The third season of ‘Slow Horses,’ Apple TV+’s spy show with equal parts thrill and comedy, brings a brand-new bucket of conspiracies, danger, and mystery for our favorite misfit reject MI5 Agents. However, before picking up the current lives of Jackson Lamb and his team at Slough House, the narrative introduces this season’s central conflict as it brews in scenic Istanbul. Agents Alison Dunn and Sean Donavan appear at the center of this plotline, revolving heavily around themes of betrayal as the latter investigates his partner’s possible treachery against their organization.
Thus, shortly after her introduction, Alison finds herself a victim of her own game, as it leads to her untimely death. Even though the character sticks around for a short while, her strong influence over the rest of the season is easy to garner. For the same reason, her character and her inevitable death become even more intriguing for the audience. SPOILERS AHEAD!
Alison Dunn and The Footprint File
In Istanbul, Alison Dunn, another MI5 Agent, engages in a forbidden, hence secret, romance with her co-worker, Sean Donovan. Although the couple seems to have a good relationship despite its covert nature that goes against company policy, it isn’t long before the latter comes in between their combined happiness. After leaving the room for a minute, Alison returns to find her partner going through her belongings in an effort to uncover incriminating information against her.
Where Alison is entirely heartbroken at the scene, Sean has no defense for his actions. The agency had a strong reason to believe the other agent was planning on leaking sensitive files to outside sources. As a result, they assigned Sean to investigate her and retrieve the file from her possession. Nevertheless, Alison, devastated that her relationship might have been a complete farce, kicks the man out of her apartment.
But of course, Sean’s accusations were true, and Alison had been planning on leaking the elusive “Footprint” file out of the agency and into the world. Now that Alison knows that the Service has caught on to her, she past-paces the handover process and leaves to meet up with the other party the same day. Similarly, Sean may have been torn at betraying Alison’s trust, but he’s still an agent. As such, he dutifully tails the woman to intercept her and the file before it can reach the wrong hands.
Alas, Alison is too clever and manages to shake Sean off her tail. Still, by nightfall, Sean has managed to track her down to an empty Stadium, the site where the drop-off is going to happen. Yet, Sean only finds another man fleeing from the scene in Alison’s car upon his arrival. Instead of following after the man, the agent starts searching for Alison. To his dismay, Sean finds his former partner dead on the ground as if pushed from higher ground.
Even though the episode doesn’t disclose the exact reason or perpetrator behind Alison’s death, it’s easy to deduce that it has something to do with the Footprints file that consumed the dead Agent’s storyline. Alison risked a great deal to sneak such information out of the Agency. Therefore, the contents of it were clearly intense enough to make her feel strongly about them. Furthermore, her desire to expose it to the world implies the documents reveal something controversial about the Security Service and its agents.
Furthermore, Sean and Alison’s illicit but loving affair can also provide another clue. Even though neither hesitated in carrying out their missions despite their partner’s standing against it, they seem to truly care about one another. Consequently, Sean’s grief over Alison and his following attack on the Slough House suggest he has a bone to pick with the Service.
However, the question remains: is Sean only doing so to carry out Alison’s unfinished business of revealing the contents of the Footprint file? Or does the man suspect the Park to be involved in Alison’s killing in a more direct manner? As such, his particular motives this season can help us decipher the true culprit behind Alison’s death. Nonetheless, it remains obvious that Alison’s close association with the Footprint file and its mysterious secrets led to her ultimate demise.