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Slow Horses series 3 review — spy comedy returns with scabrous humour and polished plotting – MyCyberBase


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The third season of the dank, dark espionage comedy Slow Horses begins, uncharacteristically, in an Istanbul bedroom aglow with evening sunlight and a couple’s post-coital contentment. But the mood is soon killed by accusations of treason; it appears that one of them is planning on leaking some highly sensitive files. A cross-city chase leads to a shadowy rendezvous, then a death.

If this propulsive prologue suggests the Apple series, based on Mick Herron’s novels, is leaving behind its signature squalor in favour of globe-hopping glamour, then the notion is dispelled by the unmistakable sound of a Jackson Lamb fart. That we find the veteran spy being rude in a health clinic is less surprising than the fact that he’s actually in pretty rude health. Clearly his efforts to reduce his alcohol intake to three whiskeys a week (bottles that is) and quit smoking (for 27 minutes) are already doing wonders.

While a heart attack doesn’t seem imminent, an attack on Lamb’s department of MI5 offcuts and cast-offs catches him off-guard. After the long-suffering unit administrator Standish is taken hostage, the team scrambles to resolve the crisis without involving HQ. Even the jaded Lamb (Gary Oldman) appears concerned. Well, for a moment. “If they threatened to kill you I’d buy them a beer and the bullets,” he later reminds his top asset, River (Jack Lowden).

As ever, the gruff, scabrous humour is complemented by polished plotting and inspired twists worthy of the slick spy thrillers being sent up. Beyond genre parody, the show also continues to skewer the incompetence and self-interest that runs through the institutions designed to protect and govern — although the satirical edge is perhaps not quite as sharp as it could be.

Still, Slow Horses remains an unbridled pleasure thanks to the relish with which eminent actors such as Kristin Scott Thomas (as MI5’s steely deputy Diana Taverner) and Oldman commit to a sweary, sweaty bit of storytelling. For all the meticulously researched, grandiose performances that the latter has given, it’s this one, in which he truly lets himself go, that he may end up being most fondly known for.

★★★★☆

On Apple TV+ from November 29


, 2023-11-29 07:48:27 ,
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