By Jeff Fountain, SatelliteWerx.com Contributing Movie and TV Critic
The 80’s war on drugs never looked so good, at least on film, as Narcos follows both Pablo Escobar’s rise to power in the cocaine business and the DEA’s pursuit of the man and his illegal drug empire using what at times can only be described as ‘very questionable’ methods. This show has everything including bloodbaths, the very detailed and creative drug smuggling, gang warfare and the frightening amount of money that was being made on a monthly basis. Still, the show could have fell flat but thanks to some solid writing, great sets and fantastic performances, Narcos is a show that really shouldn’t be missed.
In season one, we are introduced to Escobar and his very underwhelming beginnings. However, it becomes clear that once the man realizes the possibilities of the cocaine trade, his combined intelligence and ruthlessness come through in a combination that is both intimidating and impressive. Actor Wagner Moura plays Escobar in a way that compliments his grass roots persona, at least the humble family side he likes to portray to the people, while giving him that sinister and unwavering side that allows him to quickly rise to the top of the drug smuggling business. He is on one hand a sort of Robin Hood, giving away money and property, usually because he cannot launder the money fast enough, while at the same time executing people in a cold, emotionless way that can be at times very chilling.
One the other side, we watch the DEA fumble around early on in Columbia, not really knowing the depth of what they are dealing with both in the business and the man running the show. Steve Murphy (Boyd Holbrook) is assigned to the case in Columbia and soon realizes he is in way over his head. Teaming up with Javier Pena (Pedro Pascal), the two slowly begin to put a dent in the Escobar’s business, at least enough to have him notice and the games between the DEA and the Cartel really begin to heat up. Eventually, Escobar is caught but the season ends with his escape, providing a nice lead in to season two.
With the history lesson of the drug trade and smuggling in Columbia now at an end, season two felt much more wide open with many different opportunities to shine, all the while concentrating on the hunt for Escobar. If you thought Moura was good as Escobar in season one, then you are in for a treat in season two as he ups his game to another level, putting on an incredible performance while we watch Escobar literally deteriorate before our eyes.
What makes this season so good is that the showrunners made no secret ahead of time that they intended on killing off Escobar. While this might sound like a downer, this gave the show some wonderful material to work with and let Moura showoff is immense acting talent as he takes Escobar through a myriad of emotions and scenarios. It was a pretty gutsy move but paid off in the end with some incredibly tense moments mixes with a lot of bloodshed.
In the end, Narcos did the Pablo Escobar story proud, even mixing in some real new footage that happened back in the 80’s, some of which is almost laugh out loud funny in regards to how little the United States new and how long it took them to figure out the scope of Escobar’s huge operation. There is a plan for a season three and even if it doesn’t come to pass, do yourself a favor and watch this series. The high quality from top to bottom easily makes this one of Netflix’s best shows and one that shouldn’t be missed.
Narcos is a Netflix series that premiered in August of 2015. In September of 2016 Netflix announced that they renewed the series for a third and fourth season.
Watch Season 2 Official Narcos Trailer
WATCH Official Narcos Trailer
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