Narcos: Mexico Season 2 Refuses to Romanticise the Drug Business

Manik Sharma

IThough Narcos: Mexico has a more genteel, plain man at its heart, Luna’s brilliant portrayal refuses to romanticise the drug business the way Escobar did.

Gallardo, on the other hand, is besotted by problems of his own. Riddled with guilt about having assisted Kikki’s murder, he cuts a regretful figure. The “plazas” Gallardo brought together are plagued by infighting and jealousy. In the opening episode, he is gifted a tiger by a partner. “Stare into its eyes and it won’t fuck with you,” Gallardo is told, as if prophesising the path he must take to survive – to do what no one has done before, to shift the centre of the drug trade from Colombia to Mexico. Gallardo is a far cry from the headstrong Escobar, the highlight of the first two seasons of Narcos. In fact, he is an antithesis of most of the drug lords the show has showcased over five seasons.

As Walt and his team become American-sponsored vigilantes on Mexican soil, the legal and diplomatic loopholes begin to show. Exacting revenge is one thing, but bringing justice to a corrupt system is another, as Walt learns. Thinly written, Walt’s character is a missed opportunity, to the point that his presence can at times feel like a formality. But the season really picks up after the halfway mark as push comes to shove. Both men become desperate, often overriding their own first instincts. Gallardo stares into the eye of the tiger while Walt gradually becomes him. The multiple sub-stories that shift focus between warring cartel families, are instructive to the displaying the rot that eventually consumes businesses built on crime.

Though Narcos: Mexico has a more genteel, plain man at its heart, Luna’s brilliant portrayal refuses to romanticise the drug business the way Escobar did. There are enough similarities between this season and the ones that have preceded this, but it is also evidence of why Narcos has become such a hot property for Netflix. This season shows some wear and dust that has begun to gather on the scripts, but should it reinvent itself, there is no reason why this world won’t continue to intrigue and entertain.