Killing Eve, Season 2 Finale: You’re Mine

Season 2 of Killing Eve is a wrap, and I am left with puzzling questions. My questions stem from points in the plot that don’t make sense to me.

Carolyn wanted Villanelle and/or Eve to kill Aaron Peele to protect MI-6 and to a lesser extent the world from his sneaky surveillance weapon. Through her psychological profiles of Villanelle and Eve and their obsession with each other Carolyn and Konstantin knew a kill was inevitable, it seems. Now that Aaron Peele is dead what is going to happen to the weapon? Why didn’t Carolyn try to take the weapon? It could fall into the wrong hands like maybe one of his associates? Killing Peele doesn’t really solve anything other than maybe protecting people he may kill in the future.

What role does the 12 play in this plan? Konstantin tells Villanelle that someone asked the 12 to delay killing her until after she killed Aaron Peele. Did Carolyn make the request or was it Konstantin? Here, I’m confused because I thought Konstantin was on the 12’s kill list, thereby, squashing any chance he could negotiate with the organization. Carolyn seems like the only person with enough cache to make such a request, but why would she do this since she’s trying to make it look like the 12 killed Aaron Peele?Through this season, the 12 seems like less of a real organization than a useful plot point the writers use as a catchall answer to any unanswered questions: “Why did x happen? It’s the 12.” I need more concrete information about Carolyn and the 12 to keep the plot from falling apart for me.

The season finale opens with Villanelle snooping around Aaron’s palazzo seemingly alone. She ventures into a room with a door that is ajar obviously for her.  I find it hard to believe that Aaron left this door unlocked and open since it holds his surveillance equipment. But oh well. Villanelle finds three monitors and videos that are catalogued by name. The one of Matilda reveals her gruesome murder–she bears a striking resemblance to Villanelle–at the hands of a man in black dressed like a butler, wielding a blade. I agree with the assessment Villanelle gives later about the video. It lacked narrative.

When Villanelle joins Aaron for breakfast he tells her he is expecting more potential buyers and thus he is snooping around in their “knickers” to find dirt. Villanelle gleefully asks to see–I assume she wants to see the dirt he has found on them–but Aaron shows her a picture of Raymond. Villanelle immediately uses the safe word when she nervously quips, “What a weird-looking gentleman.” I think I get why Villanelle uses the safe word. Raymond is her former handler from the 12 whom we have learned wants to buy the weapon. Is Villanelle afraid Raymond will try to kill her or blow her cover? At this point in the show, I am lost as to Villanelle’s association with the 12. She had essentially left the 12 and escaped with Konstantin to become an independent contractor. Konstantin had left Carolyn’s protection from the 12 to become Villanelle’s partner. The more I dig into this the more I get lost in the details and the plot starts to break down for me.

Meanwhile back at mission control, Hugo is still throwing shade at Eve about the previous night’s lovemaking by proxy session, calling her Mrs. Robinson, referring to Villanelle as Eve’s girlfriend, and giving Eve tepid coffee. He leaves the room as he phones Jess. When Eve hears the safe word, she springs into action, calling out to Hugo just before gunshots ring out. Hugo has been shot in almost in the same spot Eve stabbed Villanelle last season. Are the writers fixated on the lower abdomen or what? Why was Hugo wounded and not killed, though? Seems like sloppy work to me. Were the assassins in such a rush to find Villanelle that they couldn’t properly kill Hugo? Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I wanted Hugo dead, but it just doesn’t make sense. In my first viewing of the episode, I thought his shooting had been staged as a sort of prop for Eve, but later it seems obvious the shooter was from the 12 and not MI-6. Eve tries to help Hugo by applying pressure to the wound, but she she leaves him (to attend to his own wound–cold-blooded, Eve!) despite his calls for her to stay with him. Her fixation is on rescuing Villanelle by herself, a risky move, right? MI-6 should have sent trained agents to burst in for the save.

Eve rushes to the hotel lobby to find it abandoned. She dials 911 and then I think 999, but gets no answer. I checked and found that 112 is the emergency code used in EU countries, but anyway… Eve is interrupted by a goon who is looking for the other goon that earlier caused Eve to hide under the bed. I can’t believe he didn’t look under the bed first! That the goon didn’t know who Eve was leads me to believe the 12 wasn’t trying to kill Eve. The exchange that ensues between them with Eve playing the amiable Front Desk Agent and the goon asking her out on date was that distinctive KE comic relief. It must be hard find competent assassins. These two are clueless.

