NARCOS Review: Episodes 1-4


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Pablo Escobar escapes La Catedral, a prison that looks more like his living room. He is surrounded by Colombian militia. They summon him to appear out of the forest shadows. He does. He then says that he refuses to surrender and tells them to back down. They do. Escobar and his crew moseys through them. And bam! They are gone. What an embarrassment for the Colombian government.

Escobar is no normal criminal. This is a man who obviously has Colombia in the palm of his hand. He demands that the government play fairly although he does not. He is the man with an incalculable net worth distributing cocaina throughout the country and even the U.S. He is also a man who helps the poor. He is smuggled into a town to meet with a fellow associate, and after that meeting, he is surrounded by poor citizens, asking that he help them. Escobar pats almost every person on the back, asking what the issues are. They tell him, and he hands out bills to each person. Although this seems like a generous act, don’t be fooled. Escobar is not in the business of generosity.  He is in the business of power.  By being the country’s “hero,” he sets himself up as a demigod. He gets the poor to help him because he has helped so many of them.


As the Colombian government, partnered with U.S. help, attempts to finally catch Escobar, President Gaviria decides to play the same rules as Escobar: play by no rules. He reinstates Colonel Carrillo as the head of the Search Bloc.  Carrillo is just like Escobar. He gives zero fucks about how he will get the done. His is just to get it done. And this shakes up Escobar. For the first time, Escobar is afraid. He has dreams of his darling wife, Tata, being killed by Carrillo. Tata even buys a small firearm because she knows how ruthless Carrillo is. You know what’s funny?  Escobar is afraid of getting a taste of his own medicine.  His own fear is a testament to how vicious he is when he carries out death sentences. It’s beyond arrogant of Escobar to want President Gaviria to negotiate with him when his crew kills hundreds of police officers in broad daylight. But I guess that’s the type of thinking from a psychopath.  In a way, Escobar himself brought Carrillo back. Carrillo is the only formidable opponent.

However, Escobar has something in store that blindsides Carrillo. Limon, a taxi driver with no criminal record, is employed by a friend to work as Escobar’s chauffer. The first time he drives Escobar into town, he asks Maritza, a lady friend, if she can act like a passenger while he has “someone” in the trunk. She eventually agrees because the money is good, and of course, she has a little one to take care of.  A woman prostitute sees Escobar and immediately calls the police. This eventually gets back to Limon’s friend, La Quica. La Quica kills a few of the prostitutes and also hopes to kill Maritza. He has no idea where the tip came from, and because of this, he wants all involved to pay.

limon and quica

Limon helps Maritza escape, and then he asks her to help him get Escobar arrested. She knows that she can no longer go back to her town, and because of this, she hates Limon but hates Escobar more.  She agrees to help. She goes to Agent Pena and tells him that she knows where Escobar will be the next day. He jumps on this, and a tactical team is assembled to that area in hopes of finally capturing the drug kingpin.

But Escobar is no fool. He ends up ambushing the police, and lo and behold, Limon is right behind him. Limon played Maritza but also helped her not live in fear anymore. Escobar personally thanks her with a bag full of cash and says that she has a permanent friend in him. Maritza is not sure what happened, but obviously, Escobar is not in jail.

Rewind to the ambush.  Escobar steps out of his truck, walks over to Carrillo on the ground with multiple bullet wounds all over his body, and Escobar delivers the final blow. He uses a bullet that Carrillo vowed to use on him. How poetic.  After the incident, Escobar and Tata drink tea in their kitchen. They are cool, calm and collected. This is eery. They look like a king and queen basking in all their evil.

Now that Carrillo is dead, who can take down Escobar? Everything President Gaviria has done has been a failure. He needs serious help.

Agent Pena has been summoned by Judy Moncada, widow of Kiko Moncada, and the Castano Brothers to take down Escobar.  How did Pena get here? The Castano Brothers hate Escobar because he has an affiliation with communists, the same group that killed their father. And Judy’s husband was killed in prison by Escobar himself because he accused him of stealing. Judy has a stronger axe to grind with Escobar, and the Castano Brothers want anyone having to do with communists wiped off the face of the earth. Since Escobar fits that description, they are all in. Both Judy and the Brothers are criminals. Does the government have to get in bed with criminals to stop a criminal? It seems so. It seems as though the entire country has Escobar’s back, or at least enough, and again, unorthodox tactics must be implemented to stop the unstoppable.

And then there’s Steve Murphy, who seems to be an afterthought in these first 4 episodes. His storyline is a little less explosive. He is dealing with the traumatic stress of being on the cliff of death every day. This spills over to his wife who just can’t take it anymore. She jets off to the U.S. with the baby and declares that it is just too unsafe for her to be there. Steve tries to convince her to stay, but I completely agree with her. I think it is very selfish for him to want his wife and child to stay in a country that boasts drug deaths every day. He is not beholden to that case. He is choosing to stay because of its high profile nature.  Murphy has been struggling with seeing people thrown off helicopters when they do not offer up information on Escobar; or hearing that Carrillo killed a kid to prove a point. But he has not been mired with dreams of his family being killed. And that is a problem.

Escobar is a monster, yes, but his soft spot is his family. He does everything in his power to keep them safe. This is unlike Murphy. I believe Murphy loves his family, but his desire to catch Escobar overshadows his family’s safety. Murphy’s wife returns and provides comfort, but I hope she leaves again soon. To every criminal in this series, family is their Achilles heel. If Escobar ever wants to make an example of a DEA agent, then Murphy would be that guy. And Escobar would, of course, go after his family. I hope Murphy opens his eyes and sees that because Escobar is at his strongest.

escobar and team

As of now, Escobar believes that he is on top of the world. Carrillo, his proudest kill, is dead. The country really does belong to him. And it looks like he is not going to jail anytime soon. Boy, is he in for a wake-up call. I believe that President Gaviria will ask for more U.S. help. Having a few DEA agents is not good enough. Escobar needs to be taken down. His crimes reach the heavens, and his evil is like nothing anyone in the world has seen. If he is able to murder police officials, then it seems like he has no code. Will he attempt to kill President Gaviria himself? It doesn’t seem out of the ordinary for him to do so.

TB-TV-Grade-ASeason 2, Episodes 1-4
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Jennifer writes by night and secures insurance for shows by day.
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