TV Review: Narcos (Season 3)
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When Narcos announced its third season, having wrapped up the Escobar storyline, many (including myself) were wary at the prospect of it continuing without Wagner Moura in the role that was synonymous to the show’s name. And yet against expectations, Narcos: Season 3 does a splendid job of hitting the reset button and allowing the Cali Cartel quartet to fill the void left behind. What makes this more exciting is that, unlike in season two where viewers were acutely aware that all was building to Escobar’s death, this sequence of events is new and exhilarating. This was missing last year, and comes back in full force this time. Colombia’s drug world is now explored through the Cali Cartel: Gilberto and Miguel Rodriguez, openly gay mobster Pacho, and Chepe, the New York associate who is separated from the others for the first half of the season. The show begins with an unexpected hook; one that propels events towards a countdown to the cartel’s surrender. Of course (and thankfully for viewers), Gilberto’s plans for the cartel to go legitimate do not go smoothly. This season struggled with keeping the pace in its first episodes, as it scrambled to transition from its old format and grapple with many more disjointed arcs. The show’s handling of exposition through cumbersome narration and newsreel footage weighs down the first handful of episodes. When the scene is finally set however, and once it finds its stride, Narcos is back in full form. Blessedly, Holbrook returned to the US and thus does not make an appearance this season. In his stead, Peña (Pedro Pascal) moves centre in the DEA’s storyline. Despite his faults, being a relatively two-dimensional character subscribing to the old trope of ‘downtrodden lawman with hazy morals’, Peña is easily far more dynamic a hero than Holbrook ever hoped to be.
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