After agreeing to a meet up at 6pm–also surprised she didn’t use military time–Eve changed into a maid’s outfit and jumps into the role of diminutive, foreign domestic (like the Ghost) as her disguise to get into the palazzo. She bursts into the room amid Villanelle’s laughter wielding a letter opener. Why didn’t Eve sneak in or put her ear to the door? Did she think Villanelle was in immediate danger? Bursting in half-cocked is such a rookie move for Eve. She’d done it before though when trying to give Villanelle the earpiece. She also made a move to intervene to help Villanelle during “family sups” with Aaron and Amber. Eve is so eager which is probably why the psychiatrist suggested she be pulled off the case. That Aaron greets Eve using her full name signals that he has probably been surveilling her. It was like he was expecting her.

That is when he reveals what this trip to Rome has really been about: a job interview for Villanelle. He wants her to help him feed his voyeuristic obsessions to create his own video library of murders to look at when he wants some stimulation. Is that why he hired the Ghost? How many other killers has he hired to do this? Who was the killer in the Matilda video? How does he find his killers? How did he find Villanelle? I mean he had to find out about her particular set of skills before or shortly after she met Amber at AA meetings.

Thus begins Aaron’s pitch to Villanelle to join him. An offer she really considers when he says he will give her “everything”? She gets super excited about having everything. What does everything mean to Villanelle. During the night Villanelle came to kill Eve after she had put a hit out on herself, I remember Villanelle asking Eve if she would give her “everything” she wanted if she agreed to help her find the Ghost. Eve agreed, but I don’t know what that meant. I thought it meant she wanted to sleep with her that night, but it was never revisited. At this point, I know something is about to go down but it is most definitely not what Aaron thinks when he suggests that Villanelle kill Eve right there. Aaron has a look of someone watching porn and loving it. Unfortunately for him, he miscalculated the situation and found himself neck deep in the blade he thought Villanelle would use on Eve. The smile on his face as he watches the blood stream from his wound while Villanelle holds him in front of the mirror most certainly means he died orgasmically happy.

Villanelle seems happy too since all these events have placed her where she wants to be: on the run with Eve. But Eve is in shock and after a sound slapping from Villanelle she stops nagging her about the perilousness of the situation. I loved it when Villanelle said she slapped her to give her shock like when you have to get rid of hiccups. The episode then transitions to Eve gleefully looking forward to her “normal” life with Eve while Eve swings between disbelief, disgust, dismay, and daring. Refusing to leave without gathering the tapes of Aaron Peel, Eve agrees to meet Villanelle in a getaway car outside the hotel. They separate after a mutual, “See you soon.” I’ve been wishing for them to get together all season in some form so that Eve can indulge whatever she’s seeking from Villanelle. But I quickly tired of Villanelle begging Eve to go with her. Villanelle indulges her like an understanding lover who knows Eve is trying to process all the gory events. Despite this, I’m not used to Villanelle begging so much.

Konstantin finds Villanelle trying to steal a car, and he once again tries to save her, this time from Raymond who is due to kill her soon. They are at odds again when Konstantin’s life line doesn’t involve Eve. Again he is puzzled about her obsession with Eve and asks Villanelle about it. She says it is because they are the same. Villanelle will do what Villanelle wants so she rejects Konstantin’s plea that she leave Eve. She also threatens to find him and his family which he blows off as he walks away. This scene mirrors the one Eve has with Carolyn when she reveals the ruse that led Villanelle and Eve to do exactly what they wanted. Carolyn wrongly warns that Villanelle wouldn’t have saved Eve, unaware of Villanelle’s refusal to leave without Eve. Carolyn becomes all the more shady to me in this scene, though it was obvious in previous episodes she was setting Eve up for something.

In the next scene, she shows her willingness to fight for Eve. The standoff between Raymond and Eve presents the perfect opportunity for Villanelle to get Eve’s hands dirty. Sure enough, she goads Raymond into putting down his axe and underestimating Villanelle and Eve for that matter. They fight and Raymond resorts to his preferred form of intimidating Villanelle, asphyxiation. Remember, he chocked her out in the car when we first met him earlier in the season. Sure enough, Eve falls in line to save Villanelle when we know there is a gun at the ready. Villanelle has the same look of pleasure (that Aaron had, though more giddy) on her face when Eve inefficiently buries the axe in his shoulder, pulls it out, and then finishes the job with a few more whacks. Villanelle was eager to give Eve killing pointers and real assistance like a kill coach. Villanelle obviously is the true kill commander.

