By this point, you’ve probably already read other write ups regarding the newest season of Narcos which focuses on the formation of the Mexican cartel by the hands of Miguel Gallardo. While the now expected binge-style watch of tv shows from Netflix is expected, I instead took a slower more methodical approach to watching Narcos: Mexico and I believe it made all the difference in enjoying even more an incredibly strong entry of the series.
If you’re a fan of the previous seasons, then you already are aware of what Mexico entails – the creation and sustaining of the Mexican drug cartels, a feat that wasn’t even conceived before Miguel Gallardo’s (Diego Luna) attempt and one that single-handedly changed the drug trade up until this day. From the beginning of the first episode, the show lays it out very plainly that this story doesn’t have a happy ending or even an ending at all because what happens in the 1980s is still having an effect on today. But that all started with Miguel Gallardo and DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena (Michael Peña). The story is nothing short from the typical drug storylines you’ve more than likely grown accustomed to over the years, however, where it stands out is with its incredible character performances from actors depicting real life people in very authentic ways. This is in part due to show creator, Carlo Bernard, but also to actors like Luna and Peña who turn in amazing performances as Gallardo and Kiki respectively. While you could easily Google exactly how these people’s stories end, their stories are so compelling that you cannot help but continue to watch.
What’s most impressive about this season was its ability to not only tell another story of the drug trade but also to expertly weave that narrative within other previous seasons involving characters that make appearances in Narcos:Mexico without detracting from Mexico’s main characters. The scope of this entire project is something to look upon with awe and is a testament to the beauty in creation that can be achieved if a showrunner is given creative freedom, time, money and support from a network. The result is a four season arc that accurately depicts real people and attempts to humanize them in ways that we didn’t imagine possible based off of public knowledge and their chosen profession. This was something that happened quite frequently with Narcos: Mexico because as you begin to understand Miguel Gallardo, his ambition and vision, you flirt with the possibility of justifying his actions in order to protect what was most important to him. And on the other side, you easily empathize with Kiki’s battle and see the noble and futile effort of someone who knows he will lose and yet continues to fight despite everything.
Narcos: Mexico is a wonderful additional to an already strong series on Netflix. Its ability to craft a compelling story despite already knowing the ending is a perfect example of how incredible the narrative and the characters are that keep you invested the entire way through. It is not a happy story or even one with a resolution in the way you would anticipate but therein lies its true beauty as art because of its ability to craft a narrative that tells a complete story while still leaving you wanting more. If you haven’t seen it yet, Narcos: Mexico is a perfect place to start without any prior knowledge of the previous seasons because in a way it can be viewed at as a sorta prequel to the other stories that will more than likely compel you to watch them after you’re finished.