Slow Horses (Season 1) Episode 4: Recap and Ending Explained

Slow Horses Season 1 Episode 4

Slow Horses (Season 1), Episode 4 Recap and Ending Explained: This is the episode when things go haywire. The previous episode was the table-setter, explaining the plan, revealing the players, both the known and unknown, and as a good racy paperback novel, the next chapter is when the narrative starts propelling forward with speed and ferocity.

Before we get into the latest episode, have a look at the recap of Episodes 3

Slow Horses (Season 1) Episode 4 Recap:

Everyone goes under the radar: 

After the events of the previous episode, Min exits the house and immediately vomits. All the rest of the team are in a similar state of shock, except, of course, Jackson Lamb. But unlike previous cases where he would lord over the inability of his subordinates to compose themselves, Lamb immediately asks for their phones and dumps them down the grate into the sewer. The reason is simple: perception is key, and time has run out. They needed to regroup all members of Slough House because, as Lamb surmises, “the dogs” would be after them now.

The shock of finding the decapitated head of the kidnapper, whom Cartwright was very sure he had seen somewhere, doesn’t deter Lamb from instructing his subordinates to locate the other members of Slough House, even reciting their address from memory, much to the chagrin of the rest of the crew. While Lamb walks off alone, managing to buy a cap to disguise his appearance for the cameras, River, Min, and Louisa round off the trip to pick up Ho and Loy, with Min and Louisa deciding emphatically that they won’t go after Ho, leaving River saddled with the responsibility of bringing him in. They manage to escape from the neighborhood, barely missing Diana’s MI5 agents.

The Sons of Albion are confused: 

The heading makes sense because the sons of Albion are confused. At least two of their members are, while the third, who is responsible for the decapitation, is currently driving the van. In a heated exchange in the getaway van where the other members are panicking, Curly, the ax-swinger, reveals he killed Moe, the apparent leader because he was a spook. And while he didn’t have concrete proof, he revealed that he had spoken to Simmonds before the deed, who had tipped them off but also emphatically told him they were on their own.

Now stranded in the middle of nighttime London, driving towards a getaway vehicle they might be able to access, they are left to wonder what to do with Hassan Ahmed, the kid, who is stuck in the back of the van. The whole operation is spiraling out of control and their panicking isn’t helping matters. They know someone set them up via Moe, but how or why is baffling.

The MI5 tries to round up the slow horses: 

Diana Taverner is feeling the effects of the botched operation slipping away from her hands. She sends MI5 agents to capture Loy, who is blackmailed by her into stating that Jackson Lamb is responsible for the death of Moe, or as is revealed here, Alan Black, an MI5 agent planted among the sons of Albion by Diana to handle the operation. With the death of Black, Diana is hurtling in the dark to take control of the reins, and she decides to do that by applying her resources to capture the remaining slow horses.

River reaches Ho’s location barely moments before the MI5 agent can identify his apartment. Inside the hurtling vehicle, in which Ho screams he is driving like a maniac, River instructs Ho to bring up information related to Alan Black, who Louisa and Min identify as having left Slough House long before River joined; while being cut out of Regent’s Park years earlier for having slept with the wife of the Venezuelan ambassador. Now driving Ho towards Blake’s Grave, the rendezvous where the Slow Horses are supposed to regroup, he takes a detour and goes to the hospital where Sid Baker is kept. Ho is not receptive to this plan but begrudgingly agrees to keep the engine running while Cartwright goes to Baker’s room.

However, he is caught by the camera, which immediately attracts the attention of MI5, who send their agents to that location. Cartwright, at Baker’s room, looks at her wounded face and is reminded of the time when he had tailed Diana Taverner alone, a story he was regaling Sid before the events that put her in the hospital. Somehow that event relates to River’s familiarity with Alan Black, but before the audience can understand what it is, the agent catches up with River, who barely escapes only to find that Ho has abandoned him, leaving him to run towards the rendezvous point on foot.

Slow Horses (Season 1) Episode 4 Ending Explained

Elsewhere Lamb goes to his assistant, Catherine Standish’s, flat, where, after slightly confusing and traumatizing her in equal measure, he convinces her to get dressed and accompany him. However, they were too late because Taverner’s right-hand man, Nick, who had been tasked with locating Lamb, had identified him after being unable to discern his alias’ destination due to the multiple numbers of plane tickets Lamb had bought to confuse MI5. On the way back to Diana, however, Lamb tries to convince the agents that Taverner is trying to clean up, using her resources to go after Slough House rather than locate the kidnapped boy. The primary reason would be that the death of Alan Black gave Diana the incentive to dissolve the temporary truce between her and Lamb. Now everything is on the table to keep MI5 off the hook for murdering an innocent citizen, even pinning the blame on Slough House and burying the Slow Horses.

Lamb, however, proves his resourcefulness by distracting his captors with his acerbic wit and continuous sneezing and finally asking for a tissue from Standish. She, in response, brandishes the gun from her handbag, which the agents had missed because they didn’t think to frisk her. Lamb then leaves the agents stranded in the middle of the road while they drive off to the rendezvous location.

Final Thoughts: 

While the overall plot of the episode doesn’t move forward, the tone of the episode and the resultant energy get a suitable boost due to the cat and mouse game played between the different factions as they all try to outwit each other and stay ahead of the game, as time runs out. The pace of the episode is helping the show to maintain its steady form of storytelling, and Hawes brings a composed and assured sense of direction. Bring on Episode 5.




Amartya Acharya

A cinephile who is slowly and steadily exploring the horizons of the literature of films and pop culture. Loves reading books and comics. He loves listening to podcasts while obsessing about the continuity in comics.