Saturday, September 10, 2016

TV Show Review: Narcos (Season 2)

The second season of the Netflix original series Narcos continues to tell the story of Columbia, Pablo Escobar (Wagner Moura), and the DEA. The first season captured the rise of Escobar to great wealth and prominence in the business of cocaine, and the second season captures his fall. Frustrated after the prison escaped that capped off the first season, the DEA and CIA turn to more drastic methods to overcome Pablo and his gang of thugs by making allies with many questionable characters.

One great thing about the show is that all of the Columbian characters speak Spanish and there are only a few parts with English including a voice-over narration by the DEA Agent Steve Murphy (Boyd Holbrook). Holbrook does a great job as the frustrated agent the narration helps put the narrative into historical perspective. Moura is wonderful as Escobar who slowly grows frustrated when his crew begins to disappear and he watches his empire crumble and his family come under threat. Pedro Pascal is also phenomenal as the conflicted DEA agent Javier Peña who makes a deal with the devil in his fight against corruption and cocaine.

I'm not familiar with the history of the nation of Columbia but the show does not get bogged down in historical fact to the point of being slow or boring. There are plenty scenes of high tension and action that keep each episode exciting and making this show very easy to watch multiple episodes in one sitting. The show tells a story that needs to be told in an expansive way that a Netflix show is capable of doing with extra details and intricate subplots tying into an overall story. The problems that grew out of Escobar's rise still exist today and I hope Narcos continues to explore the repercussions as the final scenes hinted they might. 

The story did a great job balancing Escobar as a vicious narcoterrorist and a family man risen up from the poor. It did not paint Escobar in a charitable light and showed that his decisions caused devastation throughout Columbia, especially in his home of Medellin. There were some great supporting cast members to like Diego Cataño as the assassin La Quica and Leynar Gomez as Pablo's trusted aide Limon. Paulina Gaitan was great as Pablo's wife and Raul Mendez was great as the troubled President of Columbia. The show has great acting led by Moura and I would like to see him achieve some recognition. 

Narcos is one of my favorite original shows on Netflix and shows the potential of the streaming service with rich characters, brutal and detailed storytelling, and beautiful locations. There do seem to be signs that it will continue on with the investigation of the Cali Cartel in a third season of 2017 but the show will be lacking without Wagner Moura and the large shadow of Pablo Escobar scowling on the screen. I enjoyed this second season and would recommend it to those who want to understand our current circumstances by looking at our history.  

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