R29 Binge Club: Narcos Season 3

Episode 1 — "The Kingpin Strategy"
Your favorite DEA agent, Javier Peña (Pedro Pascal), is back — battle worn and weary from his time fighting Pablo Escobar, and lacking his former partner Steve Murphy, but back nonetheless.
When we first catch Peña again, he’s reluctantly mingling with people at a wedding. But Javi’s not with drug traffickers, like the wedding we saw on Season 2 of Narcos. He’s with his big, friendly family in Laredo, Texas. His family views him as a total hero for catching Escobar, but Javi shirks off their compliments — he’s jaded by the brutality he’d witnessed back in Colombia.
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Judging by his face when he sees her, the real reason Peña has come to this wedding is to see Lorraine (Bre Blair), the woman he couldn’t commit to ten years ago. Instead of marrying Lorraine, Peña married his work. Watching Lorraine with her new family, Peña gazes longingly at the life that could’ve been his — of course, while he aggressively chews gum. God, I’ve missed him.
Before leaving for another stint in Colombia — this time, with a fancy new promotion — Peña’s dad forces him to pause and have some "real talk" in their driveway. He knows Javier must've endured a fair share of trauma in Colombia, and asks whether he really wants to go again. This is a conversation they’ve had before, and it always goes the same way: Javi’s dad asks, "Are you sure?" and Javi says, "Yes." Someone cue “Father and Son” by Cat Stevens.
Then, the theme song is on, I’m in, and the show is about to begin.
On the plane ride back to the thick of things, Javi thumbs a photo of the subject of this season’s investigations: the Cali Cartel. In Season 2, the Cali Cartel had played a crucial role in taking care of the Pablo Escobar problem. With Escobar gone, the Cali Cartel — and its enormous output — is the DEA’s new target.
The Cali Cartel is the smooth, suave, under-the-radar polar opposite of Pablo Escobar's boastful, arrogant, charming "man of the people" persona. The Cali Cartel works cryptically and efficiently, using a hidden infrastructure that Peña likens to a Fortune 500 company. The Cartel socialized with Colombia’s elites, and were more interested in making money than in becoming figureheads, like Escobar.
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Peña introduces the four main players of the Cali Cartel. First, we see Helmer "Pacho" Herrera (Alberto Ammann), head of distribution and security, bathing casually in a bubble bath. His male lover emerges from the bubbles.
Then, we meet Jose "Chepe" Santacruz Londoño (Pêpê Rapazote), who manages the cocaine distribution in the Cali Cartel’s primary turf: New York City. He lives in New York full time, and wears fantastically puffy jackets to combat the cold, both in the weather and New Yorker’s attitudes.
Next is Miguel Rodriguez Orejula (Francisco Denis), operations chief in charge of money, murder, and logistics. Lastly, the CEO himself: Gilberto Rodriguez Orejula (Damián Alcázar). Gilberto has his own personal security guard, Carlos Cordova (Andrés Crespo).
Oh, goodie. A new set of faces and names. Brace yourselves: This is going to be a lot to keep track of.
That night, the Cali Cartel is planning on holding an extraordinary party. For the first (and only) time, everyone in the cartel's extended network will gather. Gilberto Rodriguez will be making a speech. When the four cartel godfathers get together, we see they genuinely all love and respect each other — they have a much less tense relationship than Escobar and his men had (for now).
Given the importance of the event, the cartel's impressive security team is making preparations. Pacho, head of security, gives a rousing speech, before announcing that Jorge (Matias Varela), a top-notch security guard, is leaving his job at the cartel to start a security business of his own.
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Everyone, even the DEA, knows about this party. So, what’s the DEA’s plan to get into the party tonight? A subsection of the DEA, called Cornerstone, had made some key arrests of Cali members in Miami. Since then, the agents have been convincing arrested family members to help spy for them, in exchange for their loved one’s return.
The DEA nabs one such informant and installs him as a waiter in the party. He wears a button that also happens to be a camera. I’m all for the gadgets.
Before Gilberto makes the announcement, Jorge catches the waiter with the hidden camera. Turns out the DEA shouldn’t be so self-congratulatory. The cartel had been paying $1 billion in pay-offs each year, and practically own the phone lines, taxi cabs, and all the information in the city of Cali.
After Jorge makes this big find, Miguel confronts him, and says he wants Jorge to continue working for the Cartel for the next six months. Jorge has no choice but to say yes.
With the spying waiter taken care of, it’s announcement time. Gilberto’s big plan? Withdrawal from the cocaine business. In six months, all evidence that the Cali Cartel had ever existed will be gone. The four godfathers and their entire extended network will surrender, and get out of the business unscathed.
During a meeting with Stechner (Eric Lange), the balding CIA agent, Peña discovers the U.S. government also is in on the surrender. Neither the Americans nor the Colombians really need Peña’s help, much to Peña’s fury. All Stechner needs is Peña’s hero status to add some PR glow to the endeavor.
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After Gilberto’s announcement of the surrender, it’s clear that not everyone in Cali's extended network is pleased. Using their extensive wiretapping system (they've bought out the phone company), the cartel godfathers listen in on people who have revolted against Gilberto’s plan and want to strike out on their own. Gilberto doles out execution assignments; each person who spoke out will die.
This gives Pacho an opportunity to off his rival, Claudio Salazar (Carlos Camacho). Accompanied by a gang of leather-clad motorcyclists, Pacho arrives to the outdoor disco where Salazar is dancing with a woman who is not his wife Maria (Andrea Londo). Pacho makes nice, and agrees to put all of their differences between them.
Then, Pacho begins dancing sensually and making out with a man on the dance floor. There is some playful lip biting happening. I am on board for Pacho’s brand of terrifying sexuality.
After the dance, Pacho calmly struts up to Claudio Salazar, and enacts the most horrific execution we’ve seen on the show yet. Pacho smashes a bottle of alcohol his head. When Claudio awakes, his arms and his legs have been attached to two motorcycles going in two different directions. A few revs later, the motorcycles have accelerated to their full, gruesome capacity.
No one will find Claudio’s body. When the Cali Cartel kills someone, they wrap his body in netting and drop it into the river. When the body blots, the netting cuts it into pieces, creating fish food. There’s no boasting.
Well, clearly this season will be brutal.
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As Peña says, it was easier to pretend that Cali wasn’t as evil as Pablo, because they were stealthier. But don’t kid yourself: This season will just as vicious as the ones before, even if the Cartel's moves are more gracefully plotted.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Episode 2 — "The Cali KGB"
Guys, I can't keep up with how many new and strange men are in this season. And why are these new and strange Cali Cartel men emptying gas canisters into a sewer? Unbeknownst to the goon squad, the gas is poisonous. The gas snakes its way into an apartment building, and results in the deaths of four people — four of whom are children — and thousands of injuries.
This is bad for the Cartel. If the incident is successfully linked back to the Cali Cartel, the negotiation deal with the government would certainly be off the table.
For now, though, the Cali Cartel's biggest issue is dealing with the North Valley cartel, who are asking where their buddy, Claudio Salazar, is. Remember: His body is disintegrating in the river. Not knowing what happened to him, Maria, his wife, is wandering around Cali and causing up a stir.
