‘Slow Horses’ Season 2, Episode 5: Recap & Ending, Explained: How Does It Set Up For Season 2 Finale?


The heat is definitely on in Apple TV’s British spy thriller series “Slow Horses,” now that only one episode is left to bring the second season to an end. With much of the mystery already lifted in Episode 4, where we learned that Alex Tropper was involved in the Russian plan, Episode 5 brings further dangers for our protagonists. It is easy to say that “Slow Horses” had been building up for these moments of crisis, which will come together at the end to create a big challenge for the Slough House spy agents.

Spoilers Ahead

What Happens With River At Upshott?

Episode 5 of “Slow Horses” Season 2 actually begins with River’s fate, a few hours after he had been brought down by Alex’s taser gun at the end of episode 4. As the agent now lies in one corner of the room with his hands and legs all tied up, the Russians prepare to execute their ultimate plan. Andrei Chernitsky leaves the Upshott airfield in his car, driving towards London, as is revealed a little later. Alex Tropper, who has now been identified as the cicada instead of her husband Duncan, whom River first suspected of the same, flies a small Cessna plane towards London. Her objective, as planned by the rest of her team, is to fly the plane filled with explosives into the Glasshouse building in the capital, right below where Peter Judd would be giving his pro-capitalist speech that very day. Nikolai Katinsky, who seems to be the mastermind of the plan, stays back for some time before he too leaves, leaving River alone inside the flying club. The MI5 agent tries his best to find some way of escaping by getting the ropes tying his hands and legs loosened, but none of it works. It is then that he hears the ringing of a phone and realizes that Alex had left her phone behind since her objective was a sort of suicide mission. The Russians did not care much about the safety of the people walking at the anti-capitalist march and instead just wanted to make their statement by assassinating Judd. River finds the phone in the drawer, and when he receives it, he realizes it is from Alex’s husband, Duncan, and their daughter Kelly. Both of them have no idea about Alex’s real identity, and River takes quite some time to make them believe him, even after they come down to the flying club. The fact that the woman had left behind her engagement ring and also a note for her husband, apologizing for her actions, works in River’s favor. Duncan, who is still unable to comprehend that his wife is a Russian sleeper agent, also tries to contact Alex aboard the Cessna plane, and Kelly tries her luck too, but Alex simply switches off the communications.

Back in London, Peter Judd had arranged for MI5 Deputy Director-General Diana Taverner to accompany him to his speech because he wanted to discuss something important with her. Now inside the car that drives them to the spot along with an armed convoy, the MP explains his whole plan. He intends to be the next Prime Minister of the country and was also hoping to get the support of the current PM since the latter knew well they would lose in the upcoming elections. However, Judd also needed to build his image as someone with serious concerns and decisions with regard to safety. While the MI5 higher-ups had shown no interest in him, he now wanted Diana Taverner to support his cause. The two arrive at the Glasshouse location, and Judd steps onto the podium for his speech amidst heavy protest from the anti-capitalist marchers who had gathered around by now. At the same time, River is freed by Kelly and Duncan, and his first step is to contact MI5 and get in touch directly with Diana. He informs her of the entire situation, and Diana then informs Judd of the same. The minister, who had till now been rather arrogant and cocky about any possible attacks on him, now realizes the threat and is very concerned. As he is driven away from the place along with Diana, word of the potential plane crashing and exploding into the Glasshouse breaks out among the crowds, and people scatter away, all scared and panicked.

What Do Lamb And Catherine Find Out About The Attacks?

