Binge Club: Narcos Season 2 Recaps

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
The time has finally arrived, fellow Narcos addicts. (Okay, maybe “addicts” wasn't the best choice there. Lovers? Fans?) Season 2 has hit Netflix. For me, that meant it was time to get to work. Yes, I was given the grueling, taxing task of sitting on my couch and binge-watching the entire second season and recap it here for you fine folk. I know, I know: Hard work, but somebody's got to do it, right?

So I got my Colombian coffee ready (It was only appropriate, right?) to settle in for all 10 episodes. Jokes aside, this was actually quite a task; as you remember, in the world of Narcos, there are a TON of players, faces, and cartels to remember — all on top of keeping up with Colombian history, the ways the law differs there, and the fact that some elements of the show have been fictionalized for entertainment. Oh yeah, and the subtitles. Phew.

I'd highly recommend re-watching the last episode of season 1 before starting. Because of all the things you need to keep track of in Escobarland, it was helpful for me to refresh my memory. I'm no drug lord or drug expert, but I did my best keep everyone and everything straight. (Thank goodness for pause and rewind.)

So here we go, y'all. Press play and let your hips sway to those opening notes of Rodrigo Amarante's "Tuyo." The hunt for Pablo Escobar is ON.
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Episode 1

We begin with DEA agent Steve Murphy's familiar drawl. "Okay, here we go again," he says. My heart quickens. I’m ready.

The series wastes no time throwing us back into the action. As you may recall, Escobar is on the run. He escaped at the end of last season from Cub Med — er, I mean, La Catedral, the "prison" he was serving time in (complete with prostitutes and pool tables — classy). First up, we meet a police search party in the woods. They're gossiping about Escobar when he appears in a nautical sailor's knot sweater. The officers tell Escobar they've been instructed to capture him; Escobar simply says that he's sorry, but he cannot allow that to happen. Even though the entire city of Medellín is entangled in a fierce manhunt for this man, the police officers just...let him pass. I can’t lie: I wanted to yell at the screen, “Like a BOSS!”

Then, we see Escobar return to his family. Here lies the internal struggle I'm willing to bet most Narcos viewers share with me: Somehow, despite the fact that we've seen him murder hundreds of innocent people, when Pablo gifts his daughter an adorable, fluffy bunny, I get the warm and tingly. But then, I remember the dozens of babies that have been left parentless because of him. Okay, not so warm and tingly anymore.

As expected, a free Escobar means Medellín is in chaos. Real-life news clips remind us that this is not just a fictional TV show, but a recreation of a country that was in utter turmoil thanks to the "bloodiest narco-terrorist of all time."

Though Escobar is in hiding, he devises a plan with his henchman, La Quica, to travel around town in the trunk of a taxi. Quica gets his friend, Limón, to take on the gig as his driver. Limón asks his reluctant friend, Maritza, to sit in the backseat as a decoy. As our narrator Murphy asks, "Who in the world would think the seventh-richest man in the world would ride around in the trunk of a piece-of-shit taxi?"

And yet, there Escobar is, headed to visit one of his distributors, Rojas. Remember Kiko? One of the two men Escobar beat to death last season in La Catedral because he (wrongly) believed he was stealing money from him? Well, Rojas informs Escobar that Kiko's widow, Judy Moncada, is out for revenge and working with Don Berna, another one of Escobar's former henchmen, to take over Escobar's cocaine labs and start her own drug empire.

Of course, Pablo is #unbothered. So much, in fact, that when he leaves Rojas’s house and locals start to recognize him, he tells a frantic Limón, "Let them see me." He then hands out cash with a presidential-candidate smile.

Meanwhile, no one realizes one of prostitutes at the brothel where Limón first started his taxi decoy was paying close attention. She calls the DEA with a tip in hopes of a reward. When La Quica and Limón return to the brothel, the DEA comes looking for La Quica. Of course, to agent Javier Peña’s dismay, he escapes. (Sidenote: I missed Peña. Despite his penchant for prostitutes, I'd like to believe he's a good guy.) By the way, Peña is flying solo, because his partner, Murphy, ran off to the airport. His wife, Connie, called to let him know she was taking their daughter back home to Miami. In other words: Sorry, babe, but Pablo Escobar is running free, so I'm taking my butt back to 'Merica.

A despondent Murphy gets drunk at an airport bar before finding himself in the bathroom next to a flyer who was just snorting cocaine. Murphy tells him that approximately six people had to lose their lives for that little bit of coke. He then enters a drunken rage, basically beating the living daylights out of the guy. The cops arrive to take away Murphy in handcuffs. Yikes.

Our first episode ends with a super Narcos-like cliffhanger. Escobar asks his lawyer/glorified messenger, Fernando Duque, to inform President Gaviria that he's willing to finish off his sentence as planned at La Catedral if they will give up the manhunt for him. But Gaviria is busy preparing to make a statement on national TV. We see a broadcast of Gaviria asking the country for their help in providing any information on Escobar's whereabouts that will lead to his capture. The reward? A cool $1.4 million.

At the end, Escobar’s eyes show that this means war — but we know that this time around, he's going to lose.

