While it would have been pretty easy for Netflix to wrap up “Narcos” with the death of Pablo Escobar at the climax of season 2, there is a lot more story to be told about the Colombian drug trade following his death, namely in the form of the Cali Cartel. Along with new antagonists, the makers of the show have used this opportunity to clear out some of the cast from the first two seasons to make room for some new characters on the DEA side. The main connective tissue to bridge the gap between the old investigation and the new one is the character of Javier Pena (Pedro Pascal) who, ironically, didn’t actually take part in the Cali Cartel investigation but still acts as a consultant on the show.
The Cali Cartel, while led by one man in the form ofGilberto Rodríguez Orejuela, feels more like a four man committee. This committee is put to the test pretty much immediately as the announcement by the head of the cartel that they would be out of the cocaine trade in six months following a sweet deal from the Colombian government which would see each member doing negligible jail time, and minimum forfeiture of their considerable assets. It’s worth noting that at the height of their influence, the Cali Cartel was believed to be in control of 90% of the cocaine distribution in the world. So when the announcement that all this would be ending was made, it understandably caused some division in the group.
It’s this division, accentuated by the investigation by the DEA, is what forms the basis of this series and highlights the pressure put on the heads of the cartel. I found that we spent more time with the Cali side of the story than the DEA which I had no issue with as the Cali side was the more compelling. At ten episodes of almost an hour each, some Netflix shows hit a bit of a lull in the middle of the season, but with this season of Narcos the show hits its stride around episode 4 and doesn’t look back. The show features some fantastic characters that are as compelling as they are vicious and, as with the previous two seasons, the show features an unflinching portrayal of cartel life which means some absolutely horrific scenes of violence that are not for the faint of heart.
If you’ve seen the first two seasons and are sceptical about watching this due to the lack of Pablo, fear not because this is a worthy follow up. If you’ve not even seen the first two, this season makes for a good jumping on point, as most of the events from the earlier seasons are recapped very early on and the viewer is brought up to speed on the world of Narcos in the form of narration and archive footage. This is actually how I watched the show, having not seen seasons 1 and 2, but will be very happy to revisit them since finishing this one. As the summer draws to a close and the nights draw in, this makes for a great box set to have even if you’ll go through it pretty quick because it’s simply that good. Highly recommended.
These are the talented words of our Kevin Dillon, #kevinwritestuff
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