Slow Horses Season 2 Episode 1 Recap Explained!

When you think about what happened last season, when the slobs vs. snobs battle between Slough House and Regents Park turned into treachery that could cost people their jobs or even their lives, it’s funny to see the second season of Slow Horses start almost from the beginning. That doesn’t mean Jackson Lamb’s rivalry with Diana Taverner or the fight between River Cartwright and James “Spider” Webb is forgotten. Instead, they add to the bitterness and cynicism that define Lamb’s operation, which is a prison for talented but disgraced spies who may never have a chance to move up (and, even if they did, may find the Park too unsavory a home in which to reside).

We’re still here: A new season, a new book (Dead Lions by Mick Herron, the second in his Slough House series, which came out in 2013), and a pretty clean slate. The joke of the beginning is that almost no one will work because they are so unhappy with their lives under Lamb. Roddy Ho, the hacking “thoroughbred” who is now complaining about sharing a small space downstairs with a new agent named Shirley (Peaky Blinders’ Aimee-Ffion Edwards), has also returned to his job. On the other hand, River is out interviewing for a job at a private security firm, but his prospects are very funny to his interviewers, who want to use him for Lamb stories even though he saved Hassan last season. Louisa and Min’s relationship has moved on to the “looking at places” stage, and Webb hires them to do security for a high-level Park meeting with a Russian oligarch against the government.

Slow Horses Season 2 Episode 1 Recap
Slow Horses Season 2 Episode 1 Recap

But let’s not jump to conclusions. Slow Horses is still a lot of fun as it moves into its second season. Writer Will Smith (no, not the slap guy), who wrote four of the first season’s six episodes, including the premiere and finale, again sets the scene with confidence. Fans of the show will like how “Last Stop” builds on already-established characters. Still, you could quickly start with “Last Stop” and not miss much, mainly because of how well Smith sets up the main event and the lovably toxic relationships at Slough House. It’s still a show that keeps you turning the pages.

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The six-episode arc of the season is set up in the opening sequence before the credits. Alison Herman, a critic for The Ringer who caught up on the show, said it was like “24 with more farts and less fascism.” The middle-aged owner of an adult toy store steps out into rainy London after seeing a man in a flat hat that he knows from his past. As he follows him from a safe distance, we learn through flashbacks that the man in the hat tortured him many years ago in Berlin. Even though he seems to have the upper hand now, the chase ends on a replacement rail bus. Our pursuer slumps in his seat and dies, but not before typing on his cell phone and putting it between the seats and the window.

Richard Bough, a retired field agent, was found dead. His death was ruled to have been caused by a heart attack, which makes sense given his age and the risks of his job, including drinking and smoking. But Lamb isn’t happy with that explanation, especially since he almost precisely matches the description of his former colleague.

Lamb pretends to be Bough’s brother, who’d “very much like to see the place from which he left this earth.” This is an excellent way for people who are new to the show to get to know Gary Oldman’s performance. When he gets to the bus, he has to do something weird enough to make the driver send him away. Lamb lets out a long sigh and says, “That’s how he would have wanted to go.” “He liked buses.” After the search, Lamb finds Bough’s phone and opens a Notes app with the word “cicada.”

Lamb knows what the word means, but Slow Horses cleverly gives that information to River as proof that the grandson of retired MI5 legend David Cartwright isn’t the fuckup his Slough House assignment would suggest. On the other hand, is related to someone sometimes gives him an advantage. River learns about “cicadas” from his grandfather, played by Jonathan Pryce, whose occasional appearances on the show always add gravitas (and a little mischief).

“Cicadas” are sleeper agents hidden in British society until they are given the signal to act. The name comes from the fact that the insects spend years underground before they hatch. Many people found this when Brood X cicadas hatched in the Northeast last summer after spending 17 years underground. The existence of “cicadas” was written off as a hoax made up by Russian spymaster Alexander Popov, even though Bough came back drunk and disheveled after going AWOL and said the Russians kidnapped him and forced brandy down his throat.

Now, it seems like Bough was telling the truth, which makes it less likely that he died of natural causes. The Slough House team turns its attention to the mysterious man Bough is following. Using a series of public surveillance feeds, they piece together what Bough was doing. One missing piece at a data center gives the show a chance to show off Shirley’s excellent spy skills as she steals an ID from a security guard to break into a data center and get the critical footage they need. It also starts a fun, flirty back-and-forth between Shirley and her cocky coworker Roddy, who leaves her outside the door for a few minutes before turning off the power to the door.

Even though there hasn’t been a clear link made yet, Louisa and Min’s side job of setting up a closed meeting between MI5 and a Russian dissident in a building called Glasshouse will eventually be tied into the Bough-Popov-cicada plot. If it goes like last season, each character will do their part in the investigation instead of going off on a different mission that has nothing to do with the main plot. It also seems likely that Webb and the Park aren’t done trying to take Slough House for a ride, and Louisa and Min, who ran out of gas last season trying to find right-wing kidnappers, would be the perfect victims. If everything works out, the slobs have a good chance of beating the snobs when it counts.

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