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Episode 2

While the entire country is searching for Pablo Escobar, he's enjoying a refreshing shower. La Quica, meanwhile, is livid that someone at the brothel ratted him out: He heads there and shoots each brothel worker one-by-one. As many murders as I've seen on this show, I still have to close my eyes.

Despite the fact that the president was pretty clear that he's not interested in negotiating with Escobar, the drug lord isn't done trying. He does an interview with a journalist, saying that he'll surrender himself to any Colombian prison as long as he can inspect it first. "I will always be ready to pay for my mistakes and accept a humble jail cell when my rights are respected," he tells the reporter. Uh, Pablo? That's not exactly what you said last season, when you were maxin' and relaxin' in luxury at La Catedral.

When the writer asks if Escobar will admit to committing crimes, I held my breath. Would he say the words out loud?! Of course, in true Escobar fashion, he responds, "That answer one could only give to a priest in a confessional." Pretty smooth, I have to admit. The interviewer finishes with the question, "How do you hope the story of Pablo Escobar will end?" Escobar's answer: "I hope to die on my own two feet. In the year 3047.” HA.

Next, we meet Arthur Crosby, the new U.S. ambassador in town sent by President Bush. We also get our first glimpse of Claudia Messina, the new — female! — DEA country attaché (code for new HBIC). Messina hints to Peña that after Murphy's airport run-in with the law (which the DEA, of course, pulled strings to get him out of), she might be making some "changes" regarding Murphy's job status. But even though they have a frenemy work relationship, Peña speaks up for his partner, convincing Messina that Murphy is a good agent.

Over at the palace, Duque has been summoned for a meeting. To his dismay, he's not there for a meeting with the president; instead, it turns out Gustavo de Greiff, the attorney general, is the one who wants a word with him regarding Escobar's request to negotiate.

As Colonel Pinzón doubles down on the manhunt for Escobar, the government has the DEA, CIA, and other American departments form The Search Bloc, an organization with one purpose: Find and kill Pablo Escobar. Pinzón gives Peña and Murphy the DEA equivalent of an intern duty: The duo is in charge of the phone line for calls about Escobar's whereabouts. (This includes prank calls from Escobar's men with farting noises. I'd be pissed if I were Murphy and Peña, too.) "To many people, Escobar was a hero," Murphy reminds us. "It was like asking Chicago to rat out Michael Jordan.”

Turns out, poor Limón, who has suddenly dedicated his life to Escobar, has a heart after all. When he and La Quica break into Maritza's apartment to kill her (Quica is convinced she's the rat that snitched on them), Limón sees her hiding under the bed — but pretends not to. He convinces Quica they should return the next day. I breathe a sigh of relief that I don't have to see yet another woman brutally murdered.

Scene change: Duque encourages Escobar to negotiate with the attorney general instead of President Gaviria, since he is basically like, “Boy, bye.” In comes Escobar's wife, Tata, who I'm glad to see finally assert herself; we didn't get to see much of her in season 1, other than being Escobar's ride-or-die chick. She says (sternly) that it's time they leave Colombia. Shocker: Escobar doesn't listen.

Back at the Search Bloc headquarters, Messina gives Murphy a stern talking-to about his airport meltdown, but decides he's allowed to stay on the team. Soon, the DEA gets a tip that La Quica was seen at a local store buying the same super-expensive toilet Pablo had while at La Catedral. After some political maneuvering, the Search Bloc moves in on La Quica's location at his boss's house.

Per usual, Escobar is one step ahead of the cops. He and his family are able to escape through a secret tunnel just as the police arrive. Soon, they arrive at yet another sprawling, beautiful safe house, but it's clear Tata has had enough.

"Do you want your children to see those men kill you?" she asks Escobar. For the first time in the entire series, I start to see a fleck of uncertainty in Escobar's eyes. Shoutout to Wagner Moura for some superior acting.

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Episode 3

After failing to snag Escobar in the last raid, Colonel Pinzon has resigned. Cut to a shot of Escobar chillin' and grabbing a few snacks from the fridge. But then, he walks into the living room and — GASP — Escobar is IN Moncada’s house, but she's nowhere to be found.

That's because she’s over at Pacho's house, waiting for the arrival of his business partner, Gilberto. Background: Gilberto, along with his brother, Miguel, is the head of second-biggest cocaine-trafficking operation in the entire world, behind Escobar. You may remember Pacho from season 1; he was one of the leaders of the Cali Cartel that Escobar had made a deal with. Moncada meets with Gilberto, Pacho, and crew — the Cali Cartel — to discuss joining forces.
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Next, we see the return of Colonel Carrillo, the military head honcho who fled Medellín last season after an unsuccessful attempt at capturing Escobar. Carrillo and his men set out to distract the spies Escobar has planted around town. The Search Bloc sets out on a fake mission, causing the spies to walkie-talkie what's happening to Escobar's team; the Search Bloc picks up on those signals and is able to locate each of the spies. It then descends upon the little birdies — most of whom are kids and teenagers. Then, in one of the realest middle fingers I have ever seen given, Carrillo arrives at a mural of Escobar and pees on it. Needless to say, he did not mistake this mural for a bush.

