Episode 6 of Slow Horses season 2 starts this finale with big scores to settle, which makes sense given the title of this chapter. Lamb rings Nikolai at his own office, knowing he’s been looking around Slough House. With the façade shattered, knowing that Nikolai wants to kill him, Jackson Lamb learns the extent of this man’s diabolical plan.
Jackson Lamb calls Nikolai’s bluff and brings up Catherine and how she’s working with him now. To avoid any unpleasantness, Jackson Lamb suggests they meet. Before that, Jackson phones Catherine for an update on Glasshouse.
It’s chaos outside and both Louisa and Marcus are still in the building, held up at gunpoint by Pashkin and his cronies. Of course, all of this is made that much more tense by the inclusion of Alex, who’s en-route in that plane loaded with the bomb.
Why is Glasshouse being targeted?
Inside Glasshouse, Webb is bleeding but he’s passed out in the corner. It seems he’s going to be okay… much better than Pashkin’s goon, who’s interrogated (see: tortured) by Louisa, who opens up his wound and gets some answers. It turns out Glasshouse has been shut down because Pashkin intends to upload a virus onto Nevsky’s computers. They managed to get his password through some less-than-favourable terms and a quick death was his “reward.” As a result, Louisa removes the tourniquet and leaves him to bleed out.
Outside the building, Shirley rings Ho and learns that he’s actually onboard the same train Andrei Chernitsky boarded, tailing him from afar. For now he sits tight, while the train heads toward Tunbridge Wells.
Meanwhile, River realizes he’s been played. The containers full of liquid and the electrics are all still inside the warehouse where he found Chernitsky messing about. Suddenly, the realization of what’s happened dawns on him.
Alex has gone and is acting as a decoy, while River has called in a bomb threat for absolutely no reason whatsoever. Of course, this was the play from the very beginning so Pashkin and his goons could be left alone and Victor could continue to run the show. This hoax was done intentionally to keep eyeballs away from Glasshouse and unfortunately, as Alex isn’t stopping in the plane, it’s left up to Diana to make the decision over whether to shoot her down or not.
Why was Min killed?
Thankfully Alex makes the decisions for them and speaks, deciding to divert and moving away to an airbase. As they breathe a sigh of relief, Roddy finds himself in hot water as Chernitsky realizes he’s being tailed and chases after Roddy. Aa the pair skirmish, Shirley shows up and, although she tries to help, the pair end up inside the train toilets. Thankfully they avoid several bullets from Chernitsky who just casually leaves.
Back inside Glasshouse, the severed thumb is on Nevsky’s desk and the accounts appear to be cleaned out. Louisa continues to fish for answers, but unfortunately she walks right into Pashkin’s trap, who’s still inside the building. With Catherine (breathlessly) walking up the stairs to warn them, the man is still inside the building. And in fact, he’s actually on the roof, having called in an air ambulance as part of the exit strategy.
Louisa confronts Pashkin and asks why he killed Min. “He saw something he shouldn’t have,” Pashkin shrugs. It’s a simple case of wrong place, wrong time. Just before Pashkin shoots Louisa though, Marcus pops up from behind and shoots him down. As the man collapses, the diamonds from Nevsky’s safe spill over the ground.
What happens with Nikolai? Does he kill Jackson Lamb?
All the agents are out in the field, leaving Jackson Lamb with a packet of ready salted crisps and a gun pointing right at Nikolai when he shows up. The pair put their guns down, as Lamb points out that he was duped by Nikolai, who’s actually Popov. Now, Popov wanted revenge for Charles’ murder.
Popov’s plan here was to get back at Jackson Lamb and Slough House by feeding them false information about the bombing, in a bid to make them feel “professionally humiliated” after the same was done to him. Lamb points out they already are, which is why they’re part of his team.
Popov smirks and retorts that he’s waiting for a call before killing Jackson. In return for helping to have Nevsky killed and return the money he stole, Popov wanted two names from the FSB connected with Charles’ death. Alongside Jackson Lamb, the other is, of course, River’s grandfather.
Chernitsky shows up at the door brandishing a gun, and as a gunshot echoes through the air, River catches up and picks up Chernitsky’s phone. It turns out Chernitsky was shot dead by River’s grandfather, David Cartwright, who was warned by his son earlier this could happen. With Popov’s plan a bust, Lamb picks up the gun and fires constantly into the floor, refusing to kill the man. Instead, Nikolai – knowing he’s at the end of his tether with no way out – puts a bulled to his head and kills himself.
In order to clear up this evacuation malarkey, Diana encourages Peter Judd to make an announcement on TV. Specifically, to tell the world that the city was shut down on account of a radar glitch. I mean the truth – a Russian sleeper agent put into action that evaded the authorities – isn’t likely to go down well, is it?
How does Slow Horses season 2 end?
Diana eventually heads back to her office where she finds Jackson Lamb already waiting for the debrief. Webb survived his ordeal with Pashkin, as it turns out, but unfortunately Min, as we know, wasn’t so lucky. Louisa shows up at Harper’s funeral, paying her respects, while the Slow Horses eventually join together and honour Min’s memory by placing his placard in the church.
On the way out, Catherine pays her respects to where Charles’ name is, while Lamb puts something up on the wall, held together by his nicotine gum. And that note? Only an honourable mention for Richard Bough, with the words “Dickie Bow served behind the wall, A Joe.” Unfortunately it falls down soon after, as the episode comes to a close.
The Episode Review
So the finale for Slow Horses sees everything bow out with a decent conclusion, wrapping up all the big plot points whilst simultaneously showing how everything is slot together. While the ending is a bit anticlimactic, especially given we never see a reunion between Duncan and Alex following the sleeper agent situation, it’s a minor point in what’s otherwise been a good watch.
The show is certainly not without its flaws but the humour has been much sharper and the in-jokes with Lamb eating in almost all of his scenes is definitely noticeable.
Gary Oldman really stands out and shines in this role and he’s on fire right the way through this chapter. His stand-off with Nikolai was certainly tense and in the end Nikolai ends up taking his own life to avoid doing time behind bars.
Ultimately, Slow Horses justifies its renewal and sets everything up nicely for the third season.