“Narcos” thoughts, Season Two, Episode Five: “The Enemies of My Enemy”

By now it’s no secret that Narcos doesn’t do flashy. So far this season I’ve seen this mostly leveled at the show as an insult — it’s trying to do for Scorsese what Stranger Things did for Spielberg and company, with a similarly shaky grasp of everything that makes the filmmaker in question not just Fun but Great. For me, it’s what separates this show from Stranger Things. If Narcos were simply trying to ape Marty, Francis, et al, it’d have all the surface-level razzle-dazzle but none of the black-hearted soul.

So it’s worth pointing out when the show genuinely does do something Scorsese-esque. In episode five of its second season, “The Enemies of My Enemy” (these titles are getting really cheesy, incidentally), we’re treated to a long tracking shot that would make Henry Hill on his way into the Copacabana proud. With Col. Carrillo in the ground, Pablo is living, well, the life of Pablo — giving his adorable kids diving and swimming instructions, joking around with his jolly sicarios, cheering on his favorite football team, goosing his lovely wife’s bum. (Tata Escobar’s posterior is as much of a costar this season as Joan Holloway’s décolletage was in Mad Men.)

The intent of this multi-minute shot is to show that for Pablo, everything is in its right place, at least for the moment. You don’t need to be flashy if your rare instance of ostentatious camerawork is as communicative as this.

I reviewed the fifth episode of Narcos Season 2 for Decider.

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