Next, Pablo's right-hand man, Velasco (who, I should point out, reminds me of a hotter, slimmer Pitbull), tells Pablo that his old enemy, Carrillo, is back. I took in a SHARP breath when Velasco informed Escobar that Carrillo had literally pissed on him. Like a true sociopath, Escobar does nothing but grunt.

Carrillo confronts Escobar's kid spies to warn them against aiding a known murderer. He then shoots one in the head — then gives a little boy (around 10 years old) a bullet and says, "Tell them this is for Pablo." Oh. Snap. Afterward, Murphy confronts Carrillo about not bringing him along for the mission; Carrillo says it's to protect him, but Murphy declares he no longer wants to be left out. Peña, who just witnessed the cold-blooded murder of a teenager, warns Murphy that being included isn't a good thing.

Just when I thought there couldn't be yet another heartbreaking scene involving a child, the 10-year-old, David, is summoned to meet with Escobar. He delivers the bullet and my heart shatters into a million pieces. Escobar tells David cryptically that he has one last favor to ask of him.

At a local bar, Peña is approached by Don Berna, who says he wants to help him get rid of Pablo Escobar and will give him inside info. Peña doesn't realize Berna is also a narco working with Moncada. Back in the Search Bloc offices, Peña shares the info he got: the location of one of Escobar's labs. Carrillo, Murphy, and the team raid the lab, rounding up Gato, one of Escobar's men, plus one other minion. The team whisks them away in a helicopter in a scene that's the complete opposite of 50 Shades of Grey. Peña opts out of attending this flight to nowhere while Murphy is happy to finally be included. But Carrillo ain't playin': When the henchman doesn't give up any info on Pablo's whereabouts, he pushes them both out of the helicopter.

Next, we meet with our long lost friend, Valeria Velez (refresher: Pablo's journalist lover from season 1). In what may be the lowest Escobar has stooped yet, he gets Velez to interview 10-year-old David about what happened with Carrillo — on national TV. His mission, of course, is to get everyone to "turn against that son of a bitch.”

The episode ends on Murphy and Peña both trying to forget what they've seen in the last couple of days; a clearly shaken-up (and drunk) Murphy calls his wife, holding back tears while Peña is aggressively having sex with a prostitute. Oof. This is getting dark.

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Episode 4

Our fourth episode takes us to a dream Pablo has where his wife is shot twice by Colonel Carrillo. It’s a sign for us viewers: he is beginning to see he's not as untouchable as he thinks.

Pablo’s plan to use David as a media ploy doesn’t work. Duque informs him that the story hasn't spread, and President Gaviria is simply denying the incident ever happened. An angry Pablo begins to write a letter to the editor of all the major newspapers in Colombia. “When Pablo Escobar starts believing the pen is mightier than the sword,” Murphy narrates, “you know you're getting to him.” Touché.

While Pablo's busy writing his letter, the Cali Cartel is beginning to plot on his territory, making plans to move in on Miami. But soon Duque lets Escobar know that despite his "very well written" letter, not a single newspaper has published it. Here's when we start to see the various parties — aside from the government — that are beginning to plot on his downfall.

First, Murphy reminds us of how Pablo had teamed up with a group of guerilla communists to seize the palace that housed the physical evidence against him in season 1. Apparently that move pissed off a group of right-wing extremists in the jungle, led by two brothers, the Castaños, who are anti-communism. They meet with Judy Moncada and Pacho of the Cali Cartel and decide to form an alliance.

Second, Limón is starting to get weary of the whole putting-your-life-on-the-line-for-a-terrorist-thing. He finds Maritza, who's hiding out at a farm in the middle of nowhere, and apologizes for putting her in danger, suggesting that they can both get refuge by tipping off the Search Bloc to Pablo’s location. “This is your chance to get a visa from the Americans so you can leave with your daughter,” he tells her.

Back in Medellín, Peña gets a call from a prostitute friend asking to meet him; turns out it's a setup. Apparently she's "a friend of a friend" of Maritza’s, who's sitting on the bed waiting to talk to Peña. He's skeptical — until Maritza says the magic words: "I know where to find Pablo Escobar."

The next day Limón calls Maritza with the address of the accountant Pablo is going to visit that day. Maritza calls Peña with the address; though Carrillo is a bit skeptical, Peña reassures the team that they can trust her. The troops are out, minus Peña and Murphy, who Messina says aren't allowed to accompany the raid. Poor Murphy and Peña have worked so hard on this case, and they keep getting shafted.

And then, MAJOR plot twist: Turns out innocent little Limón was actually using Maritza as bait, and Carrillo and his men walk straight into an ambush. Eventually, we see Pablo standing over a wounded Carrillo. He makes him look him in the face, and then shoots him — with the same bullet Carrillo had given little David to deliver to Escobar. And then, Pablo keeps shooting. And shooting. And shooting. The scene was so hardcore it brought me to tears.

Back at the house, Tata clearly knew about this evil little plan, because she's waiting patiently at the window for her husband. That night they enjoy a casual cup of coffee while gazing lovingly into each other's eyes, completely ignoring the fact that Escobar just brutally murdered a man point-blank. Back at the police station, both Murphy and Messina attempt to comfort Peña, telling him that it wasn't his fault he trusted Maritza’s info and that Carrillo died.

