Character development is much appreciated, but a return to form is even better.
Villanelle is back to her old self on Killing Eve Season 2 Episode 3, and her return proves that the best work is done by Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh when Villanelle and Eve are close.
And if you ever wondered what kind of game the two were playing at with their looks of longing and heaving chests when in each other's presence, well, you are still doing it after "The Hungry Caterpillar."
Watching the two much-lauded actresses fully entrenched in their craft is mesmerizing.
If you're sick of hearing that, too bad.
The only thing that could go a way in the release of that pressure is if both Oh and Comer were among the nomination procession.
When a duo is this good together and their work so dependent on the other for its greatness, you long for awards recognizing how difficult it is to find the right partner.
It shouldn't be all about The MTV Awards when it comes to some categories.
Villanelle is BACK, baby! And she's been missed.
Everything about Villanelle is exciting, but when she's in top form, there's nothing better.
Guess how many semen stains are on the bed. Seven! Not including the one on the pillow.Villanelle
Thankfully, Villanelle wasn't about to let a little thing like a sadistic handler get in the way of her flamboyancy nor her creative kills.
But damn, Raymond did try to kill Villanelle's spirit with all of the jabs about The Ghost and Eve's hunting of her.
Villanelle: I have to wonder why you want me to be boring and discreet, Raymond.
Raymond: Oh, you don't mind her getting the credit for your work, do you?
Villanelle: Eve will know it was me.
Raymond: Will she? Looks like she's not thinking about you at all.
Or did he? Even though Raymond was pushing all of Vilanelle's buttons or that his job, according to Konstantin, is to put down the old superstars, so they're no longer a problem, a part of me wondered if Raymond was pushing Villanelle somewhere else.
If he was sent to kill her, why not do it already? His plans to torture Villanelle with the occasional choke hold and a series of taunts were fruitless.
Villanelle only gets more determined the more pressure she feels upon her, and in that respect, she delivered. If Eve were going to give her heart away to another killer, then Villanelle would make her place in Eve's life a little more personal.
To be fair, Eve didn't need much pushing to fully fall into Villanelle's carefully laid trap.
Eve is already emotionally distant from Nico to the point he's beginning to take up friendships with other women.
Well before Eve met Nico's fellow teacher during a cocktail hour she had forgotten three years in a row, Villanelle had already set her sites on the woman after watching Nico frolicking in the schoolyard.
You could say that Villanelle is more involved in Eve's personal life than Eve herself.
It's pretty apparent that Eve doesn't appreciate Nico, nor does she expect him to step out on her. But when she finally gets in front of his school chums, she begins to realize that might be a mistake.
In their relationship, Eve and Nico assume non-traditional gender roles.
She's the standoffish guy type who says I love you by getting his girl an oil change, and he's the woman who wants nothing more than to spend time with her man but is met continually with obstacles she can't overcome.
Villanelle covered all of her bases.
In planting another apple in Eve's path on the desk of a school teacher, she effectively set up Eve to be seen as a complete loon by interjecting her work --again -- into her plans with Nico.
Nico: Eve? Do you think there's a possibility, just a slight possibility, that you just saw an apple?
Eve: What if it WAS just an apple?
Nico: Then I would ask you why the one time you came to support me at my job you were miraculously able to make it about you and your job.
It was a double whammy when Nico harkened to his school chum to wait up as they'd be finishing the cocktail hour alone.
Just as it's difficult to ascertain thoughts from Eve and Villanelle about their interactions together, the same can be said for Eve's feelings for Nico. She adores being coddled by him and the times she feels protected, but she's not very interested in giving as good as she gets.
A pattern might be emerging in her relationship with Villanelle, too, but it's taking a different turn.
Eve is a lot more passive in her pursuit of Villanelle than Villanelle is in her pursuit of Eve. That puts Eve in a very precarious position, and it makes her vulnerable.
As attuned as she thinks she is to all things Villanelle, the skilled huntress still managed to get so close to Eve that she managed to dump a lipstick into Eve's bag.
