Slow Horses: Season 1
May 2, 2022 8:54 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

...most bitter among them is River Cartwright, whose days are spent transcribing mobile-phone conversations. But when a young man is abducted, and his kidnappers threaten to behead him live on the Internet, River sees an opportunity to redeem himself. But is the victim who he first appears to be? And what's the kidnappers' connection with a disgraced journalist? As the clock ticks on the execution, River finds that everyone involved has their own agenda.
posted by porpoise (16 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
This was great. I'm all in for the next season.

The cast was superb all-round, but Saskia Reeves in particular as Standish.

With her confidence and competence, the character is clearly an operator and a very attractive one - the 'mystery'/ not-immediately-obvious reason why she still puts up with Lamb is a great hook. Loved the character overall and Reeve's performance of.
posted by porpoise at 9:10 PM on May 2, 2022 [2 favorites]

Is this post because the other Slow Horses posts didn't continue?
posted by oneirodynia at 10:15 PM on May 2, 2022


If anyone wanted to discuss a particular episode, they're free to post that one. Huh, IMDB might have the release date wrong for the season finale, but I saw something 04.29, three days ago.
posted by porpoise at 10:46 PM on May 2, 2022 [1 favorite]

I loved this and was sad it ended.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:25 PM on May 2, 2022

I liked this show overall. I like spy stuff!

My SO has read the books; I haven't. I was not expecting such a thriller kind of plot, with such a kind of scooby gang feel to things, with races against clocks. I was expecting more drab misfittery and shit-eating, less Cartwright running around like an action hero. Didn't like his actor or character very much.

In the graveyard when Lamb tells them they're all fucked I felt like one of them should have gone, "Well this won't matter then," and punched him in the face. Then probably they all surround him and kick him to death lol. I'm not saying it makes narrative sense; it's just the vibe I felt.

I think I feel about this show how I feel about Oldman in general. Fine-to-good! Don't love it; would happily watch more.
posted by fleacircus at 11:30 PM on May 2, 2022 [2 favorites]

Is this intended to be a "show only" or "books included" post?
posted by Strutter Cane - United Planets Stilt Patrol at 11:37 PM on May 2, 2022

I suppose I really shouldn’t enjoy six hours of an abusive boss berating and harassing the people who report to him, but I still found this very enjoyable.
posted by snofoam at 9:01 AM on May 3, 2022 [8 favorites]

Pretty good! I’m not a big spy of British spy shows but this hit the spot - nice and pacy rather than the usual “seven episodes of nothing, finale with world blowing up”. Obviously helps that Apple has more money than god, but I think the good source material and the decision to keep it to six eps was essential.

Another six eps are on their way soon, as you’d have guessed from the trailer, and the showrunners are very hopeful of another twelve after that.
posted by adrianhon at 11:57 AM on May 3, 2022 [4 favorites]

Re: Apple having more money than God, "Who should we get for the intro music? Mick Jagger, maybe?"
posted by emelenjr at 12:17 PM on May 3, 2022 [6 favorites]

Funnily enough, the title sequence for this show is disappointingly bad compared to the excellent of Severance and Pachinko. You'd have thought they could punch it up a bit!
posted by adrianhon at 12:53 PM on May 3, 2022

I enjoyed this so much! It had exactly the right elements for me: good pacing, high stakes but didn’t take itself too seriously, relatively diverse cast, clever dialogue with some humour. I’m looking forward to the next season.

I actually asked a question recommending similar shows because I was so impatient waiting for each new episode. There are some good suggestions in there, though I’m hampered by Canadian streaming restrictions for lots of them.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 2:04 PM on May 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

I’m not a big spy of British spy shows but this hit the spot - nice and pacy rather than the usual “seven episodes of nothing, finale with world blowing up”.

Yes, each episode was a nice little bit of its own even though there was the longer story also. I could have maybe done with a bit less terrorized-kid but I at least understood why it was all happening. For people who read the books: is it worth also reading the books or is it basically the same story, no extra details?

I wasn't totally sure what we learned at the end. Lamb was an operative who had to kill Charles for... reasons and then burned out on the whole thing and wound up being in charge of the Slow Horses because he couldn't be a civilian? And Cartwright's dad (grandad?) knew all about it and that's been kept from him. And Lamb lied to Standish who, yes, I agree, was just an excellent character.
posted by jessamyn at 7:02 PM on May 4, 2022 [1 favorite]

“I wasn't totally sure what we learned at the end. Lamb was an operative who had to kill Charles for... reasons”

There was a thing about the end of the Cold War causing people to settle scores by airing dirty laundry, up to and including exposing double agents. I think we're supposed to believe that Cartwright's uncle and Lamb killed the guy to cover something up and that pretty much did Lamb in, mentally speaking. And maybe they set-up Standish to take the fall for something?
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:35 PM on May 5, 2022 [4 favorites]

I loved this and can’t wait for the next series. I don’t remember much about the two books I read except the characters (so well cast!) and I have a feeling the show won’t be mixing them up as much as the books did.

I ended up bingeing all the episodes and then waiting to watch the finale. I’m glad it won’t be too long a wait for the next season.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 3:29 AM on May 15, 2022 [1 favorite]

I liked the line from Jonathan Pryce about "Smiley was always coming back from redundancy."

Had me wondering whether Slow Horses takes place in-universe with Le Carre's books or if he was just making a reference to the fictional character.
posted by jquinby at 7:29 AM on March 17, 2023 [2 favorites]

Just watched this first season after hearing so much buzz about Season 3. It's interesting how the hype for the show has built slowly.

Loved the show. Really hangs on Gary Oldman's performance and the great writing for Lamb. Sure, he's vile, but he's also fundamentally looking out for his people's safety so he's not totally awful. Also enjoyed the slow burn of Standish, how she has a lot more going on than we see at first.

Hanging the show on Cartwright seems weird. He's like the straight man for the show, the normal guy, the pretty boy. I guess that makes him relatable? But his primary purpose is to be boring so everyone else can be interesting.

Watching this after watching Sandbaggers was an interesting tonal shift. Sandbaggers is great but so serious; the sarcastic writing of Slow Horses is pretty fun.
posted by Nelson at 7:21 AM on January 1

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