Just in case it wasn’t clear that war is coming, the halfway point of Narcos first season brings with it more assassinations and a missile.
Let’s bitch it out…
As we arrive at the halfway point of S1, it feels a little like Narcos is playing catch-up. After the last episode, I assumed that things would only get more heated, and while that’s true to a certain extent, ‘There Will Be A Future’ also seems very much like a middle-of-the-season episode that exists to confirm and explain what we already know.
So yes, there is war coming between the DEA and the narcos. The early part of the episode quickly dispenses of presidential hopeful, Carlos Galan (Juan Pablo Espinosa) – murdered offstage in a hail of bullets despite wearing a bullet proof vest. Thus far Narcos has made a habit of introducing an adversary for Pablo (Wagner Moura) and then eliminating them in the same episode or immediately thereafter. Galan proves to be more of the same. His fate is clear when he heads off to make his speech: rather than following him, the camera hangs around to focus on Raúl Méndez’s César Gaviria, privileging him as the one to watch.
Almost immediately César proves to be a more interesting character because he’s not inherently moral or ambitious. He was content to write the speeches and hang out backstage, and as the narcos grow more blatant and public in their executions of extradition-supports, both César and Carrillo (Maurice Compte) find their dedication to the cause tested. They’re both married and they’ve seen what happens to those who opposed Pablo…and yet by episode’s end they’ve both declared their stance: César publicly on TV and Carrillo in private via a tapped phone call to his nemesis.
Naturally this doesn’t sit well with Pablo, who starts the episode in exile (in gorgeous Panama where all anyone can do is complain about the food). By ordering Galan’s death, Pablo once again asserts his status as the guy who gets stuff done. He singlehandedly takes care of the problem himself, without consulting anyone and while this leads to the narcos’ return home, it fails to appease the naysayers within the group, especially the Ochoas. As the series moves into its second half, I expect that we’ll see more of this internal strife as the other narcos decide to pursue a larger slice of the pie.
Ultimately the return to Colombia emboldens Pablo. He not only sends Valeria (Stephanie Sigman) to sweet talk César; he also tries to bribe Carrillo with $1 million US. Ultimately both actions confirm why the series can only march towards violence: if it is a choice between silver and lead, Pablo’s enemies only seem willing to accept the latter. The fact that the episode ends with Gacha’s newly imported missile definitely confirms that the war has begun!
- Gustavo (Juan Pablo Raba) begins sleeping with Maria Ocha, whom I swear we’ve never met before. If Pablo’s stick of dynamite warning if any indication, Gustavo is in danger.
- There’s verg little Murphy (Boyd Holbrook) in this ep. Instead the narrative belongs primarily to Peña (Pedro Pascal) who begins sleeping with Elise (Ana de la Reguera) and gets her embassy documentation.
- Navegante, Gacha’s (Luis Guzmán) assassin, is actually an informant for Pena. I wonder how long he’ll last?
Your turn: were you expecting more from this mid-season episode? Did Murphy’s absence bother you? Will Cesar or Carrillo go next? Sound off below.
Narcos is available in its entirety on Netflix. Check back Thursday for our review of episode 6.