As Killing Eve nears its climax on BBC One, Evie Prosser considers what’s happened to the ratings winner
By Evie Prosser
What’s gone wrong with Killing Eve? That question has dominated water-cooler conversations in workplaces up and down the country over recent weeks.
|The runaway success of the first series seems not to have been replicated in its much-anticipated follow-up.|
The runaway success of the first series seems not to have been replicated in its much-anticipated follow-up.
Critics have pointed out that the new series feels flat by comparison to the first season, even though the raw ingredients remain the same.
But, as the penultimate episode airs on BBC One (you can binge-watch the whole season through the BBC iPlayer if you can’t wait), I find myself wondering if some of the problem isn’t to do with our – the viewers’ – misperceptions, rather than the quality of the drama itself. Here are three reasons why.
1. A change in writer always affects the feel of a show. And Phoebe Waller-Bridge is an impossible act to follow
Series 1 writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge is hot stuff right now. Thanks to the success of Fleabag her star has never been higher. She’s introducing a black female 007 for goodness’ sake, and being lauded for it. The woman can do no wrong.
Which must have made things tricky for Emerald Fennell, who took over writing duties for Series 2. The Call the Midwife actor is a proven writer, whose Young Adult horror books receive critical claim and sell in good numbers. She’s known for her keen observations and stunning wit, both of which are very much in evidence in the second season of Killing Eve.
But her writing is always being compared to Waller-Bridge’s. In just the same way that radio listeners feel disappointed when a stand-in covers their favourite presenter’s slot during the holidays, Killing Eve’s viewers have struggled to come to terms with the replacement writer.
It’s not Fennell’s fault, and it’s certainly not that her writing is poor. In fact, there are some stunning moments in every episode of the new series (“I hope you like the missionary position” being a case in point). It’s just that she’s not Phoebe. And there’s nothing she can do about that.
2. “Difficult second album” syndrome
When you have a show that’s a breakout success, it can be difficult to maintain momentum for the return season. For many, the appeal of Killing Eve’s first series was that it felt like a fresh discovery. Watching it made you feel edgy and unusual, as if you could spot brilliant TV even when it wasn’t given mainstream attention.
By the time the second series aired, all that had changed. Viewing figures were up by millions for the first episode of Season 2 and everyone was talking about the show. Expectation levels were sky high after three BAFTA wins, and that meant the show was almost destined to feel a little flat. It’s notoriously difficult to repeat outstanding success with your follow-up project. Just ask the Stone Roses.
3. The show and its characters have an arc, and that adjusts the pacing
One of the criticisms levelled at Killing Eve Series 2 is that the characters seem to be acting differently from Series 1, that they’ve somehow fundamentally changed during the break.
|The whole story centres on their sexually charged game of cat and mouse.|
Given that the action of Series 2 kicks off about half a minute after the ending of Series 1, this could be seen as a problem.
But, hey, people change in response to events. So it would be odd if the characters in a drama didn’t follow some kind of a developmental arc in light of what they go through.
For Villanelle and Eve, the two main characters, this is very much the case. The whole story centres on their sexually charged game of cat and mouse. But once they’ve finally met face to face, as they did in the closing episode of Series 1, the dynamic, and their characters, is bound to adjust.
What we’re seeing in the second season is the natural progression of the characters, and of their stories. Their relationship has changed, and so too has the action. It’s life.
For me, that makes the series better than ever. Too often, especially in spy thrillers (the most obvious example being the Bond franchise), characters don’t change, no matter what happens to them.
But for Killing Eve, it’s all about the characters. So yes, I’d expect this series to have a different feel. They’ve been through a lot together. That’s kind of the point, duh?
Published: 25 July 2019
© 2019 Just Recruitment Group Ltd
If you enjoyed this article, you may like: Dylan disappoints, but Neil stays Young forever
You may also enjoy: Five great shows to watch over the bank holiday weekend
|Salary:||£29,000 - £30,000 per annum|
Just Recruitment is seeking an enthusiastic Assistant Branch Manager to join a company based in Chelmsford.
This is an excellent opportunity to join a growing organisation - offering a competitive salary and company bonus. Monday to Friday, 7.30am - 5pm and every other Saturday morning - overtime is paid.
Company bonus scheme.
Previous experience within a Builders / Plumbers merchants is essential.
|Sector:||Engineering and Manufacturing
|Salary:||£30,000 - £40,000 per annum|
Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Project Lead / Manager to join a company based in Sudbury Suffolk, on a fixed-term contract basis.
You will be an experienced project manager working with one of the company’s strategic suppliers, to move key electrical raw material components from their facility in the UK to the one in Romania.
The project manager will be the key liaison between the supplier and the company and is expected to keep the supplier on track with the expectations and standards of the team.
You will have experience in working within a manufacturing environment and moving either manufacturing lines or supply lines across borders.
You will also have Medical device or Pharmaceutical experience.
We are looking at 6-12 month fix term contract with relevant notice periods.
Salary is negotiable depending on experience.
|Sector:||Public Service and Administration
|Salary:||Competitive depending on experience|
Just Recruitment is looking for an Administrator on behalf of a company based in Sudbury.
The role involves being part of a small and friendly team on a part-time basis, working 2-3 days per week.
Duties to include:
May evolve to include other duties and responsibilities.
|Sector:||Creative Arts and Design
|Salary:||£25,000 - £30,000 per annum|
Are you a skilled designer looking for your next role?
Do you have luxury branding/magazine experience – including motion graphics (aftereffects) & digital design (social media etc)?
As a creative team member, you will be required to contribute to the wider creative thinking of a business based in Colchester, improving designs or presentations whilst working to tight deadlines.
You will be required to work in collaboration with the wider studio team and furthermore with the other departments across the business to produce the best possible outcome for each project worked on.
You will also be contributing towards the design presentations, so attention to detail and high standards in your work is a must.
Knowledge and skills:
This is an excellent opportunity for a creative individual to join a fast-paced organisation on the outskirts of Colchester.
Offering a great package - depending on skills and experience - free parking is available on site.
|Sector:||Creative Arts and Design
|Salary:||£25,000 - £30,000 per annum|
Are you a skilled Videographer/Video Editor looking for an exciting opportunity?
Do you have a creative/graphic design background?
This is an exciting time to join a growing organisation - based on the outskirts of Colchester.
Working as part of the creative team you will be involved in the planning, design and production of video content as directed.
This area of the business has big plans for growth and expansion, therefore this role has been created to drive us forward – you will have an eye for creativity, excellent organisation skills and a strong desire to produce standout video content.
Involvement at all stages of the creative process from interpreting the brief, keeping strategy and target audience in mind, working with the team to develop the storyboard, creating a visual style, planning the shoot days or production schedule, and ultimately providing our clients with final assets that are suitable for implementation across specific media channels.
Ensuring that projects are delivered on time and to the highest standard possible.
You will possess a positive and ‘can do’ attitude and have a highly organised approach you will be able to remain calm under pressure and quickly solve any problems in a professional manner.
Having exceptional attention to detail and communication skills, both written and verbal – you will have a genuine passion for creativity and design together with a strong affinity with video and a spirited desire to push themselves and the boundaries of what we can achieve.
This is an excellent opportunity to join a well-regarded organisation - offering an excellent package and opportunity to be instrumental in the growth of this area of the business.