Slow Horses Episode 3 Recap and Ending, Explained

‘Slow Horses’ episode 3 opens in the middle of multiple crises that have all sparked off in the first two episodes of the darkly comedic spy thriller. River Cartwright worries about his colleague, Sid Baker, who is still barely clinging to life even as a most mystifying intruder unexpectedly attacks two Slough House employees. The sinister kidnapping of Hassan Ahmed remains unsolved, but a bigger conspiracy seems to be at play. A truly bloody ending makes ‘Slow Horses’ episode 3 the most intriguing chapter so far, so let’s dive in and pick up all its details. SPOILERS AHEAD.

Slow Horses Episode 3 Recap

The episode opens with Min and Louisa in the pub, watching the news of Hassan Ahmed’s kidnapping play out. They realize their boss, Jackson Lamb, might know more about the case and sneak back into Slough House to try and hack into his mail. The two are surprised by an intruder in the office who is killed in the ensuing scuffle. When Jackson shows up on the scene, he identifies the dead intruder as Jed Moody, an MI5 agent, much to the surprise of all those present.

In a covert meeting with MI5 second desk head Diana Taverner, Jackson finds out that the MI5 might actually be involved in the kidnapping as part of a bigger plot. However, Jed’s death poses a problem as it threatens to uncover Diana’s unofficial plan, one that Jackson refers to as a “false flag operation.” The two make a quick deal, with Jackson tasked with going to the kidnappers’ hideout to help rescue Hassan and “hush-up” the whole affair and, in return, get immunity for his Slough House underlings.

At the same time, the disgraced right-wing journalist Robert Hobden goes to the politician Peter Judd’s house, warning him of a potential media storm in case Hassan is murdered by nationalists. The politician is irritated by Robert’s presence and tells him to leave but also looks visibly worried when the former says that the MI5 might be involved in the operation.

Slow Horses Episode 3 Ending: Why is Moe Killed? Who Kills Him?

Meanwhile, Hassan is still at the hideout, trying to escape without his abductors, the self-titled Sons of Albion, finding out. He almost gets away but makes a little too much noise and is recaptured. Even as the kidnappers tie Hassan up, Jackson approaches the hideout along with River, Min, and Louisa to rescue the hostage. However, things amongst the kidnappers take a sudden, violent turn when Curly suddenly gets suspicious and picks up an ax.

As Jackson and his team arrive at the hideout, they are shocked to find the door open. Inside, they find a bewildering scene of violence. Blood is spattered everywhere, and the MI5 agents, fearing Hassan has been killed, are all the more confused to find one of the kidnappers, Moe, decapitated, with no sign of the other kidnappers or Hassan.

And so, a long impending murder does take place, but the victim is an unexpected one. Curly, the least experienced of the kidnappers, seemingly holds a grudge against Moe because the latter, who claims to be a former marine, is constantly belligerent. Near the end of the episode, it appears that Curly gets suspicious of Moe when he tries to stop Curly from hurting Hassan. Since the kidnappers’ have not demanded a ransom, it is clear that their end goal is, in fact, to kill Hassan, which does make Moe’s actions a little questionable.

Ultimately, it looks like Curly beheads Moe partly out of suspicion and partly in anger. The more intriguing point here is that Diana has revealed that one of the kidnappers is actually an undercover MI5 agent. Thus, Curly might have unknowingly discovered the agent and killed him, throwing the entire MI5 plan in jeopardy.

What is Diana Taverner’s Plan? Is She Behind Hassan’s Kidnapping?

Diana Taverner, the head of personnel at MI5, also emerges as a twisted player in episode 3 when, during her secret meeting with Jackson, a dangerous plot is revealed. It appears that she has masterminded the kidnapping of Hassan Ahmed for multiple reasons, the first being to undermine the extremist right-wing movement in the country. By filling the news with stories of a nationalist group threatening to behead a student, Diana hopes to turn public perception against the nationalists, which is why Hobden and Peter, a right-wing journalist and nationalist politician, respectively, are worried.

Diana even goes so far as to pick the target of the kidnapping, making it clear that Hassan is not actually kidnapped for his stand-up comedy routine. She reveals that the young man is actually the nephew of a Pakistani agent named Mahmud Gul. By rescuing Hassan, Diana hopes to improve ties with Pakistani intelligence and get useful information from them. Thus, it appears that of all people, it is Diana, the head of the MI5’s second desk, who is responsible for Hassan getting kidnapped.

Read More: Is Slow Horses Based on a True Story?