Spoiler alert: Pablo Escobar dies. This has been a well-known fact since December 2, 1993, when the bloody and expensive Colombian manhunt finally came to an end. The magic touch of Netflix turns this famed historical event into an intense roller-coaster ride of emotions and action. With an expert cast and a gripping story, the second season of “Narcos” is a television event that you do not want to miss.
Nearly everyone has heard the name Pablo Escobar, but the story of his rise to fame and eventual downfall is far less known. The first season followed Pablo (Wagner Moura) and the other members of the Medellín Cartel building their cocaine empire in Colombia. The season comes to a close with the escape of Pablo from his luxurious La Catedral prison. Season two picks up on the night of the escape as members of the Colombia National Army surround the famed prison. Following the escape, Pablo is forced to go into hiding with his wife Tata (Paulina Gaitán), his mother Hermilda (Paulina García) and his two children, Juan Pablo (Juan Murcia) and Manuela (María José Sanchez Real). A band of loyal sicarios also follow the Escobar family as they are forced to move from safe house to safe house to avoid the many different groups that are after them. Conflict arises as Tata becomes increasingly worried for the safety of her children, but her loyalty and love toward Pablo keeps her from leaving him. In “Narcos,” Pablo is humanized to show his unwavering dedication to his family, even as his options become increasingly limited. Pablo is simply not a man that is willing to go down without a fight, especially when the safety of his family is on the line. The Escobar family dynamic gives viewers an interesting look into the fact that although Pablo was a mass-murdering criminal, his family was essentially his weak spot. Wagner Moura’s talent is showcased in the fact that his portrayal of Pablo can be utterly terrifying when necessary, but also highly emotional and caring when around his family. The series also does a fantastic job of showcasing the countless acts of terror and fear that were committed by Pablo in the name of maintaining his drug empire.
While much of the focus of the story is on Pablo Escobar and his family, a large portion of time is spent exploring the effects of the manhunt on the many hardworking members of the law enforcement, both American and Colombian. Most notably, DEA agents Steve Murphy (Boyd Hollbrook) and Javier Peña (Pedro Pascal) are involved the various search plotlines of the season. Questions of jurisdiction and the role of American forces in Colombia are presented, but the role of these two DEA agents is incredibly important. As the season progresses, Agent Murphy struggles after his wife Connie returns to the United States with their daughter after realizing that life in Colombia is not exactly safe. Agent Peña is involved in several dark storylines, including the controversial interrogation tactics of Colonel Carrillo (Maurice Compte). He also finds himself caught up in the affairs of the ultra-violent vigilante group, Los Pepes, which wage a bloody war against anyone even remotely connected to Pablo Escobar or the Medellín Cartel. The friendship formed between Agents Murphy and Peña proves to be some of the more lighthearted material of the season.
Some of the other storylines of the season include the introduction of Limon (Leynar Gomez), who becomes one of Escobar’s most loyal sicarios. Much of Limon’s story this season revolves around his friend Maritza (Martina García), a single mother who becomes involved in Escobar’s empire to make money, but soon finds herself in constant danger. Much of this danger stems from one of Pablo’s chief assassins, La Quica (Diego Cataño), who will stop at nothing to see each enemy of his boss dead. While some of this storyline does feel a bit like filler, it does showcase the fact that nearly everyone that found themselves involved with Escobar, ended up dead or in prison. There is also an aspect to the story that revolves around the conflict between Colombian President Gaviria (Raúl Méndez) and the Attorney General. Pablo Escobar’s destruction of Colombia is shown through many different viewpoints ranging from those who support Escobar and those that staunchly call for his immediate death.
Overall, the second season of “Narcos” stands strong next to the first season. While this series may not be as popular as other Netflix originals such as “House of Cards,” “Orange is the New Black” and “Stranger Things,” it is still absolutely worth your time. While certain aspects of the story are fictionalized for dramatic purposes, the series does a great job of exploring this major historical event and encouraging viewers to research Escobar and his effect on Colombia themselves. The acting is superb, especially that of Wagner Moura, who was absolutely snubbed for an Emmy nomination this year. Netflix has already renewed the series for two more seasons, but with Pablo Escobar dead, what will the future look like? The final episode of the season may be a major hint of what is to come, but will the series be able to stand on its own without Escobar? That remains to be seen. The first and second seasons of “Narcos” are currently streaming on Netflix.