Narcos started off as a show about Pablo Escobar, a real-life gangster who surpassed even the most outrageous fictional. The show built a compelling two-season thriller about his amazing life and death. But while Escobar died, Narcos – a hit that premiered in 2015 when Netflix was quickly building its streaming empire – had to go on. A third season followed another Colombian cartel. Then a spin-off followed, Narcos: Mexico, a parallel cartel in Central America. The first season described their ascent; The second chronicle reports on the case. If all of this made sense, it has become difficult to keep track. The show is too busy after the cocaine.
Narcos: Mexico is the story of Mexico's first drug king Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo (Diego Luna). The 10 episodes premiering this week describe the dramatic implosion of Gallardo's empire, a breakdown that makes television extremely bingable. Despite the exciting spectacle, exhaustion penetrates. Even if Narcos: Mexico no longer wants to have ambitions that go far beyond those of the criminals it pursues and drives more products.
The second season of Narcos: Mexico wants to address the consequences at least superficially. The collapse of Gallardo's realm is based directly on courageous actions during his ascent – most directly on the murder of DEA agent Kiki Camarena (Michael Peña), who sends Agent Walt Breslin on a ruthless mission of retribution. There are also bridges that have burned down along the way, friendships that are on fire to use as fuel for ambitions that make many eager to override Gallardo.
Meanwhile, Narcos occasionally makes overtures to the greater meaning of the story she tells. In 10 episodes, Gallardo's desperate maneuvers to keep control of his business and keep it to those who offended him have ramifications that go beyond the criminal underworld and ultimately lead to rigged presidential elections. "Sounds familiar?" The show's narrator winks.
There is a long line of assumptions, ideas that have existed in Narcos from the beginning, even though they occasionally paid lip service to their subversion: that Central and South American nations are lawless playgrounds for corrupt people where prosperity can only be seized by crooks and violence prevails. From time to time, Narcos endeavors to complicate this picture almost entirely through narratives: an offline line is published that states that the Mexican and Colombian drug trafficking only serves to appetite the rich in the U.S. and in Breastfeeding Europe, or someone else who is essentially concerned with the destabilizing influence of US foreign policy, which has caused problems in exchange for the lighting up of the "solution".
The actual moral universe of the show is much simpler: dope traders deserve everything that comes to them, the bad guys often win, and the good guys should be able to do anything to stop them.
Narcos can't really complicate himself as this would recognize that all of these stories are the same story and if they are told the show becomes complicit. In the middle of the first season of Narcos: Mexico, Gallardo (Diego Luna) leaves his home country for a secret meeting in South America. In a moment that should be a big surprise for longtime Narcos fans, Pablo Escobar (Wagner Moura) is waiting for him.
You could tell this story indefinitely
"I've always seen this as a kind of Marvel superhero universe in which narcotic traffickers are connected and that they all exist side by side," showrunner Eric Newman told The Hollywood Reporter not long after the 2018 season premiered. It's a blatant kind to describe the dynamics in these stories about cartels and corruption, but also a very American one. The gringos want more and more, like the Mexicans do the dirty work for the cartel chiefs. And what better expression of "more" than the excesses of the modern film universe?
This is how Narcos has continued and will continue if it continues its course. Just like Narcos: Mexico, with a well-used Escobar cameo, has resorted to Narcos, which is a meeting that probably never happened in the real world, the show continues to suggest the way it will spread outwards , and telling these kinds of stories now that it takes place has exhausted the drama of Gallardo's Federation. Neither is it subtle to ensure that Gallardo's driver Joaquín Guzmán drives "Chapo" in his first season and spends a lot of time this season laying the groundwork for rivalries that he will carry into the future, for whatever one of the longest-running conflicts in the history of the Mexican drug war.
You could tell this story indefinitely because it is still told today, with every story of a white person angry about how Spanish is spoken, with every ICE raid, with every song for the wall. Cartel dramas like Narcos are fairy tales for a nation in decline that flats out various and complicated countries for the benefit of a nation that refuses to recognize the chaos it has inflicted on the world.