Chris Connor reviews the season two finale of Slow Horses…
Slow Horses’ second season has more than matched the hype generated by its first. The question for the finale ‘Old Scores’ was could it go out on a high note with seasons 3 and 4 on the way? Safe to say this is a thrilling climax rewarding the groundwork laid over the course of the season and bringing Dead Lions to the screen in fine fashion, whetting appetites for more from Jackson Lamb and his mis-matched crew of misfits.
A thrilling telephone exchange between Lamb and his old rival turned ally Katinsky sets the scene for a crescendo as the Slow Horses look to avert a disaster and prevent the Cicadas from making a mess of Central London. River in Upshott is trying to stop the plane from reaching London while Shirley, Roddy, Louisa and Marcus are caught up trying to derail the Russians.
One of season 2’s biggest differences from the source material is giving Roddy and Shirley a prominent place in the narrative, here exemplified by an exhilarating chase and involving a motorbike and train that is one of the show’s best action sequences to date. This also helps flesh out the pair’s relationship which becomes a core component of the books later in the series.
Similarly involving David Cartwright in the narrative in a more prominent and action heavy role, at the forefront of the plot makes him feel a more intrinsic part. Again, he becomes a key player in several of the later novels so expanding his role here makes sense and makes the most of Jonathan Pryce who has perhaps been underutilised to date.
Season 2 as with the opening season has proved Mick Herron’s Slough House series is perfectly suited to television, resulting in one of the finest espionage series of recent years packed full of intrigue dark humour and a real sense of jeopardy with none of the team seemingly safe from being killed off suddenly. Season two hasn’t lost any of the wit or nuance of its source material and any changes, however subtle feel earned and help the overall narrative.
‘Old Scores’ wraps up what has been another winning run for Jackson Lamb and the Slough House crew, thrilling and personal filled with action and depth that can occasionally be found lacking in espionage series. The cast once again across the board fit the parts like a glove with each member of the team having a part to play at some venture and the show never descending into cliché or tedium. The series gives a sense of the close-knit nature of the group, despite all their outward differences and backgrounds, they have a common motive and ending with Min’s funeral makes his death more impactful.
With two stellar seasons under its belt, we can now well and truly say Slow Horses is a series well worthy of the hype and with its third season based on Real Tigers and a fourth on the way, long may we continue to see stories of this calibre with Lamb, Tavener, Standish, Cartwright et al on the small screen.