It’s official: I’m in love with Killing Eve. I have a crush on Fleabag‘s Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who created the cat-and-mouse international spy thriller for the small screen. I relished the original novels by Luke Jennings. I’m enticed by the show having a different female lead writer every season. As if all that wasn’t enough, season 3, which premieres on BBC America and AMC Sunday, April 12, takes us to my hometown: Barcelona.
But if there’s one thing we learn in Killing Eve, it’s that love can be blind.
Season 3 kicks off with Villanelle (Jodie Comer) still embittered about the apparently fatal events of the season 2 finale. “When I think about my ex today I just realize I’m so much happier now she’s dead,” she mutters.
But we know she’s not over Eve (Sandra Oh). Nor is Eve dead. She’s stuck in the kitchen of a Korean restaurant enduring constant chatter about love and romance. She might have a drinking problem and cares even less than before about her appearance. Not only is she unhappy, she doesn’t even want to feel good.
Villanelle and Eve’s bickering bosses Carolyn (Fiona Shaw) and Konstantin (Kim Bodnia) also return for more bad behavior in season 3. But it’s the new characters who stole my heart. Gemma Whelan (Yara Greyjoy in Game of Thrones) is Carolyn’s long-suffering daughter, while Harriet Walter plays Villanelle’s old Russian mentor Dasha who brings her to Barcelona.
Little did I know when I first started watching the five episodes available for review that what my sheltered-in-place existence needed was to meet Dasha. The stern spymaster moonlights as a gymnastics teacher who demands of her very young students, “Are you crying? Don’t be a wimp!” She’s fluent enough in Spanish to yell at them like a true local: “¿Pero qué coño estás haciendo? (What the fuck are you doing?).” She brightened my mundane days.
Villanelle’s time in Barcelona is just one stop in Killing Eve’s grand tour that’s taken us to Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam and Rome. This season more than ever we travel vicariously with the characters, who frantically zip between London, Barcelona, Moscow, the Côte d’Azur and remote Russian and Polish rural areas.
But none are as pretty as Villanelle’s life in Barcelona. She has an apartment to die for in the type of Catalan modernist building that has its own Wikipedia page. She digs the views and the food on a terrace at Plaça de la Barceloneta. She strolls near Arc de Triomf and enjoys Konstantin getting a bit dizzy on a vertiginous cable car. And she shares my partiality for shopping in the Born neighborhood, making my inner fashionista feel validated.
Did I mention Villanelle even tries her hand at speaking Catalan? Granted, Comer’s accent in Spanish is a bit better than her Catalan one. But the woman can’t be perfect. English, Spanish and Catalan are far from the only languages spoken in a season full of subtitles that also includes Russian, Polish, Korean, French and probably more.
Whatever the language, the season is full of little gif-able moments that elevate Killing Eve from espionage thriller to serious guilty pleasure with its impeccable sense of fashion and art design. Carolyn imparts valuable lessons like “Divorces are easy. It’s marriages that are impossibly hard,” or “Life is just a series of tradeoffs.” Villanelle describes a stuffed animal store full of children as “psychopathic.” Konstantin admits to his daughter that his job consists of doing terrible things. And Eve can’t avoid rolling her eyes while sitting next to someone on the bus who’s reading a book entitled Vixen’s Bite: Norway’s Favorite Murderess.
The show is once again gorgeous to look at — Villanelle wears three-piece suits and Carolyn has moved to a new home even more aesthetically pleasing than the last one — but Killing Eve still deals with very dark subjects. Villanelle has gone from playful assassin to broken-hearted and completely unhinged serial killer, while Eve is scarred physically and mentally from last season’s turmoil.