To mitigate the problem, Gilberto sends Pacho, who killed Claudio, to Mexico. Gilberto is killing two birds with one stones. For one, Pacho will be out of Cali, and can't be the target of North Valley ire. For another, Pacho in Mexico can negotiate a better deal with their distributor, Amado (Jose Maria Yazpik), who transports cocaine through the border in Juarez.
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Unfortunately for Gilberto, solving the rest of his problems won't be this easy. A journalist has connected the dots between the gas incident and a shell company owned by the Cali Cartel. Gilberto had bought the gas company, and was intending to fill the canisters with cocaine and transport them across the border, since border patrol never opens up poisonous gas canisters. Later this episode, the journalist will go to Peña with her findings.
Which is a good thing, because Peña is super sulky and bored. With the Cali Cartel all primed and ready to surrender, there's not much policing that needs to be done. The Colombian government wants the DEA out. After the Cornerstone task force agents are photographed and appear on the front page of a newspaper, they two DEA Cornerstone agents are sent back to America.
Peña’s also dealing with the burden of his reputation, garnered through his vigilante-style pursuit of Escobar. Some people applaud him for his involvement bringing down Peña; others, like Colonel Martinez (Juan Pablo Shuk), say that the people who let Los Pepes loose on Colombia should’ve been arrested — not promoted.
How is Cali going to get out of this PR mess? Force Jorge, the guy who's desperate to leave the business, into blackmailing the safety inspector (Alberto Cardeño), clearly. All Jorge wants is to build a nice house with his wife, Paola (Taliana Vargas), where his two daughters, who always wear matching children, can romp around. He’s even bought a plot of land, and is showing his cold, mean, former military dad the outline for the house when he's called back to work. Paola is angry, because she recognizes the beeper is the universal signal for, "That's nice, honey, but I gotta go."
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Jorge’s newest job? Find some dirt on the safety inspector, who absolutely refuses to be bought off, and is planning on announcing the cartel is responsible for the gas leak. Jorge sends his men to follow the safety inspector until they strike gold. After an exhaustive search, they find some good fodder for blackmail: The inspector's wife is having a torrid affair.
Miguel has an absolutely terrible, no good, dirty rotten son named David (Arturo Castro). David wants to be involved with the Cartel, and is super jealous of Jorge. So, David volunteers our meek, timid Jorge to be the one who strong-arms the the safety inspector into bending to the Cali Cartel’s will. Eventually, the inspector crumples under Jorge’s intimidation tactics. Though he had already known of his wife's affair, he acknowledges how much public damage the knowledge getting out would do.
During his press release, the inspector says the gas leak was caused by an accident. Victory: Jorge.
Watching the safety inspector lie on TV, Peña officially knows the Cali Cartel’s case for surrender is broken after he sees the news. Peña's gotta get back to Cali, and lucky for him, there are two new American DEA recruits perfect for the job. He sends the eager new agent, Chris Feistl (Michael Stahl David), and his partner, the equally foxy Daniel Van Ness (Daniel Whelan), back to Cali.
Looks like Peña's back in the game.
The last story line of the episode is in New York, where Chepe’s maintaining control of Rodriguez turf, at least for the next six months. Chepe’s trying to up the quantity of ether he obtains from his supplier in New York, but his supplier is unwilling to give him more. The ether supplier states — correctly — that the Cali Cartel is shutting down in six months, but these kids in Queens running a new cocaine business are not shutting down. Chepe slides a pistol on the desk and demands the address for the cocaine operation in Queens, which apparently operates out of a beauty parlor. This can’t end well.
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The next time we see Chepe, he’s getting his hair relaxed at a beauty parlor. He and two other Colombians sit beneath beauty parlor cloaks. Chepe tells the hairdresser to go get the people behind the "Staff Only" door for a conversation, and a group of men pour out of the room. Chepe gives the group of Dominicans one option: Leave. They think he’s bluffing. He’s not.
"Part of being an adult is accepting things that you wish weren’t true," says Chepe, before opening machine gun fire from beneath his purple gown.
Some minor players: Maria Salazar (Andrea Londo), Claudio’s wife, is taken in a car by someone from the cartel, and brought to a restaurant, where she’s informed that her husband was killed. What's a girl to do?
Guillermo Pallomari (Javier Cámara, who you’ll recognize from The Young Pope), the Cali Cartel's accountant, stares at the finances with Miguel Rodriguez. How did people get financial reports organized before computers? I’m impressed. Miguel says a copy of the book has to be made, so that no one complains when they’re not being paid off in six months. Pallomari is the keeper of all the cartel's secrets.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Episode 3 — "Follow The Money"
For the record, I’m really have a hard time keeping track of all of the different men on this show. The episode opens with Pacho in Mexico, obviously having following Gilberto’s orders. He’s greeted by his brother and Amado Carrilo Fuentes, the leader of the Juarez Cartel, and the first of the Mexican drug cartels to get involved with their neighbors to the south. Remember that Pacho has been sent to Mexico to broker a deal with Fuentes on pushing even more cocaine to America over the next six months’ blaze of glory.
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But before we can deal with Pacho’s sadness that his sense of purpose is ending in six months, we have to deal with a more immediate problem: Cash. How do the cartels deal with protecting, and hiding, cash?
Enter Peña, who teaches us a little something about drug money laundering. Pablo Escobar buried his cash, but the Cali Cartel have more sophisticated methods of burying their money, naturally. The mechanics of the money laundering aren't actually important to the narrative.
What’s important is a new player to keep track of, Franklin Jurado (Miguel Angel Silvestre). Jurado looks like he wears eyeliner (those eyelashes!), speaks five languages, is married to a glamorous American woman, and is totally responsible for keeping the Cali Cartel’s money hidden. He makes deals with businessmen in Panama to create an untraceable web of transactions. The bridge between the narcos and high finance, Jurado hides the money trail. Catch him, and the business stops.
How to catch a man a slippery as Jurado? A bank in Monaco traces Cali Cartel money back to a company in Bogotá. Through that, Peña manages to extract the name of Franklin Jurado from the company.
Peña would love to spend the episode tracking Jurado, but unfortunately for him, two U.S. senators are in town, and he's occupied with schmoozing. Peña and the balding CIA agent, Stechner, have to entertain the senators if they want to get the $5 billion dollars in funding that Stechner is asking for.
So instead of flying to Panama to catch Jurado, Peña must climb aboard U.S. helicopter to the jungle with Stechner and the senators. Stechner is taking the two senators to the “heart” of the drug wars: a cocaine manufacturing center in the wilderness. The scene is brutal, and designed to shock the senators. A group of people lie dead – the local soldier in charge of the operation down there says they’re traffickers and paramilitaries.
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But Peña confronts Stechner and an American guard with what quickly became apparent to him: The scene is staged. These are no dead traffickers. They’re "run of the mill guerrillas." Peña’s beginning to realize that the "war on drugs" is a stage show.
The senators aren’t as smart. They nod along as Stechner gives a rousing speech about how important a stable Colombia is for the entire region. He guarantees a victory against the Cali Cartel.
While the senators board a helicopter, Stechner and Peña have a savage fight. Peña accuses Stechner of not being committed to helping. Stechner says Peña cares too much, and Peña tells him to eff off. Looks like Peña's goal of "playing nice" is going splendidly.