President Gaviria, on the other hand, knows that the country is asking for his head. The Vice Minister, Sandoval, agrees that everyone is looking for a scapegoat; but in a surprising move, he volunteers, saying that he will take responsibility for everything.

Hold, on though, folks: The plot twists aren't over in this episode. Limón, La Quica and Escobar himself descend upon Maritza in a church. She looks terrified; I'm closing my eyes prepared for Escobar to kill this single mother for snitching, but instead he hands over a duffel bag of money and thanks her for her services. So basically, Maritza was innocently following Limón's plan. But instead of helping Maritza by going to the American DEA, Limón went behind her back to Escobar and still managed to save her ass. Phew. One less innocent person dead, at least?

Next Don Berna shows up to tell Peña he has something to show him. Peña walks into a huge, gorgeous compound — where Judy Moncada is waiting to greet him. "Agent Peña," she says. "Welcome to Montecasino." GASP. What will happen next? Ah, the instant gratification that comes with binge-watching.

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Episode 5

Back at "Montecasino,” Moncada lets Peña know that all of the info he was getting from Don Berna was actually coming from her. It was a plot to convince Peña that they should be working together. She suggests the Search Bloc help her, the Cali Cartel, and the Castaños take down Escobar for good. Moncada offers up the Maritza’s location as proof that her team has valuable information — Peña is obviously not a big fan of Maritza right now, so he immediately goes to find her.

Meanwhile, President Gaviria has found a replacement for Carrillo: Colonel Martinez, a police officer with a ton of experience whose son has just graduated from the police academy. When Martinez hesitates on taking the job (it's basically a death sentence), Gaviria is so desperate to fill this position that he puts the pressure on Martinez by informing him that his son has just accepted an offer to work for the Search Bloc. Basically: Martinez's son's best shot at staying alive is if his dad is running the show. Martinez accepts.

Back at Escobar’s vacay house, Tata's brother, Carlos, has arrived from Miami for a visit. He is running some of Escobar’s business up in Miami and is ready to get back to work. He suggests they work Lion, Escobar's homie from season 1, who you may remember helped him smuggle kilos of coke into Miami in a jacket. Lion hit Miami and never left. Now, Escobar needs his help to continue making money.

Peña, on the other hand, is using Maritza to his advantage; he has her set up a meeting with Limón, so that he can be followed. Piña tails him to a nearby house, where he sees Escobar’s right hand, Velasco (JACKPOT). When the DEA won't immediately send Piã backup, he decides to call Don Berna for help. Berna and friends come in heavy with the guns and eventually catch Velasco. Uh-oh.
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Don Berna takes Velasco to a secret chamber where he's tied up and tortured with some pliers until he gives some answers. (Thank you, Netflix, for not showing us what exactly happened with said pliers.) Velasco won't give up Escobar’s location, but he does share that Lion is on his way in from Miami.

When Lion arrives at the airport, instead of getting picked up by Velasco, he's picked up by one of the members of the new Moncada-Cali-Castaño alliance. He’s taken to meet with Gilberto, Judy, and the rest of the crew. In the next scene, Blackie tells Escobar that Lion called to tell them Velasco never showed up at the airport.
Peña has gotten a taste of what it's like to finally get close to Escobar, so he decides go to full speed ahead working with Don Berna and his crew. Peña offers Berna some information on the location of the sicarios the Search Bloc has recently tracked down, who are swiftly killed by the Castaños. As Murphy narrates, setting loose a bunch of vigilantes in a city with a huge drug problem is only setting fuel to the fire. Blackie lets Escobar know what's happening in the city and that five of their men have died. Things are getting worse.

Escobar's team realizes that if Velasco is MIA, he's likely been snatched. That means it's time to get packing again. But Tata has spent the entire day preparing a big meal for the arrival of her brother — while his men pack for him, Escobar lets his family enjoy what seems to be a last supper. Poor Tata. Poor kids.

Then, in the middle of town, we see Velasco. Hanging. Dead. Surrounded-by-flies dead. On his chest is a warning sign: Escobar is next, signed by "Los Pepes." Murphy asks, "Who the hell are Los Pepes?" and I ask the same dang question.


Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Episode 6

Though we’re not quite sure about it just yet, Los Pepes is stopping at nothing to get its message across: It wants Pablo dead. It's Christmas time in Medellín — and in a pretty lit-up holiday display in town, Los Pepes has hung the bodies of some of Escobar's men with signs that say, "Feliz Navidad Pablo." Come ON, you guys. Not even Christmas is off-limits?!

A news segment informs us that Los Pepes stands for "People Persecuted By Pablo Escobar." Ohhh, so my guess was right: Seems like Moncada, the Cali Cartel, and the Castaños are behind it. Colonel Martinez makes it clear to the Search Bloc that though they both have intentions of finding and killing Pablo Escobar, there will be a clear line between the Search Bloc and Los Pepes. No one has a clue that it's too late for Peña — he's working with them both. In fact, when the DEA gets info that one of Pablo's men, Jairo, was heading to go visit his sick mother, he gives the info to Los Pepes. They kill Jairo before the Search Bloc does.

