Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Pilot Review: Narcos: Mexico

Narcos: Mexico (Netflix)
Premiered November 16

I’m still not really convinced that this is a brand-new show since its opening titles are exactly the same as those on the original “Narcos” in the first three seasons, and the idea of exploring the drug war in Mexico was introduced in the most recent finale. But apparently, this isn’t season four but a new show, and I’m perfectly fine with that. Looking at it in contrast to the previous show, it doesn’t strike me as nearly as compelling as the original pilot did, but there are some very interesting elements. Whereas the Colombian focus was on figureheads who made a name for themselves, this one is a subtler, more gradual look at one ex-cop who is prepared to revitalize the way that Sinaloa grows and sells marijuana. As it goes on, I imagine we’ll meet more players who might be introduced in typical fashion, but for the moment, Felix Gallardo is plenty intriguing all on his own. Diego Luna started out in Alfonso Cuaron’s “Y Tu Mama Tambien” alongside Gael Garcia Bernal, and recently appeared in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” He’s the clear standout here, and his character is immensely bold, shooting a major drug kingpin in the head so that he can deal directly with the police. Michael Pena is the typical DEA agent, moving to Mexico with his wife, played by Alyssa Diaz from “Ray Donovan,” and ending up standing side-by-side with that same police chief, pointing out that he had blood on his shoes without being aware of just how central a role he plays in the investigation he’s going want to jump-start. Even if this couldn’t quite compare to Pablo Escobar at the beginning, I’m definitely going to watch to learn more and see it all play out.

How will it work as a series? We’ve seen how this works three times already, and even when it’s not completely spectacular, it’s still very much worth watching. There’s something about Mexico being so close to the United States that makes this focus seem even more urgent and intense, and I don’t have any doubts that this season will manage to deliver to some satisfactory degree.
How long will it last? This show came about as part of a two-season renewal given by Netflix just four days after the second season debuted. I’m not sure if enthusiasm has worn off for this concept, even if the reviews are still good, and therefore I don’t know if Netflix is going to jump on picking it up just yet. I still don’t think this story is done, and I would expect at least another season or two at some point.

Pilot grade: B+

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