As they escape, Villanelle is preoccupied with what they will eat for dinner. Eve suggests spaghetti as she walks around in a haze. Villanelle then starts to talk about where they can live and how she will care for Eve. The birds startle them and Villanelle brings out her weapon. This changes everything for Eve. She surmises that Eve orchestrated the Raymond kill and then their argument begins. Villanelle wants the object of her affection to be in her possession. Eve is now seemingly come to her senses, I guess, but she still isn’t thinking straight. She forgets who she is dealing with and turns and walks away. Villanelle raises the pistol and shoots. We don’t see the shot, but we see Eve’s body prone on the floor of the beautiful ruins.  We have come full circle. Season 2 ended in the same way as Season 1. One main character on the receiving end of violence at the hands of the other. Villanelle walks away coldly, unlike Eve who last season tried to render aid. We already know Sandra Oh isn’t dead. It’s still Killing Eve, not Killed Eve. 

I really like this show, but I didn’t like this ending. As I wrote earlier, the 12 and its connection to various characters is disjointed. Since the show was intent on creating the sexual tension and obsession between Eve and Villanelle, why are they now veering off that path. I want Eve to truly process her feelings and decide whose side she is on. I wish she would acknowledge her attraction to Villanelle and make a concrete decision to reject or accept it. Yes, I guess she did that at the end when she turned her back on Villanelle. But this decision was more petty anger at Villanelle for manipulating her. Isn’t that was psychopaths do, though? Villanelle has been the queen of manipulation in plain sight of Eve. In the last episode she said she was wide awake. Hmm. I don’t think so. Maybe if she just had sex with Villanelle she would get it out of her system and could stop making such rookie mistakes or at least make a clear-eyed decision.

I’m looking forward to next season. Too bad it won’t come back in the Fall like most shows. I hope the new show runner can give some concrete answers on the 12 and find a way for Eve to contend with her inconsistencies.

Demo Masters

We are in the throes of a home renovation. I know it sounds dramatic. It is. We are remodeling three bathrooms, replacing all the fixtures, tile, tub, shower, and accents. Whew! This week the actual remodeling work will begin, but we’ve been working for about a month on the demo.

When you say, “demo” in place of “demolition” you have graduated to a new dimension of diy home improvement. We are ready to start our own show on HGTV.

Not quite. Other than the demo and painting we have hired others to remodel. This process has given me a greater appreciation for plumbers and contractors in general. It was difficult to find a reputable company who could do what we wanted. Some companies wanted to do everything so they could charge 20-30 thousand dollars. I hope it goes well. I’m looking forward to the finished project and especially using my freestanding tub.

No Service

I wonder about institutions or the people in them. Do individual people create the ethos of an institution or is it the other way around?

I’m thinking about this in relation to the dealership where I bought my car almost 2 years ago. On the day of the sell and for about two months afterward, I felt like that institution really valued my business. When I had a question about the interworkings of this fully electric vehicle, I would send an e-mail to a specialist and he would answer my inquiry quickly and expertly.

The problems began when I started taking my car in for service. That valued customer feeling began to wane quickly. The service advisors as they call them seemed to be glued to their computers as if by their own effort they were servicing everyone’s vehicle with a mouse and the power of their concentration on the screen. After they would call me to pick up my car, it would take another hour before they could see me once I arrived. Looking around the dealership, I began to see that turnover was high. Those that took the jobs were functional yet indifferent to me as the customer.

While you wait, there is a cafe staffed by two of the sweetest women this side of Church street. Their service could almost make up for the service advisors’ nonchalance. “Can I get you a beverage and a snack?” they ask. I smile, accept, and drum my fingers while flipping through my cell phone to read an article or send a frustrated text message.

Recently, I contacted them to set up a complimentary rental. When I bought my fully electric car, my sales person told me I could rent a car from the dealership twice a year for a road trip. The receptionist promised she would have the two sales managers call me about this. I called back in an hour and was told they were looking into it and would get back with me. I know they will not call me back. I will not call back either.

The answer to my question is both. An institution sets an ethos and the people reinforce it (or not). Sometimes one person can make a difference. Unfortunately, I don’t think that will occur at this place. In short, if you are thinking about a BMW, pass Nalley BMW in Atlanta by if you want good customer service.

What Wakanda Means to Me

“Black Panther.”

This will be the answer I give when anyone asks me to name my favorite movie.

Black Panther was more than a movie. Watching it was an experience. I was immersed in a different worldview and aesthetic where people who look like me were not marginal  but central.

This is a rarity in movies as illustrated by the thirty minutes of movie previews that ran before Black Panther aired. During my first airing, the only movie without an entirely White cast was the preview for A Wrinkle in Time.  My second airing included a promo for a television series starring Tracy Morgan, The Last O.G. This sort of erasure of black bodies from the mainstream is as old as dirt.

But I did not fall in love with this movie from a point of scarcity. No, the movie was a masterpiece on its own merit. It had action, drama, suspense, romance, history, comedy, and political commentary.

When the father tells his son the story of Wakanda as the film opens, I had no idea this was Prince N’Jobu (Sterling K. Brown) and Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan). I assumed it was a younger T’Challa and his father. When the movie revealed this nugget, it made the story more significant. That was how N’Jbou passed down the story of Erik’s heritage and made him into the child from Brooklyn who “believed in fairytales.” These sorts of clever plot devices filled the movie.

Every article I’ve read about this movie has stressed that Wakanda is a fictional place. That may be true, but it is a real place to me. It bridges the gap between my past and present. Slavery robbed African people of their homeland, language, history, and cultural heritage. They were not immigrants. There was no true homeland. In the transition from African to African American, blacks were dispossessed and universally maligned. Chadwick Boseman (Prince T’Challa), in an interview on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, spoke about how this movie gave African and African Americans a sort of common story. I wholeheartedly agree.  Many movie goers wore African attire. I donned my earrings and necklace made of cowrie shells and an African print stole.

For me, Wakanda inspired in me a deep pride in my heritage even though I do not know the details of my African ancestors. Wakanda is a metaphor for my heritage and bridges that gap. I am like Erik Killmonger, believing in fairytales.

PhD Loading

The PhD program began two months ago. The semester ends Friday. I have made it through my first semester. Cue the music. Usher in the guests. Pop the cork…Yawn. I’m going to take a nap.

I am enjoying the PhD program. It is everything I thought it would be: difficult, all consuming, and demanding. Do I have a real sense of its difficulty? I will not be able to answer that question until the school year begins. The test will come when I attempt to be both a teacher and a full time PhD student. I’ve been thinking about what I need to do differently so I can work efficiently–smarter not harder–at work and at home.

Writing is a big part of the program. My first seminar was devoted to scholarly writing. During this short break, I will write, read, and rejuvenate before the deluge of responsibilities begin.

 

Spring Break and Numb Eyes

Spring Break is almost done. I’ve spent the majority of my time off neck deep in copyediting dissertations, three to be exact. After my last edit, a peaceful satisfaction settles, second only to the receipt of payment. My eyes go numb as well from the intense concentration. 

When my time comes to write my dissertation, this practice will only sharpen my own research and writing skills. I enjoy this work. Now, I must rest these tired, numb eyes. How can I when reading and writing are my hobbies and that which I need rest from…


Contact me if you need a copy editor or writing coach. 

Stay Strong, Hill..

When Hillary Clinton was running for president against Barack Obama, I was decidedly on Obama’s side. I wrote missives against her candidacy. 

After the long battle, I was happy when they became allies and she accepted his offer to be Secretary of State. Now during her second run for president she is looking a lot like Barack Obama in terms of how the media, opponents, and the populace at large is treating her.

Hillary is the new Barack, subject to all manner of double standards, hateful speech, and scrutiny. She shouldn’t get a free ride, but the email and server controversy is being run in the ground. 

This double standard is so stark when compared to the treatment of her opponent Donald Trump. He has been a horrible candidate by every measure. A small man who incites, invites, and broadcasts racist, sexist, classist, (any ism) speech. He is tapped on the wrist and dismissed as a plain talker. He is uninformed, mean-spirited, dishonest, vulgar...I could go on but Slate gives 153 reasons he should not be President. Aside from all these, he is grossly unqualified with an unwillingness or desire to learn. 

