‘Narcos’ Season Two, Ep 1: Free at Last (Review)

Netflix Narcos

Having watched the first two episodes of Narcos, season two, it is easy to see what all the fuss has been about. Wagner Mauro as Pablo Escobar is mesmerizing and in the first episode, “Free at Last” the man’s performance proves that charisma on the run, “is a thing.”

For those who did not watch the first season and do not have the time to binge the whole thing, the show’s makers offer a Narcos Season 1 recap. A Pablo Escobar 101, so to speak.

This “bio-drama” is following the real life crimes and life of the wealthiest drug cartel boss in the world. There has been an amount of poetic license taken  but that is to be expected. Escobar died back in 1993, along with his second in command, mown down by a hail of bullets delivered by the Colombian Police.

Season one saw him at his most powerful. Season two will, somewhat unsurprisingly, see the man die. (As with most biopic properties the subjects fate is a forgone conclusion.)  IndieWire spoke to the show’s creators and Mauro about this season and revealed that while Escobar was the centerpiece of season’s one and two, he was not the show’s focus.

As executive producer Eric Newman says in the interview, “the show is not called ‘Pablo Escobar’ it is called Narcos.” The title is Spanish meaning drug traffickers ergo there will be more cartel leaders featured after Escobar’s death.

In the first episode of season two, the authorities attack the prison where Escobar is being held and the cartel leader literally walks out.  He escapes and then walks through the Army team sent to find him.

Escobar now has everyone looking for him. The president assigns one general to head up a special task force to bring Pablo in. The cartel leader has to travel in the boot (trunk) of a taxi to conduct business.  While he is still popular with the poor of Columbia, a hooker calls the police and turns him in.

Pablo’s business is mostly comprised of bringing gangs back in line and punishing those who work against him. A number of competitors are killed as are a whole house full of hookers.

As Escobar is reasserting control over the business, Steve Murphy becomes extremely stressed out when his wife Connie (Joanna Christie) packs up their child and heads out to Miami. She will stay with her mother and does not wish to discuss the decision with her husband. 

Murphy is angry and attacks two Miami businessmen who are using cocaine in the airport men’s room.  The DEA agent is arrested for his efforts. Javi gets him out of jail and they head to the house where La Quica is busily killing hookers who he believed tipped off the police about Escobar.

The DEA and two Army soldiers chase the killer and his friend Limon (Leynar Gomez but lose them in the market. La Quica wants to kill Maritza (Martina Garcíanext as he also suspects her of snitching.

The episode ends with the Columbian president stating that he will not negotiate with Escobar.

Narcos is an impressive recreation of the rise of Columbian cartel super bosses. Escobar, with his Robin Hood image, carefully fostered,  was a force to be reckoned with and despite there being some “fictionalization” the story of the hunt for the man is fascinating.

The series looks stunning. All bright colors and scenic locations.  The acting is top notch and Boyd Holbrook, Pedro Pascal and Wagner Moura have become new personal favorites.   Martina Garcia is unbelievably beautiful and can act as well.

Narcos is a Netflix production and as such is available to watch “in one go.”  It is mesmerizing stuff, filled with real characters and offers “real life” recounting of the struggle to catch Pablo Escobar.  Watch this one, if you are not already.

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