BBC America’s Killing Eve came out of nowhere last year to casually blow our collective minds, pitting a smart but disillusioned MI5 agent (Sandra Oh) against a charismatic sociopath (Jodie Comer) in a cat-and-mouse game that often felt like a love story. Season 2, premiering this April, will pick up thirty seconds after the game-changing climax of the first season, in which Oh’s Eve stabbed Comer’s Villanelle during a rare moment of intimacy.
Oh, Comer, and Fiona Shaw appeared alongside new head writer Emerald Fennell (replacing show creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge) and executive producer Sally Woodward Gentle at the Television Critics Association press tour Saturday (February 9) and offered some new details on what’s to come. Here's everything you need to know about Season 2 of Killing Eve, premiering April 7 on BBC America and AMC.
1) There’s a new assassin in the mix.
Eve will be investigating a new killer in Season 2, which shifts the dynamic of things. Fennell said the core of the show will remain the “gravitational pull that Eve and Villanelle feel toward each other,” but the new season will broaden the scope of Eve’s expertise. “What is without a doubt is that Eve has a particular sense for women and female assassins. So when somebody else comes along, do we find Eve is an assassin expert, or is she a Villanelle expert?” With Eve’s attention now divided, Gentle said the season will also explore “what would happen to Villanelle if she thought that Eve’s gaze wasn't always on her?”
"When somebody else comes along, do we find Eve is an assassin expert, or is she a Villanelle expert?”
2) There’s a new vulnerability to Villanelle in Season 2.
The most surprising part of Eve stabbing Villanelle, Comer says, is “how emotionally Villanelle perceives that. It affects them both and changes them in a way neither of them are quite expecting. At the start of the series, we see Villanelle in a very different way. She has no control of the situation.” Oh added that the new season “pushes both of them into a different place of vulnerability. They’ve crossed a line, and there’s kind of no going back.”
3) There will be many new foreign locales.
The show is back on globe-trotting form, and will feature episodes set in Rome and the Netherlands. “It just gives a flavor and a depth to the show and an originality to the show,” Oh says of the ambitious location shoots. Gentle noted the show doesn't fake out cities: “We always want to film in the place that it’s set. So if we say it’s in Rome, we go to Rome, and if we say it’s in Paris, we go to Paris.” At the same time, the show makes a point of emphasizing lesser-known parts of familiar cities, shooting in back streets rather than tourist attractions. “We haven’t wanted to go chocolate box on it,” Gentle said. “We don’t want to be driving around the Arc de Triomphe.”
4) The show’s high male body count is not accidental.
Traditionally in this genre, women are often the collateral damage who die in order to motivate the male hero. The first season of Killing Eve flipped that trope on its head with the death of Bill (David Haig), one of many men dispatched over the course of last season. “Quite a lot of the men on production would get a script and quickly go through and, ‘Yep, another man gets it’,” Gentle joked, adding that the show’s success now means that actors are eager to appear on the show and meet similar ends. “That’s what is so lovely that the show has generated,” Comer said, “that people have enjoyed it so much that they want to come in and meet an awful death!”
Later, reflecting on the energy of a female-driven set like this one, Fennell made this poignant point: “I think we’re used to being the cement, and men are the bricks. So what we do is fill in the cracks. We take up the space we have and we try and make it work. And on a show like this, we’re the bricks.”
"People have enjoyed [the show] so much that they want to come in and meet an awful death!" –Jodie Comer
5) The show won’t change much in Waller-Bridge’s absence.
While creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge is objectively a genius and her presence as writer is missed, Sandra Oh was quick to reassure reporters that Fennell is the perfect replacement. “I think it was such a good match,” she said. “Emerald and Phoebe are friends and have been friends for a long time, and I feel like they have a kinship. They share a sensibility, where they come from, their humor, their style. And Emerald has her own voice entirely, but it really moves from one hand to a similar hand.”
Fennell did not work on Season 1, and signed on to lead the second season before the show had come out. “The explosion of joy and interest and attention came after we’d already started envisioning Season 2,” she said, which helped her feel less overwhelmed about taking on the mantle.
6) The show employs a “psychopath expert” to consult on Villanelle’s character.
Unsurprisingly, everyone is “completely obsessed with” the unnamed psychopath expert, says Fennell, adding that one particular insight informed Villanelle’s arc in Season 2: “The thing about psychopaths is you're still looking for a connection. For a lot of psychopaths, what’s very distressing is that you are aware that there's something you're missing and you can’t find it.”
Comer says that she-and the writers-have never fully committed one way or the other to the idea that Villanelle is a psychopath, not wanting to limit the character. “What we explore within the series is these little moments where you think ‘Oh, she’s showing remorse, she has feelings.” And then just as you think that, she does something where you go, ‘No, I just don't even know this girl at all.’ The exploration of her emotions through the personas that she’s having to put on is really interesting in Season 2.”
7) Expect plenty more iconic fashion moments for Villanelle.
If you think a stab wound and some newfound emotional vulnerability is going to impact Villanelle’s lewks, think again. “Villanelle fetishizes clothes,” Fennell said. “She takes great pleasure in clothes. Something Phoebe really established is a precision and detail [with wardrobe]. Clothes often are thought of as being frivolous, maybe because they’re thought of as being feminine, but I think we all know as women how powerful clothes and appearance can be as a weapon.”
Plus, what we knew before TCA...
8) Most of the cast is returning.
Oh and Comer are both back in their respective roles for Season 2, as is Fiona Shaw, who plays MI6 operative Carolyn Martens. Per the Radio Times, Kim Bodnia, who portrays Konstantin, Villanelle’s former boss, has also been spotted filming for Season 2.
However, it's unclear if Owen McDonnell will be back as Eve's husband Niko, or if Kirby Howell-Baptiste and Sean Delaney are returning as Elena and Kenny, respectively.
9) And some new characters have been announced.
A plethora of British performers are joining the cast of Killing Eve Season 2, some of whom you might recognize. Prolific actress Nina Sosanya (Love Actually), and Edward Bluemel, who recently co-starred in A Discovery of Witches, are both joining the cast. New British talent Shannon Tarbet and Henry Lloyd-Hughes will also appear, but it's unclear who they'll be playing as yet. A guest appearance by Julian Barratt has also been announced, per Deadline.
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