The third season of Narcos is now streaming on Netflix.
Narcos is an acquired taste. That much can be certain. However, it is also one of the best shows that is currently on Netflix, boasting a very in depth and intimate look at the life of the South American cocaine industry and the unique personalities involved. Seasons one and two followed the rise and fall of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. Upon his death at the end of season two (whoops, spoiler alert!?!), there was a drug vacuum that needed to be filled by another organization. That organization was the Cali Cartel. The story picks up shortly after their empire’s height as they begin to negotiate their surrender with the Colombian government in order to walk away with little penalty. Obviously, this is not taken well and the result is a clear sign that the times were changing. What follows are my highs, lows and overall thoughts about each of the ten episodes in season three.
1) The Kingpin Strategy
- Cali Cartel offering a 6 month plan to completely surrender and walk away rich men.
- The music. Nothing stands out as much as the opening notes of the credits, but there’s so much great music to be appreciated from this show.
- Pacho’s motorcycle ride…with a man attached.
- It was a slow start to the story.
- Voiceover needs some work.
- I like that Agent Peña is taking the reigns as the main, or one of the main, characters.
- Even though the real agent wasn’t there during the Cali Cartel takedown, it still is nice to have a familiar person carry over to the next season.
2) The Cali KGB
- Jorge’s negotiations with the officials.
- Chepe and the barbershop shootout.
- Gabriel Iglesias playing a gangster.
- Why are we having to watch the CIA spin its wheels?
- Having to watch Jorge’s hands become dirty. No longer blameless.
- This was more of a setup episode that established further storylines and began multiple character arcs specifically with how fragile the surrender of the empire is and how others view it from within the organization.
3) Follow the Money
- Money laundering montage to begin the episode.
- Pallomari’s facial expressions are priceless.
- The search warrant.
- Newman from Seinfeld! The cartel gets some much needed advice from their lawyer.
- The CIA officers are squares.
- Peña spectating from the bench.
- Maria taking up too much unnecessary screen time.
- It’s interesting to see how the Cali Cartel is steadily moving closer to legitimizing their business and pivot towards a clean break from the business.
- Gilberto acting like the jefe he is.
- The raid/switch-a-roo that lead to his capture.
- Gilberto’s 3 wife balancing act. Impressive.
- Jorge going past the point of no return.
- Maria and her son’s storyline. Unimportant and you can see exactly what they are leading towards.
- It is becoming apparent that despite the interesting path of the drug trade the Cali Cartel is less captivating than Pablo Escobar. But it is still early and the characters can develop more.
- The tension building for Jorge’s survival is excellent.
- Peña is finally making some moves and becoming exciting to watch again.
- Watching Jorge become more unraveled is becoming tougher because you know what it’s building towards.
- It’s tough to watch Miguel’s increasing paranoia.
- Seeing most of this go down from Jorge’s perspective grants a front row seat from within of the chaos that is beginning to materialize.
6) Best Laid Plans
- Jorge playing both sides; the cartel and the DEA.
- Chepe……just Chepe. He’s easily my favorite and he needs more screen time.
- Peña/Jurado chase and conversation.
- The club shootout. WOW!
- Literally ANY scene featuring David Rodriquez. He’s been the worst so far.
- Jorge sees and feels the walls closing in on him as Miguel & Co. are trying to find the rat. He has been the best storyline to follow out of the many characters.
7) Sin Salida
- Murder spree set to, “This is How We Do it” by Montell Jordan. You can never go wrong with that song.
- Miguel stuck inside the shower wall. Intense.
- Jorge’s wife becoming impatient and not understanding the seriousness of his situation.
- The police coming up empty….again.
- The tension mounting is incredible and every scene featuring the paranoia of the Cali Cartel is intense. No one is safe at this point and you can see some of the people trying to insulate themselves from what they see coming.
- Jorge listening to the recordings of David saying Pallomari is going to die. Jorge thought it was him.
- The way in which Jorge planted the beeper on Enrique.
- There was a slow build on the DEA’s side of getting traction back after hitting and missing against Miguel Rodriguez.
- There’s a lot of misdirection happening at this point where it creates this storm of plotlines colliding into one another and the hope is that the result will be a worthwhile payoff, but it is definitely a fun ride.
9) Todos Los Hombres del Presidente
- DEA finally helping Jorge and his family out and he actually ends up one of the few alive after it is all said and done.
- The raid to get Miguel and save Jorge’s family was well shot.
- Giving David R. too much intelligence. There’s no way he finds out about Jorge. He’s not that smart, but the story must move forward.
- It was interesting to see Jorge finally get caught by Miguel and his team and the intense scene that followed. It was a well shot sequence in which the story went back and forth between Miguel’s capture and Jorge’s family being protected by the DEA in a shootout.
10) Going Back to Cali
- The fallout of the Cali Cartel being dismantled was great.
- All of the Cali bosses ended up in jail.
- Chepe’s escape was in a way only a man named “Chepe” could pull off.
- Pallomari’s escape and montage on the witness stand was excellent.
- David Rodriguez’s use of a hammer on a guy’s hand.
- Pacho catching up with Mrs. Salazar.
- I didn’t buy Jorge getting pulled back into the fight by Peña to catch the remaining Cali personnel. If he valued his family as much as he stated, then he would have been on that plain instead.
- Pacho’s death.
- Chepe’s death.
- I loved how the story was brought to a close because you knew the war on drugs didn’t stop in Columbia and it was interesting to see Agent Peña take the information learned from the CIA about the Cali Cartel’s involvement with getting Columbia’s President elected into office and use it to the benefit of the nation by exposing all involved thus forcing the hands of the government to keep the Cali bosses in jail. However, knowing that Narcos is renewed for seasons three and four, it will be interesting where they go next. Mexico seems to be the direction the story is headed, which will be just as compelling as both Pablo Escobar and the Cali Cartel.