances, tight writing, tighter screenplay, brilliant score and sharp dialogues, this is a worthy, bloody world tour!