The latest TV show Slow Horses on Apple TV Plus is a new drama that might be just right for you. If you are someone who likes watching the storied genre of the British spy thriller, there are some different games afoot in Slow Horses.
In the beginning, the TV series looks like a story of restless, demoted spies finding their purpose, and gets twisted up very quickly into much deeper MI5 politics. Then a couple of episodes into the show, it will turn everything we thought we know inside out.
The TV show Slow Horses is based on a Mick Herron novel and executive produced by Graham Yost. This TV show adaptation is rather different from the novel not being remotely glamorous or hi-tech. The agents in the novel drive old bangers, not like the Slow Horses TV adaptation where they turn more of a James Bond theme driving, Aston Martins.
Why it is Called Slow Horses?
Most people would think that this is some sort of a horse racing movie about the most famous horses in Kentucky Derby History when they hear the title, but it is actually not even close.
The name ‘Slow Horses’ comes from the section of former MI5 agents that these TV series focus on. Since most of the spies were retired and or banned for doing actual spy work, they are referred to as ‘Slow Horses’.
What are Slow Horses About?
The main action circles around Jack Lowden playing a pissed of MI5 agent called River Cartwright. But how did Cartwright end up on the floor of an office building wearing Marigolds?
Well, the opening sequence is tense enough that will cause unpleasant times in your stomach. Follows him going through an airport, as frosty spy boss Diana Taverner and Freddie Fox issue instructions through his spy earpiece.
His primary task is to identify and neutralize a suspect, who they have intelligence that is carrying an explosive. However, once a trolley blocks his view, it becomes evident that the operation is botched.
The movie circles around the same problem that has been bogging big secret organizations, and it is what to do with the spies that already know too much?
Particularly, MI5 agents who have made big mistakes but know far too much to be fired, are dumped in the Slough House. There, they are given harmless busywork too demeaning for real spies to undertake while tormented by their division chief Jackson Lamb.
River Cartwright (Jack Lowden) falls into this world after his own error out in the field. In the Slough House, he has been given a rather demoralizing job like searching a dodgy journalist’s trash can or being a courier between offices.
Just like in any movie, with his arrival, he triggers something of a major cause for the rejected agents to handle.
Slow Horses is a lot more than a modern-day thriller done right. It is a high-budget TV series that is not a two-dimensional cut-out, which is often the case, especially with spy TV series.
It is also important to mention that this is Gary Oldman’s first starring role in a TV series. It seems like Apple has made quite an effort and decided to spend a considerable amount of money on recruiting server award-winning actors like Kristin Scott-Thomas and Jonathan Pryce, who also appears as a former spymaster.
Olivia Cooke’s Sid Baker is another important character in the show, who is really talented and one of the rare retired agents who despite ending up in Slough House, is allowed to undertake real espionage work.
With every episode of Slow Horses, the stakes are raised higher and are now well beyond the initial setup. This is not a frustrating spy thriller that centers around the same things we have been watching for years.
The best thing about Slow Horses is the sprinkle of comedy into the action. In fact, this TV series gives out more of a thrilling spy comedy than an intense spy drama vibe.