At the Search Bloc headquarters, the DEA figures out that Pablo’s man Blackie has a pregnant girlfriend that he's likely going to be visiting. Peña calls his Los Pepes amigos to give them the inside info. As the Search Bloc descends upon Blackie, Murphy sees Peña on the phone acting shady and starts to get suspicious. Colonel Martinez’s son (remember, he’s a Search Bloc officer) stops the Castaño brothers at a checkpoint and guns are drawn when the bros refuse to show a form of ID (they've got lots of weapons in that car, after all).

Murphy and Peña arrive on the scene and Peña whispers at the brothers to CALM DOWN. Everyone drops their weapons and I sigh a sigh of relief that nobody had to die. But Murphy sees the way Peña spoke to the Castaños and realizes his suspicions about Peña were right. Murphy confronts him back at the police station. "I hope you know what you're doing," he tells his partner.
Through more torture (of course), one of Escobar’s men is able to learn that t the Castaño brothers are the men behind Los Pepes. Despite warnings from his team that he has bigger problems, Escobar is convinced he needs to retaliate. Tata's brother, Carlos, warns his sister that she needs to leave with the kids if they want a shot at staying alive.

Scene change: We're now with Cali Cartel leader Gilberto, at his daughter Marta's wedding. Everything is all love — until a bomb goes off. They survive, but are PISSED. Revenge is on the horizon.

As the government officials enjoy a little time off at a holiday party, Mama Escobar has convinced one of Escobar's men to sneak her out of the house to go to church. When she gets back, Escobar and Tata are waiting for her like she's a naughty teenager that snuck out after curfew. But right after the lecture, all hell breaks loose: Someone starts shooting through the window. Looks like innocent Mama Escobar got followed. Tata and the Escobar squad round up the kids, literally dodging bullets as they make their way to the car.

And just when we think they've all made it out of the house and to safety, Tata's brother, Carlos, is shot as he's headed into the car. Tata's shrieks of anguish raise goosebumps on my arm; all poor Carlos wanted to do was keep his sister, niece, and nephew safe. They all arrive to the newest safe house completely silent; Mama Escobar looks guilty. All I want to do is yell at her. You just had to go to church, didn't ya?

The only food in this particular safe house is canned goods from the pantry. You know Pablo Escobar is in real trouble when there are no more decadent food platters and roasted pig in Casa de Escobar. And then, in a moment that shattered my heart, Escobar’s daughter asks her father in the cutest of voices: "Papa, how will Santa know where to find us?" Even Escobar’s lower lip quivered. I literally clutched my chest.

Apparently, it’s freezing in the new safe house, so Escobar does what any sane person would do: He makes a fire using cash. I can't believe my eyes (But also, I can — it's Escobar, after all.) Then, in perhaps his first real admission of weakness, Escobar finally tells Tata and the family they need to leave Colombia. FINALLY. Get those innocent kids out of there!

With a view of Escobar's money burning, the episode fades to black. Foreshadowing, much?
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Episode 7
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We meet a family: A father, mother, son, and daughter, a family that coincidentally resembles Escobar’s own. They’re happily enjoying breakfast before the father teaches his daughter how to tie her shoe before school. Then, we hear an explosion in the distance. The show is reminding us that the violence in this city touches everyone’s lives.

Yup, Los Pepes is on a rampage against Escobar, displaying dead bodies with a tactic Murphy calls "Colombian folk art." It’s a not-so-funny nickname for the way Los Pepes is displaying bodies with messages for Escobar all around town.

Back at Pablo Escobar’s house, Tata and Mama Escobar are arguing. Tata blames Mama for what happened to her brother, since her secret church outing is what led Los Pepes to the house. Mama Escobar begs Tata not to take the kids and leave, then caresses her son's face and looks at him, worried. Pablo looks worried, too.

It's not just his family at risk. Escobar’s lawyer, Duque, is driving when a car rolls up to shoot at him. He survives, but an innocent little girl selling plantains nearby does not. Duque heads to his son’s school to pick him up. Against his ex-wife’s wishes, he and his son are on the run.

Meanwhile, Peña is over the extreme measures Los Pepes is taking. He tells Don Berna he wants out, but Berna convinces Peña to help him find Duque, since the Castaños didn’t succeed in killing him.

Escobar’s family is officially on the move (except for the fluffy bunny Pablo gifted his daughter after he escaped from prison). He assures Tata that it’s perfectly legal for his family to leave the country. He asks her if she regrets marrying him. The ultimate ride-or-die Chick answers: “Not for a second.” As his family drives away, Escobar sits inside the house and stares at his daughter’s bunny, lonely. Damn you, Netflix. This dude is a MONSTER, and yet I still feel for him.

President Gaviria reveals to the U.S. ambassador that Escobar bought eight different flights for his family to leave the country. The ambassador argues that they need to keep them in Colombia to use as leverage against Escobar. Messina sends Murphy to the airport to see if he can find the family; he spots them boarding a flight to Frankfurt.

