Narcos Season 2 [SERIES REVIEW]
Narcos season 2 picks up immediately where season 1 left off – Pablo Escobar has been forced out of his “prison”, La Catedral, and is on the run from state security forces in the jungle. He emerges in a clearing, with a handful of his closest soldiers, and comes face to face with another group of soldiers, guns cocked and ready. He tells them to forget this ever happened and walks straight through and away to safety. Such is the power of Pablo Escobar, such is the fear he radiates – we know immediately that despite being on the back foot, Escobar is nowhere near done – and we know season 2 is going to be good.
There isn’t really a great deal that can be said about season 2 that you won’t know from seeing season 1. It’s a continuation of the violent, horrifying, compelling entertainment season 1 brought us. The deaths continue to roll in, be they police, army, civilian, criminal – no one is safe from the drug war. There are no good guys in this programme – the DEA and the Search Bloc, whilst having good intentions, are bad. The cartels not run by Escobar, are really bad. And the Medellin Cartel, run by Escobar, are terrible. It’s difficult to watch at times, and often can be heart-breaking, but that’s what makes it so good. Narcos doesn’t pull any punches, and it’s so much better for it.
There are some new developments in season 2 which help take Narcos to the next level. I mentioned that no one is good, not even the good guys. They have good intentions, i.e. killing Escobar, but this season sees them team up with the other cartels, to trade information, and it all gets a bit messy. It’s certainly not legal, no matter how effective it is. But it’s bloody entertaining.
We also get to see a certain army general by the name of Carrillo called back from Spain to lead the Search Bloc. He’s the only man Escobar is afraid of, and it doesn’t take long to see why. His methods are even more questionable than the DEA’s – at one point he throws 2 people out of a helicopter – but they definitely get results.
As for the other cartels, they decide to put their differences aside and team up for the greater good. This leads to the formation of a group called Los Pepes. I won’t go in to too much detail for fear of spoilers, but let’s just say that Los Pepes take no prisoners. They go for a tactic of shock and awe, and shock and awe is completely and utterly what they achieve.
All of this, of course, leads to Escobar retaliating. The DEA and Search Bloc are bad, Los Pepes are worse, but this is nothing compared to the Medellin Cartel. Mass murders of police, car bombs, there isn’t a thing Escobar won’t do to show he’s still in control. It gets bloody. Just as Narcos should be.
Season 2 of Narcos ends in a fairly predictable way, but this does not detract from it at all. Even though you know what’s coming, it doesn’t make it any less great. If anything, it makes the programme better – we move from fast paced all out violence, to a slower, tenser game. And boy is it tense. I watched the last 2 episodes back to back, and had to virtually unlock myself afterwards, such was the tightness of my body.
The tension really brings the best out of the cast too. Wagner Moura, who plays Escobar, moves into a class of his own. Brilliant throughout season 2 as he was in season 1 and in the last couple of episodes he excels. He is helped by a stellar cast too. Boyd Holbrook (plays Steve Murphy) and Pedro Pascal (as Javier Peña) are as fantastic as you’d expect them to be. Carrillo is played by Maurice Compte, and it isn’t just Escobar – he genuinely was a terrifying character. Raúl Méndez as President Gaviria continues to shine, as does Paulina Gaitán as Tata, Escobar’s long suffering wife. I could go on and list the whole cast, because honestly everyone in this season, and this programme full stop, is fantastic.
In fact, I could gush on and on about this programme for days, endless pages, uncountable words. I could go on and on about the continued excellence of Netflix’s original programming, but really all I need to say is this; go and watch it. Go watch season 2 of Narcos right now. If for some mad reason you haven’t seen season 1, watch that first. And give yourself a slap too for being so silly. Narcos season 2 is fantastic television. Bring on season 3.