Jodie Comer on Killing Eve’s Latest Twist: “I Just Wanted to Cry My Eyes Out”
Article from Vanity Fair.
The Emmy-winning star has a lot to say about Sunday night’s staggering episode.
In Sunday night’s Killing Eve, Villanelle’s big family reunion ended the only way it could: with multiple murders and a massive house fire burning all the evidence that she was ever there.
“This episode changed like, a million times,” said star Jodie Comer. “This was a great opportunity to delve into this part of her life and discover what it actually means to her…this is why she does what she does.”
In earlier scripted iterations of the episode, Comer said, it was more obvious from the beginning that Villanelle was secretly on a mission to go to Mother Russia and kill her family. (Russia’s played by Romania in the episode.) In the actual final version, directed by Shannon Murphy, Villanelle seems genuinely curious about her family, eager to live in their world for a day and see if she can blend into the culture (which she does, seamlessly). Even her first outfit is a tip-off to the episode’s nostalgic feel, Comer said. Villanelle shows up to Russia wearing a beige blazer, a baby blue turtleneck, dark brown checkered pants, and dramatic black suede creepers. “[There] was a really androgynous feel to that, which I really liked, and it was something that felt a little bit outdated,” Comer said. “It was almost like she put it on on purpose, so we know where it was that she was going.”
Villanelle also reunites with her mother, played by the bewitching Evgenia Dodina. It seems, at first, that Villanelle is being welcomed in and given the sort of stable, loving family life that eluded her for most of her life. But as the episode progresses, Villanelle and her mother have a devastating, emotional verbal sparring match that ends with Villanelle realizing that she must, in fact, kill her own mom. The episode doesn’t show the act onscreen, instead jumping to the next scene and showing Villanelle’s mother laying dead on the floor.
That sparring match is a rare look at Villanelle’s past, unfurling the character’s psychology and revealing how her mother’s distaste and ultimate abandonment led Villanelle to become a psychopathic assassin. “These two people are faced with the truth and the brutality of what they’ve both done,” Comer said.
The scene is also a demanding, brilliant acting set piece, allowing both actors to alternate between being vicious and vulnerable. It took nearly seven hours to film. “I just wanted to cry my eyes out,” the Emmy-winning Comer said of working with Dodina. “I felt such a deep connection to her, which was actually so lucky. She is just so spectacular. The kind of power that she holds when you do a scene is so intense.”
After killing her mother and some of her relatives, Villanelle boards a train to make her escape. As she sits there, she listens to Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock” on her headphones, a song that her family dearly loved. (Comer was actually blasting the song in her headphones during the scene.) But even though she’s killed a million times before, she looks traumatized on the train, haunted by what she’s done. It’s a crushing, evocative scene signaling that Villanelle’s typically guiltless, psychopathic ways have finally caught up with her. It’s also the very first scene that Comer had to film for the episode, an epic task since the scene serves as the emotional lynchpin of the episode.
“I’m really glad that it matches up energy-wise,” Comer said. “I think that [episode] five has such a profound effect on her, especially in regards to what she does. I think the experience of killing her mum was unlike anything else that she’s done.”