Killing Eve season 3: An ode to Fiona Shaw’s Carolyn Martens

Let us count the ways we love her... **CONTAINS SPOILERS**

Killing Eve - Carolyn

Killing Eve season three landed with a thud (sorry, Kenny) – the main components were all there, but there was something intangible that was still lacking: fun. The only character who was still having a laugh – despite her broken heart – was Villanelle, and as a result all other scenes felt dreary without her presence.

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In episode three, however, that’s all changed – and it’s largely thanks to Fiona Shaw’s Carolyn Martens, who paradoxically has enjoyed a new lease of life following her son Kenny’s murder.

Ever since season one, the ruthless MI6 boss has consistently stolen scene after scene with her dry humour, tailored power dressing and her offbeat observations (who could forget her pig’s placenta moisturiser, or the rat holding a can of coke) – not to mention outwitting pretty much everyone around her.  

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 12/04/2020 - Programme Name: Killing Eve Series 3 - TX: n/a - Episode: Killing Eve S3 - EP2 (No. 2) - Picture Shows: ***EMBARGOED TILL SUNDAY 12TH APRIL 2020*** Carolyn Martens (FIONA SHAW) - (C) Sid Gentle Films/BBC America - Photographer: Des Willie

At the start of season three, however, she was the subject of a work inquiry and lacking in confidence – before she’s later faced with the violent death of her son and enforced time off work. Her grieving process so far (despite her daughter’s best efforts) consists of eating a sandwich and listening to mournful classical music while sitting in her parked vintage car. 

But in episode three, however, she is reinvigorated, with the prospect of a secret investigation into ‘The Twelve’ – the mysterious organisation that employs Villanelle, and which Kenny was investigating prior to his death.

Finally, Carolyn is back in her element and having fun – and so is the viewer. 

Here are three already-iconic moments from episode three that have made us love (and maybe fear) Carolyn even more. 

Carolyn taking meetings in her bath

Killing Eve - Carolyn

“I have all my best ideas in the bath,” Carolyn deadpans to Eve, who stumbles onto what appears to be a business meeting – in Carolyn’s bathroom. Mo, Carolyn’s new MI6 protégée, doesn’t know where to look when Carolyn demands he hand her a (pink) towel as she reluctantly steps out of her bathtub. 

The episode’s title may be ‘Meetings Have Biscuits’, but in Carolyn’s world, meetings also include (no doubt luxurious) bath oils.

The questionable power dynamic between Carolyn and Mo aside (imagine if the genders were reversed), we should all aspire to Carolyn’s level of self-confidence. Even submerged in a bubble bath, surrounded by three fully clothed people, she’s the most relaxed – and powerful – out of all of them. 

Carolyn seducing an old friend 

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 05/04/2020 - Programme Name: Killing Eve Series 3 - TX: n/a - Episode: Killing Eve S3 - EP1 (No. 1) - Picture Shows: ***EMBARGOED TILL SUNDAY 5TH APRIL 2020*** Carolyn Martens (FIONA SHAW) - (C) Sid Gentle - Photographer: -

Carolyn – and we can’t stress this enough – had a really great time in the 1980s. This is evident pretty much any time a male, middle-aged Russian or Eastern European appears on-screen, and inevitably turns out to be one of Carolyn’s many conquests from her time as a British intelligence officer during the Cold War. 

When Eve describes one man as one of Carolyn’s “Cold War boyfriends”, Carolyn objects.

“Don’t be ridiculous Eve,” she says. “We barely had a night together.”

Carolyn uses her charms to good use when she fakes being stood up in a cocktail bar – conveniently the same bar as an old and potentially useful acquaintance, a high-level Geneva banker whom she seems to have previously had a fling with after his divorce. He then reveals (over a cosy takeaway dinner) the name of The Twelve’s East German financial advisor, Charles Kruger: who, it turns out, Carolyn also had a fling with back in the day. 

“He was very gorgeous during his day,” muses Carolyn the next morning, nursing a colossal hangover. 

Could we love her more?

The brief moment we thought Carolyn had died 

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 20/04/2020 - Programme Name: Killing Eve Series 3 - TX: n/a - Episode: Killing Eve S3 - EP3 (No. 3) - Picture Shows: ***EMBARGOED TILL 20TH APRIL 2020*** Mo Jafari (RAJ BAJAJ), Carolyn Martens (FIONA SHAW) - (C) Sid Gentle/BBC America - Photographer: -

Killing Eve writers – how could you do this to us? One moment Carolyn was happily enjoying an old-fashioned stake out with Mo, munching on eclairs and later demonstrating a pop-and-lock dance move- and the next she was apparently shot in the head by none other than Villanelle (disguised as a police officer). 

Of course, it turned out she wasn’t dead, and that she hadn’t been Villanelle’s target after all – it was the unfortunate Charles, sitting in the backseat. But for one, brief moment, both Mo and the viewer really thought Carolyn was dead: her eyes closed, her head covered in blood from where the bullet had grazed her on its way to its real target, Charles. 

She woke up covered in blood, having moments before believed that she was the intended target – and her gasping response upon waking was perhaps one of the first times we’ve seen her truly vulnerable, or exhibit real emotion. 

Despite the way she treated Eve and Villanelle last season, the brief moment we thought we’d lost Carolyn only compounded how much we love her – and how much she still brings to the show three seasons in.

While viewers may feel we know Villanelle and Eve inside out by now, it still feels like we’ve only scratched the surface of the mysterious Carolyn Martens…

Killing Eve began in the UK on BBC iPlayer on Monday 13th April – the day after it launched in America. New episodes are available to stream every Monday from 6am.

The show also hit BBC One just under a week later, with the first episode on Sunday 19th April at 9pm and new episodes following each Sunday at 9pm.

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For fans in the US, the show airs on BBC America from Sunday 12th April at 9pm.