Netflix UK TV review: Narcos Season 2 (Episode 5, 6, 7)
Chris Bryant | On 12, Sep 2016
The life of Pablo becomes the legacy of Pablo in the next three episodes of Netflix’s immersive bilingual drama. As the authorities let Pablo slip away again, his enemies take matters into their own hands in the hunt for the seventh richest man on the planet.
Narcos’ masterful storytelling is never better than in Episode 6 of Season 2. A smooth undercurrent of subtext, well-layered with threats, betrayals and explosions, spells out everything you need to know about where our kingpin is headed. With a Colombian death-squad, the CIA, and the emergence of Los Pepes, these episodes represent a new era in the fight against Escobar – and it ain’t pretty. It is, however, very bold, establishing clearly that Pablo Escobar simply could not be caught.
With Pena’s desperate alliance with the Cali Cartel and the CIA’s well-armed endorsement of the Castano brothers, both the lawmen and the outlaws are forced to resort to bloodier measures to stop the man who controlled 80 per cent of the world’s cocaine. And even then, things get pretty messy.
Each episode contains a bigger, tougher-to-believe act of terror from one side or another, proving once more that building tension and timing shocks perfectly has become second nature to Narcos. One serious change from the first season, though, involves our protagonists, who aren’t really our protagonists anymore. Originally, Murphy and Pena existed – successfully – to soberly frame the tale through cigarette smoke and vague philosophical assertions about land and people. Here, Season 2 leaves the smart-talking Americans at the door and focuses on the impact Escobar had upon the whole of South America, which makes for far more interesting viewing, now that Murphy’s narrative has comfortably set the stage. The bad guys are on both sides now, and they are not backing down.
Having the focus solely on Pablo and less on his crew, meanwhile, brings the viewer closer to Wagner Moura’s transformative performance, and also puts his acts of strategic violence into a perspective that was blurrier when he was among a table of drug traffickers and paramilitaries. In Season 1, Pablo may have lived as a murderous drug lord, but Season 2 would have him die a passionate, intelligent family man.
Narcos Season 1 to 3 are available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription.