Slow Horses Season 2 ending explained – why does Nikolai Katinsky want Jackson Lamb dead?

By Adam Lock
Published: December 30, 2022 (Last updated: February 3, 2024)
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“Old Scores” works best when the characters feel like they are in actual danger, and the creators succeed in this department wholeheartedly. It is a tense and thrilling finale that wraps up the story in a satisfactory fashion.

We recap the Apple TV+ series Slow Horses Season 2 Episode 6, “Old Scores,” which contains spoilers and explains the ending.

Season two of Slow Horses has focused on the hunt for Russian sleeper agents, known as cicadas. In “Old Scores,” the real motives behind the Russian’s plot come to light, and the Slough House gang tries to save London from a terrorist attack. Lamb (Gary Oldman) tracks down Nikolai (Rade Serbedzija), Louisa (Rosalind Eleazar), and Marcus (Kadiff Kirwan) try to escape from the Glass House, and the rest of the disgraced agents hunt down Andre (Marek Vasut) on foot.

This installment comes with added tension as all the gang members feel like they could be killed at any moment now that Min has paved the way. It brings an extra layer of suspense to an otherwise standard finale.

Slow Horses Season 2 Episode 6 recap

Nikolai and Lamb have unfinished business, and the finale opens with these two old dogs chatting. Nikolai asks for Lamb to return to his office for a friendly conversation, but Lamb knows Nikolai wants him dead because he’s already murdered one of his men. The ex-KGB spy says that one drop of radioactive poison killed Nevsky, imagine what he could do with a bomb of the stuff. That’s enough of a threat for Lamb, who offers to meet with Nikolai at the Russian’s offices.

Meanwhile, the streets of London are teeming with panicked protesters and office workers, fleeing the looming attack. Standish heads in the opposite direction, towards the danger. Lamb has ordered her to go and save Marcus and Louisa, who are trapped in the targeted building. The plane continues to head for the city, even with military helicopters on either side.

Marcus and Louisa are trapped in the room where the meeting was held. Pashkin and Piotr have locked them inside. Webb is alive but has passed out from his injury. Pashkin’s remaining security guard, Kyril is also alive, but his injury could be fatal. Louisa offers her assistance but then tortures the man instead for information. Kyril reveals that they intended on shutting down the Glass House so they could put a virus on Nevsky’s computers. They aimed to then drain his accounts. This explains why Nevsky was missing a thumb, they needed it to access the accounts. The Russians then acquired his passwords with the reward of a quick death, handing Nevsky his gun so he could kill himself in the end. Louisa hates the Russians even more after this brutal, but honest story.

Shirley wanders the streets, although she’s lost Andre’s location. That doesn’t matter, Roddy has eyes on him still, having followed him onto a train headed for Tunbridge Wells. Shirley decides to commandeer a motorbike, driving towards their destination. These unlikely heroes are finally out in the field after days stuck behind their desks.

Back at Upshott, River awkwardly talks to Alex’s family members, who are still reeling from the many surprises they have been faced with. River decides to give them some space and finds himself by the plane hangar. In another shocking twist, River discovers that all the bomb-making materials are still in the hangar, untouched. It was all a con, one big distraction. Nikolai and Alex wanted it to look like they were bombing the city, but it wasn’t so, they wanted the city shut down for another reason. This explains why River was spared in the first place. River worries that it’s all happening again, he’s making the same mistake for the second time.

Ignoring the consequences, River calls up Diana and explains that the bomb is just a hoax. It may be too little too late though, as MI5 have their targets locked on Alex’s plane. If she doesn’t communicate with them or divert the plane in the next few minutes then they will be forced to take it down by any means necessary. It cannot be undone. Tensions are high as Diana asks Judd for the final decision. He lets Diana decide, the coward!

There’s further tension on the train. Our naive Roddy is following Andre, but he’s already lost him. He goes searching the aisles for the Russian spy and a chase follows, as Roddy evades Andre’s attacks and his poisonous weapon, hidden in a ring. Roddy defends himself well and scampers, hiding in the train’s toilet. As it pulls into the station, Shirley boards the carriage and attacks Andre, saving Roddy’s life. The cicada shoots at them, but they survive unscathed.

Back at the Glass House, Standish climbs the stairs to warn Marcus and Louisa, but they’ve managed to escape on their own. The duo finds Nevsky’s severed thumb and Piotr dead on the floor. Looks like Pashkin got greedy and killed his security guard for some diamonds. Louisa takes a photo of Piotr back to Kyril and asks for his help. What was their endgame? Pashkin was going to escape via an air ambulance. Louisa rushes to the rooftop and confronts Pashkin. She asks why he killed Min and the response makes Min’s death that bit more poignant, he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Louisa goes to attack Pashkin, but the Russian draws his weapon. He’s about to shoot, yet Marcus fires first, killing Paskin and saving Louisa’s life.

Slow Horses Season 2 ending explained

Lamb and Nikolai meet up for their final showdown. Both veterans greet each other with raised guns. Lamb admits that he knew the threat was a lie, but he had to see it in person, with his own eyes. Lamb is impressed though, Nikolai had them all fooled for years. And then he used Upshott as the perfect distraction. What Nikolai really wants to know, is about the man Lamb killed. It is then revealed that Charles Partner was an undercover agent for the opposition. Lamb killed Charles because he was a traitor. Nikolai is sad that Charles was killed and Lamb mourns for Dickie. The dying Russian has one last question, was he responsible for Charles’ death?

Our vulgar Slough House leader, Jackson Lamb, admits that he was the one that slipped up, not Nikolai. The Russian spy then confesses to wanting revenge for Charles’ death and he attempted to professionally humiliate Lamb and his employees first. Lamb quips that the gang is already disgraced, what more can you do? Nikolai then discloses even more information, he was tasked with overseeing Nevsky’s demise and getting back the money that Nevsky stole. That was where Pashkin came into the scheme.

The scene then inter-cuts with a few others to build suspense. Andre arrives on a sleepy countryside track. River exits a plane and legs it across a field. Andre then knocks on a door, ready with his weapon. It’s River’s Granddad, David Cartwright that answers the door as gunfire can be heard. But David is the victor, gunning down Andre first. Nikolai realizes that Lamb’s one step ahead of him. Lamb knew they’d target David and he was forewarned. Nikolai asks for a quick death of his own, but Lamb refuses to shoot him. The Russian spy kills himself in the end.

Diana provides Judd with a debrief of the entire saga. Judd is annoyed by the whole debacle and wants to pin it all on River. Diana believes it’s better to lie and keep it all a secret. They decide to blame the Prime Minister instead, talking of defense systems needing an upgrade. Later, Lamb visits Diana and asks for Min Harper to have a proper send-off. Diana refuses though. Louisa attends Min’s small funeral service and quickly leaves in floods of tears. The gang meets at another church in the city, where Lamb originally wanted Min’s service held. They put up a plaque for the fallen comrade and then Lamb places a note up for Dickie, but the piece of paper soon falls to the ground. Lamb had a real soft spot for Dickie. It is likely that he appreciated the lengths Dickie went to in succeeding as an undercover agent for all those years, sacrifices that deserve rewarding or acknowledging at the very least.

What did you think of Slow Horses Season 2 Episode 6, and the ending? Comment below.

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