On the bright side (at least, for Peña), the DEA is making inroads in Cali. The two newbies arrive to Cali and are immediately greeted by a tough policeman, Captain Calderon, who wants them to know that he’s not like the other corrupt policemen, completely under the thumb of the Rodriguez brothers. Shouldn’t Feistl and Van Ness know that when someone says, “I’m not like the others,” they probably are? They tell Calderon they have no warrants.
Cut to Miguel, head of security, making an announcement that the DEA is in Cali. How would he know that? Oh, yeah: Calderon. Luckily for them, since the DEA arrived with no search warrants, they don’t have any power. As a precaution, Jorge still assigns one of the guards, Enrique, to follow the DEA everywhere.
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The DEA agents are still with Calderon. Going on the information taken from the Cornerstone raid in Miami, Feistl and Van Ness go to an office building, where the top six floors are owned by Cali. Surprise! Feistl had a search warrant all along, and intends to use it. Calderon is agitated. He’s in panic mode. He calls Jorge.
Upstairs, the accountant, Guillermo Pallomari, is counting loads and loads of American dollars. If they’re caught, it won’t be pretty. Jorge finds out and calls Guillermo to put everything away, but Guillermo shrugs him off. Jorge jets off to take care of things, and runs with the posture of a warrior. I am impressed by both Jorge and Guillermo’s goofy demeanor — he is one singular character.
Jorge manages to get up the stairs before the DEA does, and he puts all of the money in a garbage pail and hides in Guillermo’s back office while the rest of the room is ransacked by the DEA and the police taskforce our corrupt Calderon has summoned. Van Ness into the back office where Jorge is hiding, but Guillermo makes him leave before he finds any traces of American dinero. He leaves, and Jorge is so visibly relieved. He is the only likable character.
Sitting among piles of confiscated files like Jack Sparrow sits with his treasure, the DEA agents are proud of themselves. They ask the Calderon for help transporting the files to their offices. It’s then that the Calderon shows his true colors. He informs them that the files will be kept in police custody, since it was their raid, and that they’ve been put on the first flight back to Bogotá.
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Phew — they got rid of the DEA. The Cali members are relieved, but shaken by their experience with this very competent DEA team. "Those Americans know what they’re doing," Calderon says on the phone.
Well, they really know what they’re doing. Though Van Ness doesn’t speak good Spanish, he recognized Guillermo had a Chilean accent — and thus could be extradited. Instead of getting on the plane to Bogotá, they leave the airport and go catch an accountant.
Van Ness and Feistl have miraculously tracked down where Guillermo went. Don’t ask me how. And who do they see walking a dog? Gilberto Rodriguez, who has moved from his official homes and was living in an unknown location. They call up Peña with their findings. Peña rushes over to Colonel Martinez, and asks: Do you want to catch Gilberto Rodriguez?
Finally, back to Pacho at the start of the episode. He’s having a crisis. What will he do when he’s no longer a drug trafficker? In a moment of intimacy, Pacho tells his brother that their father said there wasn’t a place in the world for a man like him (we assume he means a gay man). But Pacho found a place. Can he really give it up?
Speaking of Pacho — remember Maria, the woman he'd widowed? It was clear Miguel Rodriguez had a crush on her ever since the party in the first episode. As it turns out, Miguel buys her an apartment because she doesn't feel comfortable going back to the North Valley. It seems he actually wants to help. He agrees to collect her son from where he's staying with his possessive grandmother. Maria, thinking he'll do this in exchange for sex, pulls off her strap. He puts it back on. Miguel isn't that kind of guy.
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Poor, poor Jorge. Jorge's still trying to pretend he can open a business, even though he needs six more months with Cali. He and his wife, Paola, go to dinner with the business investors. While at a fancy restaurant, evil David Rodriguez walks in, and interrupts the meeting. He places his hands on Jorge's shoulders, clearing showing off his intimacy with Jorge. By associating himself with the Cali Cartel, Jorge has botched the deal.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Episode 4 — "Checkmate"
Hold on tight, people, because this is one exhilarating episode — and hopefully an equally action-packed recap.
At the end of last episode, Peña and Colonel Martinez decided to hunt Gilberto Rodriguez together, thanks to intel gathered by Feistl and Van Ness.
But first, let Peña tell you a little bit about Gilberto Rodriguez. Gilberto is characterized by always being in control. He kept both his closet and business in meticulous order. Nothing would catch him off guard — not even retirement. He didn’t strongarm people like Pablo Escobar. He was friendly, and got favors from friends.
Gilberto was even organized in perhaps the messiest of all human affairs — relationships. He had three wives, and split up the week between each one. On Sundays, his three wives gathered at his house to watch football. They were all friends.
All in all, Gilberto Rodriguez was not the man who expected to be captured. Yet, that is just what is about to happen.
At the start of the episode, we see Martinez and a few soldiers in the back of a chicken truck, sitting stoically among the chicken carcasses. Elsewhere in the city, Peña and Calderon are preparing for a raid. Peña demands all the police turn in their phones and beepers, much to Calderon’s chagrin. Peña explains that the DEA suspects one of the policemen is working for Cali (we, of course, know who it is – and it seems that Peña does too). Calderon is one bad actor. In the ride over with Peña, he tries to say: this is my mission. Of course, he doesn’t yet know what the mission actually is.
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As Calderon and the convoy of Colombian police cars drives on, Peña sees the chicken slaughterhouse truck driving in the opposite direction.
The convoy stops at a house. Up until this point, Calderon has been in the dark to the mission’s purpose. It’s at this moment that Peña taps him on the back and says, "We’re arresting one of the godfathers of Cali."
The policemen and DEA agents disable the security system and burst through the gates. It's abandoned, and clearly not not the right house. Enrique (Carlo Lasso), the Cali man assigned to follow the DEA, reassures Jorge that they’re at a nice house in Palmira, but it’s not Gilberto’s house.
Peña plays dumb and tells Calderon that they can leave. By now, Peña knows Martinez and his men have arrived to Gilberto’s house, and the other half of the plan is being carried out.
Martinez and his men arrive, and Gilberto’s wives answer the door. They’re in a tizzy, clearly not expecting to see army men rounding up security guards and searching for their husband.
After leaving the abandoned mansion, Peña tells Calderon he just needs to stop by a friend’s before heading back. He gives Calderon the directions to Gilberto’s house. Calderon starts freaking out, but Peña and the DEA have him in a bind. An army person watches him with a gun while the rest of them go inside.
Inside, everyone’s searching for Gilberto’s crawlspace. Feistl is knocking on the panels in his shoe display; another person is kicking down the closet. Peña does some Sherlock Holmes-y mind tricks and realizes that the stairs to the pool are above a crawlspace. He lifts up the stairs and finds Gilberto crouched in a hardwood crawlspace.
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Together, the DEA and the Colombian National Guard have arrested Gilberto Rodriguez. But they’re not off the hook yet. Calderon managed to hotwire a car and use a payphone to mobilize the police force to chase after the chicken slaughterhouse truck. They end up cornering the truck driven by Feistl. WHen the policemen open up the back of the truck, there’s nothing there. Yep: They used a decoy.
The other truck, which contains Gilberto, arrives to the airport. They encounter a roadblock: a group of Colombian police stand with their guns out. Like the boss that he is, Martinez limps over to the boys and tells them this is a self-defining moment, and they should the right choice. The once-defiant stand down. Gilberto, Peña, and Martinez board the plane for Bogotá.
