OK, so it can be hard to retain your edge when you peel the tasty, inscrutable layers off your characters, openly, directly, unironically. But it can be hard to retain the attention of your audience if you never do. It’s a fine line and stuff. As Eve asks Villanelle if she even knows whether or not she is telling the truth at a given time, her searching vocal tone is 100% sincere, and it seems like Villanelle is equally sincere when she responds, in an almost annoyed but still engaged way: “I don’t know.” We already knew this question was at the heart of Eve’s obsession with Villanelle; it seems like it’s wrapped up in Villanelle’s preoccupation with Eve, too.
“You really don’t feel anything?”
“I feel things when I’m with you.”
This episode continues in the vein of the last two: The chemistry between these two women is as fun and weird and intriguing as ever, despite clunky setups and faulty logic. Aaron Peele is interested enough in his sister’s new friend “Billie” to take her to lunch (buying out the restaurant and not giving her a choice about what she orders). When she reveals that she likes buying and owning and looking at things that “make her feel something,” Aaron becomes visually aroused. He invites her to Rome with him on the spot (that was easy!). Carolyn advises Eve to take Hugo and stay in the hotel near Aaron’s palazzo. The safe word is apparently “Gentleman” because they have used up the good safe words.
Niko and Gemma are meanwhile moving Niko’s stuff and looking like they should be bleating and led to an abattoir. At this point it is so completely all about Villanelle and Eve that these characters just seem like red herrings. And yup: There’s Villanelle. You just know she’s having a psycho protectiveness moment about Eve and you know it ain’t gonna end well, right? Right. She isn’t there just for the Alaska snowglobe. Or the recipe for Shepherd’s Pie (it’s Eve’s favorite—honestly, it is worth dealing with an extraneous feeling scene to watch Jodie Comer do the jealous, aggressive boyfriend thing). There’s some fairly funny cross cutting between this very uncomfortable interview and a scene of Eve and Carolyn going over how it’s really crucial that Villanelle not kill anyone. Especially Aaron Peele, but not anyone. Poor Kenny seems to want to tell Eve something, but there is peanut butter to buy.
Speaking of buying things, there is something about the look in Vilanelle’s eyes as she says to Konstantin “I won’t need money. Aaron wants to buy everything for me. Maybe we’re soulmates!” that should probably give you chills.
Eve goes to see the annoying psych expert, who says what we’re all thinking. He wants to know if she and Villanelle are “in a relationship.” Villanelle, Eve says, makes her feel “wide awake.”
In Rome, both women move into their temporary digs. Villanelle has a closet full of couture. Eve has… Hugo. And oh hey: Aaron has eyes on his guest. Like, multi-screen full on surveillance. Raise your hand if you’re… not surprised. Anyway it’s more than Eve can say: she can’t get a bead on her opposite number at all, because the mic Konstantin stashed in her birth control pills was confiscated by the housekeeper.
Hey do you guys think we’d all be total fetishes if we could be? Oh… meanwhile Eve is under cover in the restaurant because Villanelle’s dark fiber; there seems to be surveillance tech in the bread and this is all getting pretty meta and suddenly Villanelle doesn’t seem like the most sinister person in the room; interesting.
Aaron has dinner guests. They speak Russian. Of course. Aaron reveals that he is the media magnate dude Benedict Cumberbatch kills in Sherlock, the one who magically knows everything about everyone. Ah, the secret weapon is data trafficking? Wow. OK so MI6 is srsly concerned about that? Because it happens every freaking day on Facebook. OK, so anyway…
Oh yeah, there is a brilliant moment here. Peele says he looked her up and found “a shadow… a void.” It sounds really ominous. “That’s me,” she replies. “I thought so,” he says with voluptuous satisfaction. And suddenly the whole secret agent-sociopath thing comes into stark and ingenious relief.
“Do you ever get lonely?” she asks him.
“God, no. Do you?”
“Yeah! I do. All the time.”
And then evvvveryone goes to bed. And Villanelle gets in Eve’s earpiece, to bawdy effect. Lucky, lucky Hugo. It’s weird how sex with someone who isn’t the person you’re thinking about is so… you know. Right?
When in Rome…
Ave atque vale, Gemma.