Slow Horses season 1, episode 3 recap – “Bad Tradecraft”

By Adam Lock
Published: April 8, 2022 (Last updated: January 26, 2024)
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Apple TV+ series Slow Horses season 1, episode 3 - Bad Tradecraft


The plot thickens, and major twists are revealed in another exciting chapter from the funniest spy thriller out there.

We recap the Apple TV+ series Slow Horses season 1, episode 3, which contains spoilers.

Slow Horses covers its USP in the opening minutes, when two drunk employees stumble into the Slough House office and are met by a masked criminal. The bumbling drunks supply the British humour and the creeping thief brings the suspense. This highly entertaining spy thriller expertly delivers on both fronts throughout the first half of the season. Written by Will Smith (no not that one) from a Mick Herron novel, this is hilariously droll and deftly tense in equal amounts. “Bad Tradecraft” continues the story of a gang of failed secret agents trying to find a kidnapped student before it’s too late.

Slow Horses season 1, episode 3 recap

The masked burglar ends up being one of their own, Jed Moody. Jackson Lamb and River Cartwright return from the hospital in a filthy, yellow banger (that’s British slang for car) just in time to find the two drunks idling around the body. Gary Oldman is a sarcastic firecracker, providing an assault of one-liners as he searches the body, whilst roasting the drunk lovebirds (Min and Louisa). Slow Horses keeps doling out the twists in fine fashion, don’t worry there are plenty more to come.

Jackson finds two mobile phones on the corpse, one of which leads directly to the Head of Operations herself, Diana Taverner. The two meet by an eerie canal to discuss the mayhem. This intense scene involves two of Britain’s most esteemed thespians: Gary Oldman and Kristin Scott Thomas playing mind games on one another, trying to eke out the truth. There’s less action in this episode, but with sequences like this you don’t need explosions to make a thrilling piece of TV. The two criminal masterminds discuss the situation, each revealing fractions of information, to formulate a fair agreement. Diana has orchestrated the kidnapping and needs Jackson to oversee the safe return of the student. As Jackson quips, this false flag operation is devilishly close to falling apart in monumental style. He rallies the troops, affectionately referring to them as ‘my losers’ and prepares to meet with the nationalist terrorists in a tense finale.

With “Bad Tradecraft” the show continues to impress. A hilarious espionage thriller showcasing the best of British. The humour evokes the quick-fire, profanity heavy British classic The Thick Of It, but with secret agent antics in place of political blunders. Whilst the action and atmosphere recalls Guy Ritchie gangster flicks. It all marries up for the perfect watch.

What did you think of Slow Horses season 1, episode 3? Comment below. 

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