Unsurprisingly, Gilberto's capture causes a splash, and not necessarily a good one. Some people who have worked tirelessly for a deal are devastated with Gilberto’s capture, thinking this is the first shot in another drug war. Ambassador Crosby (Brett Cullen) asks if he knows just how much work Peña has torched by arresting the Godfather of the Cali Cartel.
Those like Peña who doubted a surrender would ever really happen believed this incident proved the government’s strength. Colombia’s new president, Ernesto Samper (Tristán Ulloa, who looks a lot like Colin Firth), decides Gilberto will be treated with due process like every other Colombian citizen. Looks like he won’t be getting out of jail in time for his meeting the next day at 8:30am, as he’d hoped.
Nicolas (Sebastian Eslava), Gilberto’s son, is able to visit Gilberto in jail because he’s a lawyer. Nicolas says there’s hope for Gilberto’s case, because the search warrants were old and perhaps inadmissible.
With Gilberto in prison, the other Cali Cartel godfathers and members have to do some soul-searching. Miguel looks for someone to blame. Was it Cordova, Gilberto’s personal head of security? And how about Jorge?
Where was Jorge during all this? We’ll tell you. Earlier that day, after Enrique had reassured him that the DEA was not on the right track, Jorge got a call from Miguel. Miguel was sending Jorge on a mission to the North Valley to take Maria’s son from where he was staying with his grandmother, a member of the North Valley cartel. While there, Jorge tried reasoning with the rifle-wielding grandmother, who didn’t want to give up her Pablito to a daughter-in-law she detested. Navegante (Juan Sebastian Calero), a Cali man far more brutal than Jorge, and with a weird haircut, ends up putting a gun to the grandmother’s back, putting the kid in the car, and driving back to Cali.
At this point, Miguel and Maria are having a hot-and-heavy relationship of mutual benefits. Maria gets her kid; Miguel gets the woman he has the hots for. Miguel is always shooing Maria out of rooms where business deals are happening. Don’t you just love how much screen time women get in this show?
With Gilberto’s arrest, Miguel now has to call the other two godfathers. He tells Chepe in New York that the business must be kept in good shape. He tells Pacho in Juarez that every godfather is looking out for himself now. That’s fitting, considering that’s what Pacho has been doing this whole episode.
Amado took Pacho to Juarez to show him that now is precisely the time Pacho should be in the drug business. Now isn’t the time for surrender. NAFTA opened up the borders with America in such a significant way. Since the U.S. only has the manpower to check 10% of trucks, that means so much cocaine goes through. He wants Pacho to join him in six months.
The godfathers are on their own, and so is Peña.
At the end of the episode, Martinez goes into Peña’s office looking like a sad puppy. Apparently, Martinez’s name was on the list of cops who have corroborated with the Cali Cartel (of course, he’d never done such a thing).
"You did everything right, Peña. But now you’re all alone," Martinez says.
After that, Peña tells his assistant he wants the Jurado tapes — all of them. Looks like Franklin Jurado, the money launderer who’s currently in Panama, is Peña’s next target.
The episode ends with Gilberto sitting morosely in a dingy prison. I can’t help but feel bad for him. Unlike Pablo Escobar, we never see Gilberto committing violence; rather, he’s the level-headed leader who’s looking forward to a life outside of a life of crime.
Episode 5 — "MRO"
As a Colombian official correctly noted during a meeting with Peña, Gilberto Rodriguez was a stabilizing influence on the Cali Cartel. With him gone, the cartel is going to go haywire. And boy — does it ever.
Gilberto, being Gilberto, is still trying to micromanage from prison. Recognizing that maintaining the business operations is their utmost priority, Gilberto tells Miguel to placate Orlando Henao (Julian Arango) of the North Valley cartel, which is riled from Gilberto’s arrest. The meeting doesn’t go as planned. Miguel is jittery, and Henao catches a glimpse Maria and Pablito, who was taken from the North Valley to live with Miguel. When the North Valley people leave, Henao smiles smugly: He knows Miguel is scared.
Gilberto is also visited by his son and lawyer. The lawyer has been unable to schedule a meeting with Sebastian Medina, the president’s aide, to talk about negotiation deals. Despite Gilberto forbidding him from doing so, Nicolas manages to meet with Medina, and brokers new terms to the surrender agreement.
Here’s the plan: the four godfathers have to do three years in jail each, and surrender all illegal assets. Everything else — the cash, the houses — are theirs. Gilberto refuses to consider the deal. Nicolas also brings up another problem: Pallomari. He knows too much. Who knows what implications that might hold if the DEA gets their hands on him.
Meanwhile, Miguel is desperate to find out how Gilberto was caught. He is convinced there’s a rat in the system, leaking information to the DEA. As the top dogs in the security department, the responsibility falls to Carlos Cordova and Jorge Salcedo to figure out what happened.
Through some backtracking at the airport, Cordova figures out that the DEA agents never boarded the plane to Bogotá. Then, Jorge realizes Pallomari had driven to Gilberto’s house that night. So, he concludes the DEA agents got lucky by following Pallomari (which is correct). But, Cordova declares that he and Jorge must produce a name, a concrete source of blame.
Cordova chooses to report back to Miguel, and say the mess was Calderon’s fault. Jorge experiences a bout of guilt.
Feeling the need to be near his family as the shit starts hitting the fan, so to speak, he meets his wife and daughter outside the girls’ school. While there, Jorge gets a surprise call from David, Miguel’s son, calling an unscheduled meeting. On the way, Jorge calls David twice. No answer.
Jorge arrives to the eerily empty house. Something isn’t right. It turns out that David — who is, as I’ve said, a total Joffrey — organized a little "revenge" party. Henchmen hold a bloodied Calderon up. First, they suffocate him, then drown him.
The execution is brutal, and it’s not over. David leads a shaken Jorge to the back porch, where we realize why Cordova hadn’t been answering the phone. Cordova is on his knees, bloodied. David explains that while Jorge went to visit his girls, Cordova was caught on the way to the airport with his wife. As Cordova tells Jorge to save Sofia, he’s shot in the head. Jorge runs to find Sofia. She’s been murdered, as well.
Miguel ushers in a new regime: The one of strength over weakness. He names Jorge the new head of security, as if Jorge had any a choice.
Jorge goes home to his wife and family, and then makes a very interesting phone call to the DEA, hanging out in their new apartment. Applying a device to make sure he can’t be wiretapped, Jorge says that the cartel knows where they are. Does this mean that Jorge is working for the DEA? Yes. Yes it does.
The clock is ticking for Peña to take action about the Gilberto problem. He meets with the new president, Ernesto Samper. While Samper shared the same reservations about the deal as Peña — murderers negotiating their own terms — Rodriguez’ arrest has complicated matters significantly. If Rodriguez is going to stay in prison, Samper says, Peña has to find a convincing person to testify against him.
Peña knows exactly who to go after: Franklin Jurado. Using wiretaps, which freak out Peña’s nerdy assistant so much, Peña is able to tell that Christina Jurado is totally panicked.
Peña has surveillance on Christina, so the day that she finally leaves her apartment, he’s there at the bar waiting to chat her up. After some seriously skillful flirting (is that part of the DEA job requirements?) Peña manages to scare Christina successfully enough to contact her husband. She hopes that by cooperating with the DEA, they’ll be able to return to America.
