Slow Horses Season 2 Finale Recap: Who Killed Nevsky? Why?

As the second season of the Apple TV+ spy thriller series ‘Slow Horses’ concludes, one thing becomes apparent — none of the main characters has a plot armor (except maybe Jackson Lamb). And that is why when you see two of these characters in serious peril, you genuinely wonder about their safety. In ‘Slow Horses’ season 2 episode 6, titled ‘Old Scores,’ River (Jack Lowden) realizes that he has made a mistake eerily similar to what relegated him to the Slough House. Lamb (Gary Oldman) and Nikolai Katinsky (Rade Serbedzija) have their face-off. Meanwhile, at the Glasshouse, Louisa (Rosalind Eleazar) seeks vengeance against Arkady Pashkin for killing Min. ‘Slow Horses’ is the TV adaptation of the ‘Slough House’ series of novels by Mick Herron. Here is everything you might want to know about its second-season finale. SPOILERS AHEAD.

Slow Horses Season 2 Episode 6 Recap

The second season finale begins just as Lamb has figured out that he is Katinsky’s real target. He calls his own office and, lo and behold, Katinsky picks it up. The office is empty, and Lamb has his guard down; it’s the perfect time to break into Slough House and threaten to detonate a bomb containing the same radioactive poison a drop of which killed Nevsky. The office is located on a public street; and if there is a breeze, thousands can die. Realizing that their confrontation is inevitable, Lamb convinces the former KGB agent to meet him at Katinsky’s place, reasoning that the other man would not renew the lease no matter which way their encounter goes.

In Upshott, River discovers explosives in the airfield hangar — the same ones which are supposed to be in the plane with Alex Tropper (Catherine McCormack) and heading toward the Glasshouse in London — and seems to not know how he feels about that. On one hand, he should be glad that the Glasshouse doesn’t face imminent danger from a 9/11 type of attack. On the other hand, a suburban mother, albeit a Russian sleeper agent, is about to be shot down by the Royal Air Force, and River has committed as big of a blunder as one that diverted his promising career as an MI5 agent. He tells Alex’s family the truth before contacting Taverner (Kristin Scott Thomas) to admit that he has messed up.

Taverner realizes that it will be career suicide if she withdraws the orders to shoot the plane down, so she reaches out to Peter Judd, but he is even bigger of an opportunist than her and sees through her plans, so he circles the responsibility back to Taverner’s shoulders, assuring her that no matter what she decides, the agency will support her. Fortunately for everyone involved, Alex announces that she will land the plane immediately.

Meanwhile, Catherine arrives at the Glasshouse building and starts climbing the stairs, hoping to encounter Louisa and Marcus and tell them about the latest development in their case, and inside the building itself, the aforementioned two try to escape the room they have been left trapped behind by Pashkin. Elsewhere, Ho (Christopher Chung) follows Chernitsky with Shirley (Aimee-Ffion Edwards) tailing close behind, knowing that the Russian assassin is heading toward his next target.

Slow Horses Season 2 Finale Ending: Who Killed Nevsky? Why?

Ilya Nevsky was a Russian energy oligarch who defected to the West. He was touted as the next leader of Russia. At the start of the series, Webb borrows Louisa and Min (Dustin Demri-Burns) to work for him as background security for his clandestine meeting with Pashkin, who, at the time, was believed to have been working for Nevsky. However, in episode 4, Nevsky is killed by radiation poisoning, and it becomes very apparent that Pashkin is responsible. In the second season finale, his reasons for killing Nevsky become apparent.

It was already hinted in the previous episodes that the Federal Security Service was somehow involved in Nevsky’s death. He was considered the biggest threat to the current regime in Russia and could potentially have gained Western support. At some point, he was always bound to be killed.

As we have speculated earlier, attacking the Glasshouse was never the plan. The FSB agents counted on that River would initiate Code September as they needed the Glasshouse to be shut down and evacuated so they could put a virus in Nevsky’s computer for Moscow to drain his accounts. As Kyril admits when Louisa tortures him, they got access to Nevsky’s computer with his severed thumb and the password in exchange for a gun. Nevsky knew that he was dying of radiation poisoning, and the only way he could escape the horrifying death was through a quick one.

What Does Katinsky/Popov want?

In the season 2 finale, Lamb and Katinsky face off, knowing that only one of them will get out of this meeting alive. Katinsky even agrees to put down the gun and speak to the other man, even if for a brief period. It turns out that he has sought revenge against Lamb for killing Charles Partner, a former First Desk at MI5, Catherine’s former boss, and a Russian double agent working for Katinsky, who was known as Alexander Popov at the time.

Katinsky clearly feels a deep sense of guilt about Partner’s death and blames himself. Lamb deduces that it’s that guilt and frustration that gave the other man cancer and clarifies that Katinsky didn’t slip up. Lamb was the one who drunkenly mentioned to Partner that the active British agent who had infiltrated the Stasi in East Germany was a woman. Partner deduced who that could be as there were only three possibilities and relayed the information to Popov, who, in turn, told the Stasi. She was subsequently tortured and hanged.

This made Lamb realize Partner was a double agent, and he wanted to kill him then and there, but David Cartwright, River’s grandfather, told him not to. For the next few years, Partner was used to feeding the Russians false information. Katinsky figured this out earlier and sent Chernitsky to kill Cartwright. Unfortunately for the Russians, Lamb realized their plan and sent Armed Police to Cartwright’s home.

Meanwhile, after speaking to Ho, River figures out where Chernitsky is heading and warns his grandfather, who shoots the assassin with his hunting rifle before the latter can shoot him or River and Armed Police can arrive. Lamb closes this chapter by admitting how good Katinsky has been before leaving the other man’s gun on the table with one bullet inside. It is not long before Katinsky picks up the gun, puts it against his chin, and pulls the trigger.

Why Was Min Harper Killed?

When Louisa and Marcus finally manage to open the door, they rush to Nevsky’s office, where they discover that Pashkin killed Piotr and fled with the diamonds that Nevsky kept there. Louisa goes back to question Kyril further and shows him the photo of his partner’s body. Kyril reveals that Pashkin’s exit strategy involves an air ambulance. Louisa rushes to the roof to confront Pashkin, who admits he killed Min because the latter saw his face. Marcus kills Pashkin when the FSB agent tries to shoot Louisa.

Afterward, Taverner and Judd make plans for their uneasy alliance and decide to blame the Code September fiasco on the Prime Minister’s inactions. Later, Taverner declines to put Min’s name on a plaque among the MI5 agents who have been killed in action at St. Leonard’s church. Lamb still bribes the priest there to gain entry and install a plaque with Min’s name on it. He also leaves a note with Dickie Bough’s name on it, but the note drops as soon as he and the rest of the Slow Horses leave the church.

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