- Warning: There are major spoilers ahead for the season three premiere of “Killing Eve,” “Slowly Slowly Catchy Monkey.”
- Insider spoke with lead writer, executive producer Suzanne Heathcote about the unexpected moments that bookend the season premiere.
- Villanelle finds herself married at the start of the episode while Kenny winds up dead by the premiere’s conclusion.
- “She would find a dynamic where she could yet again feel in control,” Heathcote said of Villanelle after she left Eve for dead on the season two finale. “But as we know, it’s not a relationship they can escape, and of course, as things develop and she realises Eve’s alive, even more so.”
- Kenny’s death serves as an impetus to drive Eve’s story forward for the rest of the season.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The “Killing Eve” season three premiere was full of two big surprises.
While the premiere ended on a shocking moment of tragedy, which you can read more about here, it opened on an unexpected celebration of life. Taking place a few months after the season two finale, Villanelle (Jodie Comer) surprisingly finds herself getting married to a wealthy woman.
“It was a marriage of convenience as much as anything else,” lead writer and executive producer Suzanne Heathcote told Insider of Villanelle’s unexpected nuptials. “I think Villanelle, in her moment, enjoyed the pomp and ceremony of it.”
Before we were able to see what married life would have looked like for Villanelle, a mysterious woman named Dasha (Harriet Walter) crashes the wedding. Heathcote says even if the wedding went off without a hitch, it probably would have turned sour quickly.
“I don’t suspect the marriage would have lasted any time, had Dasha not interrupted it,” said Heathcote. “I fear that one of them would have ended up dead, and it wouldn’t have been Villanelle, within a pretty short space of time.”
Insider spoke with Heathcote about bringing Walter onto the show to interact with Villanelle, Kenny’s untimely death, and what viewers can expect from the rest of the season.
How much time takes place between the season two finale and the season 3 premiere: Give or take 6 months.
Kirsten Acuna: To start off, I just want to see if I can get the timeline clear here. How much time has passed since the season two finale? Is it a few months?
Suzanne Heathcote: It’s been about six months.
Why Kenny’s death happens in the first episode: Eve needed something to bring her back out of her funk.
Acuna: I have to just start off asking you about the terrific ending of the first episode. My chest was so tight when Eve went to meet Kenny. You just know something bad was probably going to happen, but I gasped when I saw his body fall in the background. I wasn’t anticipating that. How early on in the writing process was it decided that Kenny was going to die and that he was going to die in this fashion?
Heathcote: It was fairly early because, in the writer’s room, we were really thinking about after the trauma. I really wanted to look at consequences this season and really honour what had happened to the characters up to this point. And so to bring Eve back, it has to be something monumental. I felt after the crime she committed through her own eyes at the end of season two, she feels she’s a danger to the world almost. And so to bring her back, it would have to be something that meant an enormous amount to her personally.
Heathcote: When we discussed it in the writer’s room, it just felt like a very natural way. I mean, it’s always difficult because Sean’s amazing and he’s a beloved character. But that’s also kind of what makes it powerful. The minute we felt that his death would be what really propels things in terms of the story, I felt that we had to do it very early, and I was like, “We’ve got to do it episode one.” And then we toyed with sort of how to do it, and for me, I just wanted it to be as unexpected as possible because then you’re really experiencing it the way that Eve is.
Acuna: You’re hitting on a lot of the other questions that I had about this because I was wondering if the thought was always to have him tossed off the roof violently. I kept thinking Eve was going to find him left for dead somewhere in the office. Were those things that you played around with as well?
Heathcote: Yeah, we did, but I liked… It sounds so morbid, but I liked the visual. When we were pitching the episode, the idea of just that body flying past the window just felt shocking, even when it was broken in the room. I could just see how that, visually, would be a very shocking moment. And I just thought there’s something in that that just felt, in terms of storytelling, it was just a really, it sounds dreadful to say, but a good way of getting that moment across.
Heathcote: And also, I felt it’s important that the death… and again it sounds ironic saying, given it’s a show that involves so much death, but especially with a character like Kenny, that it didn’t seem glib or flip or humorous. That actually, there was sort of momentum to it. That there’s, excuse the pun, a gravity to it, as we’re seeing his body at the end of that moment really to underline what that means. And again, because he is a loved character you sort of… there’s sort of moments for the macabre deaths and then the kind of slightly tongue in cheek moments. So then there are moments for real gravity, and I just felt that there had to be that underline at the end.
Acuna: Yeah. When I said that I gasped, I gasped because I saw the body falling, because you’re expecting that maybe you’re going to see him in the office or something like that. And as you had mentioned, I think this is the impetus that Eve really needs to kind of wake her up and get her out of this funk, and it seems like she needed something to tell her that she couldn’t pretend that The Twelve are just gone.