During the call, Franklin says something in a foreign language. After a session with a dictionary, Peña figures out that Franklin is in Curaçao (figuring things out took longer without Google). At the end of the episode, he’s seen boarding a plane to Curaçao, land of private island resorts and banks.
Finally, back in Mexico, Pacho makes a choice between Amado and the Cali Cartel. During a conversation with his brother, Pacho admits how very tempting he finds Amado’s offer. But while talking to Amado, he explains his loyalties to the Cali Cartel. The last thing Pacho’s father ever said to him was that he wasn’t a man, and never would be. For a while, he believed his father was correct. Then, he joined the cartel. When GIlberto and Miguel found out Pacho was gay, they didn’t forsake him — they made him a partner. They’re his family now. He’s decided to remain loyal.
Episode 6 — "Best Laid Plans"
An alternative title to this episode could be, "Things Fall Apart." And when things fall apart for the Cali Cartel, they do so in a spectacularly violent manner.
Up until this point, the four godfathers hadn’t had to worry about the business aspect of the cartel. Chepe was in New York, and cocaine production was going swimmingly. Which is good, considering Gilberto was arrested and tension was brewing between the cartel and the government regarding the surrender. All is fine until an explosion occurs at one of their plants in Queens that Chepe had stolen from the Dominican cartel. While everyone initially thinks the explosion was linked to the Dominican cartel, a Cuban journalist, Manuel de Dios (Gabriel Sloyer), traces the explosion back to a Victor Crespo, aka Chepe.
Chepe and his wife have to leave for New York, but not before Chepe meets the journalist in a diner, and tries to buy him out. Not realizing he’s seated across from a gravelly-voiced demon, Manuel talks back to Chepe and refuses to give in to his bribery. Chepe calmly asks for directions for the airport. Before Manuel can answer, Chepe shoots him from underneath the table. Sneaking guns into public places is clearly his M.O.
With Chepe back in Colombia with his wife, we have no idea how business will continue. Though that’s the least of the Cali Cartel’s problems at the moment.
After Cordova was executed last episode, Jorge Salcedo, the now Chief of Security, realized that working for the Americans was the only way he and his wife and daughters can survive this mess. At the start of this episode, he meets Van Ness and Feistl in a cane field, and they broker the terms of their arrangement.
Jorge hopes he can obtain safe passage to the States just by providing testimony, but to that, the Americans say no go. Van Ness and Feistl have their eyes on capturing Miguel Rodriguez.
Since Jorge designed the security system, he knows their goal will be nearly impossible. He says he needs to think about it.
Jorge realizes there’s an opportunity to catch Miguel later that very day. David, the newly promoted head of Miguel’s security team, calls Jorge asking for advice in protecting Miguel. David is planning to bring Miguel out of hiding so he can attend the opening night for the Cali Festival, a two week-long celebration of concerts and salsa dancers. In prior years, Gilberto had been the life of the party — now, as the new godfather-in-chief, it’s Miguel’s turn.
Looking around at the very open party hall, Jorge realizes Miguel will be highly exposed and vulnerable. Tonight is the perfect opportunity for the DEA to attack. Jorge is relieved: After tonight, he’ll be able to escape Colombia.
On his way from the party hall with Enrique, Jorge abruptly pulls over and calls the Americans to give them the details for this evening. He’s on a time limit, and can’t answer all of their questions. While Feistl believes Jorge, Van Ness is less convinced.
Meanwhile, we cut to the North Valley cartel, who are making plans now that the Cali Cartel members are spiraling. They know about the accident in New York.
Henao calls Amado in Mexico, and even though Amado finds Henao to be "no fucking fun," he agrees to make the North Valley cartel his new cocaine supplier. Sorry, Pacho, you missed your shot. As of next week, North Valley will be Amado’s only client. Every term of the surrender is being thrown out the window.
After that phone call, the North Valley cartel decides to "deal with" the remaining Cali Cartel problem. Time to gear up.
It’s 10:00 pm, and Miguel has arrived to the balcony of the dance hall with David, Maria, and their peeps. Looking down at the crowd, Jorge spots the DEA agents mingling, and notices some hitmen blended in near the DJ. Jorge assumes that the DEA brought the hitmen along as part of their raid.
Jorge links up with Feistl in the bathroom, and says that he noticed his men by the DJ booth. Feistl’s confused, and says they didn’t plan a raid tonight. It’s then that Jorge realizes another group is planning an attack. He runs up to the balcony right before an insane shootout begins that results in 13 deaths.
At the same time, we witness what Pacho and his (absurdly handsome) brother, Alvaro (Edgar Prada), are experiencing in Mexico. North Valley men have busted into their swanky home, killing Pacho’s boy toy and gravely wounding Alvaro. Pacho gets out unscathed.
The two shoot-outs are interwoven so that the violence reaches a deafening roar. It’s honestly sickening.
Despite the North Valley’s efforts, all of the important Cali Cartel members survive. Miguel is overwhelmed with gratitude for Jorge — he says, without a hint of irony, "It looked like you knew something was coming."
With that, Miguel replaces David with Jorge as his personal head of security. Jorge expresses how important it is that he know Miguel’s location at all hours. How convenient!
After the shootout, Jorge visits the DEA agents in their home, and insists they trust each other from now on. He explains that his boss had been killed, and the same will happen to him unless they work together. Jorge hands them a pre-written note with Miguel’s location.
So the DEA found a gold mine of useful information with Jorge. Great. But if Peña can’t capture Franklin Jurado from Curaçao, then there’s no testimony against Gilberto, and then Gilberto can’t stay in jail.
Peña arrives to Curaçao and works with police to successfully capture Jurado. Sidenote: their chase through the narrow, brightly colored streets of the city read like a travel ad for Curaçao, and I’m just about ready to buy a ticket. On an icy plane trip back to Colombia, Jurado agrees to testify, so long as he speaks to his wife, Christina, first.
Peña has been in touch with Christina. She’s doing tons of coke, as usual, but she’s fine. She’s in Bogotá, on her way to the embassy — or so Peña thinks.
She hitches a ride to the embassy with her hairdresser and coke dealer. On the way, they’re stopped by Navegante, who shoots the hairdresser and drags Christina into his car.
When Peña arrives to the office where Jurado is being held, he’s met by the cartel’s American lawyer, Alan Starkman (Wayne Knight AKA Seinfeld’s Newman), whom we had seen earlier. Jurado will no longer give testimony because his wife supposedly "met up" with Jurado’s employers, when, of course, she’d been taken against her will.
At the end of the episode, the three godfathers have reunited. From prison, Gilberto urges Miguel not to start a war, especially when the surrender is at stake. But Gilberto’s in prison, and doesn’t know how dire things have become. Miguel declares war on the North Valley cartel.
One interesting observation: This is the episode of (rightfully) angry wives. Pallomari has been moved to a safe house with his family. He’s a problem, but he’s too valuable to kill. Upon moving, Pallomari’s wife, Patricia (Lina Castrillón), immediately begins chain-smoking. She’s pissed to be stuck inside that hole. Finally, Jorge confesses to his wife, Paola, he’s working for the Americans. She’s furious, and thinks he’s putting them at risk. Then, Jurado’s wife, Christina, clearly never wanted to end up captured by a cartel when she married him.
