Colombia is the birthplace of magical realism and also of Pablo Escobar. Maybe that is why the drug kingpin’s story appears so impossibly fantastical that you need to frequently run to Wikipedia to figure out whether any of that really did happen.
This real/fantastical story both limits the second season of Netflix’s Narcos and gives it the biggest sky to soar in, something even a few fictional television series wouldn’t dare to do.
The job for the second season was already made difficult by the first which chronicled Escobar’s rise to power that only grew even at the end of the season. The thrill and sheer awe seeing Wagner Moura so easily bring the dreaded psychopath to life made sure it was one of the first brilliantly made original series by Netflix.
Added to that, was the pressure to stick to real incidents that only got less and less exciting and intimidating since Escobar’s escape from La Catedral at the end of season one. The same things happen every two episodes: Escobar’s wife is tense, Escobar tells her nothing will happen to them, the DEA tries to catch Escobar, Escobar manages to escape with his family, Escobar gets angry, Escobar kills a few innocent people to take revenge, Escobar’s wife is tense, Escobar tells her nothing will happen to them, the DEA tries to catch Escobar… and repeat until the batter turns consistent.
This season tries to bring out Escobar’s more vulnerable, emotional side that is only comprehensible considering this half of the story is all about documenting his fall from power. His relationship with Tata, his wife, takes forefront and brings a change. Their own peculiar set of problems make you feel sorry for them and their family. You shoot questioning glares at your conscience asking, “What the hell! Why do I want this psychopath to kill all these policemen and make it out of this gunfire with his sweet little family? This isn’t right!” But you can’t help it. Pretty sure, a lot of us wanted a husband like Escobar in real life minus the crazy, vengeful, murderer, drug lord part.
But then, you don’t really know which side to choose in this concoction of morally bankrupt characters. Even the police or our two drug enforcement administration officials, Murphy (Boyd Holbrook) and Pena (Pedro Pascal), often cross the rather thick line between what is right and what is wrong, like trying not to kill kids for example. So it is not entirely too weird to find yourself siding with Escobar every once in a while.
Yes, I did find this season not as great at the first but I cannot blame Netflix, the actors or anyone else involved with the series. They made a stellar two-part series with the story they had. They made it as close to real as possible and it’s not their fault that the first half of Escobar’s story was more eventful than the second one. The performances by Moura, Pascal and everyone else are still some of the best seen on television right now with Moura taking the cake again in the last three episodes. “He is made for big things,” we say, just like Escobar’s mother said to him.
Sure, there was no element of surprise considering everyone knows how things end for Escobar but that wasn’t what brought us to the edge of our seats in first season either. We dug into the base of our nails on seeing how Escobar’s unforgiving and frightful actions made him the seventh-richest, most powerful and most feared man on the face of the earth for years. His fear and popularity were bigger than anything we have seen in any Hollywood or TV series villain and what’s the best/worst part of it all – it was all real.
So don’t let go of the opportunity and soak up as much as you can about this man, one like no other, a monster like no other who had the world at his feet at one point in his life and was shot down bare feet on the roof of a house in the same town he ran as the king. No history book teaches you that. Thank you Netflix.
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