Slow Horses (Season 2), Episode 5: In its previous episode, ‘Slow Horses’ highlighted intriguing elements about the hierarchy between the Russian agents. After finding Nevsky dead, Lamb seems certain that Pashkin is the mastermind behind the skewed operation. With the knowledge of Chernitsky having killed Min, Lamb has a strong suspicion that he did it due to Pashkin’s orders. Meanwhile, River realizes that it is not Duncan, but Alex, who is a Russian sleeper agent. While she flies for her mission, River is stuck in that small town.
With a lot of drama neatly revealed in its runtime, the narrative has reached its pivotal moment where the central incident is probable to happen.
Slow Horses (Season 2) Episode 5 Recap
Chernitsky (Marek Vasut) starts driving toward the city. Alex (Catherine McCormack) leaves her home with a letter for her husband and daughter. Before Katinsky (Rade Serbedzija) leaves with her, River (Jack Lowden) asks him about their motive for bombing the city while there is already a march. Katinsky mentions that he is not against those people who are marching against capitalism but against the Glasshouse, which stands as its motif. While he leaves, River is stuck there, trying hard to save himself.
Meanwhile, Lamb (Gary Oldman) goes in front of the MI5 headquarters, stands right in front of the CCTV camera, and opens his coat. Duffy (Chris Reilly) drives out of the building to go to the anti-capitalist march and, in this moment of haste, wonders why Lamb is doing such an attention-grabbing stunt. Lamb notes wanting an entrance inside the interrogation cells. Duffy escorts him there, where he meets Molly Doran (Naomi Wirthner), who instantly recognizes him. He asks about Nikolai Katinsky, and she notes that he is a Moscow cipher clerk who came over in the early ‘90s.
Molly also mentions that the power struggles in the new FSB meant the old KGB was being purged. Lamb asks to go over all his files for a detailed analysis of his profile. Meanwhile, Louisa (Rosalind Eleazar) and Marcus (Kadiff Kirwan) go to meet Pashkin (Alec Utgoff). In the presence of Kyril and Piotr, they meet him and check if they are wearing any guns. Even when he mentions that there is sensitive stuff in his suitcase, Louisa checks through it to confirm safety.
On the other side, Diana Taverner (Kristin Scott Thomas) goes to meet the minister Peter Judd, who sits inside the restaurant while making her wait for a while. She calls him to speak, and it goes straight to voicemail. He soon comes out and gets inside the car, and she gets relieved. She is worried because there is an assigned time for his speech, according to which they place their security schedule – something that this politician is purposefully avoiding to care for. Meanwhile, Chernitsky drives toward London while listening to a radio discussion about the march. However, there is a phone in his coat tracking his movement, which he has no idea about.
While Roddy (Christopher Chung) is absolutely careless about the purpose of Chernitsky’s visit to the city, Shirley (Aimee-Ffion Edwards) understands the seriousness of this situation and is worried about what it means for the safety of people. In Upshott, River still struggles to free himself and somehow manages to call Duncan and Kelly from a phone to come and save him. In MI5, Molly shows him a video of Katinsky speaking about cicadas. But unlike what Molly claims, Lamb thinks that Katinsky is not an insignificant fellow. They discuss the theory of him being much smarter than what they give him credit for.
Meanwhile, Louisa and Marcus go along with the Russians to a common meeting with Jim Webb from the MI5. After his awkward interaction with Pashkin, they enter the meeting. In the slough house, Standish learns that they are tracking Chenitsky’s location. She mentions that somebody needs to go there to ensure that nobody dies. As usual, Roddy takes the matter lightly and tries to make her do the chore. But she mentions that she already has an essential task with Krymov to procure the details she is certain he is hiding from her.
However, she is more concerned about the reason for the slough house being connected with it. When she insults him and hurts his ego, Roddy heads out with Shirley to check what Chernitsky is up to. Standish heads straight to Krymov and tries to insinuate that he is lying about Pashinky while smartly dealing with the situation to learn more intel about the reason for slough house’s involvement in this case. Meanwhile, during their drive, Judd mentions his plan to run for PM office and asks Taverner to provide unconditional support. This is in exchange for giving her the opportunity to lead MI5.
Meanwhile, Duncan and Kelly come to find River, who mentions that Alex tied him up after tasering him. He notes that she is a Russian sleeper agent, which he earlier mistook Duncan to be, and that she is flying to London for a secret mission to bomb the Glasshouse. He also mentions that he is not a journalist but an MI5 agent. Neither father nor daughter believes in him right away. However, upon seeing a letter from Alex and then not getting any response from her on the phone, they trust his word. River soon manages to procure their phone to call the MI5 to inform them about the certainty of the bombing.
Then his call is redirected to Taverner, who asks whether it is not a baseless hunch through which he is messing up an already complicated situation. He takes complete responsibility for it and right after, Taverner goes to stop minister Judd from giving a speech to a crowd full of angry citizens in front of the Glasshouse. Despite his dismay, she escorts him away safely back to his car. By that time, Lamb learns about it and gets worried since he has agents at both the points from where the bomb is coming and where it is being released. Meanwhile, during their meeting in the glasshouse, Webb continues to make the tense situation between MI5 and Pashkin lighter. The Russian man does not pay heed to his silliness and remains serious during their discussion.
Standish keeps up with her attempts to win a game of chess against Krymov, who still is condescending toward her. During all this time, the crowd at the Glasshouse goes haywire out of panic. Standish soon wins the game while being far more intelligent than Krymov gave her credit for. He still does not agree to share any intel. She then threatens to share details from the file they have on him. Right after, she calls Lamb to mention that it was Krymov who ensured that slough house is somehow involved in the ongoing kerfuffle. In his usual arrogant manner, he shuts her up and orders her to rather call Louisa and Marcus to get out of the Glasshouse for their safety.
Slow Horses (Season 2) Episode 5 Ending Explained
How is slough house connected with the ongoing bombing operation?
While Lamb shouts at Standish, he sees that he is the one who signed Katinsky’s intake. He looks at the file Molly gives and recalls being in Prague during that time, which makes it impossible for him to sign. Since it was a secret mission, she asked who knew about it. He thinks of one person who stands out as the one behind this. But he thinks that this person was being handled by Katinsky instead of vice versa. In the video, Katinsky tries to make himself seem as if he was insignificant while he was a ghost in the eyes of the law.
They talk about Cicadas, a term that a spymaster coined. Lamb then understands Katinsky being the spymaster who was pulling the strings all this time. He understands that Standish was right that Katinsky wants him. Meanwhile, in the Glasshouse, an evacuation alarm starts playing, and while the agents, especially Webb, start panicking, Pashkin takes out a gun from his suitcase and threatens to kill them.
Louisa then clarifies Webb’s confusion by noting that Pashkin’s men killed Nevsky, unlike what MI5 and Webb thought. While Webb keeps shouting at him, Nevsky shoots him, after which Marcus pulls out a gun from under the table and shoots one of his men. The episode ends with Webb struggling to stay alive. With a powerful play of politics and an intense action thriller, the episode is probably the finest and most riveting from this season.