Episode 7 — "Sin Salida"
We’ve seen Pablo Escobar get caught. We’ve seen Gilberto Rodriguez get caught. Now, thought Agents Feistl, Van Ness, and Peña, it’s Miguel Rodriguez’ turn. But will their scheme go according to plan? And will Jorge and his perfect, forever-matching daughters be safe?
Hold tight, because the episodes just keep becoming more tense.
So, as declared last episode, the Cali Cartel is officially at war with the North Valley cartel. The North Valley cartel was one of many smaller cartels that operated under the umbrella of Cali. In exchange for giving up a cut of the profits, North Valley got to use Cali’s distribution network and political might. Unlike Cali, North Valley was more than happy to use brutal violence to subdue people — they’re shown beheading a line of men with a chainsaw. Yet another depiction of egregious violence on this show!
North Valley was gearing up to take Cali’s place as the Number One Cartel, as we’ve already seen by their deal with Amado in Juarez. The North Valley cartel had the advantage of controlling port of Buenaventura, where most of the world’s cocaine shipped.
To get his business back on track, Miguel Rodriguez wants that port. And he wants to take the North Valley cartel down.
As the Cali Cartel ramps up showy displays of violence, a la the late Escobar, the DEA gears up for another attempt to nab Miguel Rodriguez. Their contact, Jorge, has told them where he is, and how to get him. Jorge quickly shoots down Feistl and Van Ness’s plans to enter the apartment, knowing the depth of Miguel’s security system.
Jorge proposes a plan. All of the DEA trucks will come through one entrance, which Jorge himself will be manning. A helicopter will land on the apartment building where Miguel lives. They’ll raid the apartment.
The stakes are high. Jorge knows that if this is botched, the Cartel will eventually find out who gave up the information. Similarly, Botero (Luis Mesa), the Minister of Defense in Colombia, also must be assured that the mission will be absolutely successful before he signs off.
In order to pull off the mission, the DEA need men. They can’t go to any old police force for help, since most of the police have been bought out by Cali. There’s only one Good Egg left: General Jose Serrano (Gaston Velandia), a god-fearing, morally upright policeman who trains his troops to root out evil and corruption like pigs find truffles.
Since Peña is proposing to wipe out Miguel Rodriguez, a person whom Serrano abhors, he agrees to join the endeavor.
The only issue? Ever since Gilberto was arrested, the process of filing a warrant has become more complicated. This is all bureaucratic jibjab, but to summarize: Serrano has to file the warrant now with the address. Following the filing of the warrant, the district will be alerted, and the corrupt will know that the DEA is coming for Miguel. Miguel will be sure to flee.
Peña decides they can fudge the warrant process. The evening of the raid, they’ll bring along a representative who can sign the warrant on the spot.
The day before the raid, Jorge’s wife decides to leave with the children. He tells her about the raid, and she knows that if it fails, they’re all goners. Ooof. I can’t watch this.
It’s go time. Unfortunately, Jorge isn’t where he’s supposed to be. Earlier, Jorge was intending to let Enrique off his watch duty early, so Jorge could let the DEA and army through. Instead, Jorge gets a call from Miguel. Miguel is feeling particularly paranoid, and inquires whether Jorge can tap GIlberto’s phone line in prison. As Miguel explains his weird world-view, Jorge’s bugging — he has to get out of the apartment, and stat. He makes the mistake of telling Miguel he’s on guard duty. Miguel says that’s a younger man’s job, and then makes Jorge stay for dinner.
Welp. He’s just stuck inside the apartment now. Jorge surreptitiously turns off the room’s two Walkie Talkies, so Enrique’s cries indicating a fleet of cars were driving by could not be heard.
The policemen arrive. In a flurry, Miguel runs off to his secret hiding place.
From the start, there are some issues with the warrant. Apparently the man had a warrant for a financial company, not for a residence, bla bla bla. Peña strongarms him into ignoring the rules, and they get inside the house.
It’s a mess. No one can find Miguel. Jorge is freaking out. The Colombian police arrive and try to stop the army and the DEA from every angle.
The raid is being broadcast everywhere. At first, the public watching the raid don’t know who the raid is for. But David and the Cali men certainly do — and they don’t know why Jorge isn’t around to deal with it. Eventually David interrupts the attorney general’s game of tennis, and makes him head over to the apartment.
The attorney general arrives just as the DEA agents have figured out where Miguel is hiding. His bathroom is a bit smaller than that of the apartment downstairs. That’s because there’s a crawlspace where Miguel is currently hiding, breathing through an oxygen mask. He’s trapped within a few inches of space between two brick walls. Then, Van Ness begins drilling. The drill almost plows into Miguel’s body. It grazes his thigh the second time, and looks truly painful.
Just when Van Ness is about to start hammering, the attorney general puts a half to the proceedings, citing illegality. The DEA is breaking the law, apparently. Peña seems stricken. The jig is up. The DEA agents give up their passports, and are being sent to Bogotá.
This means Jorge is completely abandoned in Cali. He calls Feistl, who’s standing before a plane about to take off, far from his favorite obscure payphone. Feistl does not feel bad enough for what he’s done. Jorge’s wife, Paola, won’t speak to him. For the very first time seen on the show, Jorge assembles his gun.
The only good news for the DEA? They confiscated that very important accounting book that Pallomari had in the first episode. Now the DEA knows all of Cali’s finances.
At the episode’s end, Pacho and Chepe casually look on as their men storm the port of Buenaventura. They’re declaring war, even if Gilberto continues to urge from prison for the men to surrender, and put an end to the fighting. As Miguel says, surrender was a dream that was only Gilberto’s.
Episode 8 — "Convivir"
This show is seriously going to mess me up. I’ve bitten off all my fingernails.
Remember the ledger that was stolen from Miguel’s house? That big book contains all of the Cali Cartel’s transactions, secrets, and finances. It is incredibly important, and the DEA has it. The only issue is that it’s written in a code that only Franklin Jurado and Guillermo Pallomari, the Cali Cartel’s sole finance people, can understand. It’s a race, now, for the Cali Cartel to wipe those people out, and for Peña to get Jurado, who’s in custody, to testify.
Even though the raid to capture Miguel went badly, the Minister of Defense, Botero, has allowed Peña to continue investigating the crime because they have the ledger and Jurado. We know that if this doesn’t work, it’s "ta ta" for the DEA.
Now, back to the most nerve-wracking plotline of the episode. The DEA left Jorge hanging, and now Miguel and David want someone to pay for the raid. Logically, their search comes down to two main suspects: Enrique and Jorge. Enrique had been the person who let the army trucks go past the checkpoint, supposedly (in actuality, Jorge just silenced the walkie talkies). Jorge, on the other hand, has been too silent. It’s suspicious. To make matters worse, a few episodes ago, Jorge made a huge slip. He told Enrique not to tell Miguel about the DEA’s return to town. Instead, he had Enrique follow the DEA himself.
The axe is going to fall on either Enrique or Jorge. In order to survive, Jorge will have to compromise some of the upright moral behavior he’d adhered to so valiantly up until now. For now, he tries to remain on the side of good. After Miguel instructs him to collect Enrique and bring him, Jorge chooses to bring Enrique to a safe house, and tell him not to answer the phone.
