Sunday, February 16, 2020

Narcos: Mexico review: a show for people who want the drug war to last forever - The Verge

Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat  The  Verge   TY GUS


Narcos started as a show about Pablo Escobar, a real-life gangster who outdid even the most outrageous fictional ones. The show built a compelling two-season crime thriller around his astonishing life and death. But while Escobar died, Narcos — a hit that premiered in 2015, when Netflix was rapidly building its streaming empire — needed to go on. A third season followed another Colombian cartel. Then a spinoff, Narcos: Mexico, tracked a parallel cartel in Central America. The first season detailed its rise; the second chronicles its fall. If there was any point to all this, it’s become hard to keep track of. The show is too busy following the cocaine.

Narcos: Mexico is the story of Mexico’s first drug kingpin, Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo (Diego Luna). The 10 episodes that premiere this week detail the dramatic implosion of Gallardo’s empire, a collapse that makes for extremely bingeable television. Yet, despite the thrilling spectacle, exhaustion seeps in. Even though it aims at being something more, Narcos: Mexico doesn’t seem to have ambitions far beyond those of the criminals it follows, pushing more product.


The second season of Narcos: Mexico wants to make a point about consequences, at least on a surface level. The collapse of Gallardo’s empire stems directly from brash actions taken during his ascent — most directly, the murder of DEA agent Kiki Camarena (Michael Peña), which sends agent Walt Breslin on a reckless mission of retribution. There are also bridges burned along the way, friendships set ablaze to use as fuel for ambition that leave many eager to see Gallardo out of power.

Throughout, Narcos occasionally makes overtures at the grander significance of the story it’s telling. Across 10 episodes, Gallardo’s desperate maneuvers to retain control of his business and stick it to those who have slighted him have consequences that reverberate beyond the criminal underworld, ultimately resulting in a rigged presidential election. “Sound familiar?” the show’s narrator winks.


There is a long series of assumptions in this, ideas that have been present in Narcos from the start, even as it occasionally paid lip service to their subversion: that Central and South American nations are lawless playgrounds for the corrupt, where prosperity can only be seized by crooks and violence reigns. Every now and then Narcos does its diligence to complicate this picture, almost entirely via narration: a tossed off line that notes the Mexican and Colombian drug trades exist wholly to serve the appetites of the wealthy in the US and Europe, or another about the fundamentally destabilizing influence of the United States’ foreign policy that created problems in exchange for the glow up of “solving” them.

The actual moral universe of the show is far simpler: dope dealers deserve whatever’s coming to them, the bad guys often win, and the good guys should be able to do whatever it takes to stop them.

Narcos can’t truly complicate itself any further because doing so would acknowledge that all these stories are the same story, and in telling them, the show becomes complicit. Midway through the first season of Narcos: Mexico, Gallardo (Diego Luna) leaves his native country for a secret meeting in South America. In a moment that’s designed to be a big surprise for longtime Narcos fans, Pablo Escobar (Wagner Moura) is waiting for him.

“I’ve always sort of seen this as of the Marvel superhero universe of connecting narcotraffickers, and that they all coexist,” showrunner Eric Newman told The Hollywood Reporter not long after the season premiered in 2018. It’s a crass way of describing the dynamics at play in these stories of cartels and corruption, but also a very American one. The gringos, as the Mexicans doing the dirty work for the cartel bosses say, always want more. And what better expression of “more” is there than the excesses of the modern cinematic universe?

This is how Narcos has carried on, and how it will carry on if it continues its run. Just as Narcos: Mexico harkened back to Narcos with a well-deployed Escobar cameo depicting a meeting that likely never happened in the real world, the show continues to hint at the ways it will sprawl outward and continue telling these kinds of stories now that it has exhausted the drama of Gallardo’s Federation. It’s not subtle about it either, making sure in its first season that you know Gallardo’s driver Joaquín Guzmán goes by “Chapo” and spending a considerable amount of time this season laying the groundwork for rivalries that he will carry into the future, for what will be one of the most prolonged conflicts in the history of Mexico’s drug war.

