“Yes, well, I figured [the writers] would have told me if she actually was dead,” says Oh, who, fans won’t be surprised to learn, is still very much a part of the new series, and speaking from self-isolation from her home in the US.
“It was a great way, and a challenging way, to start the third season. We had to have them jump several months ahead and to somehow [find a way] to pull them back together from very different places.”
These “different places” Oh speaks of are both metaphoric and literal – Eve Polastri has managed to survive Russian assassin Villanelle’s bullet and is sequestered away in England, working in a Korean restaurant making dumplings.
On the other side of the world, Villanelle is starting a new life for herself in comparative luxury, somewhere on the Mediterranean coast. She and Eve are both attempting to move on – Eve through the meditative art of dumpling making, and Villanelle through launching herself into a new relationship.
But their uneasy stasis won’t last for long.
“When we see her again, Eve is retreating,” says Oh, who won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of the multi-layered Eve in 2019.
“You see her going back to familiar, basic, almost elemental things; small things,” she explains. “She’s in a small space; she isn’t speaking much. So her life becomes really, really small – but she is recovering. Probably not in the most healthy way.”
Husband Niko is also doing his best to move on from the trauma he witnessed in season two – but will any of them actually succeed?
“We are all run by unconscious drive and I think one of the many graces, hopefully, about ageing and becoming your own person, is that you start learning about these unconscious drives and you learn for them not to drive you anymore,” says Oh of her character’s attempts to move forward after the devastation wrought on her professional and personal life in season two.
“I think that’s what you see Eve trying to do – trying to make a really strong boundary. But an event happens near the top of the season that really propels Eve into the hunt again, but on her own terms.”
It sets things up beautifully for events to unfold in season three. Eve and Villanelle are pushed back together, their new relationship changed as a result of what they both went through in the season before.
“The way [Eve] considers Villanelle, and even trusts her, is beyond anything we have seen before,” Oh explains. “There is so much betrayal, that it’s almost like, ‘We were both in a war together, we were on opposite sides, but we went through that war, and there’s no one else that can really understand it.’
‘I feel like they really understand each other very profoundly.’
“I feel like they really understand each other very profoundly, and their relationship has changed.”
Continuing from a tradition established after season one when the show’s writer, the multi-award-winning Phoebe Waller Bridge, stepped away from the show in focus on her other project, Fleabag, the third season is helmed by a third, different female writer (season two was written by Emerald Fennell and season three has Suzanne Heathcote as its showrunner).
Does it feel significantly different?
“Phoebe wrote a very strong template so that each of the writers, Emerald, then Suzanne, [have been able to pick up where it left off],” Oh explains. “It’s almost like Phoebe left a bunch of ingredients, and each one is creating her own recipe. The fabric and the bones of the show are held within the characters; the cast has never changed. And as we get new characters, they only add new perspectives and new energies; interesting, exciting energies.”
Killing Eve (season 3) is on iview from Monday.