Newest season of Narcos proves critics wrong

Will Salaverry, Copy Editor

The popular Netflix series Narcos was put in a tough spot after the Season Two finale. With the exciting narrative of infamous drug kingpin Pablo Escobar (Wagner Moura) exhausted over the show’s first two seasons, it seemed there was little left to say about the Colombian drug trade in the late 20th century.

Luckily, the show proved all the critics wrong with a fresh, dynamic new Season, a talented cast, and deep, interesting characters.

The show picks up where it left off, with intrepid drug enforcement agent Javier Peña (Pedro Pascal) battling the new largest cocaine empire in the world, the Cali Cartel. The first episode opens with Peña deciding whether or not he will return to Colombia to fight drug traffickers, this time as the head of the Colombian branch of the DEA. Even though his campaign to capture Escobar last Season took several ugly turns, Peña eventually decides that it is his responsibility to stop the newest enemy in the war on drugs and he heads back to Colombia.

The third season follows the cartel’s last six months of operation before they are scheduled to sign a deal with the Colombian government and essentially walk away clean. In the time given, Peña and his new team of agents have to arrest the Cartel bosses before they can surrender.

Unfortunately, some fan favorites like Steve and Connie Murphey (Boyd Holbrook and Joanna Christie) don’t come back in Season Three, but they are replaced by great new actors who fit seamlessly with the feel of the show.

Some standouts are the four new villains of the show Gilberto Rodriguez (Damián Alcázar), Pacho Herrera (Alberto Ammann), Miguel Rodriguez (Fransisco Denis), and Chépe Santa Cruz (Pêpê Rapazote). Unlike Escobar these men are calculated and careful. They still murder and launder money, as expected from Colombian drug lords, but instead of burning it all down like Escobar they run the drug trade like business men, their nickname “the gentlemen of Cali” says it all.

Our heroes have to be more resourceful and more daring to take down the cartel this time around, and the tension makes for some exciting games of cat and mouse.

The thrilling action scenes and intense inter-character conflict that have been staples of the show return. I often found myself anxiously staring at the screen and biting my nails. The show contains fairly graphic violence and sexual content, so if you’re afraid of the R rating you may have to fast forward through some scenes.

One particular exciting action scene was a car chase through the streets of Cali. The DEA, with the help of national police, had just captured Gilberto Rodriquez, the main cartel boss. They were trying to get him to an airport before the corrupt city police could stop them. The police were hot on their tail and they were ready to kill the DEA.  When the DEA arrived at the airport they came face to face with the police who would not let them pass. Everyone’s hand was on a trigger and only after an impassioned speech about what being an officer of the law means were they allowed to pass.

Most of the show is in Spanish but the subtitles make every interaction accessible regardless of the language barrier. If anything the show’s Spanish helps put an English speaker like me right in the alleys of Bogota with the protagonists.

Season Three of Narcos is a success. If you liked the show before you will be happy that the show retains the classic Narcos feel and you will welcome the changes the showrunners made.

If you’re a fan of shows like The Wire and Breaking Bad you will find it easy to love this show and this season. And if you just need new ammo for your Netflix cue, I highly recommend giving Narcos a try.