You could tell this story indefinitely, because it is still being told today, with every story of a white person enraged at the sound of Spanish being spoken, with every ICE raid, with every chant for the wall. Cartel dramas like Narcos are fairy tales for a nation in decline, flattening diverse and complicated countries for the benefit of a nation that refuses to acknowledge the havoc it has wreaked on the world.

47 comments:

  1. Love the part about Francisco Arellano hates clowns and gets killed by a clown in real life that was a cool Easter egg.

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    1. Or how they already show David "Popeye" Barron. If I'm not mistaken it was way before he had even gotten out of jail.

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    2. 10:52 having to put 20 years into a 2 hour show full of commercial breaks packs a lot of problems, then you have to dispense with the truth...

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  2. You sound mad that they made this show its entertainment relax you want them to have a show about the junkies in America so you can say see they have bad people too lol get out here with this crybaby stuff it's not that serious

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    1. @11:02, sounds like your the crybaby who need to relax. He made a valid point, your thenone who's Pu*** got sore over it.

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  3. It’s not a documentary, it’s a show based on true events. There are a lot of disappointed fans who pick at the plot not having every detail in < 10 hours.

    You guys are cute

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    1. That's the thing though, people are going into this expecting an illustration of how the history behind the war on drugs unraveled. So the producers have to deliver on that expectation

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  4. Have yet or have the curiosity of giving my ratings to some narco show. Why people are so intrigued with these individuals is something I can't put a finger on.
    The ignorance portrayed along with the brutality to become where they are at is senseless.
    This is my only comment. Instead of finding solutions to this carnage and epidemic. The only thing given are glorification to these dirtbags.

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  5. These narcos shows are trash all of them. They always exaggerate the stories and leave out parts or drug lords that viewers who follow or know about the drug war want to know hear about. Typical Hollywood crap to make money. Reading BB and even the comments is way more interesting than what you can get on Netflix or whatever.

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    1. Let's call it informative, raw and uncensored.
      Borderlandbeat is & the only news outlet where all of the above are transparent.

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    2. From my understanding the Narcos Mexico series is pretty damn factual. I’m sure a lot of the bloggers here can attest to that. For those that are saying it’s Hollywood and this and that. Netflix did such a damn good job that politicians in Mexico that have came out and are not in prison yet are shaking their boots. Show both side of the game and how down as fuck DEA was as well. So if you are new to all the corrupt/narco Mexican history. This might help you, look at it as a crash course for dummies!!!!!! I’m sure you haven’t been following this blog for very long. So kick back heat up some popcorn and watch!

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  6. Yeah, yeah, yeah...we already know. It's all the USA's fault.

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    1. 1:15 well, if the suits fit, you can't acquit...
      --There are MOUNTAINS OF FACT BASED EVIDENCE AND WITNESS' ACCOUNTS waiting for your unbiased review...

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    2. 1:15 whenever there is fault to be assigned, it is surely not collective.
      Nobody blames the millions of German soldiers who died for Hitler for the sins of the nazis or their concentration camps or their Death Head regiments, Much less blame is assigned to Hitler's American enablers and accomplices, some family of past and present US Presidents, there were many sympathizers of Hitler, even in England, Argentina, Mexico, Chile and Brazil, Kissinger even saved some select Nazis from the gallows and used them to do his drug trafficking with Pablo Escobar and Co. and Operation Condor, like Klaus Barbie...
      Nobody blames the blameless,
      the "USA" for the most part does not even know, never knew.

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  7. Agree with the review entirely, though I only partially watched the Esco one. It's hollow and soulless, well crafted entertainment, but these stories deserve more gravity and thoughtfulness, with hundreds of thousands dead, and devastation in the wake.

    Tell the stories, but tell them with the respect they deserve, these show runners and directors have no depth or nuance.

    Truthfully a little heartbreaking to me, to see the history told this way for a mass audience.

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    1. Gruesome and riches are what sells unfortunately. Not the disparity and problem facing many today. Moreover, the suffering caused by such individuals.

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  8. Narcos is a good show sometimes slow n boring tho

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  9. Viva Narco coltura

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  10. The person who wrote this article is probably a really annoying person in life. It's a show! Entertainment!!!

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  11. Why is El Mayo not on this series?

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    1. El Mayo was in L.A in the late 70's early 80's.

