Friday, September 15, 2017

TV Show Review: Narcos (Season 3)

The intense Netflix takes an in-depth look at the drug trade backed up with plenty of history that illuminates the events of the story. With Pablo Escobar out of the picture, the Cali cartel takes over the drug trade in Columbia, led by the Cali godfathers. Javier Peña (Pedro Pascal) is praised for his success in catching the biggest drug dealer in the world but feels stagnant in his hunt for these new men. The leader of the Cali cartel, Gilberto Orejuela (Damián Alcázar) gathers his fellow godfathers including Pacho Herrera (Alberton Ammann), Miguel Rodriguez (Francisco Denis), and Chepe Santacruz Londono (Pêpê Rapazote) to make a big announcement. The Cali cartel will surrender their drug trade peacefully to the government in six months but before they do, they will try to make as much money as they can to fund their legitimate businesses.

The Cali family's security is led by Jorge Salcedo (Matias Varela), at least he's second-in-command and plans to leave the drug business for his own legitimate security company. However, Miguel refuses his resignation and tells him that he has to stick around for the next six months. In Bogota, the DEA is having no luck and two DEA agents, Duffy (Shea Whigham) and Lopez (Nicholas Gonzalez) are busted doing an undercover operation without permission from the Columbian government. While the godfathers are bad, the worst villain in this season is Miguel's son David Rodriguez (Arturo Castro) whose scheme to transport cocaine in tanks of chlorine leads to little kids being poisoned and killed. The environmental protection agent is blackmailed by Salcedo to cover up the cause of this mass poisoning. 

Javier pursues a new lead by following the Cali cartel's banking operations. Javier tracks Franklin Jurado (Miguel Ángel Silvestre) and his American wife Christina Jurado (Kerry Bishé) while he sends the DEA agents Chris Feistl (Michael Stahl-David) and Daniel Van Ness (Matt Whelan) to Cali to track the dealing of the Cali cartel's accountant Guillermo Pallomari (Javier Cámara). All the while CIA agent Bill Stechner (Eric Lange) derails Javier's investigation by taking him on cross-country trips to impress Congressman with staged drug busts. Feistl and Van Ness stumble upon Gilberto's location while tailing Pallomari and formulate a plan to capture him but first, have to fool the corrupt Cali police officers. They manage to trick the police and capture Gilberto, upsetting the plan to surrender. 

Miguel, the new leader of the Cali cartel, becomes paranoid about traitors and takes out the head of Cali security and his wife leaving Salcedo in charge. Salcedo realizes his only way out is to turn himself over and help the DEA catch Miguel. A rival gang, the North Valley, who cooperated with Cali before senses weakness in Gilberto arrest and starts a war. They try to assassinate Pacho and Gilberto but fail, leading to a bigger blowback. Javier, Feistl, and Van Ness use the information to track Miguel though he eludes capture by hiding in the walls and having the authorities pull back on the DEA's ability to fight crime. Up in New York, Chepe takes over rival dealers territory but the lab explodes bringing unwanted attention to their American operations. 

Javier tries to turn Jurado by leveraging his wife but she ends up captured and Peña must go to extremes to get her back only to find a mole in the government. The corruption goes much deeper than he imagined to the highest offices of the Columbian government. Salcedo gives the DEA another chance at Miguel and this time it works, toppling the godfathers and halting the surrender. Members of the Cartel are eliminated and Javier turns Pallomari who gives them all the information they need to convict the rest. This season of Narcos was exceptionally entertaining though I can't ever look away at risk of losing a narrative thread due to the Spanish. Pedro Pascal is always fun to watch but the highlight of this season for me was definitely Matias Verala as Salcedo is some of the most intense scenes. I wouldn't be surprised if looking back over this year, I put this season on my top ten list. 

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