Killing Eve series premiere recap: Nice Face a captivating opening hour


“Nice Face,” is an action-packed premiere for Killing Eve that sets up a captivating cat-and-mouse game between the two leads.

“Nice Face,” might be the best pilot of 2018 with a captivating hour of television. It’s amazing how easily Killing Eve manages to fully immerse the audience into the world without ever feeling dull. Most shows struggle to craft the perfect pilot but this series is confident in its performers and characters. There are definitely a few key missteps with the plot, but the show is more interested in a character study compared to a by-the-books thriller that they’re easy to forgive.

From the get go, Phoebe Waller-Bridge (from the criminally underrated Fleabag) fleshes out the two lead characters. They aren’t slipping into the familiar roles in a cat-and-mouse storyline because they have their own ambitions.

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Sandra Oh’s MI5 desk agent, Eve Polastri, has an obsession with female serial killers. Their crimes represent the adrenaline and excitement her life lacks, which sends her in down a dark road. When her superiors doubt her theory their recent political assassination was committed by a woman, she begins an investigation of her own.

In stark contrast, Villanelle leads a life of luxury traveling the world and killing people for money. However, “Nice Face,” sets up how desperate she is for some kind of love and companionship in her life. Throughout the episode she finds herself staring at children who unwittingly become her victims. The first only suffers getting ice-cream thrown on her, but the other is used as a pawn to coax his grandfather to his death. Despite her attempts to connect to people, she’s confident in her ability as a killer and doesn’t seem to feel any remorse over the lives lost.

Unfortunately, Eve’s investigation poses the first real threat to her lifestyle. When the girlfriend of the politician Villanelle murdered ends up in MI5 custody, she’s tasked with tying up loose ends.

It’s fascinating to watch how undervalued both women are and how it helps their respective careers. Eve is the only one to actually follow-up on her female killer theory which allows her to tape an illegal interview to analyze. Meanwhile, Villanelle is a gorgeous woman who can enter any room and be overlooked as someone nonthreatening.

While it makes sense that their colleagues underestimate them, it’s fascinating to see them do to the same to each other. In “Nice Face,” Eve doesn’t even register Villanelle as a potential suspect when they run into each other in the bathroom. The latter isn’t even aware that Eve is the first detective to link all of her murders together. Throughout the first season of Killing Eve it will be interesting to see how they exploit each other’s weaknesses to try and win in this fight.

Killing Eve has already been renewed for a second season after receiving universal acclaim before even debuting. “Nice Face,” is a confident premiere and the series feels fully formed already. However, the show has a few questions to answer about the logistics of the detective work.

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Is Eve a contractor for MI5? She’s an American who is about to accept a job as a secret agent for a foreign intelligence service. Maybe it’s just an oversight, but it was a bit confusing that it was never addressed in the first hour. Next week Eve officially gets interviewed for the job, so hopefully the show brings it up quickly.

Killing Eve airs Sundays at 8/7c on BBC America.