'Narcos: Mexico' Season 2 Review: A sinfully spectacular tale of desire, drug war, and deceit
No Spoilers Ahead for 'Narcos: Mexico' Season 2
“A man isn't defined by his enemies. A man is defined by his friends," these words were spoken by Pablo Acosta to Félix. Brilliantly conjuring, 'Narcos: Mexico' has no definition of friends or enemies. Gory at the get-go, the second season wiggles its way into a deadly game of chess. The catch is: you have no idea what is the gambit or who is the grandmaster.
The cat-and-mouse chase in 'Narcos: Mexico' ended with DEA agent Kiki Camarena's barbaric death. “Life goes on. The past is the past,” a dialogue goes in Eric Newman's show but ends with, “Except when it isn't.” It is no surprise that Kiki's ghost still hangs over Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo's (Diego Luna) head. He celebrates his 40th birthday at a fancy party even as his partners, Rafael Caro Quintero (Tenoch Huerta) and Don Neto (Joaquín Cosío) are behind the bars. But, how long will he roam free?
When 'Narcos: Mexico' began, what struck most viewers was Scoot McNairy's astounding voice. The actor now comes to town as DEA agent Walt Breslin — set to take revenge for Kiki's death and accomplish his mission to trap Félix. His classic narration continues to draw power over the gritty series. A battle to find the truth begins as Breslin goes on an investigative trail.
Back in Guadalajara, Félix has chalked out a larger game plan. But with all the chest-puffing DEA agents, corrupt cops and shady CIA middlemen, there is bewildering insecurity brewing in the Plaza System. Cycling into horrifying manslaughters, tunnel tracks and murky political pathways with no warning, every big twist in the series makes you stop dead in the tracks.
Luna is still the mastermind Félix, only more distraught. His performance is up to the mark. McNairy brings his A-game too. But it is the side-characters that take the cake with their stellar character growths, right from Alfonso Dosal, who plays Benjamín Arellano Félix to Alejandro Edda, who is the unbeatable El Chapo. It goes without saying that the original 'Narcos' stars Gerardo Taracena's classic act as Pablo Acosta and José María Yazpik's precarious performance as Amado Carrillo Fuentes add all the jazz to the show.
The second installment also secures a safe spot for woman power, with dazzling performances by Mayra Hermosillo (who plays Enedina Arellano Felix) and Teresa Ruiz (who essays the role of Isabella Bautista). Most other female characters are still being used as props to ignite sexual tension but the few headstrong women really do make a difference.
A spectacular work of art, the Netflix series calls attention to its awesome color grading with each frame doused in sharp tints and hues. Could broken glasses look any more beautiful? From reversed angles to the breathtaking panoramic shots, the cinematography and camera setup leaves you with a sense of awe. The music is a marvel too. From foot-tapping tracks to soothing soiree, 'Narcos: Mexico' knows when to present the right tunes.
But, as you pace ahead, what really stays with you are the dialogues. Lines like, “The trick to overcoming torture is not to think about the pain itself but about what it protects," and “A person can't help where they're born or where they live, only how they live and what they are when they die,” are life lessons wrapped in a bundle of blood-splattering scenes.
Penned down by Carlo Bernard, Chris Brancato, and Doug Miro, the riveting colloquy holds more charm than anything else. For a series that has more Spanish-speaking actors than English, it really is commendable how the series taps the viewers into its world of words (even when it means reading subtitles more than watching).
Even as 'Narcos: Mexico' becomes increasingly repetitive and humdrum, the show manages to surprise with its nonchalant-but-cutthroat moves. Just for that, it deserves four stars. Essentially, the crime-drama is the projection of facts, not myths. But sometimes, a mixture of myths and facts can make a fortune.