Heathcote: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And I think the reality that it’s not as easy as just saying, “I don’t want to do this anymore.” That, actually, no one else is really going to solve this problem. And that’s something that Kenny obviously comes to her within that episode and is trying to say to her, “No one else is looking into this, we are the people to do this. And just because you don’t want to or you feel it’s not right for you personally…” That, actually, when something this dramatic happens that she has a personal reason for getting back involved rather than just it feeling professional because I just felt too much had happened to her for her to feel a professional obligation. And especially what happened to Niko and all of that, it didn’t ring true for me that she would professionally feel she needed to take on The Twelve. It had to be something that affected her more emotionally.
Dasha is introduced to give Villanelle someone to match her wits with
Acuna: Dasha is introduced at the episode start, of the premiere. What was it like bringing Harriet Walter onto the show, and can we expect to see a lot of her this season?
Heathcote: Yeah. I really wanted someone to work with Villanelle. Villanelle felt she’d kind of met her match to a degree, her previous handler. And obviously Konstantin is still very much part of the show, and his relationship with Villanelle is still very much part of the show, but her handlers, up to this point, have been people that she has been able to manipulate to a degree. I mean, last season obviously he was more menacing, but I was really interested in the female/female dynamic and someone that she’d known previously.
I liked the idea of a trainer, so someone who’d really seen what she was and then had helped transform her into what she became in terms of her professional life. And so there was something in that. Harriet’s amazing and was just so game and really went with it and was such a joy to write for as well. Yeah, it’s a fun dynamic, that one. We had a lot of fun breaking the story and kind of thinking of things as Dasha. She’s definitely a character I love.
Why we see Villanelle get married and how it wouldn’t have lasted even if Dasha didn’t interrupt the ceremony
Acuna: I think one of the most surprising moments of the episode, other than the very end of the episode, was seeing Villanelle get married at the episode start and then see Dasha. But that was really shocking that she was even getting married, and then she just departs the scene with Dasha. Should we expect that to maybe catch up with her at all in this season? Or is this just a one-off thing to try and show that Villanelle tried to move on and escape her past? We saw Eve try to escape the past of her life, but clearly, both of them can’t run away from their pasts.
Heathcote: Yes. I think for Villanelle, it was as much about wanting to get over what had happened with Eve and also, too, she enjoys the finer things in life, and she’d found a woman who could help provide her with those things while also not having to go out and expose herself. So it was a marriage of convenience as much as anything else. And I think Villanelle, in her moment, enjoyed the pomp and ceremony of it. I don’t suspect the marriage would have lasted any time, had Dasha not interrupted it. I fear that one of them would have ended up dead, and it wouldn’t have been Villanelle, within a pretty short space of time.
Heathcote: But yeah, we were really thinking how would Villanelle want to feel in control again after what happened? Because she felt such a loss of control at the end of season two, which is why she commits that act of violence against Eve because she doesn’t feel in control of that relationship. And so she would find a dynamic where she could yet again feel in control, but as we know, it’s not a relationship they can escape, and of course, as things develop and she realises Eve’s alive, even more so.
Why season three skips ahead a few months into the future and what we can expect to see for the rest of the season: Some fireworks are in store.
Acuna: As I’m winding down, I’ve thought of the past two seasons in sort of a rhyme scheme as to how they ended. Season one ends with Eve leaving Villanelle for dead. Season two ends with Villanelle leaving Eve for dead. Is that something that has influenced how you thought about approaching season three?
Heathcote: Yeah, I really felt it was about going deeper with the characters this season. I think by season three you’ve really earned seeing more of the characters’ sort of… You know, what’s going on beneath and what’s making them tick. And also just their dynamic. Eve particularly coming to terms with who she is, the person she is now. And I think Villanelle, also. It’s about her really understanding herself as much as anything else, and us really getting a glimpse of these sort of deeper layers of Villanelle that we see.
The endings of season one and two were obviously so climactic. What happens is in such a short period of time, those two seasons, which was partly why I felt it needed a time gap between the end of season two and season three. It’s for the characters to have taken stock and recovered physically as much as anything else and taking a moment to start to come to terms with who they are as a result of their actions.
Acuna: Before I let you go, what are you looking forward to most this season, and what can you tease for what viewers should expect?
Heathcote: I’m really excited about going deeper into the characters and really seeing how professionally and personally their lives intertwine and create havoc with each other. And I think in terms of what to look forward to, there’s definitely some fireworks to come. It’s so hard. I’ve been so vague. I’m so sorry.
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