Saturday, December 1, 2018

REVIEW: 'Narcos: Mexico' - Rafa's Foolish Mistake Opens a New Opportunity for Félix in 'Rafa, Rafa, Rafa!'

Netflix's Narcos: Mexico - Episode 4.04 "Rafa, Rafa, Rafa!"

After months of frustration, Kiki seizes an opportunity. Rafa runs afoul of powerful government officials, putting Félix in a difficult position.

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.

"Rafa, Rafa, Rafa!" was written by Scott Teems and directed by Andrés Baiz

The four seasons of Narcos have insisted that luck plays such a crucial role in the way law enforcement does their jobs around the world. It's a bunch of close calls until someone messes up badly enough for the entire organization to get caught. It has become a routine plot device for this series. It's one used in order to keep the situation intense with making the audience believe that it's all about to come crashing down at any moment. But it can also get repetitive as well. Here, the DEA is fully aware that Félix is the man in charge and the DFS is helping him evade capture. They see just how effective the Mexican police can be when properly motivated. It's horrifying that it takes those kinds of severe orders for them to do anything at all. It's frustrating to Kiki who doesn't fully understand the larger machinations of this world. Félix has been propped up as the man who was able to see a way of bringing everything together in an effective and efficient way. And now, he sees a new proposition that is bound to only increase his reign further. It all comes across as an accident though. The DEA have to track Félix's underlings because they aren't as smart or closely monitored as he is. That means Rafa is under a ton of pressure because he's buying extravagant homes and destroying them while also staging the kidnapping of a government official's daughter. He doesn't care about the consequences of taking Sofia out of this environment and the impact it will have on Félix's business. He is just in love with this beautiful girl. It's such a lame and simple explanation that doesn't really feel like it should deserve all of this attention. But Félix is conflicted because he has to appease the government that allows him to conduct his business while protecting his friend. He knows it would be smart for Rafa to turn himself in. It may even be smarter just to kill him and not have to deal with this problem any more. Instead, he takes Nava up on his suggestion that a favor will allow him to settle down all of these disagreements between the narcos and government officials. It's through transporting weapons into Nicaragua with Amado that Félix realizes that the Colombians have no route to America to deliver their cocaine. As such, Félix sees that as an opportunity to expand his business. He's willing to do so without even consulting with his partners first. That's a decision that could backfire in a massive way. And yet, this season is still fundamentally about growth and how Félix was able to build this business up. He did so even though people like Rafa were making foolish decisions that almost got all of them caught. Here, Kiki is so close to arresting Rafa. He is literally outside the house looking in and seeing him. This could make a huge difference in this war that the DEA is fighting. They will make an impact and disrupt business for the cartel. They will have proof that this is a serious situation that demands even more support. Instead, the Mexican officials back off because that's the order they receive after Félix finishes this run for Navo. And so, everything goes back to being corrupt and ineffective. It's frustrating to Kiki. It should be frustrating to the audience too. And yet, it strangely doesn't make Kiki seem more sympathetic because he's lashing out at everyone else without trying to do any kind of self-reflection as well.