Unfortunately for Colombia, Germany’s “soft immigration laws” would not allow them to ban the Escobars from entering. Murphy sits behind the family on the flight; he’s been instructed to keep eyes on them, no matter what. Back at home, Escobar passes out. A doctor makes a house call and diagnoses him with stress.

Over in Germany, Murphy figures out how to get around the whole anyone-can-get-into-Germany thing. He tells security that Tata has a large amount of foreign currency in her bag. Lucky guess — he’s right and the family is detained. Obviously, Pablo is not very happy about this, so he starts making calls: To the German embassy, to Gaviria, and finally, the attorney general — who promptly hangs up on him.

Meanwhile, Peña tracks down Duque and offers to help him get to the U.S. in exchange for his cooperation. It doesn’t take long for Los Pepes to figure out Peña has found Duque on his own and hasn’t told them. Uh oh. You don’t want to mess with Los Pepes. Peña shows up for a meeting with Don Berna and in his place is Brian, a CIA agent who’s also been working with Los Pepes. He warns Peña to not mess this up — and that Los Pepes have already found Duque without him. Peña goes to Duque’s hotel to see for himself. Sure enough, Duque and his son are in the trunk — dead, along with a sign that reads “courtesy of Los Pepes.”

The Escobar family is officially denied entry into Germany and sent back to Colombia. When they land, an SUV rolls up: Turns out, the attorney general is helping Escobar and has his family put under protective custody.

Some good news, kind of? Remember that family we met at the beginning of the episode? We meet them again, this time enjoying a day of shopping near the palace. Suddenly, a car bomb goes off — right next to the family’s young daughter. Murphy tells us that dozens are killed; the episode ends on a shot of the little girls shoe, burnt and bloody. There were tears, y’all. A lot of tears. Netflix no longer wants us to feel a shred of sympathy for Escobar — and it’s succeeded.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Episode 8

Not surprisingly, Pablo isn’t taking credit for the bombing — he’s too busy throwing a temper tantrum to the attorney general, begging him to release his family so they can seek asylum. Narrator Murphy warns us: “He didn’t know it then, and he probably couldn’t accept it, but the end was coming for him. And it was about time.”

Pablo’s family is holed up in a hotel, watched over by the Attorney General’s team. After her son asks Tata who Los Pepes are, Tata gets fed up and tells Mama Escobar they need to take action themselves; the government is keeping such a close eye on them, even listening in on all their calls, and Pablo isn’t allowed to contact them. So Tata makes a surprising call herself: to Valeria Velez, the journalist — and Pablo’s ex-lover. (You know it’s serious when the wife calls the ex-mistress.) Valeria shows up with a special walkie talkie device so she can communicate with Pablo without the government listening in; she’s scared and Pablo is working on a way to get them out. Gaviria has given them asylum, but no matter where they go, they aren’t safe. Pablo devises a plan to come rescue his family.

Meanwhile La Quica meets with an informant who tells him that Los Pepes may be expanding to include the Gallons, another group of vigilantes close to the Castaños. Quica warns Pablo that an enemy of this size could be big trouble. Pablo’s in panic mode, so he sends La Quica and Limon to Montecasino (aka Los Pepes headquarters) to see what’s going on — while the rest of his men help him round up a small army and some safe house cash.

Blackie, on the other hand, was spying on Escobar’s family at the hotel, calling Escobar with updates on how they’re doing. Suddenly the police show up — this ain’t good. Murphy and Peña go after him in an interrogation room; they tell him there was bomb residue found on him and that he’ll get blamed for the murders of all those innocent people. Blackie begins to crack under the pressure. But he doesn’t give up information on Pablo; instead, he gives up a location on La Quica.

The Search Bloc begins a manhunt for La Quica. After an intense car chase (when Murphy reminds us not to feel bad for him; after all, La Quica has committed many murders of his own as Pablo’s right hand), the team is able to capture LQ. With Quica in custody, pretty much the only close confidant Pablo has left is little old Limon, who informs Pablo that La Quica isn’t answering (code for he’s been arrested). We can see all over a despondent Pablo’s face that he realizes his empire has fallen and his end is coming near.

In the interrogation room with La Quica, the Search Bloc gets him to call Pablo and lure him into a trap. Pablo can tell by La Quica’s dodgy answers and shaky voice that this is an ambush and he places a call to Tata. (“Hey, baby. I might not be able to come get you after all, because things are getting dicey out here.”) Tata seems to know this isn’t just a see you later, but perhaps a final goodbye. There are tears and I’ll admit, I may have teared up a bit, too. Something tells me things aren’t going to end happily for these two.

At the meetup spot, Pablo’s men attack the Search Bloc — as he gets away. Always, somehow, Escobar gets his revenge and still manages to walk away unscatched. When Limon asks what will happen to La Quica, Escobar responds cryptically: “La Quica is gone. They’re all gone.”

Sounds like Pablo Escobar will be gone soon, too. Let’s head into the final two (!) episodes of this series.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Episode 9

This episode opens with a gasp-inducing moment: Seeking a safe place to hide, Escobar shows up at an elderly man’s farm. The mystery man? HIS FATHER. Of course, we’ve seen Pablo’s mother, but never his father. He tells Pablo that when the police visited him, he simply told them the truth: It’s been years since he’d seen Pablo.

