It’s Chekov’s principle: if you see a missile launcher, you can expect it to go off at some point down the line.
Let’s bitch it out…
Just like that we have our first major narco fatality. RIP Gacha (Luis Guzmán). He’s proof that just because you buy a missile launcher and hide yourself in the jungle with your rapist/murderer son doesn’t mean you’ll get away scot-free.
‘Explosivos’ title is pretty much on the mark – for the final scenes alone. Both Gacha and the plane explosion are ultimately only a small part of the overall episode (the resolution), but they feel like the main event. This is especially true regarding the big firefight between Gacha’s men and Carrillo (Maurice Compte), followed by Peña’s (Pedro Pascal) deadly aerial assault on Gacha’s Chevy. Although the plane packs a big punch, eliminating a character we know is much more significant in my books. The whole episode is spent following Peña and Murphy (Boyd Holbrook) make headway in their efforts to stop the narcos and by episode’s end, they’ve thwarted a presidential assassination and taken out one of Pablo’s (Wagner Moura) main guys. It’s a nice change of pace after a few episodes of hits on the DEA side.
I’ll confess that Narcos‘ multi-pronged narrative structure still feels awkward to me six episodes in. It’s not particularly difficult to keep up with what is happening, but too often it feels like the episodes proceed in fits and starts because the writers are trying to ensure that all of the plot threads are developing at the same time. Although ‘Explosivos’ streamlines events down into two major story lines – Murphy’s hunt to identify the Spaniard before César (Raúl Méndez) is killed and Carrillo/Peña’s hunt for Gacha – there’s still roughly four or five other percolating story lines consuming valuable screen time.
Take, for example, the early bait and switch involving Connie (Joanna Christie) and Elisa (Ana de la Reguera). Certainly the bug that Murphy discovers in his car provides him with leverage to use against Major Wysession (Patrick St. Esprit) and bring Noonan (Danielle Kennedy) onboard to access the notorious White Room, but in the early goings on, Elisa’s escape seems like the dominant focus of the episode. It’s only after the husband and wife sneak Elisa out (a process that takes roughly one tenth of the ~50 minute runtime) that things shift and we zero in on the two dominate plots.
As I suggested, it’s not difficult to follow, but it can make some of Narcos‘ episodes feel a little disjointed or even whip-lash-y.
- Love the intro with Poison (Jorge A. Jimenez) gunning down cops and Pablo paying out the bounty – it really hammers home why Carrillo and César are so on edge (the latter even goes so far as to send him wife away to America!)
- Finally, OMG Marina Ochoa’s (Laura Perico) bikini top tan lines are super distracting. Not much movement on this story line, though she still wants to run away with Gustavo (Juan Pablo Raba). Frankly I’m surprised that he didn’t smack her when she accuses him of being in a relationship with Pablo. Gustavo seems like he’d be sensitive about that.
- Murphy (to Wysession): “Next time you want to fuck someone take them on a date.”
Your turn: did you expect Gacha to die? Were you surprised that Peña elected to kill him for Carrillo? Are you glad that César survived? Will we see Elisa again? Sound off below, but please refrain from posting spoilers if you have watched ahead.
Narcos is available in its entirety on Netflix.