Slow Horses Episode 5 Recap and Ending, Explained

‘Slow Horses’ episode 5, titled ‘Fiasco,’ finds Jackson Lamb (Gary Oldman) in form and taking charge of his Slow Horses from Slough House. River Cartwright finally brings something useful to the table, and his grizzled superior wastes no time in walking straight into the lion’s den and confronting Diana Taverner, the head of MI5. Meanwhile, the kidnappers continue their escape after Curly’s unexpected and brutal attack on Moe. Things are hectic as ever, but the tide might be turning for the Slough House agents. Let’s take a closer look at ‘Slow Horses’ episode 5. SPOILERS AHEAD.

Slow Horses Episode 5 Recap

The episode opens with the rest of the Slow Horses meeting up with Jackson and Catherine, where River finally remembers where he’s seen Alan Black before. He reveals to the group that he has a picture of Alan and Diana Taverner meeting in secret, which essentially points the finger at the MI5 head for the current crisis. Upon hearing this, Jackson grudgingly orders River to accompany him and informs the rest of his team to stay out of the clutches of the “dogs,” as MI5 agents are affectionately called.

Meanwhile, the kidnappers continue on their chaotic, blood-spattered getaway with Hassan still tied up in the back. Curly continues to insist on killing the hostage, but the tables are turned when Zeppo pulls out a gun and takes charge of the group. They then plan to head to their boat and escape the country but are forced to stop for fuel. A tense interlude ensues where Hassan has to step out and refuel his captives’ car. Though he considers it, he doesn’t run away and dutifully gets back into the car.

Meanwhile, Jackson smuggles River into the MI5 headquarters and finally comes face to face with Diana. Thinking she has the upper hand, she tries to bully Jackson into signing a false confession and promises he won’t be prosecuted but will be fired. However, River manages to find the incriminating photograph in a folder named “Fiasco” (hence, the name of the episode) and confronts Diana just in time.

Slow Horses Episode 5 Ending: Why Does Curly Kill Zeppo?

Faced with proof of her ties with Alan Black, Diana finds herself in a tough spot. Jackson then orders her to focus on rescuing Hassan and cease trying to incriminate the Slow Horses. The MI5 boss claims that all the cars suspected in connection to the kidnapping have disappeared, and Hassan’s fate remains hanging by a thread.

Back in the kidnappers’ car, the criminals, impressed by Hassan helping them refuel and not running away, lighten the mood. They ask their young hostage to recite some of the jokes from his stand-up comedy routine, and he obliges. As the jokes become increasingly offensive, the kidnappers become more hysterical until Curly suddenly picks up the unattended gun and kills Zeppo. The episode then closes with an ominous silence in the car.

And so, another ‘Slow Horses’ episode closes with a gruesome murder, and once again, it is committed by Curly. The youngest, least experienced kidnapper seems to also be the most bloodthirsty. Additionally, after killing Alan Black, who is actually an MI5 agent, Curly knows that he is doomed if caught. On an earlier occasion, while talking about killing Hassan, he has said that since he has already committed a heinous crime, committing another murder would not change anything. Essentially, Curly has nothing to lose.

Unfortunately, Curly is also the only one who is truly committed to the kidnappers’ ominous promise of killing Hassan. While his two other partners plead that they let Hassan go and escape the country, Curly remains adamant about beheading the young college student. Therefore, when Zeppo tries to take control by intimidating Curly with a gun, he underestimates the latter. Even though he pretends to be convinced by Zeppo’s plan, Curly never really means to change course and basically waits for the opportunity to regain control of the group. While they are distracted by Hassan’s jokes, Curly takes the chance and murders Zeppo, proving without question who is really in charge.

What Do River’s Photographs of Diana Taverner Prove?

River’s photograph of Diana, which he took during his training, proves to be more incriminating than the young agent could ever imagine. In fact, it is because he catches Diana talking to Alan Black that River is relegated to Slough House. The photograph essentially proves that Alan was involved in Hassan’s kidnapping on Diana’s orders, thus incriminating the MI5 chief of a pretty serious crime.

Of course, Diana has her own reasons for helping orchestrate the kidnapping. However, she realizes that her connection to the crime can never be revealed. With Jackson and River now in possession of the photograph, Diana is in a sticky situation and will likely have to do what they tell her to do or she will risk losing her career and possibly face legal ramifications.

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