I’m still watching Killing Eve, and I’m happy to confirm that the show’s second season is just as surprising and fascinating as the first. Here, we have a scene that shows how well the show works even when people aren’t getting assassinated or chased down.
Written By: Emerald Fennell
Scene Comes From: Killing Eve, Season 2, Episode 3
Eve’s relationship with her husband, Niko, has grown increasingly distant with the rise in her work. She barely knows anything about his job, or who he works with.
- Gemma is attracted to Niko, but hasn’t made a move because he’s married to Eve.
- Eve wants to impress Niko and his coworkers, but knows that Niko has lost faith in her ability to care about him.
- Niko wants everyone to get along and, specifically, wants to feel appreciated by Eve.
- Eve enters the gala. Sees Niko talking to Gemma, his attractive coworker. She takes off her coat and strides forward to greet Niko.
- Niko introduces Eve and Gemma. Gemma is over the top with her compliments for Eve. Gemma hugs Eve.
- Gemma remarks that she’s surprised Eve made it to the gala. Jokes that everyone thought Niko’s wife was imaginary.
- They all joke about this “imaginary wife”. Eve remarks to Niko that the imaginary wife sounds better than her. Niko jokes that she is.
- Gemma notes how everyone appreciates Niko at the school. Eve pointedly agrees.
- Gemma brings up how no one believes the complaints against Niko. Eve is surprised to hear about the complaints. Niko explains that it’s probably nothing and he didn’t tell Eve so as not to worry her.
- Eve plays it off, remains smiling. They all stand in awkward silence.
- Gemma finds a way to excuse herself. Eve points out to Niko that Gemma was plainly flirting with him. She asks for him to take him to his classroom.
Why It Works:
Say It With A Smile: The context of the scene dictates that each character appear amiable throughout. With this being Eve’s first time meeting Niko’s coworkers, she and Niko both are being put on a pedestal of sorts, effectively meaning they can’t say what they really mean. As a result, we get a number of passive jabs in the scene that build the tension, with each character having to talk around their key conflict and desire.
In Protagonist’s Perspective: Though some aspects of this scene had been hinted to us beforehand, much of the key revelations (complaints against Niko, him joking about an “imaginary wife”) had been withheld from us. As a result, we enter this scene with a base of knowledge in line with what Eve knows, allowing these impactful revelations to cleanly resonate with us. By giving us equal foresight as our protagonist, we are naturally more empathetic to her plight and can better understand her suspicions against both Niko and Gemma.
Tension Through Oddities: Because, as mentioned earlier, this is a scene in which no character is allowed to clearly express their concerns, each murky action adds to the scene’s tension. The strangely effusive praise from Gemma, tied to Niko’s joke that he prefers his imaginary wife to his real wife, naturally puts Eve in a position in which she’s made terribly wary of the people around her. As a result of the context, she’s unable to voice any of her concerns, therefore imbuing each of her actions with a more distinct purpose.
Waiting For Relief: The massive awkward pause at scene’s end works as a nice catharsis of sorts for the scene’s bubbling tension. Throughout the scene, we’ve simply been waiting for some sort of explosive accusation to occur, and rather than have the scene climax in the expected, we are given something rather unexpected yet perfectly in line with the scene’s structure. What makes this beat especially tense is in how, again, everything that should be said must go unspoken as the result of the context. The silence, as a result, forms our understanding of these characters and their relationships- they do not like each other necessarily, and yet can’t say such things outright.
This scene is so painfully awkward, and as a result, wonderfully engaging for the viewer. By putting each character in conflict with one another and, similarly, allowing that conflict to play out in all it’s tense and cringe-laden glory, the audience is afforded an insight into each character’s perspective in a manner which is deft yet resonant.