Returning to Miguel’s, Jorge tries to make a case for his own innocence. It doesn’t go over well. Miguel sends him, along with David and two henchmen, to go to Enrique’s apartment. Jorge leaves a recorder in the front seat running while he goes in to "check," despite knowing Enrique isn’t in the apartment. After he drops David off, Jorge listens to what David said. It’s gruesome. David knows Jorge is guilty, and relishes the idea of killing him and his wife, and leaving the girls orphans. Gaaahh!
Then, Jorge gets sent on another tense mission. He and Navegante are instructed to go to Pallomari’s safehouse and, well, you know. Take care of things. Earlier, though, we’d seen Pallomari freaking out because of the raid. He knew something was coming. When Jorge and Navegante arrive, Pallomari and family are gone. Phew.
In between his terrible errands, Jorge drives his car to Paola’s parents, where he spies on his family. The Americans keep trying to reach Jorge on his special pager; Jorge keeps ignoring them.
Since Jorge can’t catch a break, he then receives a phone call saying Enrique’s been caught. Oh, no. This won’t be good. Jorge arrives to a dank, dimly lit industrial warehouse. Enrique is bound and hanging from the ceiling, his face bloodied and beat up. With Miguel and David demanding an answer, these two friends — equals! — turn on each other in a vicious way. Enrique tells them that Jorge knew about the DEA. Jorge calls Enrique a liar. Miguel looks like a toddler who’s been spun around too many times. Miguel doesn’t know what to believe.
And then, the fateful buzz of the pager rings out in the empty room. Somehow, Jorge snuck the pager into Enrique’s pants pocket. Jorge then identifies this as an American technology. In Miguel’s mind, this is enough evidence. Enrique must’ve been the spy.
David puts a bag on Enrique’s head and suffocates him. It’s terrible to watch Jorge betray his friend, also terrible to know that Jorge had to do it. After this incident, Jorge goes to see Paola, even though she had cut off all conversation with him. He breaks down and sobs.
But the episode has more than just betrayal and murder. There’s another raid!
The Cali Cartel had carted Christina off to the jungle, where FARC, the Colombian Marxist-Leninist guerrillas, had their outposts. To fund their efforts in the civil war, FARC would would kidnap wealthy people, and their extort their family for money. The Cali Cartel uses FARC's "services" as a holding pen for people who are important — like Christina. Well, Peña needs Christina, and stat, if Jurado is going to testify.
As we know from his time with Los Pepes, Peña isn’t above doing business with the cartels when it serves his purpose. He returns to Medellin, the site of Seasons 1 and 2. Without Escobar, Medellin is now the safest city in Colombia. Medellin’s new "godfather" is a man named Diego "Don Berna" Bejerano (Mauricio Cujar), who has a large beard and a generous sense of humor.
Don Berna essentially volunteers to help Peña spearhead a mission to rescue Christina from FARC. Don Berna has a relationship with the Castaño brothers, who lead Colombia’s largest paramilitary group (that also happens to be funded by the U.S. to hunt communists). The Castaños they know the region expertly. In exchange for his help, the godfather wants a "warning" from Peña when the day comes that the DEA decides to go after Don Berna.
The raid is successful, but very bloody. At last, Christina is in DEA hands. She’s bitter about how violent the raid was, and knows she’s just being used as a tool.
Meanwhile, quite shockingly, Franklin is seen being stabbed in the jugular by a stranger in jail. The Cali Cartel has connections in prison, of course, and Nicolas (Gilberto’s son) was given the task of dealing with Jurado. Pena finds out. Not only is the news devastating for Christina, but it also means Gilberto is getting out of jail.
Finally, last but not least. Jorge goes to a payphone. He calls the Americans. He knows where Miguel is staying, and this is their last shot to arrest him.
They're going to catch Miguel Rodriguez.
Episode 9 — "Todos Los Hombres Del Presidente"
Season 3 of Narcos reaches a big crescendo in this episode. Now comes the DEA’s final chance to nab the second-in-command Godfather of the Cali Cartel, Miguel Rodriguez.
At the moment, Miguel is connecting with his inner druglord and achieving new heights of terrible power. He just sent Henao from the North Valley cartel a refrigerator full of his men’s body parts (I almost vomited when I saw it. This season is ridiculously violent). With that, the war with the North Valley is effectively over. Who can compete with a refrigerator full of a surveillance team? Along with the "present" was a note that said, "Call me."
Miguel is also trying to replace Gilberto as the Godfather-in-Chief. He wiretapped Gilberto’s phone in prison, and heard Gilberto speaking with Pacho and Chepe about surrender. Miguel has a more convincing proposal for the other two Cali leaders. Chepe wants to go back to New York, so Miguel hands him a new passport and social security number. Pacho wants to know where the Salazar brothers are hiding to get revenge for his little brother Alvaro, who was so injured in an earlier episode his penis will never work again, so he gives Pacho the location (that’s why he wanted Henao to call him).
Miguel reminds Pacho and Chepe that surrender was Gilberto’s dream, not theirs. They’re going to keep running the Cali Cartel until it achieves even greater heights. Right? Pacho and Chepe are certainly on board. They like this new Miguel.
Back to the DEA. The DEA has essentially botched their efforts to upend the surrender deal and take out the godfathers themselves. Sure, Gilberto is in prison. But their campaign to arrest Miguel last episode failed miserably, and Franklin Jurado, the person they needed to keep Gilberto in jail, was assassinated. Ambassador Crosby informs Peña that the jig is up: The DEA will be off the job by 5 p.m. that day, and all further efforts to arrest Rodriguez will be handled by the Colombians.
That’s a problem, since Botero, the Colombian Minister of Defense, is leaking everything he knows to the Cali Cartel. If the DEA hands off the mission to the Colombians, there will be no more progress.
Peña has a choice. He can rescue Jorge Salcedo now, and forget about getting Miguel — that’s what Crosby wants him to do. But that’s not Peña’s style. Peña is determined to both arrest Miguel, and get Salcedo out. And he has until 5 p.m. to do so.
First stop: Peña tells a little white lie to motivate Feistl and Van Ness into acting quickly. He lies and says Crosby wouldn’t agree to rescuing Salcedo. Their only bet is to get Miguel and then rescue Salcedo. Plus, from here on out, any move the DEA makes, the leak (Botero) will find out. They have to act quickly.
Second stop: Peña goes back to Serrano, the general who’s as obsessed with sniffing out cartel godfathers as Peña is. After the last botched mission, Serrano’s superior essentially told him he’s on thin ice. But how can Serrano say no to another chance to take Miguel down? He agrees, somewhat reluctantly.
Third stop: Design a plan. In their classic meeting spot among the cane fields, Jorge, Feistl, Van Ness, and Peña draw out a plan.
Before heading to Miguel’s for his part of the scheme, Jorge returns to his wife and daughters. He must prepare his wife for the possibility of someone from the cartel coming for them. He gives her a gun, and a pep talk: "You can do this," he says, and honestly, if Jorge told me that, I’d believe him.
Fourth stop: Get it all started. Peña goes to Botero and tells him that the DEA found out where Miguel is hiding (Hacienda Buenos Aires), and they’re planning to arrest him this afternoon. Botero is shocked. Immediately, he calls and warns the Cartel — which is exactly the DEA was hoping for.
Miguel receives a call from Botero saying that the DEA has found out his location, and is after him. Jorge calmly suggest another safe house he can hide in — they just have to leave right now. Ding ding ding! The DEA is waiting outside, and is planning on getting Miguel the second he exits Hacienda Buenos Aires.
