Chris Connor reviews the third episode of Slow Horses season 3…
After a frenetic opening two episodes, the third episode of the third season of Slow Horses offers some answers to questions on fans’ lips. Who were the team who kidnapped Catherine Standish? Who hired them? In spite of this there is clearly more to this than meets the eye with the whole thing seemingly a ruse from the tiger team to get their actual aim.
There is no letting down of the pace as the twists and turns continue with more blackmail, double-crossing and scheming from the titular tigers. It turns out the Grey Books, MI5’s dossier on conspiracy theories, was their true aim as they divert from the plan with Standish still in their grip.
There are some shifts from Mick Herron’s source material; James ‘Spider’ Webb doesn’t make it out of the second novel Dead Lions so his role here is more for a familiar face to confront River Cartwright and co and gloat about the seeming success of the sting operation. This is a successful transition giving Spider a more prominent role.
One of the strengths of the show has been its perfect casting of the Slow Horses and the pairing of Shirley Dander (Aimee-Ffion Edwards) and Marcus Lonridge (Kadiff Kirwan) as in the source material is clever, with the pair sharing fine chemistry and offsetting each others issues that made them wound up in Slough House in the first place. The show gives us a reason to care for each member of the team and make Catherine’s plight hit home.
We get a sense of the political ramifications with Peter Judd masterminding recent events leading to First Desk Ingrid Tierney deciding she doesn’t have a leg to stand on. The machinations of Westminster and its influence over MI5 is a key thread throughout and one that is always an engrossing subplot.
As we hit the midway point Slow Horses continues to impress and illustrate why it is one of the smartest, funniest and outright enjoyable espionage shows in recent years continuing to effortlessly bring the charm, wit and suspense of Mick Herron’s source material to the small screen. This is another episode that keeps the audience second-guessing and when we think the plot may be resolved it goes in another direction entirely with its climax setting up a whirlwind for the Slow Horses and Park to confront over the next few episodes to prevent the Tigers from accessing the Grey Books.