Jackson Lamb continues his probe into the death of Min and the sudden change of attitude in Nikolai Katinsky, and to find out more about it, he reaches the MI5 archive. His intention is to go through all the records of Katinsky and find something about him that might explain how he was so much in control of his situation. It is to be noted here that Lamb does not yet know that the Russian ex-KGB member had been directly involved in the bombing plan, as it is only River and us who have that information till now. Initially, there is not much information to be found by Lamb, as Katinsky was only an ex-KGB spy driven out by the new FSB in the early 1990s who had then shifted over to England. But on the other side, Catherine Standish was still upset about the fact that the Russian informant Viktor Krymov had outplayed her the previous night. She returns to the pub where the man hangs out once more, but this time she is prepared with confidential information against Krymov. In true spy-thriller style, the two sit down to play a game of chess, with the prize of information being fixed for the winner. Catherine ultimately wins the chess match, using astounding skills, and asks Krymov for details about his contacts. Although Krymov does not want to share anything at first, Catherine finds out that the Russian informer had not met with Arkady Pashkin but had actually sat down with Nikolai Katisnky, who was the mastermind behind the whole Russian plan. She immediately shares this crucial information with Lamb, who is now still at the MI5 archives, and the latter looks more into Katinsky. He goes through his file to find out that the ex-KGB spy had actually been appointed into MI5 service by Lamb himself, for it is his signature on Katinsky’s forms. However, as Lamb recollects, he had been working in an unofficial service mission in Prague when the sign was formed, which meant that his signature had been forged. Catherine also informs us that it had been Katinsky who had involved the Slough House in this whole ordeal by murdering one of Lamb’s ex-associates, Richard Bough. Katinsky now wants to reach Jackson Lamb over some unfinished business from the 1990s, and the murder of Bough had been a setup to ensure this. Lamb remembers that there was someone suspicious of being a traitor in MI5, someone at the very top of it, and he now suspects that this individual must have signed Katinsky into the service. As it turns out, Nikolai Katinsky was not a mere Russian sleeper agent but the leader of them all, at least at present times.

What Happens To Louisa And Marcus At The Glasshouse Meeting?

Although Louisa and Marcus had been informed of the murder of Ilya Nevsky by Lamb at the end of episode 4 of “Slow Horses,” Season 2, they had also been ordered to continue with their security detail job with James Webb. Finally, on the following day, the two Slough House agents reach the hotel where Pashkin is arriving for a meeting with Webb. Perhaps due to their prior doubts about Pashkin, the two agents snuck in a handgun and taped it under the table in the room where the meeting was about to take place. They also perhaps knew that the Russians would have something criminal in mind but were unable to catch up with their plan. Once Pashkin and his team arrive for the meeting, Louisa and Marcus go through a briefcase the Russian is carrying to look for any bombs or weapons, but they find nothing. However, the Russians switch the briefcase for another similar looking one right before the meeting, inside of which is a handgun. While James Webb acts all smart and in control of the deal, Pashkin keeps waving away his proposals until the alert for the bombing at Glasshouse reaches this meeting as well. Webb is shocked by this sudden turn of events and wants to ignore the situation in order to avoid harming his deal with Pashkin. But Pashkin, on the other hand, pulls out the gun from the briefcase and points it at the MI5 agents, making it evident that he knew such a scenario might break out and was prepared for it. In a hurry, Louisa explains everything she has learned about Pashkin so far—that he is possibly an FSB agent posing to be someone else—but Webb is still not convinced. Despite the fact that Pashkin holds a gun towards him and orders him to stay put in his seat, the brash MI5 agent tries to get control of the situation and is quickly shot in the leg and chest. Marcus also now pulls out the hidden gun beneath the table and shoots at the Russians, who leave the room hurriedly. It is now only Louisa and Marcus in the hotel conference room, with a heavily bleeding James Webb lying on the ground.

What Should We Expect Next From Episode 6 Of ‘Slow Horses’ Season 2?

The 5th episode of “Slow Horses” Season 2 nicely builds up for the end next week, putting almost each of the characters into potential threat and danger. Although River seems out of danger at this moment, he is still at Upshott Village and will probably soon return to London, where the entire threat is. It is now clear that Jackson Lamb is a major reason for the Russian attacks to have unfolded in such a manner, and this puts him in danger too. Knowing how the character of Catherine Standish is, she too would not shy away from trying to help her associates out of trouble. Louisa and Marcus are, of course, in the thick of things. Even Roddy and Shirley, the only members left of the Slough House office, were now involved in the scenario, as they were now tailing Andrei Chernitsky. The Russian had not realized that River had thrown his service phone inside his jacket, and so Roddy was still tracking the man as he drove to London. Realizing that he is going towards the Glasshouse area, the two agents go there and even see Chernitsky for a moment before he runs into a crowded train station. It would be really interesting to see how all of it pans out at the end, as there is more than one stake in danger set up here. While “Slow Horses” season 2 might have been uneven at parts in terms of thrills and drama, its end is definitely one to look forward to.

See More: ‘Slow Horses’ Season 2: Ending, Explained – What Happens To Jackson & His Team? What To Expect In Season 3?

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Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya keeps an avid interest in all sorts of films, history, sports, videogames and everything related to New Media. Holding a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies, he is currently working as a teacher of Film Studies at a private school and also remotely as a Research Assistant and Translator on a postdoctoral project at UdK Berlin.

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