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Carolyn Martens: Badass Boss.

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I dip back in randomly to episodes from time to time because I like stepping into the mood of the show as much as actually following the story - but in doing so, particularly S1 (Carolyn intro) on through to the Aaron Peele mission - I've started to pay particular attention to what it is the showrunners want us to have in mind for Carolyn and her loyalties.

Granted - thinking this through can be a bit of a folly because it's not clear even that PWB had a firm handle on it that tracked from the start of season 1 on through to the end, let alone preserving that vision in the various hand-offs between subsequent showrunners. But from the build in season 1 around Moscow (almost immediately upon arrival, Eve starts questioning Carolyn's loyalties and that culminates in the reveal that she went and talked to Villanelle alone in prison) we've been meant to wonder if she was some kind of double agent. 

And I've always called BS on the S2 reveal that the note Nadia slipped under her cell door for Eve could have conceivably said anything about the death of Aaron Peele's father. That made zero sense. What was on Nadia's mind at the time that she wanted to communicate to Eve about was the history of Villanelle and Konstantine and more about the organization she understood herself to be going to work for, had Villanelle not swooped in and taken her place. That's what the original writer had in mind, I'm sure, when they wrote that episode - not that Nadia was mentioning a super specific kill (why would she care if data got into the wrong hands, if that's what tipping Eve off to the Peele murders was meant to head off?) The only way you can make that make sense is that Carolyn was lying about the contents of the note - which we never saw for ourselves. To give the show possibly too much credit it's better to assume the note DID say something meaningful about The Twelve and/or Konstantine and that Carolyn either already knew it and didn't want Eve to know, or didn't know, and figured she could use the information to her advantage, but still didn't want Eve to know. Then, separately, Carolyn gets the chance at some progress on this Aaron Peele thing, and retrofits Nadia's note to be about that to get Eve re-engaged. (To believe this, you have to believe Eve is kind of dumb and would't demand to see the note for herself, but it wouldn't be the only time they have cut Eve off at the knees.)

Another instance where it's actually better to believe Carolyn was lying (and that Eve was dumb enough to fall for it) was in S3 when Eve finally demands to know what Carolyn talked to V about in the prison. (Clearly the showrunners at least do pass along notes of "SH*T WE HAVEN'T RESOLVED YET - AND THAT MAYBE YOU CAN USE TO YOUR ADVANTAGE") S3's showrunner decided this could be used to enhance the identity-crisis aura coming off of Villanelle. And it's less of a clear lie since Villanelle somewhat confirms it, in their exchange at the music hall. It doesn't totally track, given that Villanelle DID work for Carolyn in S2, by way of Eve hiring her to interrogate the ghost and ultimately to infiltrate Peele's inner circle and kill him. So Villanelle circling all the way back to the prison offer is a little strange. The only way it makes sense in my view of Carolyn and her loyalties is that the original offer was more self-serving about Carolyn in the way The Twelve ultimately functions for and motivates her character.

My view is that The Twelve is to Carolyn as Villanelle is to Eve - a growing obsession that she wants to absorb, join with, defeat, admire, take down, control, submit to - it might change on a given day, the way Eve herself has conflicted feelings about Villanelle and what she wants to happen between them. Carolyn is always accusing Eve of having too narrow a view, and that goes for her obsessions; Eve is preoccupied with the individual; Carolyn is fixated on the organizational, the institutional, the collective. I think the Aaron Peele operation, which was clearly unsanctioned, was all a bid for Carolyn to gain the notice of The Twelve in a major way. She wanted to send the message, I can put a hit out on a troublemaker just like you. An unsolicited audition for a job, if you will. I think a reason she felt so unmoored in S3 was that the object of her affection appeared to have had a role in killing Kenny and part of her hated herself for continuing to be in thrall to them despite it. Part of me thinks she killed Paul not so much in vengeance for Kenny but because he knew more than she did, or he knew she still wanted some part of The Twelve in spite of knowing they had some hand in her son's death, so in her shame she had to eliminate him. I think Carolyn's sense of defeat, expressed to Eve at the end of S3 (that the Twelve may be unbeatable) was more her sense of rejection talking - the feeling that if she was ever going to get noticed by The Twelve in a meaningful way it already would have happened.

I could be totally off base here and the final season of KE will be Eve, V, and Carolyn teaming up to take down The Twelve in the conventional way. But part of me thinks that when Carolyn tells Eve that 'getting the girl' only happens in Hollywood, she's really saying - I don't want the girl, or at least, my version of getting the girl is getting a seat at the table (alongside the rest of The Twelve).

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I couldn’t even finish the third season because I was so mad they killed Kenny — both because I liked him, and I didn’t want to see Carolyn sad.  
 

For some reason my favorite Carolyn scene is where she randomly tells Eve about seeing a giant rat drinking a can of Coke outside their office. “He was holding it up with both hands.  Extraordinary.”  The actress’s line delivery killed me.  

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