Review: Narcos Season 3 Episode 5 “MRO”

One of the clear contrasts between this season of ‘Narcos’ and the previous has been the cinematography and the lesser focus upon the relationship between Columbia and the traffickers. These are purposeful decisions that attempt to promote Cali Cartel leaders as sleek, plentiful elites, rather than the hands-on, almost-guerilla style of Escobar. The lesser interest in the lower class of Columbia and the fallout of the drug trade has arguably robbed the show of much of its emotional weight, regardless of thematic or symbolic importance. However, this episode’s ending expertly addresses that issue. While we do not witness a horror inflicted on the public, Jorge, again perfectly presented by Matias Varela, is confronted by a need for self-preservation, strained by his loyalty to family and to the Cartel. The brutality showcased is excellently directed to maximise this moment for Jorge, as the character’s nuance is highlighted as he is pushed to a breaking point internally, and the implications of involvement in the Cartel becomes undeniably terrifying. Jorge’s fear links well to the paranoia spreading amongst the Cartel and the spiralling political mechanisms manipulating Gilberto’s position and Pena’s limitations. There is daggers at all angles for all characters, and moving through such a storm of distrust and betrayal will lead some to break ties. It is just a shame this season seems to be working in moments and sequences that seem necessary in hindsight, rather than always compelling. 8.7/10

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