Escobar goes an entire month without being spotted. While she waits, Gaviria denounces Los Pepes, which released a statement saying it’s disbanded — now that Escobar is off the map, the job is done. But behind the scenes, Los Pepes’ members were busy planning how to take over the Colombian drug business. The Castaños and Gilberto are plotting to do things without Judy; I already know this isn’t going to end well. Sure enough, when she’s headed to her car, a bomb goes off right before she gets in it. We can assume that bomb was meant for her, courtesy of Los Pepes. Judy asks Peña for help and he lets her know the only way he’s helping is if she gives up the Cali Cartel. Murphy points out that the second best thing to getting rid of Escobar is getting rid of the second-biggest drug cartel in Colombia. True dat.

Tata attempts to reach Escobar on her secret machine, but can’t. Next, we get a shot of him living the country life — and it’s very disconcerting. He’s got beard and it is gray. I can’t help but think he looks a bit like a Colombian Santa Claus? Perhaps hiding out in the country isn’t as relaxing as it sounds.

After a hard day’s work and some bonding, Pablo and his dad are watching TV when they see that there’s a 2.7 million peso reward for any information on Pablo’s whereabouts. Escobar isn’t worried, though; he asks his dad what he thinks about him buying a piece of land nearby. Papa Escobar doesn’t answer, though, which I take as a, “No, thanks.” We see a flashback of Pablo talking to his mother about having to be the man of the house and how he was destined to do great things, before Escobar confronts his father and says, “You know what’s funny? My father has no idea who I am. Do you know that the president of the United States knows who I am?” Dad is unimpressed and Pablo clearly doesn’t get the fatherly love he’s looking for. Looks like Netflix is trying to tell us that some of Escobar’s sociopathic, murderous actions may have stemmed from some serious daddy issues.

So let’s go back a little: Remember Colonel Martinez and his innocent son? Martinez had transferred his son away from the Search Bloc to an intel unit to keep him out of danger. There, he and another officer were able to use a then-burgeoning internet to pick up on the signals between Tata and Pablo’s calls.

Meanwhile, Tata is desperately hoping to hear from Pablo, but the attorney general comes to tell her there’s nothing they can do to help. Back at the farm, Pablo asks Limón to dig up a stash of money he has buried — they’re leaving. He finds some cash, but it’s not much. He goes to find the money that he and Escobar gave Maritza as a thank you for her services. When she won’t give up the money, he shoots her. Like, cold blooded, with fear in her eyes. In front of her daughter. Why, Netflix, WHY?! Just when I thought we might finally have an episode without a senseless murder — and that Limón might actually have a heart. But just like everyone else in Pablo's circle, he's just a minion with one goal: Pleasing Pablo. Ugh. Pablo, however, is not happy when Limón comes back with only $6,000; he thought there would be close to $500,000. But Limon is all he has left, so Escobar can’t afford to get mad.

Judy Moncada has been getting chatty with the DEA but she's still out for revenge, so Los Pepes (the Cali Cartel and Castaños) think she's too much of a wild card. Don Berna drives her to an airport and gives her two options: get on a plane and never return, or, basically, death. If she doesn’t go, he’s leaving her for the Castaños to deal with. Her hand has been forced and she walks on the plane. I'm a little bummed; unfortunately there aren't too many strong female characters on this show, and her don't mess me with 'tude was one of my favorites this season. I just hope that wherever she’s going, she’ll bring that fabulous wardrobe and sunglasses collection with her.

The episode ends with Escobar wordlessly leaving his father’s farm. He then stands over a sweeping view of Medellín as he calls Tata. “I’m home,” he tells her. He is home — but he doesn't know it's because he's in his final resting place.
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And now, ladies and gentleman: The FINAL episode of Narcos. Like, forever. I know. I KNOW. Let’s get to it.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.

Episode 10

We open on Escobar’s grand vision for himself as the president of Colombia, shaking hands and smiling like a Colombian Barack Obama (and offering a joint to IRL president Gaviria). Then, flash-forward to reality: Escobar is hiding out in a dusty safe house (a far cry from the luxurious mansions of Season 1) with a stale-looking birthday cake and singular candle, listening to his family wish him happy birthday over that cryptic walkie-talkie. In one of my favorite moments of writing on this show, our narrator Murphy reminds us that Colombia is the birthplace of magical realism. "It's a place where the bizarre shakes hands with the inexplicable on a daily basis. But just in the novels of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the weird shit usually pops up at critical moments. When everything's on edge. When everything's about to change."

By now, we know: The Search Bloc is onto Pablo, listening in on his calls with Tata (which means days of Colonel Martinez’s son patiently listening to static, waiting for any big moments). Peña, meanwhile, can't join the action; he’s en route to the United States because his big secret is too close to getting figured out. (The big secret, in case you forgot, is that he was working with the anti-Pablo vigilant death squad Los Pepes). It's a sad moment, as Murphy points out, because if anyone deserved to be there to snag Pablo Escobar, it was Peña. Damn it.

