A Look at Season Two of "Narcos: Mexico"

The second season of "Narcos: Mexico" was as intense as the first one as the narration is getting closer to today’s events. Driven by the amazing performances of actors Diego Luna and Scoot McNairy, the show takes viewers on an emotional rollercoaster from laughter to suspense and disturbance. Many of the scenes are not easy to watch, but it is that uncomfortableness that is necessary for audiences who don’t live this reality to understand the seriousness of the drug war between Mexico and the United States. If you’ve finished the second season, you’re already aware of where the creators of the show have taken the story and while everything that happens in the show isn’t 100% accurate, it still offers context for what has happened and what is happening in Mexico. Here are some of the top moments of season 2. 

When the Sinaloans brought a banda and a tiger to Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo’s (Diego Luna) birthday party

The moment not only showcases the extravagant luxuries these men could afford, but it is also rather humorous. From El Chapo driving a little train with the caged tiger to Felix’s “WTF” reaction and the banda’s rendition of “Eye of the Tiger,” this scene is television genius. Great lines also get delivered during this scene like Palma’s, “Toda jungla necesita un rey. Y aquí tenemos al nuestro.” [“Every jungle needs a king. And here is ours.”] Lupita’s “Esa vieja es una pinche snob,” [“That woman is a fucken snob”] was also funny considering she was talking about Felix’s second wife, who was not pleased with the gift. 

The symbolism of the tiger is a good touch from the writers of the show since it represents Felix well. In this season the writers portray Felix as a man who is lonely, entrapped in a corrupt and complicated system, and has to be ruthless if he wants to reign like a king. It was also poetic since this scene foreshadows the last scene of the season which ties the Felix chapter nicely. 

When Amado reunites with Acosta

Amado’s character in general is hilarious (which should be questioned since he was a narco after all), but the scene where he finds Acosta in Texas was one of the funniest ones in the entire season. From the beginning, the scene is set up to be funny and usual because Mimí, Acosta's new cowgirl lover, shoots at Amado and spooks him. It would happen that while Amado was trying no to get shot by Mimí, Acosta was on top of his house fixing the roof. The funniest exchange these two characters have in the show is when Amado tells Acosta he has to return to Juarez because he has to keep his men in check. Acosta replies angrily “Pues yo también tengo asuntos que arreglar aqui!” [I also have business to take care of here!”] Amado responds sarcastically but irritatingly “¿Pues que, arreglando techos, o que?” [Fixing roofs or what?”] Overall, Amado and Acosta’s relationship was one of the more interesting ones in this season because Acosta clearly wants out and Amado wants to remain loyal to Felix but also doesn’t want Acosta to die. Hence, the show suggests relationships in the narco world are complicated and short lived.  

When Isabella asks Enedina to become her business partner

There are many women in this season of "Narcos" but most are not in charge of the business operations they are a part of. In this season, Isabella’s character continues to seek for a spot in the Narco world as a leader but is shut down time and time again. Her first exchange with Enedina is an interesting one since Isabella can’t get Enedina to turn on her brothers. Isabella tells Enedina, “Creí que tu eras el cerebro detrás de tus hermanos” [I thought you were the brains behind your brothers”], and Enedina responds by saying, “¿Y que esperas? ¿Que le dé la espalda a mi familia porque somos mujeres o que?” [And what? Did you expect me to turn on my family because we’re both women?”] The creators of the show could have easily had Enedina’s character align herself with Isabella because they’re both women. The writers could have done the expected, but instead they complicate the relationship of the women to highlight their independence and intelligence. When Enedina finally does team up with Isabella, it’s because she actually thinks Isabella can be a good business partner and not just because she’s a woman… And when Enedina turns on Isabella at the end of the season, it’s because remaining in a partnership with her brothers is the best option. 

When Walt and Acosta talk on the roof

This scene is particularly interesting since Acosta makes Walt open up about why he is determined to take down Felix. Both men open up about their past, and it turns out they both have something in common. Both men had brothers who were addicts and died because of drugs. Throughout the entire show, Walt is seen carrying the guilt of his brother’s death even if it clearly wasn’t his fault, and it has led him to wage war against the men he finds most guilty for the drug problem in the U.S. Meanwhile, Acosta makes Walt really think about why he is doing what he is doing and also lets him know why men like him are led to live the lives they choose. In a way the writers of the show humanize Acosta, but they do it in a way that doesn’t erase the seriousness of what he has done. The writers of the show often make sure to not portray the situations they depict as just black or white, and this can definitely been seen when they showcase the complex intentions and rationalizations of Walt and Acosta. 

When Felix talks to Walt in prison 

The greatest scene of season 2 is without a doubt the last one. After Felix is imprisoned, Walt visits him to make himself feel righteous and to make Felix feel like he’s lost, but things take a turn when Felix asks Walt why he has an interest in all of this mess. Felix foreshadows the violence and chaos that will unleash in Mexico and perfectly details what will happen and who will emerge as the new leaders of the drug world. Felix is straightforward and asks Walt what he’s doing in Mexico since he doesn't care about the agent that was killed nor does he care for drugs. Walt tells him “maybe I just like putting assholes in jail.” But Felix has none of that and says the most real thing of the season. “A mi se me hace que a ti, como a todos los de tu pais, lo que les gusta es andar dando putazos.” [I think that you, like everyone from your country, likes to break things and hurt people.”] If this series can be appreciated for one thing, it is for its narrative that sheds light on the hypocrisy and corruption that run deep in both the Mexican and U.S. government. While it would be easy for the writers to portray the Americans in the show as heroes, they make audiences question the responsibility the U.S. has in the drug war. After all, Americans unleash waves of violence in Mexico too but tell themselves they are the good guys. By noting that Americans are as much part of the blood and chaos, the writers offer a perspective that goes against the good guys vs. bad guys narrative people have become comfortable with. Felix definitely makes Walt question why he’s involved with taking down Mexican narcos since the drug world and war is made only possible because of the U.S. and Mexican governments. It’s easy to look at narcos and label them as the problem, as the epitome of evil, and while they’re not free of responsibility and blame, it’s important to realize they are victims of a system too and nothing happens without the blessing of those in power. 

By far the most chilling words of this season were “Va empezar a correr la sangre. El caos. Ahora si van a ver qué pasa cuando le abren a la jaula y dejan salir a los animales. Me van extranar.” [“Blood will be shed. Chaos. Now you’ll see what happens when you open the cage and let the animals out. You're all going to miss me.”] Luna’s delivery of the lines make it possible for shivers to run down viewer's spines, and he should definitely get an Emmy and Golden Globe nomination when award season comes around. But more than that, the lines put into perspective the change that is coming. While Felix was a perpetuator of the violence in Mexico and the U.S., he did to some extent maintain "peace" or as much "peace" as possible in such a world. After Felix, however, the violence that ran through Mexico was unprecedented and like Felix foreshadows, unstoppable. It is a violence that the people of Mexico continue to live everyday and that appears to be getting worse. 

Yes, the events of the show are dramatized, but it does seem that the writers are trying to present the reality of narco Mexico through an objective lens. At the same time, it's important to remember that while the show is meant to serve for entertainment purposes, the history it depicts is a real one for the people of Mexico. Viewers in the U.S. get to watch the series at a comfortable distance, but this is a distance the people of Mexico don't have and writers/producers have a responsibility to provide a narrative that is still truthful.