The media holds Hillary Clinton to a different standard. This weekend when she became ill at the 9/11 memorial I was sicked at how the vultures (media) circled. They don’t ask the questions of Donald Trump like why don’t you release your taxes??!?! 

When she characterized 1/2 of  his supporters as a “basket of deplorables” she was only half right. It should be all. The media pounced on her. Unlike Trump, she clarified her statements. Are these folks that way because they are uneducated? I don’t know. They need a scapegoat and blacks and browns are easy to scapegoat. Make America great again is a rallying cry to make America hate again. Bring back a time when blacks and Browns knew their place, where whites can look in the mirror and say, no matter what happens as long I am better off than those beneath me, all things are good.

Despite the hate Trump peddles, he won’t be a good President for anyone but himself and those willing to do his bidding. On Election Day this year, I hope we vote for the America of Liberty, justice, and equality. 

Musings from My Sick Bed

Swallowing should never be overrated. That is crystal clear when streptococcus invades your system. 

Thanks to a cocktail of steroids and antibiotics given in my butt cheek  (ouch!), I began felling better hours later. I had to prepare lesson plans for my students and secure a substitute teacher. This took a couple of hours as usual. Had I not been contagious, I would have gone in. 

I’m following my husbands directions and staying in bed till noon. It is difficult to do when my list of things to do is very long. Even though experience has taught me I’ll never conquer my list, I still try, often to my own peril. During the Labor Day holiday, I pulled an all nighter in an attempt to get all my papers graded. I think that put a chink in my immune system, opening me up to the flora and fauna of germs. 

I’m going to learn the lesson. No amount of work martyrdom will get me anything but run down and sick. There are no accolades for working hard. No one notices, but me, my dogs, daughter, and hubby. I will continue to try as hard as I can to educate the students in my care, but smarter and with more self-care.

All the cars were white

white carToday, this last day before I was to return to school, I gathered my two eager black labs and set off on a brisk walk in the biting cold. We welcomed the frigid air in exchange for the balmy, rainy bookends to the end of fall and beginning of winter.

Candi led the way with her sleek prancing. I walked in the middle. Rock, at the rear, interrupted our stride more times than I could count with his insistence on stopping to sniff and mark every inch of curb, pole, street, and yard. We encountered no other walkers possibly because of the temperature.

More than several cars and trucks passed our caravan on the road. Our street is hilly and winding so I keep an alert eye out for automobiles that may veer off the road. I noticed something. All the cars were white. After days of binging on episodes on The Twilight Zone, I began to hear the theme music. Was I entering another dimension? My neighborhood is pretty sleepy so on walks I have been known to imagine that I and my doggie compatriots are the last souls on the earth. My new observation was strange but in keeping with my last woman on earth daydreams.

I considered a more scientific approach. Should I stay put and take stock of the number of white cars that would pass now that I was aware? Should I remain outside until a vehicle of another hue passed? As I considered this, my gloved hands started to burn with coldness. I decided to return home. I hadn’t had breakfast or coffee yet. Perhaps I was delusional or maybe white is the number 1 car color?

This isn’t the strangest thing that has happened to me. I’ll have to write about that time a really nice black all weather jacket appeared in our foyer closet. I thought it belonged to my mother or some guests who’d recently visited. They each denied owning the coat. I’ve been wearing it ever since. That was 5 years ago. It’s my coat of many absorbed colors. I was wearing it on my walk. Coincidence?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Embracing Another Year

creative-happy-new-year-card-made-with-dots_1017-1116.jpgIt is 2016 and I have no New Year’s resolutions. I course correct multiple times throughout the year thereby removing the need to at the end or beginning of a year.

I am embracing 2016 as the best year yet. I’m not job searching or looking for another place to dwell vocationally. There are no major life altering goals I have to meet. So I see this year as blooming where I’ve been planted.

I set my Goodreads reading challenge at 24 books for the year. I want to keep plugging away at finishing my Fanfiction stories while continuing my original works in progress. I’m continuing to find ways to work smarter and not harder as an educator. My work as a writing coach and editor continues to be gratifying. This, my daughter’s final year in high school, brings many large and small projects.

I foresee 2016 bringing me great joy and satisfaction.