SERIES REVIEW – The third season of “Slow Horses” continues to uphold the series’ hallmark of unpredictability, surprising viewers with continuous twists and turns. This season delves into themes of personal growth and finding one’s purpose, with Jackson Lamb and his team reassessing their futures and roles. The season kicks off spectacularly, captivating audiences with an opening sequence filled with unexpected plot twists and engaging characters in dire straits.
A major strength of this season is its unforeseeable storytelling. Viewers of the Apple TV+ series might think they know where the plot is headed, but sudden curveballs keep them guessing, leaving them amazed by the story’s final destination. Season 3 is no exception. The latest episodes elevate the series’ concept, challenging our perceptions of the characters while maintaining a thrillingly entertaining edge.
What’s Season 3 of “Slow Horses” About?
In this new installment, Jackson Lamb (portrayed by Gary Oldman) grapples with the need to move beyond his time at Slough House and start focusing on his future and well-being. This sentiment echoes among other members, including River Cartwright (Jack Lowden), who is still on his relentless journey of self-proving while haunted by his past errors. However, this introspection is interrupted when a team member is taken hostage, raising the critical question: Who would target Slough House, and why?
The answer lies in the season’s very first scene – a ten-minute short story that reaffirms why “Slow Horses” is among the best TV shows currently airing. The opening sequence artfully layers twist upon twist, never losing sight of its narrative. Most importantly, it immediately draws viewers into the plight of the central duo and their seemingly impossible situation. While details are limited to avoid spoilers, this ensures the season starts with a bang.
Another brilliant move in Season 3 is the use of characters’ backstories to escalate the stakes, subtly hinting at deeper layers without overt explanation. For instance, in the debut episode titled “Strange Games,” River’s receipt of a distress call raises doubts about its authenticity. River’s history of hasty decisions leading to perilous actions begs the question: Is someone exploiting this trait? Yet, it’s impossible not to root for him, considering his visible dedication and desperate need for a victory.
Season 3 of “Slow Horses” Endears Us to River and Slough House
On another level, it’s entertaining to witness River’s desperation to crack a case. Seeing him dash through London’s streets, one can’t help but think, “Here he goes again!” recalling the first season’s similar predicaments. This sentiment is skillfully portrayed in Saul Metzstein’s direction of the second episode, “Hard Lessons,” highlighting the public’s reactions to River’s frantic city dash.
It’s also crucial to note that “Slow Horses,” under the guidance of showrunner Will Smith, never forgets why Jackson Lamb’s team ended up in MI-5’s basement. The series avoids the trope of misfits being secret geniuses. Instead, apart from Lamb, the team members are prone to errors, oversight, and disobedience to authority, often landing them in trouble. This vulnerability adds a unique charm to the series, portraying deeply human characters with flaws.
Season 3 notably brings the immensely talented Sophie Okonedo into the spotlight, an opportunity the first season largely overlooked. As an Oscar-nominated actress, she embodies a character we love to hate, alongside Kristin Scott Thomas’ Diana, portraying strong, unapologetic, and powerful women, roles traditionally dominated by men. Needless to say, their performances are nothing short of spectacular.
“Slow Horses” Season 3 Is Riveting from Start to Finish
Ultimately, the third season of “Slow Horses” presents a central story that escalates and veers off course brilliantly. It not only engagingly involves all characters but also allows viewers to understand and empathize with each one’s personal stakes, making the season utterly captivating throughout. Maintaining such character motivation throughout the series is a challenging feat, yet “Slow Horses” achieves this with apparent ease.
The only shortcoming of this new season stems from the lesson learned in the previous two: Jackson Lamb and his team inhabit a perilous world where circumstances can shift suddenly. This theme continues in the new episodes, but in the last two, incredibly tense installments, a somewhat implausible scenario emerges, slightly stretching believability given the series’ history of ruthlessness toward its characters. Despite numerous surprises, the notion of fortune favoring the “slow horses” seems contrary to their usual luck, hinting at the show’s growing attachment to certain characters.
Despite this, “Slow Horses” remains a solidly entertaining series, retaining its highly bingeable status. It conveys a poignant message about the dynamics of accountability and those in power, and how often the fallout of their actions impacts others, devastating lives and families. The most disheartening aspect is that this cycle is bound to continue, with little that the “slow horses” – or we, as the ultimate analyzers – can do to stop it. They are not even at the table where decisions are made to change a system that grossly undervalues them. Yet, watching them strive against these odds remains a thrilling experience.
-Herpai Gergely (BadSector)-