SG Showrunners 28: Spotlight on Villanelle, Inciting Incidents, & Crisis Moments

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Reminder: Please watch the TV-Series Killing Eve Season 3 before you listen to the following episode. We not only give away spoilers, but we talk about the global story, and it’s just more valuable for you if you know what we are talking about because we reference a lot.

The following is an extract of our episode. For further information, please listen to the show.

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Spotlight on Villanelle: Three Seasons have passed and we still talk about Villanelle. What is it about her?

Let’s revisit her character across the series.

Mel: Villanelle demonstrates cold brutality even though she looks stunning and absolutely beautiful which deceives everyone around her. Her beauty and innocent appearance are like the trap that lures her victims into her reach so that she can kill them.

Villanelle doesn’t follow a moral code and only does what excites her. If she has to do something, she doesn’t want to, she falls back into lashing out like a child. Not being able to see the consequences of her actions. She’s impulsive, while her ego requires her to feel invincible. And still, there’s something about curly-haired women in their early 40’s, that throws her completely out of balance. And she can’t deal with her emotions..

As we have gotten to know and love her, she is a twisted personality. She can show every personality trait that we can sympathise with. From funny, to warm, vulnerable, but also strong and frightening. And whenever you look at her, you can’T tell what’s on her mind. Is she gonna kiss you or kill you? That makes the show very exciting.

As said in the last episode of season 3, she can make people change to their worst. She is the reason why Eve unlocked her inner monster and changed from that self-doubt person who carried so much guilt and said sorry for everything to becoming a person who slowly loses her moral path. 

The beauty of the show is, as it seems, that maybe one day Eve and Villanelle will be at the same level. Eve seems to become darker and lose her sense of justice and morality, while Villanelle walks on the path of redemption – which was only possible through Eve. And maybe, one day, Villanelle will have changed so much for the better, that she can lead Eve back on the path of redemption. That would be a great twist and sign of character development.

Parul: If we take our toolkit out and start to analyze this character and use categories – how might we break up Villanelle’s character? 

Randall: You and I have talked about this on a couple of different other mediums, the anti-villain and the antihero. And I think we both agree that Villanova falls into the antihero a bucket, basically because she’s not your traditional black and white anti-villain. She’s not completely evil because she is the person who’s falling her Eve. She has multiple opportunities to kill her, Carolyn. She’s not killing all these people that are hunting her. Uh, and she’s actually and others that are hunting her.  She wants to get out as Mel said, she wants redemption. 

Parul: We witness her vulnerability – her abnormal upbringing. And the beauty that Melanie talked about is actually something that you can’t help, but be drawn to if she was, you know, not so pretty if she didn’t look so angelic and wasn’t so charming, would she still be an anti-villain? 

We also see how Villanelle’s love story gives her a chance for redemption.

Melanie: At the beginning of season three, she had to live with the fact that Eve might be dead. She didn’t know if Eve had survived. At the end of season two, Villanelle shot Eve because she was not ready to let Eve walk away, but in season three, Villanelle turned around, told Eve to turn around as well and let her walk away. That’s proof of love. 

Parul: I love the integration of love and thriller, you know we have been quite critical of season three, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s still a memorable series that people will be talking about for years to come. Villanelle is a character that we will be referencing for a long while. 


A look at the inciting incidents across all three Seasons. How do they compare?

Inciting Incidents:

  • Season 1: There is a killer on the loose and they need to solve the crimes
  • Season 2: Eve starts investigation into the Ghost
  • Season 3: Kenny dies

Summary of our thoughts on the inciting incidents across the three seasons

If it’s a thriller, they all start in debt. So that’s a good start for any thriller. 

Season 1 II: There is a killer on the loose and they need to solve the crimes

  • Does this turn on life and death – hell yeah it does; it begins with this guy having his femoral artery slashed.
  • The Inciting Incident sets the theme, tone, and mood for the series – people will die, can the protagonist stop her? It’s exactly where you want to be as an author or a screenwriter – you want to tell you your audience this is what this series is about.
  • We see the power difference between the two.  Eve is very, very unprofessional. She’s taking croissants to the briefing and making noise, she’s clumsy (she bumps the table, and she’s late to the meeting.  And then we have Villanelle, who isn’t making any mistakes.
  • We were the most invested in the inciting incident for Season 1 which also included the typical investigation story throughout the season. In Season 1, we have the big showdown in the end. This big promise was kept

Season 2 II: Eve started a less exciting investigation against a new serial killer The Ghost.

  • In season two, the Ghost assassin was interesting but it was wrapped up pretty quickly. It didn’t have that same tension of trying to find out who the assassin was. 

Season 3 II: Kenny dies.

  • Kenny’s death was a good inciting incident and could have potentially led us to an investigation of the Twelve. Instead, it ended up going totally off track as we have talked about in previous podcast episodes.
  • In season one, we are introduced to the 12th, the master villains but by season three they had virtually disappeared. 


A look at the crisis across all three Seasons. How do they compare?

Season 1: Should Eve, now sacked, go to Paris, confront Villanelle and risk her life? Or does she return to London

Season 2: Should Eve save Villanelle from Raymond by killing?

Season 3: (Multiple characters have crisis questions – whose should we follow?)

  • Eve:  Should she stop Carolyn from shooting Konstantin and be a hero? Or stay quiet and keep out of danger?
  • Villanelle: Does she escape with Konstantin as per the original plan?  Konstantin is not family anymore
  • Konstantin (Crisis: Does he go and risk his life or run away and risk Paul’s wrath?)
  • Carolyne: Should she believe Konstantin and spare him or kill Paul and risk the consequences? (he might be part of the 12)

Summary of thoughts on the crisis points

  • Compare crisis for Season 1 versus Season 2 and then Season 3. By Season 3, Eve’s crisis point has been reduced to should I get up and stop Carolyn from killing? Eve is supposed to be the lead character. 
  • In season three, the crisis point has a higher emphasis on Constantine. Does he go and risk his life? So does he go to the airport to escape the Twelve or to the house where Paul is? Really though it’s Carolyn’s crisis: should she believe Constantine or not. She decides to believe him and then kills Paul.


What’s next?

Join us when we talk about the series OZARK.


Find all our other episodes here:

https://storygrid.com/category/showrunners-podcast/

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About Melanie Naumann

Are you a songwriter or a musician? Melanie uses the craft of great storytelling to help musicians write powerful and meaningful lyrics. So that their songs resonate with their listeners, have the power to change lives, and to increase album sales. If you want to change lives and create meaning through the stories you tell and the songs you sing, visit storiesinsongs.com to book your free consultation call with Melanie.

About Parul Bavishi

Parul Bavishi started her publishing career in the editorial teams at Quercus and Random House and was later a Literary Scout for Eccles Fisher. She now edits Thriller and Young Adult novels through Publishing Uncovered and co-hosts the London Writers' Salon, a creative writing hub in London where she runs events such as the Pitch an Agent Masterclass. At the Salon, she has interviewed award-winning writers, including poet Amal El-Mohtar, and the journalist and writer Luke Jennings, creator of the Killing Eve series. She believes in the long-game approach to creating work that matters and taking time to hone your craft. She has helped many writers create their best work and would love to help you.

About Randall Surles

Randy Surles is a Certified Story Grid Editor with over 5 years of experience who specializes in editing Thrillers (Military/Fantasy/Science Fiction) and military non-fiction. Randy retired from the U.S. Army after serving over 20 years as a Green Beret.
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