Konstantin: Leave her alone. She's a parasite, Eve. She gets into your brain and she eats you up to make space for yourself. like that book with the hungry worm and all that food? Pickles, tomatoes.
Eve: The Hungry Caterpillar?
Konstantin: Yes! That's her, burrowing in and creeping around.
Villanelle has a much better understanding of Eve's weaknesses than Eve does of hers, and it's because Villanelle knows these vulnerabilities that Eve can easily get hurt.
You think she loves you? Then make her hate you. Hate is something she understands; it's manageable. Look what happens to the people she loves. She loves you to death. Look at Ana, Nadia, and look at me.Konstantin
Every gift Villanelle has sent to Eve has been used by her prey.
Eve opened the luggage; she wore the dress; she tried the perfume. Whatever Eve has received from Villanelle, she's fallen into with a kind of crushing admiration for her suitor even knowing how Villanelle uses shiny things for murder.
Unfortunately for Eve, Villanelle is a KILLER. Eve never gives Villanelle enough credit, the credit necessary to understand she's operating at Villanelle's whim.
Eve even thought she as getting one over on everyone by releasing Konstantin into the wind to assist with gaining access to Villanelle.
But Konstantin had other plans. Sure, he was worried about his family, but he was more worried about Villanelle. Konstantin and Villanelle are family, and he'd give up one to have the other.
Villanelle: This is a terrible hug.
Konstantin: Then maybe you shouldn't have shot me.
Villanelle: You're not still mad about that, are you? I aimed to make sure I wouldn't kill you.
Konstantin: No, you didn't. You aimed right at my heart.
Villanelle: Yes, I did. Nice and clean, just like you taught me! I'm sorry.
Whether Konstantin is really leaving The Twelve is an unknown at this point, but I don't for one tiny bit doubt his desires to take Villanelle and make a living utilizing their skills together.
But now Konstantin knows more about Eve than ever, and he can placate Villanelle by leaning into her obsession with Eve.
While Raymond cut off Villanelle before she had the chance to dig into Eve, Konstantin will always let Villanelle get just close enough to sate her desires.
And Villanelle has deep, dark desires when it comes to Eve.
Carolyn: I don't really get angry, Eve, as it makes me really sleepy, so you'll just need to imagine I sound angry when I say this: Never ever go behind my back again. Ever. You are by no means the only person I work with but you take up a disproportionate amount of my time. And my time is very valuable to me. I have hobbies. Do you understand that, Eve?
Carolyn might be pissed at Eve for going against her back, but Eve might have saved Nico's life and her marriage by setting Konstantin onto the path he is on with Villanelle.
At least she's heading far from direct contact with Eve's family and friends, something the thirsty MI6 agent never fully understood even when apples and lipsticks were appearing with a familiarity nobody should want to have with a killer.
That was all too apparent when Eve tried on the lipstick Villanelle left for her. Villanelle knew Eve would try it, but Eve didn't think hard about the potential betrayal Villanelle could be experiencing.
If she had taken into account everything Konstantin said and even looked back at her own words ("She's gonna be pissed!"), slathering a product across her lips, a place Villanelle would want very much to touch and very much to hurt if she felt provoked.
Villanelle was definitely provoked.
The prospects of what's ahead continue to be very exciting. We're almost half-way through Killing Eve Season 2, so expect the unexpected.
We have to start thinking like Villanelle because Eve isn't going to do it.
What do you think will be first on Konstantin and Villanelle's plate?
What is it going to be like for Eve to go back to work with a miffed Carolyn, a disappointed Kenny and two other people she still doesn't quite know?
Even though Villanelle initially thought of Nico as a threat, she must have seen how quickly Eve tossed him aside to focus on Villanelle.
That should make Nico safe for a while.
With all of the longing and pseudo-sexual scenes that played out during this hour, it should be high on the list for this season's most provocative episode.
Share your thoughts on the season and this mesmerizing episode below!!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.