Episode 5 of Slow Horses Season 2 starts with River tied up at the airfield, kept in the office while the true nature of this plan comes into effect. It would appear that these Russians intend to bomb the Glass House, which is the site for our politician friend Peter Judd giving a big speech.
Diana obviously told him several episodes back to change the venue but his sheer arrogance sees him snub that advice. Time is of the essence, and with Lamb and his Slow Horses looking the other way, this happens to have been the real plan all along.
This occurs right on the same day as an anti-capitalist march, incidentally, and Lamb immediately heads off to find Nick, enlisting his help in breaking into the interrogation records. It’s the least he can do after half-arsing the investigation into Min.
Eventually Lamb makes it inside, where he immediately begins poring over the details involving Nikolai. Lamb starts to get the feeling that this guy is not a minnow but instead more of a whale, someone on the inside of the operation.
At the same time, Louisa gets her head on straight and heads into her meeting with Pashkin alongside Marcus. The entire affair is tinged with a cold veil of bitterness on Louisa’s side, who’s quick to go over every single detail of Pashkin’s briefcase and the two security goons.
Satisfied, the group arrive at the Glasshouse, unaware that the place is the target for this bombing. At the same time, Catherine encourages Ho and Shirley to stop twiddling their thumbs and watching River’s tracker, and to actually do something.
That something happens to be Catherine heading back to confront Victor, trying to work out how everything is connected. However, they have a tough deal at stake. Over a game of chess, Catherine agrees to drink again if she loses whereas if she wins, Victor has to reveal what his conection to Pashkin is. Game on!
Meanwhile, River manages to catch the attention of Duncan and Kelly, who show up and untie him. They’re shocked to find out Alex was actually the sleeper agent all along. Unfortunately, she also leaves her wedding ring behind and a note too, reading “Duncan I’m sorry, forgive me. Love Alex.”
Peter Judd prepares to gives his big speech out in front of everyone while Webb walks right into an awkward situation with Pashkin, who immediately takes control of the conversation and calls him out for the poor tailor that made his suit.
Just as things look set to kick off, River is freed from his binds and immediately calls in a “Code: September.”
Catherine wins her game and finds out that Victor has been pulling the strings the whole time and actually met with Nikolai, not Pashkin. He wanted to make sure Slough House was involved in some way, and there’s even a signature on the documents back in ’95, apparently Lamb signed him in. Only, he never signed any of the documents.
Lamb was in Prague at the time, off the books though, so it’s not like he can prove that. The truth is, Nikolai is the real spymaster here and not the cicada. He has unfinished business and he wants Jackson Lamb.
The evacuation alarm goes off at Glasshouse, but instead of leaving, Pashkin suddenly reveals a gun and holds them all up at gunpoint. It turns out there’s another taped under the desk, and as Pashkin takes control of the meeting, Louisa brings up that Nevsky is dead.
Webb doesn’t listen though and immediately gets himself shot. As he topples over, Marcus grabs the gun and shoots one of the Russian goons.
The Episode Review
So all of this has been a ruse from the very beginning, intending to bring Jackson Lamb onboard for some sort of unfinished business from back in Europe. That’s certainly quite the twist, although there are other elements of this episode that definitely stand out.
Catherine being given more agency and time to show her skills is definitely the stand out moment.
As a nitpick, there’s a bit too much time wasted with River attempting to break free from his binds, which goes on for longer than it perhaps should, while the Peter Judd situation has really felt like a bit of an afterthought in the grand scheme of things.
We still don’t know exactly how the bombing of Glasshouse and all the individual pieces are slotted together, but the ending certainly leaves things wide open for next week’s finale.