Tata is trying to convince Escobar to turn himself in; he’ll survive prison, she reminds him, and the attorney general has ended his protective custody on the family. They're free to flee the country, but that doesn't mean they're safe. But we've known since Season 1: Pablo Escobar will never surrender. Mama Escobar, meanwhile, is set on going to Medellin to find Escobar and be there for her son, but Tata and the kids are staying put. She wants her children to make it out of this alive. I can’t say that I blame her.

Cut to a lovely shot of Pablo pooping. It’s the most realistic thing we’ve seen him do throughout the series, so I can’t help but giggle. (And also, giggle at the word pooping.) As he’s casually taking care of business, the Search Bloc is hot on his tail, led by Colonel Martinez’s young, fresh-faced son.

Pablo lets Limon know he’s thinking about Tata’s suggestion. He could be an icon, like Nelson Mandela. Sorry, Escobar, but it’s too late for that; my heart is racing as the Search Bloc descends upon his motel room. Oh wait, just kidding. Turns out, it’s the wrong hotel. How did that happen? The team blames Martinez Jr., telling him that his “little machine” was wrong. But the kid hasn’t given up yet; he knows they’re close to the signals he was picking up.

Escobar is ready to leave his self-imposed jail cell, however (yet another sign that he knows his days are limited). He puts on some shades — which, paired with the Santa beard, serve as a great disguise — and hops in a taxi to drive across town. He walks into the exact same bodega as a member of the Search Bloc and orders a strawberry ice cream. And then, he just walks back to his car. Just like that! He takes off his sunglasses to enjoy the sights and his afternoon treat; there’s the sound of children laughing and teenagers making out. The sun is shining. It’s his last meal: Escobar knows this is IT. So much so, that he imagines his deceased cousin, Gustavo, sitting with him on a park bench, discussing what to do next. I’m happy to see Gustavo again. I’ve missed him. Clearly, so has Pablo, who says everything in his life fell apart the day Gustavo left. Tear.

Seriously though, tear. As much as I know deep down in my heart that this man is a monster, terrorist, and a horrible person, I still don’t want to see him die. He’s a father and husband, after all. Netflix has spent two seasons keeping us hooked with phenomenal acting and gorgeous cinematography, pulling at our heartstrings so that we’ll come to this moment: Feeling torn about the demise of Pablo Escobar.

Escobar calls Tata to tell her he’ll never surrender, but he is willing to talk to some journalists to tell his story. Then, he talks to his son. Confession: I cry when Pablo’s son tells his father that he deserves the best birthday in the world, a simple statement that even brings a tear to tough Mr. Escobar’s eye.

As Escobar talks to his wife via walkie-talkie about his grand plans to run to the jungle, the Search Bloc has finally arrived at the right location. We see it in Tata’s eyes: she knows this is it. An intense, heart-racing rooftop chase between Limon, Escobar, Murphy, and the Search Bloc ensues — and then, here we are, the moment we’ve all been waiting for:

Pablo has been shot. There's so much action, I can't really tell who fired the first shot, but Escobar is on the ground, barely breathing. “Just like that, I’m looking down at Pablo fucking Escobar,” Murphy tells us. “For years I’d been building this son of a bitch up in my head. But here’s the thing, when you lay eyes on him, the devil’s a let down. Just a man.”

And, just like that, Escobar has reached his end. A Search Bloc member puts the final bullet in him; it’s a little unclear who exactly killed him for good, just like in real life. While the Colombian government takes credit for ending his life, some folks (like his family members) believe Pablo put a bullet in his own head to do it his own way. We’ll probably never know the truth.

We then see how everyone in this storyline finds out what happened: Pablo’s mother finds out while on the bus to go see him; Murphy calls Peña, who is drinking in a bar, to let him know all the hard work has finally paid off; Gaviria looks out over his palace peacefully; Tata is still in the hotel room with her kids when she’s given the news.

And then, in one of the most powerful, goosebump-raising moments of the entire series, showrunners play the tearful speech the real-life Mama Escobar gave about what an amazing man her son was — He gave to the poor! He built playing fields! — as footage of the damage he has done (dead bodies and rubble) plays. The side-by-side audio and images reflect exactly how I feel: He was a horrible, horrible man, but still somehow beloved.

A widowed Tata sits down with Gilberto, telling him that before he died, her husband had told her to find him. They were once associates and friends, though they ended as enemies, and he might help her get out of the country. Gilberto agrees to help her and her children on one condition: He wants all of Escobar’s property. And money. Nothing comes free, girl.

The entire time, I thought this series would end with the murder of Pablo Escobar. Instead, it finishes with Peña being interrogated by the U.S. government’s operations department. They’re informing him that although Escobar has been brought down, cocaine production is still going up. Meanwhile, the Cali Cartel is plotting how to bring in millions — billions — of dollars from cocaine sales. “Agent Peña,” they ask him. “How much do you know about the Cali Cartel?”

End scene. DAMN IT, NETFLIX. I thought this was going to be the last season, but clearly this cryptic ending is a hint that a third season could be on the horizon. And I. Am. Here. For. It.

Thanks for sticking it out with me, viewers. It was a fun binge and I hope you enjoyed the ride. Full disclosure: There may be a weekend in my near future where I binge the entire thing again. Don’t judge me.
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