Saturday, November 24, 2018

REVIEW: 'Narcos: Mexico' - Félix Meets with All the Power Players in the Region in 'The Plaza System'

Netflix's Narcos: Mexico - Episode 4.02 "The Plaza System"

Félix tries to unite all of the plazas while Rafa searches for water for his seedless weed. Police corruption and the DEA's complacency frustrate Kiki.

In 2018, it makes no sense to provide full-length reviews of each individual episode for shows released all at once on the streaming services. Sure, there are some shows out there that value the power of the episode. They do make a point in differentiating each episode to ensure it's not just one big slog to the finish. However, the ability to watch the entire season at one's own viewing pace has largely changed the way we consume and discuss these shows. So, some brief summary thoughts are really all that's actually necessary with these seasons. As such, here are my latest thoughts on the next episode of Netflix's Narcos: Mexico.

"The Plaza System" was written by Carlo Bernard & Doug Miro and directed by Josef Kubota Wladyka

This hour provides a glimpse at the past and a hint at the future for the drug trade. José María Yazpik returns as Amado after previously starring in the third season. He was a partner with the Colombian cartels who helped with distribution. And now, he's revealed to be Don Neto's nephew who proves beneficial in getting all of the Mexican drug leaders together under Félix's operation. And then, the hour ends with Félix and Don Neto meeting a driver known as El Chapo who avoids a grim fate that befalls the other drug leaders in the vehicle. That's a moment that immediately foreshadows to the audience just how coincidental all of this may seem while also proving just how connected these worlds will continue to be. This is predominately the story of Félix and Kiki. However, the show is planting the threads for the trafficker who will become just as infamous in this corner of the world. That's very enticing. In fact, Félix's story remains the most entertaining in the early going. He's actually getting things done. Moreover, there is the intensity over whether or not he will be able to bring this network of individuals together. Sure, it's similar to the way that things happened with Pablo Escobar at the start of his story with the Medellin Cartel. But it's still very compelling to watch as it all collapses in front of Félix. He believes he has put all of the pieces into place to ensure that this grand meeting in Guadalajara goes well. Instead, his own boss won't let his past beef with a rival go. That stubborn reluctance is the thing that all of these leaders feared when first hearing the pitch from Félix. But that's what makes it so enticing when it still manages to all work out for him. This was all clearly building towards an epic death. Félix believed that it would be his own. He aspired for too much. He stepped out of line. And now, his boss must put him down in order to keep himself in control of this operation. Instead, the DFS agents roll onto the scene to kill the people who stand in the way of this consolidating organization making them even more money. This hour highlights how this agency of the federal government is so corrupt and able to do whatever they want. That makes them a powerful ally in getting all of this started. They help Félix stay alive. So now, he can officially grow his business with everyone returning to the table once more. Plus, Rafa is able to find water in the desert. At first, it seemed like his plants were dying because the geologist lied to him. Instead, it just took a couple more explosives to find the reservoir that was just below the surface. That will ensure that production doesn't slow down just as soon as Félix was hoping to ramp up the operation. All of this is very exciting. Things have that energy in Kiki's world as well. Of course, he's still just getting his bearings in this environment and figuring out how the local officers do their jobs. He wants to mount raids and make a difference. His colleagues are more complacent and know how this particular world works. That ends with a gambit that doesn't pay off for Kiki. And yet, the show still needs to articulate that he is right anyway. He continues to pursue his gut feeling which leads to him being stranded in the middle of the desert passed on the road by a bunch of buses carrying people with bags over their heads. That's an ominous visual. It's also one that confirms that Kiki will ultimately be proven right with every suggestion he has which could be very dangerous for the storytelling this season.