Warning: This contains spoilers.
Having established a base for Escobar’s characterisation – both in the show and in history – Narcos Season 2 turns the heat up in the war against Pablo. As the search for him transitions into a hunt, it becomes clear that what Narcos does better than anything is take its time. The tense pacing of the show, from minuscule beats between words to crafting incredible mansions and street-wide gunfights, is the key to its clean execution.
These three episodes patiently tell the story of the war between the factions, taking time out to produce calm, emotional scenes where the toll of the war can be seen on both sides. Murphy’s troubled marriage, Pablo’s violent dreams, Gaviria’s political tug-of-war in between everyone – all of them unfold naturally and are well told in a few minutes of screen-time. It’s a masterclass in telling a huge, complicated story, and a spectacular, involving experience.
When the calm passes, though, the storm must come. Having put aside the political manoeuvrings and PR campaigns, the ‘war’ becomes war very quickly in Cartel-driven Colombia. As both sides begin breaking rules and crossing lines, the steps they take induce more incredulity than Narcos has seen thus far, and this a show that lives to shock. Pablo’s reign of fear and Carrillo’s murderous focus produce a bloody backdrop for a trio of episodes that manage to centre on a few characters, while making very clear that both parties’ actions have global consequences. The remaining Cartel members continue to plot quietly in the background, although not for long. With George Bush Snr.’s election and involvement of the CIA, it’s hard to imagine that no matter which bodies fall, the situation won’t become less chaotic any time soon.
Narcos continues to plant its feet firmly in reality and weaves a tale that is undeniably well-written and thoughtfully executed. The foreign landscape, customs, and language work in its favour, dragging the viewer closer to the action, blurring fact and fiction, as the edges of seats everywhere feel the tension. Make no mistake: Season 2 of Narcos is as dangerous and addictive as ever.
Narcos Season 1 and 2 are available on Netflix UK, as part of a £7.99 monthly subscription.