Friday, April 1, 2022

REVIEW: 'Slow Horses' - Cartwright Goes Rogue But Isn't the Only One at Slough House Breaking Patterns in 'Work Drinks'

AppleTV+'s Slow Horses - Episode 1.02 "Work Drinks"

River and Sid join forces. A misfired gun has dire consequences.

"Work Drinks" was written by Will Smith and directed by James Hawes

Everyone who works at Slough House is there for a reason. They were reassigned following some massive mistakes or inability to work with other agents. For some, their failures were incredibly public. For others, the reasons why they are here are completely unknown. The show hopes to tease those various reveals along with each of these characters. Some of them can be more forthcoming with their mistakes. Others keep it closely guarded. They are ashamed of their pasts. They remain devoted to the work even though they are incapable of doing the job as proudly as they once did. These mysteries inform the characters in some deep and profound ways. However, these details only matter to a certain extent. It makes it come across as if Catherine is solely haunted by what happened in the past with her husband and Lamb. Those details are scarcely delivered with no need to resolve the issues any time soon. Meanwhile, no one knows why Lamb has been banished to this place. He is the most devoted to the cause. He doesn't want any of the agents under his watch doing any meaningful work. And yet, Slough House was tasked with a mission. Lamb was meant to keep the circle of information small. He trusted Sid and Cartwright with several surveillance missions. That has piqued everyone's interest. It's incredibly coincidental Diana had Slough House looking into a far-right commentator days before a nationalist group kidnapped a British citizen of Pakistani descent. Of course, nothing can ever truly be seen as a coincidence. It's simply a mystery that has yet to be revealed fully. That's the purpose of this storytelling. It places urgency on Cartwright and Sid to continue surveilling their target. He carries his laptop around with such secrecy. It must have something important on it. That clue may point the entire intelligence agency in the right direction. Other entities want him dead. They are willing to kill him to cover up the truth. Instead, Sid appears as the casualty. She suffers a gunshot to the head. An ambulance is called. However, it truly seems unlikely that she will survive. That comes immediately after she told Cartwright that Diana ordered her to monitor him. That too may suggest Cartwright has some grand purpose beyond being banished to Slough House. He isn't meant to be doing nothing. But it could also be as trivial as no one trusting Cartwright to take this punishment seriously. People must watch him in order to cover up the various mistakes he continues to make in the field.

Plenty of people at Slough House have grown content with what this work requires. They aren't incredibly close. However, they have their basic rhythms. Everyone knows they can simply bribe Roddy to hack anything they want. Others want to be friends and hang out after work ends. People don't want to go home because their lives are empty there as well. They resort to the sad activity of drinking alone. That's what life has become for Lamb. And yet, he is already breaking his patterns. Catherine can see that. She comments on it. He responds with cruelty. She knows that's just a performative aspect of his job. It's not the temptation that truly strikes that could make her waver. It's still questionable. Everyone projects a sense of importance onto this work. They are suppose to be doing nothing. However, they are signed up for MI5. They believe everything must ultimately have a meaning. They can still do something productive. Diana wants to pursue any lead that can produce a location for where Hassan is being held. The agency only has until the morning. Then, his kidnappers will behead him. It doesn't seem likely that MI5 will meet that deadline. And so, some twist is inevitable coming. That may come from Hassan possibly finding a way to escape or one of the kidnappers keeping his own secrets. It's all complications. It's the stagecraft of it all. People are trying their best to fool each other. They don't want anyone else to feel confident with their assertions. People need to know their place in the world. Diana is the one with power. However, she still has to answer to various bosses across government. She can complain about her workplace not being funded to properly monitor domestic terrorist groups. That doesn't help in this particular moment. Right now, everyone is glued to the television waiting for any update on Hassan's condition. No meaningful progress is made. All hope seemingly rests on Cartwright going rogue. He's not armed with any weapon. Backup isn't coming. He is following his own instincts. Those got him placed at Slough House in the first place. Moreover, he doesn't even realize Sid is following him. It's so easy to get sucked into this world of dark secrets. However, it can quickly create a sense of lost humanity as well because it's all an elaborate game. Lives are at stake. That must always be the priority. That can lead to some pompous attitudes as well. Those are willing to do whatever it takes to produce a victorious end result. Everyone wants that. It's just a question of what everyone is willing to do to obtain that.