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    2. 10:39 El Mayo and El Rey Zambada were supposedly drivers for their cuban Cuñao in Las Vegas before they came to Mexico to push before breathing for the Carrillo Fuentes back when they were all still friends.
      After the El Niño de Oro murder people chose to go with the winners, El Mayo may have helped against Amado because Amado owed the colombians BIG TIME, for the kidnap and murder of Don Castor "el gordo" Ochoa and his 26 tons of Cocaine stolen in CD Juarez...
      Netflix never will touch 90% of the real stories of el Narco, much less in one hour shows once in a while and much less using pretty boy actors like Diego Luna to impersonate assholes like El Padrino...fack that shet...

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  12. Does anyone else notice El Mayo missing? WTF

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    1. Because he is still alive/free and I do not think he would approve

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    2. 3:55 el Mayo and El Chapo like ABL or La Barbie were still not known, born or had anything to do with crap yet, could have been too young too.

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    3. 1:39 What are you talking about Chapo is in both seasons he goes way back with the Guadalajara cartel and who wasnt born? You make no sense lol..

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  13. Season 1 good! Season 2 looks to have been thrown together too fast and way more unrealistic!

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  14. I will say that I thought the depiction of Juan N Guerra Cardenas was probably pretty accurate, if all the stories about him are to be believed.

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  15. Mayo will be in season 3

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  16. Quote from story above This is so True

    Cartel dramas like Narcos are fairy tales for a nation in decline, flattening diverse and complicated countries for the benefit of a nation that refuses to acknowledge the havoc it has wreaked on the world.

    HOW True
    The Devil is alive and amongst us .

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  17. im enjoying the show. of all the characters, guero palma is the closest, real-life look-alike, at least to me. really spot on casting. the AFO characters are pretty close too.

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    1. Pablo Acosta was spot on as well

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  18. Season 2 is how the federation crumble and Félix Gallardo Mayo is in season 3 when Sinaloa starts gaining power and Mayo joins azul and chapo

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  19. As many of us notice El Mayo is missing from the show so far maybe he appears in the next season wasn't there an event where there was a party in tj and the arellanos men killed one of sinaloas men thats when mayo was friends with the boys from tijuana then he jumped to sinaloa's side after that situation. I guess we will have to wait and see

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    1. The friend of Chapo who went to the Arellano Félix party in Tijuana on his behalf and was killed for disrespecting them by showing up late and drunk was Armando López aka El Rayo.

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  20. putting the MIGOS with their medicore acting skills was beyond chessy

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  21. The cast sucks. Bunch of chilangos playing Sinaloenses.

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    1. Who ever played El Chapo sucks more like popey the sailor man

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  22. First time ever on a show where they mention Garcia Abrego and Juan N Guerra being close to the Salinas family, only that in real life they worked FOR THEM since their liquor smuggling days of U.S.A. prohibition.

    Salinas dad and the DFS were the real Capos. And El Azul was the link between the government and El Pacífico, not just Félix underboss. And the Arellanos are the ones who ordered the death of Palma's family from what I know so, I have NO CLUE how they alter events like that for mere entertainment, fuck them.

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    1. Raul salinas padre, graduated Harvard and was mexican ambassador to RUSSIA
      back in the day...

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    2. @10:31 Indeed, people say the man had the Mexican underworld functioning like a clockwork, his son, as a typical junior, fucked everything up.

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  23. The verge is a liberal propaganda machine

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  24. At least they gave Pablo Acosta some props

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  25. In real life who was the women that eneridia arellano clicks up then had her killed

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  26. Never knew arellanos killed Cochin loco with Felix green light

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  27. A stupid post... Opinionated and rather fucking annoying. It's a show and it's good. Read the disclaimer before each episode, it's not going to be exactly accurate. Go watch a documentary or have a Wikipedia session if you want the hard facts. I actually love doing that... Researching scenes to see what's on point and what's not, just out of interest. Stop being so negative. Probably a painful person to be around with an opinion on everything... Loseeer

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  28. Excellent assessment of the show. I would also add that the show parallels the current popularity of dystopian movies and TV series currently showing (zombies, end of the world stuff, etc.).

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