DISCLAIMER: This Killing Eve recap of “Are You From Pinner?” contains more spoilers than the number of skeletons in Villanelle’s figurative closet. I’m assuming the number is somewhere in the ballpark of hundreds. Perhaps thousands. You’ve been warned. Proceed with caution.
Welcome back, Killing Eve lovers! “Are You From Pinner?” is my favorite episode of Season 3 – hands down. Jodie Comer is a damn revelation and it’s high time she had a standalone installment to truly shine. This entire episode needs to be her Emmys submission for 2020, but if I had to pick one section it’d be the last 10 minutes. Those 10 minutes were so emotionally charged and rife with subtext that my heart broke with Villanelle. Perhaps it’s because I have an immensely strained relationship with my estranged mother and today is Mother’s Day – a day I marginally despise. The timing of it all really hit home for me.
Not only that, but Villanelle’s sojourn to the homeland shed light on who she is as a person. It smashed preconceived notions of who we thought she was as a person. Is she really a psychopath in the grand scheme of things? Or did her traumatic childhood harden her shell and make it impossible for her to be genuinely vulnerable? These are the thoughts rattling about in my noggin during quarantine.
Alright, ready to delve into “Are You From Pinner?” Let’s get to it.
Now, we open with Villanelle (Comer) arriving home to a desolate farmland. She wanders into a house with its door ajar and begins scouring the kitchen. Of course, after a while, she’s stopped by the house’s residents. No one knows who she is, except for a man named Pytor (Rob Feldman). Pytor is Villanelle’s brother. Instantly, he recognizes her as his “Oksana.” Suddenly, Villanelle’s mother Tatiana (Evgenia Dodina) arrives home and is shocked to find her daughter standing in the living room. The pair partake in a tearful reunion – well, more like Tatiana was the tearful one. Villanelle appeared to be frozen in time. Parental affection is lost on her.
Next, Villanelle bonds with the young Bor’ka (Temi Blaev), who she discovers harbors an avid love for Elton John. Bor’ka hopes to score tickets to John’s farewell tour. Later, Villanelle plays card games with her brother, mother, and Bor’ka. In addition, her stepbrother Fyodor (Dimitrij Schaad), his girlfriend Yula (Natallia Bulynia), and Tatiana’s husband Grigoriy (Pedja Bjelac) joins them. Everyone bursts into a bout of dancing when Bor’ka begins blaring Elton John. Impromptu dance party! Villanelle is reticent to participate, but eventually she puts on her dancing shoes and joins the fun.
Then, Pytor takes his sister out to eat and tells her of the village’s impending Harvest Festival. It’s the talk of the town! The cream of the festival crop! He promises Villanelle a good time. Villanelle, being Villanelle, scoffs at the very idea of a peon’s gathering. She does have oodles and oodles of monetary greenery, after all. Villanelle also spends time with Grigoriy. Tatiana’s husband reveals that she never recovered from giving up Villanelle. Initially, the young mother dropped Villanelle off at an orphanage due to financial constraints, but had every intention of returning for her. However, Tatiana was informed that Villanelle burned the orphanage down and subsequently died with it. She was under the impression that Villanelle died and never emotionally recovered from it.
Later, the gang winds up letting loose at the Harvest Festival. Bor’ka enters a cooking competition, but unfortunately loses to a seasoned culinary veteran. Villanelle partakes in a dung flinging contest and wins the grand prize – a standing fan! Side note: Villanelle getting extremely competitive was adorable. She discovers that she is, indeed, having a good time. Much like Pytor promised.
Next, Villanelle and Bor’ka are watching Tatiana dance with Grigoriy. Bor’ka reveals that Tatiana chastised him for losing the cooking competition. She even called him “stupid” and that he disgraced the family. Villanelle tries to quell his insecurities the best way she knows how – by telling him to eat some candy and be quiet. A+ sister right there!
Then, Villanelle pretends her eyes are bleeding while cutting up tomatoes. Tatiana doesn’t find the bit funny, nor did Villanelle’s father back in the day. Villanelle beseeches Tatiana to wipe the tomatoes off her face as if she were a child again. This moment shattered me. It felt genuine and earnest, which aren’t two adjectives I’d use to describe Villanelle on any given day. Villanelle never received that kind of love and unadulterated affection as a kid. After Tatiana finishes cleaning Villanelle’s face, she orders her daughter to leave. This house isn’t Villanelle’s home. She’s not truly part of the family. Villanelle refuses to leave. The situation quickly evolves into a heated argument and all Villanelle needs to do is light the fuse. Literally.
Now, Tatiana confesses that her dearly departed husband thought Villanelle capable of true evil. That because of the perceived darkness residing within Villanelle, he had to protect the family from her. Villanelle begs Tatiana to just admit who she is – that she too is pure darkness. Like mother like daughter, right? Tatiana insists that Villanelle leave immediately. Suddenly, we see a switch in Villanelle. It’s fear intermingled with reluctance. She reveals that she has to kill her own mother now.
Next, we see Villanelle turning up the burners on the stove. She shuts the door to the room where Fyodor is sleeping with Yula. Villanelle sets an alarm and leaves a note for Bor’ka so he can flee outside before the explosion. Then, we see Tatiana is unconscious on the ground. Pytor is safe from it all, as he sleeps outside in the barn. Bor’ka finds an envelope chock full of tickets to Elton John’s farewell tour, courtesy of Villanelle, no doubt. Pytor watches the explosion, and his house is instantly engulfed in flames. Villanelle leaves the scene, clearly agitated and emotional. At least she saved Pytor and Bor’ka?
Later, Villanelle is sitting on the train jamming to music. She’s sporting a jumpsuit from the ’80s that her mother gave her. Her eyes are glistening with tears, which is an indicator that she must feel a modicum of guilt for what she did. Or at least sadness that her mother turned out to be rotten on the inside.
God, this episode was heartbreaking. I am torn asunder, folks. Comer is so deft at her craft. She makes it all look like a cake walk, to boot. Again, I think this proves that yes, Villanelle has psychopathic tendencies. But is she really, truly a psychopath? It’s quite clear that her feelings were hurt when her mother didn’t reciprocate her love. Of course, committing arson and patricide in one fell swoop is not something a mentally sound person would do. Perhaps Villanelle wanted Tatiana to admit to being a bad person so she would feel better about her own life choices. Or, so Villanelle can pin Tatiana as a scapegoat and claim her behavior is hereditary. And that final scene in the train! It’s abundantly clear that Villanelle was feeling a plethora of emotions in that short scene alone. Regardless, we may never know Villanelle’s true intentions.
Do you think Villanelle feels guilty about leaving her mother to die? Does she feel closure now that she was able to reunite with her mother? How will this affect Villanelle moving forward in the season? Join me next week as I recap Killing Eve, here on Geek Girl Authority.
Killing Eve airs Sundays at 9pm on your BBC America affiliate.