Sunday, November 13, 2016

What I’m Watching: Narcos (Season Finale)

Narcos: Season 2, Episode 10 “Al Fin Cayo!” (B+)

Stop reading if you haven’t finished the second season of the best show on Netflix if not the best show on TV (it’s definitely up there). I make that warning because, although this show is based on true events and history that’s out there for all to see, I had the way that this season ended spoiled for me a while back as a result of an ill-advised Google search. I knew that Pablo couldn’t live forever – and that he didn’t – but I hadn’t anticipated that he would be killed in the finale, especially after the show was renewed for two more seasons. While Wagner Moura is the strongest actor on the show and he does make it in a way, there’s so much else about this show that’s great. Its notice about dramatizing events at the beginning of each episode emphasizes the show’s cinematic nature, but it’s actually most effective in the moments where it steps back to remind viewers that a lot of this did happen. The picture of the real Steve in his red shirt standing over Pablo’s dead body was powerful, as was the footage of Pablo’s mother defending his goodness after he was killed. Opening with Pablo fantasizing about being president and celebrating his birthday with his family instead of just hearing them sing to him over the satellite phone was an appropriately-timed callback to Pablo’s original political aspirations to be an emblem of hope and inspiration to the Colombian people (and an interesting scene to watch now in light of the American election results). And it wasn’t Pablo venturing out into a city where no one recognized him that got him killed, but rather marching around his hideout home pretending that he wasn’t moments away from his death. He fought back to the last minute, and now it looks like the United States is gunning for the Cali cartel. It’s going to be strange not to have Pablo around (or Steve, from the looks of it), but I think this show can do great things even without Pablo. This season was terrific, almost as good as the first one, and I certainly hope that it gets its due come awards season.

Season grade: A-
Season MVP: Wagner Moura as Pablo

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