Unfortunately, Miguel packs slowly and meticulously. It seems like he’s contemplating the meaning of life and mentally composing a philosophical treatise on the importance of cocaine in a person’s diet more than running from the DEA.
As Miguel transfers piles of neatly folded shirts, his son, David, makes a discovery. David still suspects Jorge of being the rat, despite Enrique’s possession of the American beeper. David goes to Feistl and Van Ness’s old headquarters. Across the street is a hotel that has camera footage. He forces the security guard to rewind until he successfully finds Jorge going to the headquarters (Jorge had visited after the shootout at the party and told the DEA agents they had to trust him).
David calls Miguel and tells him what happened. Finally, Miguel believes his son. Now things are going to get nasty. Miguel calls Jorge, who had been waiting downstairs, back inside. The DEA agents spying on the scene knew something is wrong. Feistl decides to send a contingent inside the apartment, even though that wasn’t part of the plan.
As Miguel starts going after Jorge, David heads for Jorge’s house, where his wife and daughters are.
Luckily, Van Ness of the DEA had already arrived at Jorge’s house to transfer them to safety. While he’s there, David raps on the door. They have a shootout. Van Ness of the Hipster T-Shirts wins. David and his henchmen run away in terror once Van Ness breaks out the machine gun.
Jorge has a terrible time. After being questioned and brutalized, Miguel’s henchman suffocates him with a plastic bag, the same way Calderon and Enrique were killed.
But with the DEA and soldiers rushing up the stairs, Miguel has to get out. They leave Jorge and head for a car. They’re not free for long. A few minutes later, Miguel’s car is rammed into by a police truck, and Miguel is arrested.
Miguel finds himself in the same jail cell as Gilberto. Surprisingly, Gilberto is thrilled that Miguel’s been caught. Now, Pacho and Chepe know they have to turn themselves in now, too. They’ll all be forced to negotiate terms of surrender. Gilberto’s plan will work!
What about the two other godfathers? Pacho tells his brother he’s going to turn himself in.
Then, we see two policemen come while Chepe is eating a meal in an outdoor restaurant. Chepe, my favorite of the godfathers, calmly informs them that he’ll be finishing his meal first, and that they can order whatever they want. The policemen, at first, aren’t having any of Chepe’s games, and want to arrest him. Then Chepe tells them to look around at the calm outdoor restaurant. Who called the police, if not Chepe himself? He just wanted a ride to his own surrender. The policemen let him finish the meal.
But the DEA shouldn’t celebrate quite yet. Peña and the journalist, whom I call River Song because she looks like the Doctor Who character, figured out that President Samper accepted six million dollars in campaign funds from the Cali Cartel.
The worst part? Both the Ambassador and the head of the CIA have known about this for a while. The government is entirely bought out. As a result, there’s no way the cartel godfathers are staying in prison for long.
Episode 10
At the end of the last episode, Peña made the shocking discovery that even if all four godfathers end up in prison, there’s no way they’ll stay there. Even the president has been bought out by the Cali Cartel.
So begins the final tug-of-war between Peña and the drug state of Colombia.
Chepe, Gilberto, and Miguel are already in prison. Before surrendering, Pacho wants to cross “destroying the Salazars” off his to-do list. In an utterly depraved scene of brutality, Pacho and his men storm the Salazar compound and kill everyone. Following that display of carnage, Pacho surrenders to Serrano in a church.
Meanwhile, the scene in the prison is downright lively. With everyone carrying furniture and playing music, the CAli Cartel’s incarceration resembles like college move-in day. Gilberto is thrilled, because surrender is still on the table. Victory is imminent. The DEA is leaving Cali, and the Cali Cartel will be out of prison and back on the streets in no time.
Well, so long as Guillermo Pallomari, keeper of the Cali Cartel’s secrets, is taken care of. Because although Franklin Jurado was disposed of, no one can find Guillermo — not the Cali Cartel, nor the DEA. But both are trying desperately.
The DEA desperately needs Guillermo so he can testify and give new evidence that will keep the godfathers in jail.
The key comes down to Freddie Moya, the man with whom Guillermo’s wife, Patricia, is having an affair. The DEA arrives to Freddie’s office trying to find Patricia. He plays dumb, and then immediately calls Patricia when they leave. Of course, the DEA is tapping his phone line, and trace Patricia’s number back to an apartment.
After the visit, Freddie Moya thinks this might be an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone: Cash in on a cash reward from the Cali Cartel, and get rid of his girlfriend’s husband (aka the primary obstacle to his happy future with Patricia). He goes to David, Miguel’s son, and tries to negotiate. David doesn’t do negotiations. He smashes Freddie’s hands with a hammer, and extracts the location of Guillermo’s apartment.
The DEA also has figured out where Guillermo lives.
Jorge, who’d been safe and sound in Bogotá, really angers his wife by telling her he’s going back to Cali to help the DEA’s efforts. He knows just as well as Peña that the moment the godfathers are released from prison, they’re heading straight for him. His wife, Paola, says she’s going to leave with the children.
So, Jorge, Feistl, Peña, and Van Ness arrive to Guillermo’s before David & co do. As Jorge waits in the car, the DEA offers Guillermo a chance to escape Colombia by testifying and then joining the Witness Protection Program in the U.S. In a hilarious exchange, Guillermo tries to figure out what kind of house they’ll get because, as he puts it, they’re used to a certain amount of square footage. To negotiate at a time like this! Guillermo, who also always wears a cute pocketbook, is Narco’s sole comic relief.
Guillermo agrees to go with them.
But, at that very moment, Navegante pulls up to Jorge’s car. Oh no! The Cali Cartel has found him. Navegante dawdles, talking about how happy he is that David will kill Jorge, so murder won’t mar Navegante and Jorge’s friendship.
In a break from character, Jorge, who refused to carry a gun in the beginning of the show, kills Navegante with the gun he’d put together a few episodes ago. With Guillermo and his family in tow, the DEA leave.
Pallomari’s colorful testimony in the United States is highly publicized. Gilberto and Miguel are extradited to U.S. prisons, where they remain to this day. Pacho was killed by a North Valley cartel member in prison. Chepe escaped prison and tried to join the Castaños in FARC in the jungle, but was assassinated.
Still, getting rid of the Cali Cartel wasn’t enough for Peña. The system was still corrupt. Peña decides that he, too, must testify. He goes on the record to discuss how entrenched Colombian politics is with narco culture. The truth about the President Samper's campaign accepting Cali Cartel funds gets out. The country is upended.
Crosby reprimands Peña and says his career is over, but Peña has beat him to the whole "career ending" thing. Peña had resigned this morning, after he testified to the journalist.
But he's resigned for like, a grand total of a minute. While Peña contemplates the board of the Cali Cartel godfathers, another DEA agent approaches him. He tells Peña that the real heart of the drug trade has moved to Mexico, just as Amado had predicted. What else, he asks, is a guy like Peña going to do, if not go fight 'em?
As for Season 3? See you guys in Mexico – though Peña won’t be coming along.
The episode ends with a sequence of traffickers transporting drugs from a truck to a long boat, and setting forth onto a river. Peña watches the boat pass while working with his father, who we saw in Season 1. As his father warns, “It’s different in Mexico.”
But the big spoiler? Peña, sipping his beer, watching traffickers float by, says that he’s had enough.
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