Killing Eve: Is the murderous Villanelle really a sociopath?

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Why doesn’t Villanelle kill kids?

All of Villanelle’s targets are adults, but she’s not exactly one to always follow orders. She has two major opportunities to kill children at the beginning and at end of Killing Eve. But she doesn’t take them.

The argument could be made that Villanelle didn’t kill the boy (Nicoló Ambrosio) in Italy because she didn’t want to draw extra attention to the hit, but she killed his grandfather (Remo Girone) with a hairpin specifically to draw extra attention to it.

The argument could also be made that she knew leaving the boy to find his grandfather murdered and realize he had inadvertently helped would be severely traumatizing. It certainly demonstrates an extreme lack of empathy, but it also suggests early on that murdering a child may be a line she refuses to cross.

Regarding Irina (Yuli Lagodinsky), Konstantin’s daughter, she and Villanelle have quite an interesting, even amusing, relationship. Initially, Villanelle kept Irina and her mother alive for Konstantin’s sake. I don’t believe Villanelle cared about him, per se, but I do think she respected him. That respect is also why she gave him the opportunity to kill himself, even though it was less convenient for her.

After Konstantin escapes, Villanelle kept Irina alive in order to incentivize Konstantin to put himself back in her crosshairs. But she also formed a strange connection with Irina. Of course, charisma is a well-known sociopathic trait, and Villanelle skillfully used it as an assassin multiple times in order to catch people off-guard. But around Irina, she’s actually not charismatic, she’s honest.

Villanelle needed to keep Irina alive, pragmatically, but only barely. It hardly mattered what condition Konstantin found Irina in as long as he found her. Villanelle did use Irina to get to Anna (Susan Lynch), but Anna surely would’ve let a wounded child into her apartment as well, perhaps even more readily.

Obviously, Villanelle didn’t treat Irina well, but she could’ve treated her much worse. Violence would’ve been a simpler option. It’s what Villanelle is used to, and she probably could’ve broken Irina. Villanelle threatened Irina with a gun multiple times, but she never used it. She went a different route.

Additionally, during the standoff, she could’ve killed Irina and then Konstantin. Eve was pointing a gun at her, but I don’t think that’s why Villanelle chose not to kill Irina. After all, Eve basically admitted that she didn’t know how to use a gun.

For that matter, Villanelle could’ve easily killed all three of them. But she spared Eve, too.