Review by Sean Boelman
The British spy thriller Slow Horses debuted on Apple TV+ earlier this year to great acclaim and the announcement that season two was already done, with two more seasons in the works. Returning in the fall with a bigger and better second season, the show yet again proves to be one of the most addictive watches on streaming.
Compared to the first season, this season’s story is much more intricate and layered. The show follows the MI-5 reject agents at Slough House as they uncover a conspiracy that may involve Russian sleeper agents in the British ranks. Based on the second book in Mick Herron’s series, this is a fresh spin on familiar tropes.
The pacing here is razor-sharp, with a much more serious tone than the first season. Now that the Slow Horses have proven that they can do some excellent spy work, we get to see them on a “real” adventure, and the results are just as exhilarating and action-packed as one would hope.
There are only six episodes this season, each clocking in at around forty-five minutes, and it is probably the quickest four and a half hours of television you will see this year. It can be a bit complicated at times, but even at the points that are a bit harder to follow, it is easy to get swept up in the film’s unraveling secrets.
Something that this season does that improves upon the first is that it expands the role of Gary Oldman’s leader of Slough House, Jackson Lamb. Oldman is delivering some of the finest work of his already excellent career here, with a performance that is somehow equally hilarious and menacing, making it the perfect combination of his talents.
The hard thing about this show is that it prides itself on being so unpredictable — you have no clue who will live and who will die — so it can be difficult to form any attachments outside of Oldman’s Lamb and Jack Lowden’s River Cartwright. There are a band of new characters introduced this season, but their subplots are held back by their uncertain fates.
There are some really awesome action sequences in this season, culminating in a season finale that kicks total ass. The first two seasons of this show were greenlit and filmed together, and it’s clear that the first season was largely establishing the world and introducing us to the characters so that we could see this unfold.
The second season of Slow Horses manages to be even better than the already impressive first — one of the most intelligent and entertaining espionage thrillers in the history of the genre. Subscribers will certainly be left clamoring to see more of Jackson Lamb and his band of misfits.
Slow Horses hits Apple TV+ beginning December 2 with new episodes streaming subsequent Fridays. All six episodes reviewed.