Narcos Episode Two – “The Sword of Simón Bolivar”

For DEA Agent Steve Murphy and his wife things don’t go so well on arriving in Colombia. Held in customs for hours waiting to speak to someone over issues with their cat. While in the waiting room Steve is shocked to see the face of Pablo Escobar on TV being interviewed by journalist Valeria Vélez. Steve stares in disbelief that no one is aware of Escobar being a drug dealer. Instead the kingpin is compared to “Robin Hood” as a champion of the people for his charitable works and speaks to the public Live of the “common people” and their “dreams” and his hopes for his country’s future while denying any political ambitions. While Steve waits and watches horrified behind the curtains airport employees on Pablo Escobar’s payroll send copies of Steve’s I.D. to their boss “at the time Pablo was just a blip on my radar, I didn’t know I was about to be a blip on his..”

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The cocaine opperation that Pablo and Gustavo “inherited” from Cockroach is booming with a couple hundred tons of the magic white powder being shipped each year to America alone “the problem was no longer demand, it was supply.” German scientists start creatively hiding the product inside everything imaginable, from small statues to the fibreglass hulls of speedboats, just for fun they even put it back in Coca-Cola. “Cocaine was no longer hidden inside the product, it was the product.”

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The operation starts making so much money that it becomes impossible to hide. Especially with Pablo buying boats, cars, planes, houses, exotic animals, paintings by Picasso and Dali. Gustavo begins to show himself as the often unheard voice of reason to Pablo’s sometimes child-like outlook and blind ambition. Trying to tell Pablo to “lay low” and stop spending so much and drawing unneeded attention “people are watching us… they’re asking how two small business men suddenly came up with so much cash.”

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After eventually escaping the purgatory known as airport customs Steve is introduced to his new partner in the DEA stationed at the American embassy. Agent Javier Pena. A confident, charming man who work is seemingly quite comfortable outside the norms of right and wrong to enforce the justice he sees as necessary. Sleeping with his informant Helena, a young girl working as a prostitue, Pena learns that the narcos are having an important meeting among their bosses.

Helena desperately wants a visa and safety for both her and her child, but without any solid information Javier can’t help, so against better judgment she starts snooping and asking questions at the party and finds herself in some extremely hot water. Leaving Javier and Steve to rescue her. I won’t go further but I will say that for not the first time I found myself wishing this series was entirely fictional and certain events had never actually occurred.

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Pablo’s extravegant spending did end up get them all in Forbes and serious trouble, a large article in the magazine touting the narcos’ wealth catches the attention of communist group M-19. Led by Ivan “the Terrible” Torres, they had become instantly famous in Colombia when they stole the “Sword of Simón Bolivar” a legendary Colombian artifact. Ivan and M-19 set their aim on the “soft” Ochoa brothers kidnapping their sister Marta for ransom. However Pablo is able to turn the chaos to opportunity and uses it to form the foundations of the Medellín Cartel. Showcasing Escobar’s uncanny ability to swing almost anything in his favour.

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The second episode directed by José Padilha picks up after the end of “Descenso” with DEA Agent Steve Murphy landing in Colombia only to find himself on the radar of Pablo Escobar and in middle of a war he might not be entirely ready for. Steve’s new partner Pedro Pascal’s Agent Javier Pena gets some attention showing off his charisma (and some other bits) and teaching Steve the ropes in Bogotá. Meanwhile Pablo Escobar’s business continues to grow and with the coming of a crisis he seizes the opportunity, manipulating the situation to his advantage and establishing the infamous Medellín Cartel with himself at its head. Diving deeper into the dark world of Narcos “The Sword of Simón Bolivar” delivers another great episode continuing to be visually stylish, intriguing and shocking.

Great – 8.0/10

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