Slow Horses season 2, episode 5 recap – what are the Russians planning?

By Adam Lock
Published: December 23, 2022 (Last updated: January 26, 2024)
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“Boardroom Politics” is the perfect penultimate episode, setting up the series for an enticing finale. The episode is packed with tense build-up and exciting, fast-paced action sequences.

We recap the Apple TV+ series Slow Horses season 2, episode 5, “Boardroom Politics,” which contains spoilers.

Season two of Slow Horses has focused on uncovering Russian sleeper agents and their overall plans for destruction. In “Boardroom Politics,” it becomes evident exactly what they were planning in Upshot, while Pashkin’s (Alec Utgoff) meeting with Webb (Freddie Fox) takes an unexpected turn. The tension mounts in an excellent penultimate installment, one that perfectly sets things up for what looks to be an explosive finale.

Slow Horses season 2, episode 5 recap

After River’s discovery at the end of the last episode, we find him tied up in the Flying Club’s office. Leo aka Andre Chernitsky, waves off his comrades and drives into the city center for further devastation. Nikolai Katinsky and Alex Tropper discuss their plans. Looks like they are dropping a bomb on the protest march in the heart of London this very day. River overhears their plans and argues with them, stating that they’re going to kill thousands of innocent people. Nikolai says they are fighting capitalism, The Glass House is their main target.

Strangely, they don’t kill off River but leave him tied up and conscious after explaining their plans. Is there a reason for this? He soon gets to work on trying to escape, so he can warn the Park of this catastrophic terrorist attack. While River struggles to free himself, he hears a phone vibrating and, using his mouth, manages to answer the call. Alex’s husband and daughter are looking for her. River demands they head straight to the Flying Club immediately. Seems these two are unaware of Alex’s deadly secret.

Lamb weasels his way into MI5, where he hunts out Nikolai’s file. The KGB defector was a nobody, a common thug, but Lamb’s last interaction with the man hinted at much more. Maybe they second-guessed this Russian spy in the beginning? He’s clearly involved in this terrorist attack on London, but is he the ring-leader after all?

It’s the day of the protest march, Louisa and Marcus rendezvous with Pashkin and his security for the meeting with Webb. The Brits frisk the Russians and search Pashkin’s case for unusual items. Both sides are suspicious of one another, but it’s the Russians that are up to no good. In the car, they swap the cases. Next, they meet with Webb, who is positively buzzing with excitement. He embarrasses himself, imploring that they are powerful men, not their bosses. Pashkin belittles Webb, teasing him about his inferior, cheap suit.

Meanwhile, Diana Taverner’s car picks up Judd, ready to escort him to his speech that is located in the middle of the march. Judd believes he’s now Diana’s boss and purposely makes her wait. In the car, he tells her he’ll be running for Prime Minister and wants her to back him. More dodgy deals from the corrupt politician. At the speech, Judd taunts the crowd, who boo and jeer him. He’s asking for it, but he has no idea what is to come.

Back at Upshott, Duncan and Kelly find River tied up on the floor. They can’t believe Alex did this and then flew off in a plane. Duncan doesn’t even know that his wife can fly planes. River explains the situation, but they aren’t buying it. It’s quite a far-fetched plot; motherly, warm Alex is the Russian sleeper spy that has been reactivated, but that is the story we’ve been handed. Duncan slowly comes around to the idea, finding Alex’s wedding ring and a note asking for their forgiveness. Eventually, they untie River, and he calls MI5, stating ‘Code September.’

Diana is informed of the terrorist threat and is placed in contact with River immediately. He confirms the threat; a small plane packed with explosives is headed directly for the Glass House. Diana makes the appropriate calls and tells Judd the news. The politician laughs it off at first until he notices how serious she is. They escape in a car before the protesters are evacuated. Panic sets in, and the city is in full shutdown. Roddy and Shirley arrive on the scene, searching for Andre, as the crowds disperse.

Ending Explained

Lamb is informed of the bomb scare and quips how he’s going to be filling out tonnes of paperwork at this rate. He tries to contact Louisa, but she isn’t picking up. Meanwhile, Standish goes back to Victor Krymov for answers. They play an intense game of chess. If she wins, Victor will answer her questions. If he is victorious, she will down some Vodka shots with the Russian.

Of course, Standish is the winner, and Victor spills the beans. She contacts Lamb with an update; Nikolai Katinsky was pulling the strings, not Pashkin. And Katinsky is after Lamb next. The Slough House boss thinks this is ludicrous and tells her to warn Marcus and Louisa instead.

Standish’s comments were flippantly pushed aside by Lamb, who sees her more as the tea lady than a respected agent, but she’s right, and he soon realizes the truth too. It appears Lamb’s signature is on Nikolai’s paperwork. He was framed. Nikolai is the spymaster behind everything, and he is gunning for Lamb.

Over in the Glass House, Webb lays out his plans for the future. A siren blares over their conversation, it’s a security alert, and they need to evacuate immediately. Webb downplays the warnings, but then Pashkin draws a gun on him. Louisa explains that Pashkin is a fraud and Nevsky is dead. Webb can’t believe what he’s hearing and argues back. Pashkin grows tired of the man child and shoots him. Marcus withdraws a gun from under the table and fires at the fleeing Russians. One of their security guards is hit, but the other escapes with Pashkin.

What did you think of Slow Horses season 2, episode 5? Comment below.

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