SLOW HORSES: S3 | AppleTV+ | November 29, 2023
Starring: Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Jack Lowden, Saskia Reeves
Developed By: Saul Metzstein
This darkly funny espionage drama follows a team of British intelligence agents who serve in a dumping ground department of MI5 due to their career-ending mistakes. Led by their brilliant but irascible leader, the notorious Jackson Lamb, they navigate the espionage world’s smoke and mirrors to defend England from sinister forces.
SEASON REVIEW By Darren Zakus
Slow Horses continues to spin a twisted web of deceit, action and comedy in its third season, making for another outstanding season of suspense, action and excitement once again led by the brilliant lead trio of Gary Oldman, Jack Lowden and Kristin Scott Thomas, continuing to make it one of AppleTV+’s finest series.
While it has only been on the air for a year and a half, Slow Horses is already on its third season and shows no time of slowing down anytime soon. It fills the void of espionage thrillers that are currently missing from television, and with its dry British wit, riveting mysteries that call back to the stories of Ian Fleming and John le Carré, and stellar cast, makes it one show that if you aren’t already watching, that you need to start right away. The third season continues the stellar standard set by the first two seasons, and while it's not nearly full of as many twists and turns as the first two seasons, it’s another excellent season of television that will have audiences glued to their screen and eagerly anticipating the fourth season, which will hopefully begin airing next year.
After a romantic liaison in Istanbul goes wrong and a dark secret is uncovered, Jackson Lamb and Slough House find themselves caught in the middle of a dangerous conspiracy that threatens not only the future of their team, but the very existence of MI5.
As with the two previous seasons of Slow Horses, the third season has another twisty espionage tale to entertain viewers with. The writers deceive the audience with a seemingly straightforward story arc for the season, but with each additional episode, a new twist or vital piece of information is revealed that constantly changes the playing field. It will keep viewers on their toes as the stakes and danger are raised with each reveal, ensuring that they will continue to tune in each week as it constantly builds to the exciting season finale. Much like the two previous seasons, there is an entertaining mix of comedy and classic espionage thriller, helping to create one of the most underappreciated television shows currently airing. At the same time, the series continues to build the individual character arcs of our main protagonists, setting up a new future for Slough House that audiences will be excited to see unfold in the fourth season (which has already finished shooting).
For the entire series, the show has been dominated by the brilliant performance of Gary Oldman as Jackson Lamb, the rude, brash head of Slough House. Once again Oldman shines with another excellent performance, delivering some cruder and even funnier moments than you have seen from his character before. Jack Lowden continues to be a great co-lead as River Cartwright, while Kristin Scott Thomas is a ruthless yet delightful member of the cast as Diana Tavenar yet again. Though, this season gives the more dedicated screentime to the supporting members of Slough House, allowing Saskia Reeves, Rosalind Eleazar, Christopher Chung, Kadiff Kirwan and Aimee-Ffion Edwards to further develop their characters beyond the limited exposure we’ve had to them so far. And returning for a much larger role this season is Sophie Okonedo as Ingrid Tearney, the Director-General of MI5, and she is outstanding. Most of her scenes are shared with Thomas, allowing these two cunning, sophisticated and dangerous characters to have the most uncomfortable yet wildly entertaining conversations as each harbors their own secret agenda. It’s in these scenes between Okonedo and Thomas that you are reminded of the brilliance of the classic spy thriller genre, proving that you don’t need explosive action sequences to create riveting tales of espionage.
In terms of new cast joining the season, they all do a great job and help round out the season. Ṣọpẹ Dìrísù has the largest of the roles as Sean Donovan, the former head of the British embassy in Istanbul before a romantic liaison went wrong, which initiatives the plot of the entire season. Dìrísù does a great job of holding his character’s cards close to his chest, keeping the mystery surrounding his character as to what his true objectives are, while having a brutality and great insight on MI5 that makes him a formidable opponent for Slough House. Katherine Waterston is a solid addition in her small role, continuing to prove how well she can immerse herself in complex worlds in only a matter of minutes. And while their roles are smaller, Charlie Rowe, Eliot Salt and Nick Blood are solid additions to the seasons that help make it one thrilling watch.
Time and time again, AppleTV+ has continued to prove their excellent standard in storytelling and filmmaking within their television department, and that standard is displayed throughout the entirety of the third season of Slow Horses. Featuring an outstanding cast, once again led by a brilliant performance by Gary Oldman, and a story that evokes the classic spy thrillers that will keep viewers on their toes over the course of the season, Slow Horses continues to be one of the best series currently airing on television!