Somebody hand Gary Oldman an Emmy. The Dark Knight and Oppenheimer star always delights, but the last time the man garnered an Emmy nomination was more than 20 years ago for a guest starring role on Friends. In season three of Apple TV+’s darkly humorous espionage drama Slow Horses, Oldman returns as Jackson Lamb, the unkempt yet shrewd British spy who corals a posse of failed British spies. But this go around, there’s something about how well the man has embodied his character that warrants more attention. It’s as if we’ve known this character for some time. Fortunately, he’s not one we tire of easily.
Featuring Kristin Scott Thomas, Jonathan Pryce, Jack Lowden and a vibrant cast of other fine actors, season three of Slow Horses ultimately lands as a delightful surprise. The episodes bristle with excitement. The dialogue is as sharp as ever. And the stakes are perhaps even higher than ever before. The main plot revolves around a romantic liaison in Istanbul that threatens to expose a buried MI5 secret in London. Jackson Lamb and his team of misfits are dragged into the fight and soon they find themselves caught in a conspiracy that threatens the future not just of Slough House but of MI5 itself.
Best to tune into the series because it’s too soon to tell if Apple TV+ will offer another round of episodes what with all the uncertainty plaguing streaming these days. There’s great fun to be had in season three and the acting has never been better.
Season 3 Breaks New Ground
Release Date April 1, 2022
Cast Jack Lowden, Kristin Scott Thomas, Gary Oldman, Saskia Reeves, Chris Reilly
Main Genre Drama
Genres Drama, Thriller
Slow Horses is based on Mick Herron’s Slough House novels. Lamb may lack touchy-feeler tenderness, but his standards are high. Which makes season three all the more fun as grumbles his way through various dilemmas. We’ve come to truly know and love his dysfunctional team of British intelligence agents working in MI5’s un-affectionately dubbed Slough House, and as season three moves along with breakneck speed, it recalls the emotional investments we may have made in other sweeping thrillers, such as Hunters on Prime Video.
Director Saul Metzstein is at the helm here, fueled by executive producers Will Smith, Graham Yost (Justified), and others. The behind-the scenes talent continues to ignite the ongoing high stakes for the actors and their characters. Season three pulls from Herron’s novel Real Tigers, which finds our vain yet slovenly protagonist suddenly victims of past MI5 brouhaha. Kidnappers whisk away Jackson’s go-to Catherine (Saskia Reeves), which generates turbulent ripple effects. The kidnappers want a secret file. Why?
Related: The Best Spies in Movies, Ranked
The premise forces Jackson’s crew—River (Jack Lowden), Roddy (Christopher Chung), Marcus (Kadiff Kirwan), Louisa (Rosalind Eleazar), Marcus, and Shirley (Aimee-Ffion Edwards)—to unravel the mystery. It also gives the series an opportunity to see how far these characters have come. River, for instance, got by on his cocksure charm, but over the course of several seasons, the dynamics between the team have shifted—and has never been this enjoyable. Humility works its way into the season as well, offering yet another layer of nuance.
The Best Season Yet
Slow Horses has always won high marks for its dialogue and in season three, there’s great fun hearing and experiencing these characters interact with each other, especially during high stakes outings. “I need a team of good agents, but I just have the Slow Horses,” Oldman’s Jackson grumbles at one point. His interactions with techy Roddy (Christopher Chung) continues to generate some of the most fun. Only Gary Oldman can drop a “dipshit” and have it seem far more biting than it is.
That quick wit is alive and well in other characters. At one point, Peter Judd (Samuel West), a top politico, crows, “Is it true he gets his wife to piss on him, or is that a rumor I started? I forget.” These nuances add to already bristling plot as Jackson and his team move through the season. The creators also gives Sophie Okonedo an opportunity to shine brighter than in previous seasons. Look for stellar interchanges between Kristin Scott Thomas’s Diana and Okoenedo’s Ingrid as the two butt heads.
In the meantime, quips and sarcasm abound. So does the action. There are gripping action sequences throughout the season—bands of men toting firearms closing in on their targets, the misfit agents risking their lives, and more This creative resurgence, if you will, brings to mind the current season of Fargo, but what stands out the most in round three of Slow Horses is that many of its actors are offered more to do with their characters. Gary Oldman once again proves that he can step into any character so believably that you forget you’re watching Gary Oldman. Surely, that warrants an Emmy nod. Slow Horses may feel tucked away on Apple TV+’s very full streaming slate, but that doesn’t mean it’s ignored. Sure, you may have to overlook the obvious—that these misfits really aren’t misfits at all—but Slow Horses remains among the finest spy series streaming today.
Season three of Slow Horses is currently streaming on Apple TV+. You can watch it through the link below and check out the trailer:
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