You might forgive me for being a bit hesitant going into season 3 of Narcos, after all I actually got into this series due to it being billed as the story of Pablo Escobar, the larger than life drug kingpin, who at one point was so rich that for a time his organizations main problem became where to stash all their ill-gotten gains! Without such a major figure to serve as the center point of the story, could Narcos really succeed like it had?
Turns out my fears were unfounded, I simply had not done enough research to realize the amount of larger than life characters and nefarious machinations that had occurred through the history of the Columbian drug trade, because next up for our intrepid DEA team is one of the most renowned drug trafficking organizations in the history of the drug war, the Cali Cartel.
One thing that has changed for the better is the replacement of Escobar as a sort of center point to the plot with the ensemble cast of the key players in the Cali cartel, a motley crew of murders, traffickers and all around bad dudes, once described as The Cali KGB for their ability to infiltrate governments, silence informants and get the information they needed, they promise to deliver on the series dark reputation.
This new cast of players really shines in season three, whether it’s the bold inclusion a steamy salsa dance between openly gay gangster Pacho and his male lover, or the struggles of informant Jorge Selcado (the man destined to bring it all down) who simply wants to escape from the cycle of violence and death his life has become in the cartels employ.
In fact, I’d say the performance from Matias Varela as the conflicted enforcer may be one of the best parts of the new season, the weight of the characters life and decisions really come through in Varelas performance. In every scene you can feel the slow, smoldering tension from Jorge, who must walk a razors edge between getting out with the DEA and staying loyal enough to the cartel to not be caught informing without being drawn further into the very life he is trying to escape.
All in all, fans who are apprehensive of the shows new direction will be very please with the result, and I can’t wait to see more of this fantastic series!